Some things are left better unsaid…

…or conversation for the socially awkward.

Do you ever have days where you manage to stay sane; interact with lovely people or – better still – no people at all?

Do you often have days where you seem to run into every nutter going? Or as I like to call it – Wednesday.

I just seem to attract all forms of crazy and awkward- in the form of people, conversations and situations. Today was no exception.

I’m coming back from visiting someone and on the way back to the train station, I bump into one of their more verbose neighbours. So there I am, with 26 minutes to do a walk which a nearby signpost reminds me will take 17 minutes to do, with my darling furbaby in tow who is determined to sniff every. single. goldarn. blade of grass going and up pops Mrs Verbose, with clear plans to tell me her life story for the I’ve-forgottenth time.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I did stop and talk. I know that much about humans.

I’m not rude but at the same time, I could almost hear the tick-tock countdown in my head. I spend about 10 painful minutes of nodding and making what I’ve learned are mollifying sounds. I’ve watched you humans carefully on this one. As long as I nod, and say things like ‘really? Oh, that’s good/bad’ (Note to self: do NOT mix those two up), I can go on auto-pilot while I plan my escape.

Long story short: even with the unexpected accompaniment of a lovely person who thought I was talking to her and not the furball, I actually managed to get on the train and get home before crumbling into a pile of introverted angst.

Awkward conversations…

Which, if you’re me, is pretty much any conversation.

awkward

I mean, we’ve all heard this one, or something similar, I’m told…

You know, this one.

Stranger: Where do you live?

Me: I live in south Wales.

Stranger: Ooh I know someone who lives in south Wales –  their name is Jones. Do you know them?

I think everybody’s had that one at some point or other but how about some of the other clangers?

Like, for instance, the person who doesn’t speak to you for ages and then when you do speak to them, they only seem to be interested in finding out how much money you earn. And they won’t let it go. And they keep coming back to it. Especially if you work in something unusual.

Does anyone else get this a lot?

And then there’s this one…

Something similar to the “Do you know the Joneses” is the person who rabidly insists on describing the other person’s character, appearance or domicile in great enough detail to browbeat you into admitting that yes, yes, you do know them… Now please make it stop…

This is the location variant…

It starts simply enough. You’ve answered the ‘Where do you live‘ question correctly. Then you get told that their cousin’s friend’s brother-in-law lives in the same area and do you know it? It’s just around the corner from you!

And as much as you’re trying to tell them no, they will not let it go. It’s right up there with the Mr ‘oh-I-know-someone-who-lives-about-30-miles-away-from-you-but-it’s-all-the-same-area-so-you-must-know-them‘. In this case, they give you all manner of landmarks that you don’t know and you keep telling them that but does that stop them?

Heck, no.

It’s like getting caught under a boulder rolling downhill.

They come up with things like ‘they live a couple of streets away from the butchers‘.

Butchers?

My eyes glaze over.

They still don’t take the hint. Yes, you know the butchers – the one that does the amazing sausages.

I’m vegan..?

But even that doesn’t stop them. They keep going but clearly haven’t picked up on the fact that you really have no interest where this complete stranger lives and you really don’t want to be bullied into admitting that you do know where such and such a place is. Even if you don’t. Which is more often the case.

Screenshot 2020-02-26 18.44.13

Of course, there is one risky prospect which, as long as you can stop yourself from gnawing your own elbow to stay conscious, does work. That is to get the other person talking about themselves.

And humans just love talking about themselves, don’t they?

So if you can keep your eyes open during their TED-worthy speech about the benefits of different densities of concrete, you’re onto a winner. But you have to remember to do the thing with the head and make the correct noises.

TIP: try to sound as genuine as possible. I can’t do it and apparently, I don’t do sarcasm either so I’m really onto a loser with that one.

Oh well.

 


Are you following me here yet?

I mean, in a non-creepy, follow-this-blog kind of way…

You know what I mean.

Do you?

Sheesh.

I hope so.

Getting lost again

Remember that time when I got lost trying to find a newly opened shop?

Well, it happened again.

The getting lost bit, I mean.

And this time, I have nothing to blame but my own vampiric little self.

Vampires get easily distracted. You do know that, don’t you?

ADHD/OCD are as much a part of us as capes and widow’s peaks aren’t.

Suffering as I was from a bit of post-Christmas cabin fever, I decided on a little jolly to a town that’s only five minutes away by train. Let’s just call the place Llanbobl, shall we? Yes, vampires do feel the need to get out and about occasionally. Weird, eh?

