EOTWQs – Where does the time go?!

This is Julie’s latest exercise – not really a time-waster but it IS an album cover for a record that doesn’t exist! She was doing it to hone her newly-taught Adobe skills, ahead of her next assessment at college.

I know I’m getting in a little early, but that’s kind of in keeping with my loose theme. Having spent an inordinate amount of my time around issues relating to the new Drive-By Truckers album, various time-related or opportunities seized/missed thoughts ran through my head.

1. What do you wait for pointlessly?
It doesn’t matter how long I sit there hitting ‘Refresh’, I’m making no difference to whether or not I get any response to my Amazon reviews. Why the hell am I so flippin’ needy on the subject? (That bit’s not an official question, by the way!)

Whilst I’m at my desk with nothing happening on Amazon/ RR / The ‘Spill, I should get through more work than I actually do.
THIS little blighter is partly responsible! So –
2. What’s your favourite way to waste time?

One of the things I used to do almost automatically during the day was go make a(n instant) coffee whilst waiting for the PC to finish tasks, but since being poorly at Christmas, I’ve gone right off instant. I’ve turned it into a sort of New Year Resolution to drink less-but-better-quality coffee, and so far I’ve not had a single granule of instant in 2011. We’ve had this question before, but the other way round: mine to you is –
3. What drink or foodstuff did you used to love, but can’t stand now?

And the strange connections a brain makes … I thought back to an American friend who just never did understand how anyone could stomach instant coffee. And then I realized just how long it is since we spoke to him, or in fact even got so much as a Christmas card from him. So –
4. Who have you lost touch with? How long has it been? Why haven’t you done anything about it?

In Tyler’s case, it’s been so long since we saw him, that we still had the Jeep Wrangler – I remember that because I went looking for some accessories for it when we last stayed with him in Ohio. THAT thought then led me to a cold-sweat memory I’d long-since buried. In 2001, when Julie was 7 months pregnant with Jess, and big with it, she was commuting in the Wrangler. One morning it just conked out and flat refused to restart – IN THE MIDDLE LANE OF THE M621 DURING LEEDS RUSH-HOUR!! She rang me when the AA said it would be over an hour before they got to her (in spite of her condition), but I was over an hour away too. I told her to ring the Police, but those bastards said until she actually caused an accident, she wasn’t a high enough priority to come out to.
She sat there, mostly on the phone to me, both of us panicking, with cars swerving around her for over half-an-hour. Finally, when we were both completely frazzled, a car pulled up across lanes 1&2, put its hazards on, and three apparently HUGE security guards first stopped the traffic, then escorted Julie to the embankment, then pushed the dead weight of the Jeep up onto the hard shoulder. They checked she was OK, asked if she wanted to use their phone, and when satisfied she was sorted, promptly got in their car and drove away. Julie was so freaked by this time, and I (on the phone miles away) was so enraged at the lack of response from the official services, that neither of us even thanked them properly, let alone found out who they were. So –
5. What random act of kindness has someone shown you, that you never got to thank them for?
Here’s your chance to shout it to the world. You never know: this is the internet … they may see this and recognize themselves!

55 thoughts on “EOTWQs – Where does the time go?!

  1. 1. What do you wait for pointlessly?

    A day where I don’t feel tired!

    2. What’s your favourite way to waste time?

    Just one more cuppa….

    3. What drink or foodstuff did you used to love, but can’t stand now?

    Pass – can’t even think of any pregnancy cravings. Sorry.

    4. Who have you lost touch with? How long has it been? Why haven’t you done anything about it?

    Very long list, I’m afraid. Top of the list my friend from uni, Tanya, last heard of resident in Borehamwood – we spoke on the phone a couple of years ago, and the baby she’d been expecting the last time we spoke was baking cookies.
    Maybe I should just sit down and write a letter without waiting for the kettle to boil first?

    5. What random act of kindness has someone shown you, that you never got to thank them for?

    Tinny helped me [patiently!] LOADS with all the technical stuff I ever asked him (being Luddite enough to not even work out Dropbox for myself) – so here’s a big, loud public THANK YOU, tincanman!

    • Actually, my real answer to # 1 is: time to listen to music & podcasts posted on here. That can only be done AT the computer, and there’s either a child already bagsied it for homework, or another child doing something noisy in the imeediate vicinity, or chores keeping me far away in distant rooms (like the kitchen).

