A very lovely day

Aujourd’houi c’est mon anniversaire.

Today it’s my birthday.

Britvic 55.

A little wiser now than in my younger days, which isn’t saying a whole lot really when I think about it.

Be all that as it may, today was a very good day.

It kicked off with a few thoughtful phone calls from The Belgian Boy, The Godfather and The Godmother, along with a very nice text from The Hot Babe.

Off then for a pleasant stroll to the suburbs for a lunchtime hook up with The Kilkenny Lady and The Dunboyne Dynamo.

En route who do I bump into in Ballybough only King of the Quips?

It was good to see him again.

And he duly imparted to My Good Self the magical news that I had been longing to hear.

The Great Institution of Chatham Street would be reopening its doors next Friday.

There is a God.

Moving along up to Griffith Avenue who do I happen upon only the Queen of the Spherical Objects?

It was good to see her again.

A pleasant wee chat and it was on then to the hook up and the main event of the day.

The Grub.

Corn on the cob, prawn curry, roulade and a few drops of some very interesting liquid to assist digestion.

It was all good.

The Dynamo dropped me home, along with his generous pressie to me, where I received a call from The Dutchman.

It was great to hear from him again.

A kind gift and call from The Diligent Drumcondra Man, texts from The Monaghan Mushroom, the Junior and Senior Princesses of Dunboyne and an electronic missal from The Guinness Pensioner just to top it all off.

It was more than enough to give a body a warm glow.

It seems I must be doing something right.

It had been a very lovely day.

Halfway there

The ongoing quest to play alongside the John Williams recording of the classical guitar version of ‘Cavatina’ continues.

I have reached the halfway point.

One of the many great things about YouTube is the facility to slow down the speed of recordings in order to be able to play alongside them and I can now match Mr. Williams when his playing speed is cut in two.

One must crawl before one walks.

The key to this particular puzzle lies in the opening seven bars of the piece. They are all barre chords, meaning that multiple strings must be held down by the left index finger whilst at the same time the remaining middle, ring and pinkie fingers on the left hand are engaged elsewhere.

Moving smoothly in this section and in time with the unforgiving friend that is my metronome, is a challenge.

It’s all good.

The piano has also been getting a bit more attention of late.

The goal here is to play the pieces I know on ‘automatic pilot’, as it were. And I have renewed my on/off relationship with learning the theme to the movie ‘Schindler’s List’, link below.

I’m getting there.

Speaking of on/off situations, My Good Self has also returned once again to the idea of improving my French.

Un jour, J’arriverai.

On the home front, Dublin city centre has a definite whiff of life to it these days and so it comes as no great surprise that the ‘numbers’ are not as good as they had been of late.

The Irish Public seem to be forgetting the overriding life threading issue that is at stake here.

I speak, of course, of the reopening of The Great Institution of Chatham Street.

My fingers are crossed.

Along with my eyes, ears, nose and legs.

Life can be so confusing sometimes.

The Minstrel moves on

There are exceptions to every rule.

For all the people I have fallen out with over the years, I have usually found a way to fall back in with them again in some shape or form.

Which brings me neatly along to the man known as The Black and White Minstrel.

A few seasons back I found myself with little choice but to impart some information to him which I knew would not be well received.

A wall was consequently erected between us.

The Minstrel was something of an expert when it came to building and maintaining walls.

Mister Trump would have been impressed.

And Margaret Thatcher too, if she were still around.

The Black and White Minstrel was not a man for turning.

He was simply a good but hard man.

It was a hardness born from experience.

Civil conversation

As someone who has probably fallen out with more people than he has befriended thus far in his humble existence, I am most likely not the person to talk of mending fences and such things.

And so leaving history conveniently to one side, I was struck by something that I heard today on the American news channel, CNN.

It seems the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has something of a good track record when dealing with Joe Biden. The two men disagree with each other on many things but there exists a certain respect and trust between them.

All of which leads to the idea that things will get better Stateside.

Civil conversation between political opponents needs to break out and there is every indication that it will.

And for entertainment we will have the slightly deranged tweets from someone who has had absolute power for four years and who now refuses to accept defeat.

It’s all good.

Well almost.

Attitude and science

I was doing a Zoom gig the other day with The Drama Queen, Wheely Mo and a few other fellow thespians.

The impact of the pandemic on disabled people came up for discussion.

My Good Self made the point that it’s mostly about adaptability and that those of us who are a little different are actually in the best position to deal with what’s going on, given the constant adapting that has been necessary for us as our bodies change.

Wheely Mo disagreed with me. She feels the world has become a slightly smaller place for disabled people, although she did concede the Zoom revolution has been a positive development and noted that she is not viewed as a wheelchair user when seen through a computer or phone screen.

Yesterday The Big Bald Dude and His Good Lady dropped into me for a mug of Barry’s tea and a wee catch up.

It was good to see them again.

Given that all three of us have issues with The Spherical Objects On Either Side Of The Nose, the subject of eyesight almost inevitably came up for discussion.

I made the point to them that this is the first year in my humble existence to date that it has become abundantly clear to me, in a manner of speaking, that I am going blind.