I suppose it was different in the old days when you had acres of dilapidated castle to wander around. Or a village where you could move around freely at night because the villagers would have been fearfully tucked up (ooh, careful how you say that bit!) in their beds by then. Ah, the peace and quiet…

The last place I lived, it was more a case of police and riot.

I’m joking, of course – but only about the dilapidated castle and petrified locals. Those things aren’t real.

Well, they are, but in a different context.

31A189EA-FCC1-402F-A8E8-64FEF581F6EF

These days, anything dilapidated will either be razed to the ground (that’s never sounded right to me – how do you raze/raise something downwards?) to make way for offices, a shopping centre or so-called ‘affordable housing’.

And the terrified villagers? We have other things to suck the life out of you these days. Taxes… Online gambling… Reality tv…

But I’m rambling now.

Nothing New There, I hear you say. How well you know me.

Anyway, I’ve had my jolly little jaunt out to Llanbobl and it’s time to go home. I start marching to the station, knowing that I have a good fifteen minutes to wait when I get there. Great. No rush. I’ve got the furbaby a little treat (as I’d promised her), so she’ll be happy to see me whenever. Indeed, once she’s said an enthusiastic hello to me, the next thing she usually does is bury her head in my bag to see what I’ve brought her.
Next, I find an amazing shortcut which saves me another few minutes. Okay, so now I have twenty minutes to kill at the station but I have food, so that’ll keep me busy.

I get there and…

My train is running late. Indeed, the one that comes after it will have to share the same platform (as they come in from different directions). Some stations have even named their platforms ‘A’ and ‘B’ to accommodate this duality.

Yes, what is that with half platforms? In the town where I used to live, there is one platform that’s actually two. I think it might be platform 6/7. So, even though there’s only one train there,  because the doors are all automatic these days, if you get on the wrong side of the train, you then have to go all the way up the stairs, across and down to get onto the same train you would’ve been getting on anyway!

Anyway…

My train comes in. It’s a funky, old-fashioned train for a change and I jump on gratefully. It sets off.

In the opposite direction.

It turns out that my train was so late that the train after it has come in first. I should have checked a bit closer but the display board is doing that thing where it bounces between trains. Plus, my glasses are soaked, so I can’t see properly even if I tried to dry them off.

Trying not to panic, I explain to the guard my little vampire blonde moment and he’s an absolute sweetheart about it. Really helpful. What’s the first station I can jump off at and go back?

His face falls. This is the Heart Of Wales line. It visits all the otherwise inaccessible bits of Central Wales. If I get off anywhere, I could be waiting hours (in the rain) for the next train. The easiest thing, he says, is to stay on the train. He says he’s getting off at Llanwrtyd Wells, crossing the platform and grabbing the next train back. I can follow him. It’s the quickest way.

I’d heard of the town before. How long will it take? I ask.

Three hours.

Three.

Whole.

Hours.

So I’ve caught the wrong train home and am now somewhere in mid Wales, with only 1% on my phone!

What to do?

Luckily, it was actually very pleasant. But it was quite weird. Because I hadn’t brought my usual bag with me, I didn’t have a notebook and pen nor a charging cable for my phone. So I had three hours of doing literally nothing. On the way out, the scenery was lovely. All fields and farms and pretty little villages. On the way back, of course, it was pitch black but it was fun to look into people’s houses ha ha!

If you ever have to get lost in the middle of nowhere, I highly recommend this particular bit of nowhere. Every other station was Llan-something. Actually, scratch that. About every one in four stations wasn’t Llan-something. And there were some very pretty little stations, with some interesting details.

CCA19360-790D-4F89-B02F-9430C02EA715.jpeg

But Heart of Wales?

Heart?

Wrong organ.

In the nicest possible way, I’d go for small intestine – winding and seems to go on forever. It was roughly a 100 mile round trip at final count!

All that apart, as I said to the lovely guard as we crossed the tracks, it was actually a rather nice day out in the end.

Have you ever been on the train, seen a splendid house and thought ‘what a beautiful house, I’d love to live there’ and then realised ‘hang on, the only way I’m able to see it is courtesy of  a dirty great train line at the bottom of the garden.’ So, no. I’m actually glad I don’t live there.