  2. Nice work, Julie! Someone record a song about the elephants – and pronto!

    1. To see if I’ve got an A Lister usually. (Oh, and I told Amazon I found your DBT review helpful, btw – not sure ‘helpful’ is strictly true but it was a very good read!)

    2. I had the day off yesterday. Did I tidy the flat or sort out my finances or put photos into albums or catch up with long-neglected friends (see q4) or or or…? No, I sat in front of the telly wrapped in a duvet and watched several hours of “Battlestar Galactica”. I may do the same today.

    3. Sundried tomatoes. They’re like big, slightly savoury raisins. Bleurgh. Just thinking about them gets my saliva going – and not in a good way – but for several years in the mid-1990s, I thought they were the business.

    4. Oh, any number of people. Recently had a reunion with some uni mates from 20 years ago, most of whom I hadn’t seen in 10. Apart from the fact that they were all married and sprogged-up (and I therefore instantly felt like I had done nothing worthwhile or noteworthy with the last two decades), it was lovely to see them. And made me wonder why I had let the friendships slide for so long. Of course, since then I’ve done nothing to see any of them again. D’oh…

    5. Oh god, I can’t think of anything – how ungrateful is that?!? I may have to come back to this one.

  3. 1. The post when I’m waiting for something from Amazon. I swear they deliberately hang on to my post for a few days just to torment me.

    2. Prevarication is my middle name. Mainly computer these days ( as you may have gathered by the sheer number of posts I knock off in a day, lucky for me I can type without having to think).

    3. Gin. Due to an unfortunate event with a bottle of the stuff when on a geology trip to Shropshire. I have “decorated” many of the more notable outcrops, personally.

    4. Everyone. I am the world’s worst “keeper in contacter”. In fact I tend to follow Captain Beefhearts advice “Keep on walking and don’t look back”.
    Philosophically speaking I have also lost touch with myself and am beginning to make the effort to re-engage.

    5. I really need to say “Thank you” to my mum some time. Imagine having to put up with me !

  4. 1. Same answer as Debby, more or less; I suppose it’s better than the alternative, namely admitting that this state of feeling slightly run down, possibly about to come down with something but never ill enough to take time off work, is actually normal and permanent. I also wait, pointlessly, for a time when I’ll be less busy, and so will be able to sort the garden out properly, get back to practising the guitar, find time to do things other than work and so forth.

    2. It’s not a favourite in the normal sense of the word, but I end up spending too much time dealing with tedious admin-related emails, which would probably just go away if I simply ignored them.

    3. My gall bladder has developed an intolerance to too much animal fat, so butter and cheese are largely off the menu – but I still like them, it’s just that I prefer not to turn yellow and get shipped off to hospital too often, so that’s not exactly right… The only thing that comes to mind is Space Dust; had about a fortnight of complete addiction after I first discovered, then ate too much, was violently ill, and simply can’t face the thought of it again.

    4. Everyone from school, virtually everyone from college (very loosely in touch with a couple via Facebook), and have never made it to a reunion because things always seem to come up. I suppose I make virtually no effort to do anything about this for three reasons: (i) no time or energy (see above); (ii) I was deeply miserable for most of my time at school and college, so I’m afraid that reliving those days wouldn’t be good for me (even being in the vicinity of the places in question can send me into a downward spiral); (iii) I’m insecure enough to imagine that they probably wouldn’t want to see me again, and would rather not find out than risk the rebuff.

    5. Don’t have anything remotely as dramatic as DsD’s story. I do owe a lot to various anonymous referees and reviewers over the years, who’ve helped (or at least not hindered) me getting jobs, getting things published etc.

    • With regard to old school mates, I go on the principle that if I haven’t made any attempt to get in contact with them for 30 years or more then there’s a good chance that I don’t want to.

  5. I believe these are the first DsD EOTWQ’s since my time on here! Great questions.

    1 – My ship to come in? To kick myself in the butt to really make some money? But i always still have yet one more thing to do… And i am in the process of finally starting to get a photography site built.

    2- I have many, many ways to waste time, and they do change in time when i find a new one. Recent ones are RR, Spill, and CiFA, but yesterday i finally downloaded Google Earth and i can tell it’s going to be big trouble. I want to move by the autumn this year, so i’m taking trips down memory lane in places that i used to live that i liked, and new places too.

    3 – I’ll have to give this one some thought. But i have recently gone meat / fish / poultry – less since the new year. I can’t say i’ve gone off the taste though.

