A phosphorous blue sneer.

As the year draws to a close what more can a man do than stick his head in a pile of leaf litter and search for hoverfly larvae. That is what I did this morning and very enjoyable it was too. 2016 has not been the best of years. Last year I said to myself, cheer up. Things could be worse. So I cheered up and sure enough things got worse.

Next year looks to be tricky too. I shall embark on my 7th and probably last decade. Of course the world may end as well in which case I shan’t miss much. In the meantime leaf litter is my new raison d’être. I am finding all sorts of goodies in it. Today was my introduction to the gall of Neuroterus anthracinus . It is about the size of a pinhead, whitish with (pardon the technical lingo) red splodges on it. Yesterday I was knee deep in the eggs of a shield bug and photographing not one but two Melangyna cincta larvae. Of course you also find the odd slug, a few earthworms, some fly-type things and a host of other creatures that scuttle, wriggle and flee.

Christmas was tolerable this year. Borderline good in fact. We decided to eat out and booked ourselves into Brasserie Blanc. They did us proud. The hallmark of a decent Christmas lunch is the quality of the crackers. Not the cheese ones but the ones that go bang. Ours went very bang very loud. So loud in fact that the gift within flew like a North Korean test missile and landed on the neighbouring table. A set of gingerbread men cookie cutters. Just what Mrs. Ha wanted. And as I hadn’t bought her anything else that was just as well. She did in fact get an eternity ring but that was for our wedding anniversary. It’s called an eternity ring because it will take me an eternity to pay for it. When she said she wanted a carat I was all ready to hoof it over to Sainsbury but I misunderstood.

Our next outing of note is back to Honkers for the lunar New Year. We are away almost 3 weeks which means poor old Princess Lulu has to spend the time at Butlins and she won’t like that. She doesn’t take well to the Morning campers, Hi-di-hi routine. And they don’t have under floor heating. Come to think of it neither does our apartment in HK.

2017 starts in a few hours and it had better be good. I want my money back on 2016. From Brexit to Exit Bowie and ending with the demise of she who sang Tammy, it has been a disaster. I predict the implosion of the EU next year. That should cheer us all up. I looked out of the window at 4pm today and the mist was lying just above the ‘lawn’ (moss) in a thin stratum. It gradually thickened and expanded, not unlike my waistline. Too many gingerbread men. With age comes the wisdom that I really don’t know much. It also comes with a bad shoulder, a wobbly knee and greying hair. Sometimes I look in the mirror first thing and wonder who on earth it is. Only Lulu seems perennially content with life, as long as you don’t count the fact that she only uses 3 of her 4 legs these days. It doesn’t seem to bother her as long as she has ham, toast and jam and some health-giving biscuits for breakfast. This is a winning combination for canine flatulence I am sad to say. At least, that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

On that cheery (?) note I wish my reader a very happy new year. Unless you voted for Brexit or Trump. As my old boss John Pugh used to say: I’m not a vindictive man but, and this is a big but, I’ll ‘ave ‘im.

Goodnight all.

24 thoughts on “A phosphorous blue sneer.

  1. That was a pretty lively post from someone claiming imminent doom. You may outlive us all…although that was my plan. One never knows. There might be falling asteroid with my name on it…or yours…or, should we all be so lucky, on the tangerine shitgibbon about to claim his throne. (Not my description but I have taken a liking to it)
    Not nice to blame the dog, Andrew.

    • Tangerine shitgibbon is a wonderfully evocative expression Steve. And so ‘on the nose’ so to speak. I blame Lulu for many things. Yesterday someone pee’d on the carpet and I am happy to relate it was not I. She seems a bit ‘drippy’ since her op. 2 days to blast off for us and up, up and away to HK. 🙂

      • Glad to hear that it wasn’t you too, Andrew. As we get older the prostate can sometimes challenge that statement. For now Bentley remains the prime suspect as well.
        Have a great time in HK. I hope you do some street shooting.

  2. Don’t you dare go popping your clogs. We’d have nothing fun to read, and life would be very boring without Mr Hardacre’s take on things. Sorry old chap but you’re not going anywhere. Happy New Year to you all, including flatulent Lulu though I doubt her’s anything like as gross as Colin’s – great selling point for a new B & B… snort!

    • Lulu let rip this evening and I couldn’t go near her. I have started calling her Princess Pei Pei (fart in Cantonese). I’m not planning my exit Lottie – just aware of the track record. We had a glorious day out at Stourhead today but difficult decisions loom thanks to the referendum. I hope I can get Channel 4 in HK. Don’t want to miss the Nevin Saga.

  3. Hoverfly larvae? I must go and look, we certainly have a bonanza of the flies in late summer. I have been glad to see some real frosts this winter as this means that some less useful critters will be not be so prolific this year. I do hope you are wrong about this being your last decade, it is the final year of my 7th and has been quite productive, so do what you can for your own preservation. I am determined to empty the attic of stuff our children will never need, though they are showing (rather late) signs of addressing the grandchild absence, but who knows. Oh, one small hedgehog still feeds nightly despite the frosts – he must have a pad close to the house.

