The Cursed Mug

I have been rather neglecting G0faDM of late and so, by extension, have been denying you (dear reader) a regular fix of nonsense.  Well, I suppose that may be over-stating matters: the world seems chock full of nonsense  – often of the dangerous kind – but perhaps there does exist the odd one or two of you out there who have been missing nonsense based on my own, slightly cockeyed view of things.

Anyway, this neglect has now reached the stage where WordPress is bringing it out my attention in its automated, but somehow still passive-aggressive, way.  It has also taken the opportunity during the lull in output to redesign the interface once again.

I am minded to heed the words of Benjamin Disraeli.  Not all of them (believe he was quite a prolific producer of words), but just the enjoinder to “never complain and never explain”.  In another post, I may talk of having been taken back into the clammy embrace of the world of work – but this return to my only even mildly lucrative hobby need not detain us here.

This hiatus in the production of published material does mean that there is a whole series of ideas waiting, like a coiled springer spaniel, to be unleashed on an undeserving world.  However, these deeper and more meaningful offerings will have to wait for the current trivial incident to be given its time in the spotlight.

I have a number of mugs: six in total (oh yes, I’m living it up here on the south coast).  They do not enjoy the middle-class luxury of a tree, but must share a cupboard shelf with a variety of other vessels of vaguely similar form and broad topological equivalence.  Three of these mugs are of a ‘set’ purchased many, many years ago from a branch of (S)Habitat.  Each bears a rather poor, line drawing representing a fish: I strongly suspect that my 8 year old nephew has been capable of producing a significantly better representation of our piscine friends for some time.  To the casual observer, these mugs would appear identical in every important respect – but I have now established that one is cursed!

Sometimes, in preparation from another assault on the strongly defended citadel of sleep, I will have a mug of cocoa.  I prepare this by sticking a mug of milk into the microwave and letting it endure two minutes of all the millimetre electromagnetic radiation that Full Power can deliver.  I then added the merest hint of sugar and three relatively level teaspoons of cocoa powder and stir as vigorously as (a) I retain the energy to do and that (b) is consistent with the cocoa remaining within the confines of the mug.

Before I moved, more than two years ago now, after suffering two minutes of radiation, the handle of the mug would often become uncomfortably hot.  This issue had not occurred since moving to the south coast and so I have become quite blasé about grabbing the handle of the mug when the milk heating is done.  Last night this proved to be a mistake and I have the burnt fingers to prove it.  It would seem that one of the three mugs is not like the others and while the milk seems to reach the same basic temperature regardless of the mug chosen, one of the trinity contrives to store a significant portion of the microwave energy in its handle.  This mug had clearly been rotated to the subs bench for the last two years, but the need to keep recent visiting dignitaries topped up with tea has moved it back into active service.

What can possibly be different about this mug?  I fear it must be subject to an ancient curse – perhaps the clay which became the handle was dug from an ancient autochthon burial ground?  Or maybe it is possessed by some sort of demonic presence and retains some memory of the fires that lie beneath?  I am the possessor of many books and rather fewer candles but not a single bell (well, there is one on my bicycle, but I’m not sure if it would count).  As soon as I can rectify this current campanological lack, I shall be exorcising my entire collection of mugs.  Better safe than sorry!

Wasting the clock change hour

This poor blog has been much neglected of late as, frankly, I haven’t had the time to ramble textually to a largely indifferent audience.  I shall chose to blame work and the “man” for this, though a wholly disinterested observer may wish to lay some of the blame at my doorstep for my tendency to go out to have “fun” rather than staying in and committing my soi-disant thoughts to print.

Well, today I have been given (along with most of the inhabitants of this fair continent) a free, “bonus” hour – though it will be taken back in March (so it’s more of a loan if I’m honest) – so I felt I had no excuse for not blogging.

Having left Cambridge in a marked manner less than three months ago, this is my second weekend back by the banks of the Cam.  I’m sure a psychiatrist would tell me this is terribly unhealthy and that I should make a clean break, but what do they know?

My first time back was to take in some of the Film Festival (something Southampton seemed to lack, though was merely being incredibly secretive about).  I also managed to meet up with friends, take in some music and a lecture and wangle an invite to formal dinner at one of the colleges (surrounded by alumni and staff, I was somewhat of an interloper – getting in by dint of giving them my piano as part of the move away from Cambridge).  On that occasion, I stayed at Churchill College in one of their student rooms – this was a wonderful (and slightly nostalgic) experience and I would always stay there again if it were possible.  Sadly, during term time they insist on allowing students to stay in their rooms – the cheek of it!

This weekend, I am back to enjoy some music – both student and otherwise – and take in a play.  I’m staying above a pub, which offers a perfectly decent room – but which is neither as cheap nor as redolent of days past as staying in college.

Cambridge, unsurprisingly, still feels like home – despite the fact that I am “living” in places I’ve never stayed (or even visited) before.  However, being here without a bicycle feels very odd – I have to walk or use the bus to get anywhere which just feels wrong.  In Oxford (and even Southampton), I can hire a Brompton for £5 per day from a “machine” at the station  – but not in Cambridge where bike hire is substantially more expensive and less convenient (especially on a Sunday).  On the plus side, staying much nearer the city makes a nice change with no need for an 8 mile bike ride home into a strong wind (well, almost always) after a gig.

Still, the sun has come out and I ought to go out and enjoy its rays before Britain is raised to the ground by the oncoming storm, or so the media would have us believe.  They have definitely learned “a” lesson from Michael Fish in 1987, I’m just not sure it’s the right one.  Then again, if by the middle of the week I am forced to forage for scraps in the ruins of our civilisation, hiding from marauding gangs of feral ex-citizens – they will be able to enjoy a brief feeling of smugness at my expense.  Anyway, I better go as with the shift to GMT, nightfall can only be minutes away!