I was supposed to get home just after 3pm but ended up getting back sometime after 6pm. In fact, the hubster had gotten home, made a fuss of the furbaby and gone out for a run all before I arrived home. The treat I’d bought for the furball had by this time turned into a peace offering. She was nevertheless very pleased to see me.

And will I ever live this down?

Will I heck!


Follow me on Twitter

You know you want to.

It’s my vampyversary!

It’s  been 5 whole years since I started sharing my brain space with you. Time fries when you’re Sally Lunn.

Or something like that.

October 2014, to be exact. To be precise, I started this blog back on October 31st 2014. Yeah, I know the archives bit says November, but that’s because I did something a bit silly. For my first Vampyversary in 2015, I reblogged that very first post, thinking it would just upload a copy. It didn’t. It shifted the whole thing a year into its own future, so now, the October 2014 post doesn’t exist. Ah well, that’s a lesson I learned pretty much instantly – a quick tip there for anyone planning to do something similar.

Just copy and paste, okay?

Okay, so that’s 5 years with a bit extra. I mean, I did intend to do it tomorrow, but tomorrow turned out to be a month later. Surely that can’t be just a vampire thing? This picture kind of sums it up nicely…

533C8A22-9CBB-4020-8EF1-2860A5C914CB.png

My view of time continues to be somewhat warped.

From time to time, I see people that I know who have very small children but then the next time I see them – I swear it’s only a few months later – the same people have inexplicably become grandparents. Other people’s lives seem to flash before me. The only time my own life flashed before my eyes was when I tried running for the first time.

Ten minutes sprinting full pelt with absolutely no preparation and I swear it took probably as long again for the whole thing to play out. And to show my age, it was in black-and-white (and not widescreen either).

There are so many words for it… Eternity. Forever. Timelessness. Infinity.

Hm.

Eternity is waiting for a train. Forever is when you finally catch it.

Other than that, all bets are off as far as my perception of time goes. Now, you can ask me what the time is and I can guess that pretty accurately, but ask me when I last did something or saw someone and I’m afraid my face goes blank. That’s probably why the Sphinx has that expression on its face – it’s probably trying to remember how long it’s been since it had its nails done.

3F00D3EC-F6F0-42C5-9AE8-A72EF2F32DFC.png

So, happy anniversary to me, and a wonderful week to you. It’ll be the weekend before you know it!

Bonfire Night – a season for treason?

Are we sitting comfortably?

No?

Good. Then I’ll begin.

Let’s start today with a little bit of etymology. No, not the online study of people called Tim. That’s called cyberstalking. Quite a different thing.

Etymology = study of words

You see, yesterday, in the UK, we celebrated Guy Fawkes Night, aka Bonfire Night.

And here we go.

Bonfire.

bon=good. Did they think this through?

I guess if you’re throwing a few baked spuds on, or toasting marshmallows, or what are they called in America – s’mores?

But… people?

So, this is a whistle-stop bit of background to Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night. Basically, this is what I was taught about it. Apologies for the inevitable oversimplification and probable inaccuracies. For a more accurate description, click here or here.

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Back in the 1600s, England was predominantly religion A. Then the place was under new management and became predominantly religion B. So much so, that you became pretty much a second-class citizen if you were an A-ist.

The B-ists dominated government. Like the popular kids at school nicking all the best tables in the lunch hall. The A-ists felt they were not represented fairly in government and in the end, drastic action was decided upon. Something big. Something really big. Something that would shake everything up.

Blowing up the Houses of Parliament.

But they needed someone to help. Enter one Guy Fawkes. Long story short, he got caught. Whether he got ratted out or whether it was just plain bad luck, I’m not sure. Anyway, he got caught and the plan to blow up Parliament has passed into legend as the Gunpowder Plot.

Cutting to the last page – he ended up being burned on a bonfire. These days, we’d call that a wood-fired artisan barbecue. Apparently, he was hung, drawn and quartered first. And no, that’s got nothing to do with those four-panel Andy Warhol portraits.

So there you go. Capital punishment as national holiday. Although I’m not sure how many people actually know the full story behind it…

As I’ve said before, I don’t do Guy Fawkes Night. And neither does the furball. But that’s another story. It’s the fireworks. Did you know you can actually get quiet fireworks? Worth a look.

Stay safe.

 


 

Follow me right here, or on Twitter

Sometimes the best things in life are free!

Bah Humblog!

