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What the absolute…. Oooh Shiny!

July 22, 2021

I got a Brown Envelope today!

I dread these: I think most of us do. But the fact it was addressed to ‘The Resident’ reduced my worry to background level neurosis.

Inside was a letter from the Office of National Statistics. I have nothing against that organisation. They doubtless provide useful data for politicians to ignore or twist to their own purposes and employment to many persons of a mathematical bent. Several of my relatives are bent in that direction though they tend to find private enterprises pay better.

The letter was to explain (this is the bit that strained my credulity) that in a few weeks they would be sending me another letter inviting me to take part in a survey that could provide them with valuable data for their future number-crunching needs.

I know that I am old and getting a bit unadventurous in my lifestyle. But I am not yet so feeble of mind that I need a couple of weeks’ run up to making the decision whether to answer a survey or not. I have already decided to do so as my life is a little lacking in excitement just now. The fact that they offer a ‘five pound voucher’ is not an inducement because I know these government freebies of old. They are always giving you credit which you can spend a number of places whose only recommendation has to be being enthusiastic supporters of the Party of Free Enterprise. Even if you do want to keep the voucher for later you will probably store the details on your computer and then lose it.

So why, for the love of St Thomas More (patron saint of civil servants) are they sending me two letters instead of one? Is there some psychological theory that says people respond to government surveys more often if they get a warning it’s coming? Seems unlikely. If there are foes of government overspending out there I recommend they go after the person who set this up. Not me, it’s too darn hot for writing letters to the press.


I got an Amazon parcel today!

I had been having a conviction that I should polish my shoes for the past few weeks, on and off.

Those who know my sartorial care and elegance will not find it surprising when I say that I probably hadn’t polished them since before the pandemic started. I wear the same pair of black, buckled barge boats day in and out. The NHS provide them to support my fallen arches and keep my diabetic feet from chafing in ill fitting mass produced shoes. They are what I wear because my feet no longer tolerate anything else. And since I haven’t been invited anywhere that involved a wedding, a funeral or an appearance in court I haven’t bothered with polishing them.

But even I can think that perhaps I need to care for them better. So I went and looked for my shoe polishing kit.

It wasn’t in the place it should be. It wasn’t in any of the numerous places I casually put things down and then pile things on top of them. It wasn’t in my suitcase (where it normally gets put when I have to go and visit other people who might care about shoe polishing more than I do). It was not to be found.

Which doesn’t mean I’ve lost it other than I’ve lost it in the flat. But it wasn’t available so I went and bought a new kit from Amazon.

It arrived today and it’s nice. I polished my shoes and all was good. But now I need to find something to keep the new kit in. And it should be big enough to keep the old kit in as well as I’m going to find it any day now. And small enough pop into the drawer where I normally keep my shoe polishing kit.

Perhaps I should have paid more for the kit which came in a fake leather bag or even the one that came in a little wooden box. Now I’m going to have to start searching the flat for the various leather bags I’ve picked up from my years in the Far Isles and which I sort of remember having. If I can’t find those where I think they should be then I can see a whole new cycle of acquiring stuff that I’ll put away ‘somewhere safe’ and then lose.

This is why I’m a slob, folks. When you get trapped into the cycle of buying stuff it’s downhill all the way. Well, until the accumulated clutter forces me onto the street.


And now for the Big News. I have had work! (Insert triumphal trumpets here!)

Well, four lines of a recording for Audible which will not be winning me my own star on the Hollywood sidewalk however much I might merit it.

But it is for something very cool: Part 2 of Dirk Maggs audio adaptation of the SANDMAN comics. I play a demon grovelling to Lucifer as Cain comes to him as an emissary from Dream. Recorded in my bedroom via a large number of iDevices and a lot of takes.

Which gives me a tiny amount of streetcred among my fannish acquaintances, a small amount of money and absolutely no chance of being noticed for the in production live action version of the comic Netflix is doing. I’d have made a lovely Fiddlers Green, as well. Harooom Harooom.

Here, have a link:

One Comment
  1. Yup, the idea is that when you get the actual invitation you think not “oh, do I have to do this now” (negative) but “aha, I remember hearing about this” (positive). Much as consumer advertising is mostly intended not to get you to like the product but to lodge its name in your mind, so that when you’re standing in the supermarket/etc. one particular thing is familiar to you.

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