A fascinating book by a new author who writes skilfully about diverse everyday events in life such as computers, adultery, motor cars. With a wry sense of humour, and piercing insight, Geoffrey Hart will entertain you with great moments and food for thought.
We all need to throw stuff away that is not suitable for our waste bin collections. Most of us choose to do it after a car boot sale, or if the item is unsuitable for selling.
Once the throw away substances build up to a certain level, it is time to load up. I don’t believe in burning old wood outside.
But I have in the past had a Parkray Burner to dispose of it.
The worst time to go is just after a bank holiday when the public have had an extra day to do DIY.
When I arrive at the gates of the centre, usually two men ask me what I am dropping off. They don’t want tradesman dumping their old baths, tiles bricks, or any metal substances without a charge. The guilty sign for that is dropping stuff off with a van.
Trees and garden grass, leaves etc are usually free if one does not have a council bin which requires an extra yearly fee.
I often worry that I might get a punctured tyre when driving through a dump, as some nails are exposed from loose bits of wood. I also try not to overload my car with old bits of rubbish, as in the past I have scratched the inside.
As I live in a country town, fly tipping is quite common, and one sees a lot of thrown away empty plastic bottles and cans. Old sandwich packets and face masks are a constant nuisance. When walking my dogs I have to clear up my dogs’ mess, so why should people leave their rubbish?
The most satisfying thing about a dump is not have to ask an official where the correct skip is, and finally getting rid of a load of rubbish I no longer want.
My First Mobile Phone
For many years I had to rely on an empty telephone box when I had to make a call when at work. In the early nineties I had a BT Phone card attached to my landline bill; so, I didn’t have to find any coins for the call.
When I got my first mobile phone, a long time after most people got theirs, it cost me seventy pounds. All it could do was make a call and text. It was big and fat, and a struggle to fit into my pocket.
The most satisfying thing, was that it gave me the best insurance; knowing I could ring the emergency services at any time, and from wherever I was on the planet.
My first call was made by my wife, from my car as I was driving home from Tesco, to my children at home.
Today we take this pleasure for granted.
The Celebrity Autograph
Most celebrity autographs are usually obtained from sportsman, concerts or from visiting famous people.
Autographs from celebrities who have died can sell for large sums of money at auctions.
The public go in search of people they admire.
When I went to the 1976 Penfold PGA Golf tournament at Sandwich in Kent, I wished at the time that I could have an autograph from the great man Severiano Ballesteros.
I watched him on the practice ground with my brother, before he played his rounds of golf. We both knew then that he would become an all-time-great. Sadly, he died after trying to recover from a brain tumour.
The most satisfying moment, didn’t come from a written signature, but from the swing of the camera onto Greg Norman.
We were standing right behind him when he took an iron shot, to the fourteenth green.
We knew then that the highlights would be shown on TV that evening, and we rushed back home to London, to watch us standing behind him.
Painting Is an Art
I thought I could never paint a picture of any quality.
When I was thirteen years old, I took a ruler, a protractor and a rubber into my school art class. My teacher told me off in front of the whole class. She said only a rubber and a pencil would be allowed in my art class, and nothing else.
I have been to several art galleries, and I find it hard to understand why a painting with just two colours can sell for hundreds of pounds or more, whereas more detailed drawings would sell for far less. Some paintings look like they were been done by a four-year-old. The best paintings in the world were painted before the camera was invented. The pure skill of the artist makes them look like photographs.
The Rebel film played by Tony Hancock brought the message home, that if one likes something, and it is a must have, then it is worth paying the price. The most satisfying moment for me is to buy a painting that I like, that no one else has.
Buying a New Computer
I had my father buy our first computer, way back in 1995 for my kids. It had a 32-megabyte hard drive. He paid well over a thousand pounds for it. One of my neighbours across the road set it up for us. It had a floppy drive, and a CD rewriter.