    4- I’ve lost touch with just about everyone i used to know. I move a lot for starters, and don’t have a phone. But i have no real desire to get back in touch with people either. I work with an old friend from high school now, we’re both the same in that sense. It’s good to see people when we run into them, but otherwise make no effort, and avoid school reunions. People change, and move in and out of each other’s life.

    5 – Many of these, and worth some thought on this one, so i’ll get back to it.

      • Re Julie’s design skills – Yes, Amy, I think the Photoshop module finished last week; Flash when they go back after half-term. The elephant is from a photo we took of mother and baby at Chester Zoo; Julie has removed all the fencing (inc wires right across the shot at multiple heights) and the concrete & steel paddock, extended the small water-wallow, and now has a picture of a baby elephant at a waterhole on the class noticeboard, which apparently the OFSTED inspectors spent ages looking at the other week.

        What all this has to do with writing / launching / hosting / maintaining my much-delayed business website is something she hasn’t successfully convinced me of yet!!

      • You’ll have great graphics that you don’t have to pay for, that’s huge.

        I’ve been wavering about getting a Flash extension for Photoshop, but i’m thinking that I may pass. It doesn’t work with iPads and iPhones, and some browsers disable it as well. And it has no information encoded in it for SEO, so the images won’t show up in searches.

      • Nope, i refuse. I hate to talk on the phone. I borrow my housemate’s to call my mom every two weeks or so. I think Webbie and i must be the only two people left on the planet that don’t have a cell phone.

        Here in the US, pricing for phone plans are quite a bit higher than in the UK i think. Way too much for the 2 calls i make to my mom every month. When i lived in London, i had a throwaway phone that you could buy minutes for and pay as you go or top off, you can’t really do that here.

      • Kind of germane to this topic, i’m on Facebook as a business only, with a fake name and info. I post mostly auto to pages. I’m with friends with other businesses and some artists i know from other sites. But i did friend my sister so i had an easy way to get in touch with her. She’s friends with everyone we grew up with everywhere we lived. I’m horrified.

      • I’m a bit scared of facebook, having got burned by myspace (through my own stupidity/forgetting that, er, what you put up there is in the public domain). I’m indiscreet enough as it is – I don’t need another avenue for potentially revealing something I oughtn’t! Plus, like pairubu, I’m quite happy NOT to be tracked down by people I’ve (intentionally or otherwise) lost touch with. I steered clear of Friends Reunited when that was all the rage for much the same reason.

        I’ve a little more interest in facebook now that I’ve seen “The Social Network”. I still don’t want to join, but I feel like I should take a look. I probably won’t though. I waste far too much time here/on RR – I don’t need another Web-based distraction!

      • We find Facebook ideal for keeping track of what the children are up to, especially MsStepAbahachi: she posts the latest bit of “hello clouds hello sky” nonsense (currently her status is something to the effect of “I feel I should follow my dreams so I’ve applied for jobs on another continent”), we have time to digest this and work out a diplomatic response, whereas if she makes this sort of announcement over the phone, Mrs Abahachi reacts instinctively (words to the effect of “pull yourself together and sort your life out”) and it all takes off from there… I’m firmly of the opinion that I’d rather not know any more than the occasional summary sentence.

      • Aba –

        My housemate is on facebook non-stop when she’s home, but she only has around 30 friends – mostly family that she shares baby pictures and the like with. Nothing wrong with that.

        As to MsStepAba – maybe she could try Google Earth. (bad sign, amy. very bad. if you all don’t see me around for awhile, you know why.)

      • Re Facebook – yeah, I decided some time ago that would be a distraction and data-leak too far for me; I’ve never joined.

      • There’s an RR page over on Facebook, you know, so if you do decide to take the plunge, don’t forget to search for it. We’re very friendly.

  6. Thanks for your responses so far, people.

    bish‘s “Battlestar Galactica” answer is bang-on the money for how that question was intended.

    Pairubu‘s “Mum” answer, on the other hand, really caught me off-balance, and raises much bigger issues that I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle!!

    Re the losing touch question, I wasn’t actually thinking of the huge-gap-followed-by-internet-powered-reunion type stuff, more the ones like Debby & Tanya. I’ve thought of another one of my own that I need to stay on top of before it goes the same way – a friend who said he almost fell off his bar stool when I told him (only last month) that Jess is now 4ft 10½in tall.

    Anyway, ENOUGH! I absolutely MUST go do some work.