*TRIGGER WARNING *

This post contains unbridled cynicism which snowflakes, sorry, some folks might find offensive. Oh, Autocorrect will get you every time…

Ahem…

Sorry I’ve not posted anything in a while. Basically, I had nothing to say. I don’t want to be one of these people who write blog posts just for the sake of it. I’m not people, for a start!

I swear, some bloggers must look at their traffic, panic and say to themselves:

OMG! Nobody’s paying me any attention! Better write something inflammatory with a click-bait title to drive the paranoid masses to my blog site because that’s what all the courses tell you to do.”

So you end up with stupid titles like:

Mince pies will kill you!

Sage and onion stuffing is the only way to save the universe!

(I know I’ve talked about that kind of thing before…)

How many times have you read a blog that has one interesting sentence in it and the rest is just filler because you know they have to post something? It’s like these films you see they have one good idea,  stretched over two hours of painful nothingness usually disguised as art with perfect camera angles and humongous pauses between characters because they truly have nothing to say?!

I had an email the other day from somebody who apparently sold 1 million books before breakfast. How had they done it? By creating themed books using ‘rediscovered’ chunks of classics from authors who were too dead, too long to care about copyright…

I’m on a roll here…

Or those emails to give you the ‘number one tip to being a successful writer’… “And I’m going to help you” which is nestled into a thousand words of utter blah?

And that tip?

“Keep writing”.

Wow. That’s a revelation.

Thanks.

Or those videos that promised to tell you the number one tip for (fill in the blank) which actually only needs to be a 10 second video but is somehow stretched out to (at least) 3/4 of an hour, thanks to various ‘cameos’, including some random bloke in a white coat who is obviously a scientist telling you about all this research that has been done in some university that probably doesn’t exist in some country that you never heard of.

But he says he’s a scientist and he is wearing a white coat, so it must be true, right? And why do those videos never have that little bar underneath it tells you how much you’ve watched?

Do you know how, when you watch these videos, you end up feeling quite drained?

Well, it’s not drained – it’s aged.

You have actually physically aged while watching the video. When you pressed that ‘play’ button, you were a young thing, full of life and hope and dreams.

But it only takes a couple of minutes after the video has finally ended for you to realise you’ve just moved up an age bracket in the inevitable survey that follows.

You may have started watching that video on “how to stay young looking longer” at the lovely age of 29, but you’re actually 48 by the time you finish watching it!

Cracking humbugs!

I’ll stop there.

I promise to behave next time…

It’s Good To Be Back!

Well, hello there!

How was your summer? Did you know that uploading your holiday photos on your screensaver at work (if you’re allowed to) is a great way of dealing with those horrible down-in-the-dumps feelings you get when you have to go back to work?

And boom! Straight in there with some useful info. Ah, I’m glad to be back home. Since we last spoke, I’ve got myself a new office. Very light, very spacious.

Light? I hear you say… Light?

But you’re a vampire.

You don’t do light.

Bright light, I don’t do.

Glaring sunshine, I don’t do.

But I also don’t do trying to write in the pitch black. I’m not an earthworm. Have you ever tried typing in the dark? Admittedly it’d be doable on a tablet or smartphone…

So here I am, dealing with a digital mountain of work that has built up in my absence. Where I was staying is infamous for having no phone signal, and wifi that couldn’t be accessed, even with multiple sacrifices to the gods of technology. Not that we bothered. It was actually really nice to shut off from the world… You know what I mean.

And here I am. Home. The furbaby’s gaze is boring into the back of my head. She wants to play. Oh, yes, she has a sofa in here with me. We got a new sofa, you see, so this one got moved in here. She thinks it’s hers anyway, so it made sense.

And here comes autumn. The evenings are that little bit cooler, the sea that little bit wilder, the atmosphere that little bit easier. I’m looking forward to getting back to these chats with you.

And… relax.

Part 3 – Dumb and Dumber, Twit and Twitter

And no, I’m not referring to the wonderful gold nugget of Number Fiveness that I was talking about last time. That would just be rude, however funny I think it is. I just wanted a different title to this third and final part. I thought if I used the previous ‘5 People…’ title and simply added ‘part 3’ to it, there’s a danger some people (not you!) might think it’s just the same post again.

In fact, before I get to number five, I want to share a story with you that happened to a friend of mine.

Yes, I do have friends. Like I said previously, although my social skills aren’t amazing, I do have some!

Actually it was the suggestion of one of those friends that I’m using this title.