    • I would hate to have to clear out my belongings after I am gone so I won’t leave it to others. I am going to talk to a local auction house and I have already approached a couple of local bookshops to see if they want to go through my collection of books. Wills have been updated in HK and England. It’s just good planning.

      We had a glorious walk today. But no hedgehog. I am monitoring a wild bee colony instead. It’s a fight against the weather but if a hog can tough it out I hope the bees can. Nature keeps me going but it’s just a feeling that fate can’t be changed. Men don’t make old bones in our family. Women do better. Still a lot I want to do though – fingers crossed.

      • Yes, our will are in good order too and the Power of Attorney – as you say, just good planning. Though I still need to make my Advance Directive official. Books… you are wise; our whole house is full of them and more come in than go out. New year resolution – must try harder to lose some (lots).

  4. Now come on Andrew, let’s not get maudlin. I too will hit the 7th decade in the spring. What can we do? The way I look at it, I was too young to enjoy the ’60’s so I’m bloomin’ well going to make the most of my personal ones. I may even dye my hair purple.
    As for Europe, Trump and the sorry state of the globe in general, I’ve decided that I can only control the small things so am going to concentrate my efforts into those and let the Brexiteers get on with it. It’ll be their world, not ours…although I know plenty of young folk who voted remain…but que sera. Let’s be grateful we’re not American.
    Enjoy the lunar new year and come back refreshed. Attend your leaf litter. Continue in your curmudgeonly fashion. It keeps us entertained: as in the words of dear Alan Bennett, keep on keeping on.
    And don’t let the b*****s get you down 😉

    • All good sentiments Jenny. I feel so sorry for the Americans with Trump but there are plenty of upbeat views on the limitations of his powers in practice. I despair at his views on climate change, women, race, healthcare and just about everything else but not all his economic ideas are bad. My focus now is actually on decluttering and downsizing. I have accumulated far too much ‘stuff’ and much of it has to go. What we really want is our first grandchild but hey ho, that’s not in our control either. In the meantime I shall watch the news each day and say “I don’t believe it!”

    • Oh my , Yvonne I had no idea that you are in your 9th decade. I think that I am incorrect about Andrew’s age, just a few years ago he was in his 50’s so how in the name of Pete can be about to be in his 7th decade?

      But thank you dear one for being so generous with your compliment. I do so wish that I could write similar to Andrew’s sarcastic wit. Almost every sentence is funny and catchy. That is, it catches my sense of humor.

      Perhaps us oldies will keep on keeping on. I’ve always believed never to give in to age. It will be you down if you do. I love life even if it is down right depressing much of the time.

      Take care Yvonne,
      Best regards, the other “Yvonne” (Daniel that is) 🙂

  5. A great post, Andrew. Very witty and life affirming. May the larvae be grateful and realise that you are doing all that work for their benefit. We are both well into our 8th decade but decadence seems to still forever elude us. We have given up on getting Milo into a boarding place. We simply don’t go anywhere. He has won. Even the grooming salon he doesn’t like and crawls underneath cars just in passing anywhere near the salon.
    It’s a neck on neck race who will cark it first.

    • We had problems finding a boarding house for Lulu but eventually found a place that teaches obedience training. They take her but she says they aren’t very obedient. They don’t treat her like a princess. Don’t give up on Milo, Gerard.

  6. Andrew, you did yourself good or big on this one. As a writer who or maybe it’s that, writes with humorous sarcasm, this post made me smile. It might not be your intent but gee I wish that I could write as well/good as you.

    Now that I have stroked or stoked your greying feathers I might as well comment on the GB weather. How fortunate can one be to have real winter weather? It is mild and sunny here and to my eyes that are needing surgery for cataracts and also glaucoma, I thought that I saw a few butters flying along a row of shrubs. But my eyes might have deceived me and perhaps it was an illusion.

    Other than your worry that the EU will collapse, I too, am worried that the US is headed for some sort of cat-ass- tro-phee. I am after all, I died in the wool, pessimist but look what/who is about to be leader of the US. I’m cringing in my boots as I write although I’m not wearing boots at the moment.

    So you have are about to enter your 7th decade! You should be thankful you are not entering your 8th as I did, not that many days ago. I know I’m older than the hills but I’m alive and kicking like h– and don’t intend to give in to age.

    You and Ms. Ha have a nice trip and a lovely time in HK. Do be careful. I’ll send good karma Lulu’s way and maybe she won’t hate you when you fetch her from that hellish boarding place.

    Best regards,

    • Look at you, Other Yvonne, writing like the pro whose writing you admire! I am in my 9th decade, and still kicking on, just seem to enjoy my power naps more than I used to. Here’s to us golden oldies, long may we live and cause problems for the youngsters!

      • Yvonne D, once I am 60 I am in my 7th decade. So you are right that I was in my 50s and will still be for a short while. As for power naps well I think they are very restorative. I take one for about 10 hours every night.

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