This item sat in my bedroom for about two months while the kids were at school. Then I thought; ‘shall I see what I can make of it.’ It took me three hours to work out how to make it do something that was useful to me. I couldn’t even type, let alone understand how to work the internet.
Some games had come with it which sat for months cluttering the desktop. Then I found my first FIFA soccer game, which I had to play using the keyboard. What I learnt I taught my kids. Then over the years, my kids taught me.
The most satisfying moments I had over the years, was solving error messages, fixing printers, and saving thousands of pounds buying goods online.
The worst part is keeping out viruses and hackers, and having to constantly download updates.
Computers are now massively powerful machines. Nowadays a mobile phone can have 120 or more gigabytes; which equals nearly four thousand times the space held by the first computer. People who never took up the challenge have fallen behind; but the computer has also wrecked a lot of marriages.
If you are born in a poor country, you may never have to worry about getting too fat. People have to work excessive overtime hours for a very low wage, just to feed themselves and their families; that’s assuming that food is available to them at all.
I have always thought of eating as a mindset, which one doesn’t think about if one is busy.
Depression and worry causes me to eat less and drink more.
Nine years ago, when my wife left me; I lost two stone in a month, and finished up below eleven stone.
The truth is nobody ever came out of a concentration camp overweight; because people were deliberately starved to death there.
Exercise is the key if one is not wheelchair bound.
One might not be unable to do exercise at all, due to ill health.
I found that swimming is better than running, as your joints take a lot of strain from knocking if you are running on hard ground.
Once your body goes two stone overweight then alarm bells should start ringing.
The most satisfying thing I find is to lose weight, and still eat what I like. This proves that the mind is like a bank account. You can’t spend more than you have unless you borrow money to do it. Only an animal that hibernates during winter will eat more than they need to get them through to the spring.
My First Pet – And those that followed
I started with a hamster rather than a goldfish. I’ve had four hamsters in my life. The best of them came from Syria. Little Henry was the best. He loved rolling in a ball, and he liked to be bathed as he got older. The sad thing is that most only live for two and a half years.
Next came rabbits and guinea pigs. I’ve had eight guineas, with the woman being more polite than the men; who snatch their food when taking cucumber from me. I would say that cucumber is their favourite food. Some south American countries breed them to eat. Most of them live for around four years.
My first rabbit was brown. We called him Peter. He had an ugly look about him, but was very gentle and sweet. I had to trim his teeth quite often. My best ever rabbit lived for over ten years from 1998 to 2008. We called him Herbie. He could sense a mild earthquake one minute before it happened. Then came Parsley who was very good at football. With every pet that died, I shed a tear; sometimes I cried, and struggled to overcome my emotions.
Finally, I thought; maybe a cat, No! what if it brings back a half dead mouse into the house, or gets run over by a car, after I’ve spent a lot of money on vet’s fees?
Then the obvious; a dog. I took one in after an old lady had died. I even paid to get her neutered. She had a Jack Russell temperament, but was very well behaved towards other dogs and humans when she was outdoors.
Now I have a Cavalier crossed with a Norfolk Terrier. The most satisfying thing is getting the best welcome home anybody could ever wish for. No matter how bad a day one has had, the mental therapy a dog gives is second to none.
From childhood to adulthood the question asked is; How can I make my money go a long way?
When one has very little money, one tends to buy cheap.
Then over a period of time, that same item needs replacing several times. Only when one has plenty of money, can one make a better and lasting choice.
Closing down sales have a good impact on people’s morale, except for the seller.
Some people buy things whether they need the item or not.
It makes them feel good; or they buy things when they are cheap, and then later the price goes up again.
Services of companies that undertake jobs for me, that I haven’t been able to do for myself, are riddled with high levels of vat; that go to the government.
In my opinion, the best bargains always come from the internet. It is simply a shop that has a website that encourages you to buy online.
So, I reiterate; the best bargain that I ever bought in my life is a computer. Over the years since 1995 my computer has saved me thousands of pounds. The most satisfying moments I have are the moments when the items I buy are delivered at my door.