But let’s call this one…

Trolls: trip trap, trip trap…

My friend left a comment on a bird-influenced network. Out of the blue, she gets a vitriolic attack (from someone who doesn’t even follow her!) telling how she didn’t know anything because she’s female and that her place is in the… well, the food prep room of a house…

My first thought was… Flipping heck! How long were you talking to this… person?!

Cue her trying to defend herself aka throwing fuel on the fire. She was convinced that possibly his knowledge of one half of the human race may be limited to (oh, there’s so many things I could say) the animated variety.  She tried to placate him. He came right back at her with even more insults. I’m sure she’s not the only one.

I bet this has happened to you too?

Like I said, I think his experience of women may be a tad limited. Even with comebacks from others, he may not even have been burned at all – trolls just spew whatever vitriol will guarantee them the biggest reaction. They cold read. They just take the category and an adjective and flip the adjective. For instance, you’re an intelligent woman. So categorywomen. Adjectiveintelligent. Flip it and reverse – all women are stupid.

So… here’s an analogy and a possible way around it…

(All of the below is not my opinion on anything!)

Say he finds a discussion where a man is talking about cars. The man says how the Brandname Whatsacar is the most practical, smart-looking, easy to run car he’s come across…

Here’s the troll’s take…

“That’s the most stupid car ever.  You’re stupid if you think that. It’s totally useless. It’s ugly (add a ‘like you, mate’ if you’re feeling bored). It’s well known for having problems with its wondoozle. (because troll wants to show off knowledge he doesn’t have) And if you don’t know what a wondoozle is, you clearly know nothing about cars. Or anything (question the self-worth of the opponent and hope that they don’t actually know something about the topic). So you should shut up.”

(Ouch. Not nice.)

Continue by reinforcing your power by throwing in loads of made-up statistics.

Is your assumed authority being questioned? Confuse your opponent by throwing in loads of made up statistics. It’s 1 in the morning, who’s going to check? 95% hate that car. Which leaves only 13% who would ever buy it.

This is a tried and tested formula! Hahaha!

Does he get his jollies?

Oh yeah! He’s following the formula. Calling you stupid was simply to egg you on!

You apologise, and he flips that too!

(Because, yes, it clearly is about one person’s experience – the person at the centre of the universe – HIM! Hahaha!)

So all women are idiots, eh? Like “wow! So you’ve met every woman in the world? I’m impressed. I’ve only come across a few thousand myself. Your travel expenses must be extortionate. As for me,  I’m planning a trip to the Trobriand Islands next month to prove all men leave the toilet seat up but I’m afraid I’ve still got a lot of the world to work my way through yet. You must let me know what strategies you have…”

Here’s a dare – next time you come across a troll, try watching him to see if he’s using the formula – it will make them very predictable and you can really have some fun with that!

Chances are people like that don’t believe half of what they post. They’re simply saying whatever will get a rise out of you. One thing they can’t stand is not having attention.

I’ve made a troll give up before now. That was also very satisfying. Yeah, I tried not answering one once, but he just kept posting things like ‘why aren’t you answering me?’ And ‘are u so stupid u cant think of anything 2 say?’. Actually, I think he was the one I put off in the end. He backed right off and left me alone. He just gave up.

Or it might have been the one that kept insulting me so I kept replying with lols and how I thought what he was saying was hilarious. He got cheesed off pretty quickly too…

One thing to do is just to type in “Searching for IP address”

Then

“IP address acquired”

And then (if they’re whatever enough to put their location on their profile)…

“IP address located in….”

I’ve never done this! But I’ve heard a few people saying stuff like that works for them – just don’t use it with trolls that appear to be tech savvy.

And even if you said ‘Hey, I think you’re an amazingly cool person’, I guarantee Troll would come back at you with some vitriolic nonsense.

And there’s always those people that follow you to get a followback, and as soon as you do follow them back, they unfollow you, making their numbers look better, Don’t let that get you down – it says more about them than it does about you. You’re obviously a genuine type – hence why you’re still reading!

Which brings us to number 5...

FANFARE, PLEASE!

The Real McCoy

That’s you, that is.

These are the people who are genuine. who follow and stay following. They don’t care about the numbers. Or if they do, they don’t use you as a pawn in their numerical manipulations. They react (politely) to what you post. They don’t mind if you reciprocate. They don’t mind if you don’t. They don’t play games. They are friendly. And all of that…

Thank you!

And now… It’s that time of the year.

Got my summer survival kit at the ready.

Time for me to disappear for a little while.

See you in September!