    • Not too off balance, I hope.
      As a proud parent I am now only too aware of how much I took for granted from my own when growing up (ish). Though others have been kind , in random ways, over the years I think mum and dad have the edge, consistencywise. Sadly dad’s gone now so I can’t express my appreciation there but mum’s still going. I’m pretty sure she knows how much she’s appreciated but I really should get round to letting her know for definite some time.

      p.s. Great artwork. That would make an awesome “psych” album cover.

      • I decided to take a short nap before i started to work. Woke up 5 hours later. oops! Had a lot to do today too. Oh well.

  7. 1. What do you wait for pointlessly? Rationality in the world at large.
    2. What’s your favourite way to waste time? Guardian blogs & crosswords, delving into the GD archive, guitar noodling.
    3. What drink or foodstuff did you used to love, but can’t stand now? Alcohol. Maybe never a huge fan but I did like a nice pint or a bottle of Rioja now and then. I can’t finish a pint any more and have no urge to drink wine: my head turns to aching mush.
    4. Who have you lost touch with? How long has it been? Why haven’t you done anything about it? a) just about everyone I’ve ever known; b) years; c) I’m socially inadequate, I suppose. I can be sociable in short doses but only if I’m in the mood.
    The Social Network gave me reasons to back up my hatred of Facebook: it was invented as a means of dividing the world into cool and uncool, arbitrary classifications that send people’s normal insecurities into overdrive. Although undoubtedly having its uses in democratising Egypt etc, its basis is still snobbery. And it’s so bloody persistent: after my second or third attempt to say I didn’t want to join, I was invited to complete a survey telling them why not.
    5. What random act of kindness has someone shown you, that you never got to thank them for? Nothing springs to mind. Maybe that’s because I’m naturally, ironically, ungrateful?

  8. I love the picture I’m a little worried for the elephant, though.

    It’s such a comfort to read some of these responses! I keep thinking, Me too! I’m like that, too!

    Small world, eh?

  9. Lovely picture DsD.
    I don’t know if this boring tale’s worth telling, but it absolutely fits at #5.
    When I retired and we moved 450 miles north to Santa Rosa I rented the largest moving van available, it was huge. In addition I had a flatbed trailer attached which had the Porsche on it, total length, over 60ft.
    Knowing how complex the merging of 3 freeways at the edge of Berkeley was and how crucial it was that I always be in the correct lane and take the correct off ramps I drove it in my car a couple of times just to be sure. Come the big day we arrived there at about 5pm, absolute rush hour, as I negotiated lanes in my huge rig everything seemed to be going OK, and then a sign for Berkeley came up, I wasn’t positive but I took it, absolute mistake, I should have taken the next one. Damn!
    At the bottom of the off ramp I saw that I was at a main 4 lane divided highway but directly opposite was a return on-ramp back onto the freeway, I made a right, pulled into the left turn lane and waited for the light to change. When it did I started my U turn, halfway through it I realized that there was no way in hell that this vehicle could turn that tightly, so I straightened up and instead made a straight left turn onto a residential street. In the midst of heavy traffic the mind’s working overtime, “If I make two right turns I’ll be back on that 4 lane road heading straight for the freeway” it told me. So I made a right turn into the first turning, it was totally residential with apartment blocks on both sides of the road and with cars parked on both sides, there was just a narrow space right up the middle! I drove it slowly until I saw the DEAD END sign!
    If you’ve never tried to reverse a large truck with a trailer you have no idea how difficult it is, it requires skills that normal humans don’t posess, everything changes, “left hand down” is meaningless! With commuters arriving home and lining up behind me but unable to pass I was trying to reverse back down the narrow slot but every time I tried the trailer would start to turn towards the parked cars, I tried for at least 30 mins and was on the verge of finding a phone to call the police when I noticed a handsome young guy sitting on some steps and inwardly laughing at me. “You need any help?” he asked, I said “If you know how to reverse this thing, I sure as hell could use some help”, he said “sure, it’s easy, let me show you”, so I slid over and he took the wheel and he reversed that rig all the way down and out onto the main road and parked it. I babbled my thanks and appreciation, I offered him money, I blessed his grandchildren, I was falling over myself with appreciation. He told me he was from Ethiopia and was married and was a graduate student at Berkeley, as he left and I slid back into the drivers seat he told me his name but you try remembering an Ethiopian name in the midst of that traffic and under those circumstances, it’s impossible!
    So once we’d unpacked at our new home I kept saying “We should go back and drive that street and see if we can find him” but we never did, though I’ve thought of him dozens of times since.