All of which brought me to what I consider to be the main issue here, that of reduced independence.

Recently I was in Marks & Sparks, stocking up on the absolute essentials in life – prepared fruit, salads and as many bottles of wine as I could carry – when I somehow drifted into an aisle which did not contain any of these items, and I became a little confussed.

The fact that I was not entirely sober at the time may or may not have been a factor in this situation.

I digress.

To my rescue came the excellent M &S staff and I was duly assisted around and about by a very pleasant lady who shall be known heretofore as The Food Hall Queen, sharing a bit of fun with her along the way.

All of which led to me to reflect that this reduced independence gig has something going for it.

Life is full of decisions.

I have decided to embrace the prospect of going blind.

I’m looking forward to it.

Having said all that, if I do get the opportunity of a clinical trial for my condition I will be off like a hot snot to accept it.

It’s a funny old world.

Coming together

The dust is settling on the American election and it appears increasingly likely that Not So Sleepy Joe will actually get the keys to the cosy pad on Pennsylvania Avenue.

And then the American public will have to somehow find ways of healing divisions.

Similar to the little medical situation that has been hogging the global limelight this year, the only real way forward is to be found by people coming together.

On the home front it would appear that we have managed to get it together of late with numbers moving in a very positive direction.

The mist surrounding The Great Institution of Chatham Street is beginning to clear.

Back at The Ranch a new addition has been made to my classical guitar repertoire. ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ was not too difficult to learn, the issue was in installing all the notes and fingerings into the memory banks.

I’m almost there.

Next up is a simplified arrangement for a piece called Concerto de Aranquez, sometimes known as the Rodrigo Concerto, after the composer of the piece, Joaquin Rodrigo.

There’s a link to the full piece in all its glory below.

It’s worth a listen.

Thank you Donald

The real winner in last night’s US Presidential election was undoubtedly the large turnout.

Like him or loathe him Donald Trump has succeeded in politically energising the American public.

For all its flaws and sometime corruption, politics matters.

It shapes the world in which we live whether we like it or not.

And America matters, not least to Ireland. US investment in this country is responsible for thousands of jobs.

And so, despite the complete absence of moral integrity, his questionable history with women and his ‘divide and conquer’ style, I offer my thanks to Donald Trump.

However I’m drawing the line on sitting down for a pint with him.

My Good Self has an image to protect.

And it’s all about image.

Bring on the French

The Six Nations rugby tournament made a welcome return to the airwaves last week with the Irish demolition of all things Italian.

Poor old Italy.

If it wasn’t for pizza, pasta, gelato, fine clothes and shoes, fancy cars, ski resorts, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and many great football teams, Italy would be a definite non entity in life.

As I was saying, poor old Italy.

And so today is the big finale with all three concluding games being played at separate times with Ireland, England and France all still in with a chance of overall victory.

A bonus point win, one in which four tries are scored by the winning team, is all that Ireland need in order to guarantee the laurel wreath.

And we’re playing France.

In Paris.

Oh dear.

Depending on how England get on in the earlier game against Italy, we may not require the bonus point.

Mere victory over the French in Paris may well be all we need.

That’s all.

We can do it.

Cloning Marty

I have written before in admiration of Marty Whelan and his breakfast show on Lyric fm.

And so I am writing again on this subject.

The man is just something of a national treasure in these interesting times.

At least to my mind anyway.

And so I sent off a little electronic communication to the show enquiring (or is it inquiring?) was it possible for the man himself to be cloned?

Alas, it appears not, however it was nice to hear my name on the national airwaves as he confirmed my worst fears.

It’s just that his upbeat mix of silly jokes along with easy listening classical and pop music make for a winning gig.

Not to mention that he is a big fan of the Maestro Ennio Morricone.

Hang in there Marty.

Life goes on

And so lockdown number two is definitely not as ghostly as the original of the species.

There are certainly at least four or five people floating around Dublin City centre at any given time these days.

Maybe even six or seven.

There is certainly more traffic.

As for My Good Self I roll along in my own little self contained world. Music, radio, wine, food and the occasional stroll seem to keep me going. I do miss The Great Institution of Chatham Street and The Marine Hotel in Sutton.

Woe is me.

The Zoom business has been quite interesting of late. A positive discussion concerning a possible clinical trial on The Spherical Objects last Friday morning was followed yesterday by quite an interesting gig involving the Abbey Theatre.

The advent of Zoom has been one of the great plusses of the current situation, connecting people who often struggle to otherwise do so.

The American election is looming large on the horizon and should provide a few weeks of entertainment, at least.

Media focus has been on the ‘swing’ states. It seems that Pennsylvania is key.

The real issue here, which only gets fleeting attention, is the American political system itself.

Leaving aside the debate on the electoral college aspect of things, this is the second presidential election running where the ‘lesser of two evils’ idea will again be a factor.

To an extent Donald Trump was elected in 2016 on an anti-Hilary vote. And now the tables have turned.

There must be a better way of doing things.

On the home front the numbers are moving in a good direction.

Fingers, toes, legs, ears and eyes are all crossed.

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