  10. OK, one more and it absolutely fits #4 and it happened last week.
    When I was at UCLA film school in the 60’s there was another student in many of my classes, she was SPECTACULAR, gorgeous, a blue eyed blond, very smart, very articulate, very everything! We became friends. I don’t know how it happened but one weekend, totally out of the blue everything changed, actually at her suggestion, in an instant we were in bed. That weekend was an orgy of sex and our relationship continued in that vein ’til both of us graduated and then somehow without the school connection we drifted apart, but I remembered her.
    About a week ago I awoke at about 3am and drifted off into memories of UCLA and of course that memory returned, when I got up I googled her name on the off chance that there might be a mention, there were lots with that name and it wasn’t until page 2 that I saw one that might be her, it was crediting the photographer in a book; I wondered if the person with this name could be who I’d googled for. I did a library search for that book and lo and behold, they had it! I ordered it. When it arrived a few days later I flipped to the inside back page for the author bio and there she was, a photograph! Her bio mentioned her past successes, her husband and her two children and that she lives in Berkeley. What to do next?

    • Um, how can I put this delicately?

      [HAHAHAHAHA! “delicate”, DsD? You?? HAHAHAHAHA!! – Ed.]


      Ok then, bluntly: for someone of my age or younger, gf, this one would have LEAVE WELL ALONE stamped all over it. But someone of your more mature state and status, I figure an email wouldn’t be inappropriate: she’s not likely to be horrified at the reappearance of a previous boyfriend by now, you’d have thought.

      *whispered aside at conscience: how far did I stick my size9s in that one, then?*

    • I think I disagree. You’re never too old to leave well alone ! But my answer below shows I have the zeal of the converted for making clean breaks. The correct answer is “it depends”….

  11. 1 – “Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

    Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting”.

    I just wait for me to catch up with my thoughts. (used to be the bloody computer – but that’s cool now)

    2 – I would say – RR and the ‘spill..
    but I need that need focus – so doing artwork doodles for ‘spill posts and analysing song lyrics intensely keeps my mind occupied – so it’s probably a necessity not a waste…. I also cuddle my new son in my arms and just look – then find half hour has gone – that’s a pretty cool waste of time, makes me smile, no diggerdy.

    3 – Dr.Pepper and Cherry Coke – I had a pretty liquid diet for years (luckily I had pints and pints of milk too – otherwise I’d have no teeth from the intense sweetness) Haven’t had a can of pop for years now.

    4 – Who have you lost touch with? –
    it was myself.. (but I’m okay now)

    5 – random act of kindness?
    I was stumbling about drunk and lost the first night i moved to Bournemouth – I’d left the pub 3 hours before and just couldn’t get to grips with where I was at all – some really nice gentleman putting his rubbish out asked if I was okay – nipped in to tell his wife what he was up to and drove me back to my new house – wouldn’t accept any money – just said if his son was in the same situation he hoped someone would help him.

  12. 1. Good things come. Can’t tell you how long it takes, though.

    2. Spend way too much time on my phone, not phoning. RR/’Spill reading & posting, Mp3 player in home & car. Trainyard Express (Resisting splurge of $.99 for the full version). Whirly Word. & Angry Birds (natch – who doesn’t like knocking things over). Latest distraction is Netflix – catching up on UK DVDs & other streaming shows & movies. (FYI, Amy, basically got phone & international calling for free with DSL upgrade. Cutting back on cable more than covered the cost of that.).

    3. Cigarettes

    4. Most of my close friends have much younger families now – best to keep out of the way. Do manage to pick-up where we left off, as & when. Works well if you know someone well enough.

    5. On a a group exchange trip to Poland. One of the older girls, Margaret, travelled across the country, just to give me (age 9) a sheath knife at the airport.

    Nowadays, it seems, airports don’t encourage sharp objects (or even liquids). Customs nicked my nail clippers AFTER I got off the plane.

    • We have FIOS, my housemate has the cable and phones and laptops – she pays the bills, i just pay the rent. I did consider getting a phone if i could get on my sister’s friends and family plan, but it’s full up. When i have to call my friend in London, i just buy an international phone card. I really don’t want a phone, i guess.

  13. 1. What do you wait for pointlessly?

    The email from the National Lottery people telling me I have won the Euromillions jackpot.

    2. What’s your favourite way to waste time?

    That’ll be the internet.

    3. What drink or foodstuff did you used to love, but can’t stand now?

    Southern Comfort. I used to think it was so sophisticated when I was young but it tastes disgustingly sweet to me now.

    4. Who have you lost touch with? How long has it been? Why haven’t you done anything about it?

    A very good school friend. I won’t name them, because we parted on bad terms and the one time they tried to get in contact with me, I was still angry and told them to piss off.

    If they read this (unlikely), they will know who they are.

    5. What random act of kindness has someone shown you, that you never got to thank them for?

    None really. I always thank people who are kind to me.

    • Oh yes to Southern Comfort.

      We used to consider it so cool. Couldn’t begin to face it now.

      Mind you, mixing it with tomato juice for a bet once probably wasn’t such a good idea.

      Or very cool.

      Or sophisticated.

    • My mate was convinced that Southern Comfort evaporated rapidly and would sit with a beer mat over the top of the glass. only removing it to take a sip and then hastily replacing it and holding it firmly down with his hand.

  14. Good Q’s DsD!

    1. Apart from watching the pot that never boils, very little. If something’s going to happen it will. As they say over here “Pasará cuando pase”. It’ll happen when it happens. At the start of my time on here I used to hang around waiting for comments but have learnt to be more philosophical about that.
    2. In summer strolling and having a beer in the pavement cafés down in the park. In winter Window shopping and browsing in the sales. I used to love wandering round record shops but there don’t seem to be many left now…
    3. I used to love my mum’s jam tarts but gave them up for Lent (it’s the Irish Catholic in me) when I was about ten and haven’t been able to eat them since!
    4. Stuart the best man at my wedding. Distance and time. Distance and time. Think he’s moved now as well. Very sad about this.
    5. Innumerable cases of help when driving / breaking down on motorways from other drivers. But most recent example has to be a student whose last act of kindness before retiring was to find work for our son. Never got the chance to really repay this big favour.

  15. 1. What do you wait for pointlessly?
    (How dare you call me ‘pointlessly’ !?) I can’t improve on Shane’s answer, but I do wonder if Phil Lynott’s alibi ever turned up ?

    2. What’s your favourite way to waste time?
    I love wasting time, I was a master at it even before the internet came along. Daydreaming, newspapers, playing showtunes on the piano. Maybe it’s not really wasted time, but I’m not making progress with any major projects either. Again, can’t improve on Shane’s answer.

    DsD, my brother in London is a freelance cameraman, and insists he’s on Facebook only to make sure that potential customers have a reminder of his existence.

    3. What drink or foodstuff did you used to love, but can’t stand now?
    I lost the taste for Bisto gravy at some point as I was growing up. It would have been handy to lose the taste for sweet sugary things as a diabetic, but heigh ho.

    4. Who have you lost touch with? How long has it been? Why haven’t you done anything about it?
    At one point in my thirties, I enjoyed close friendships with women who I’d been out with or (more often) wanted to go out with, or just liked to have as confidantes… and wondering why I’d been experiencing long years of relationship wilderness and was getting into a bit of a state about things. They were all lovely people but there came a time where I needed to lose touch on purpose. So, I agree with all the comments above about needing to move on. Though I do cherish some old friendship too, mostly where these have been able to withstand some years of benign neglect on one or both sides.

    5. What random act of kindness has someone shown you, that you never got to thank them for?
    An old friend from when I lived in Bedford, and studied at college out in the countryside, used to give me lifts everywhere, and I wasn’t sensible enough to appreciate the expense or the time taken. I wonder if I’ll ever bump into him when his car has broken down and he needs the favour returning….

  16. DsD, the answer to your question at the top is, of course, “Who knows?”

    I’ll be back with more answers tomorrow – the kitten says it’s bedtime.


  17. Hmmm. Thought provoking questions.

    1. Certain people who say they will call you on the phone often don’t.

    2. I’ve recently become addicted to Spider Solitaire. I often play it when I should be doing other things.

    3. I gave up booze in 1986, but can’t really say I loved it anyway. I can’t eat lychees now, but for a reason I’m not prepared to go into here.

    4. Several school friends. People I’ve worked with. Some family members.

    5. Once, my wife and I were in a restaurant. We were having a great time and laughing with each other. A bloke came up and said he was so enthralled by our enjoyment that he was going to pay our bill. We were gob-smacked. I later found out that he was quite a famous author., so I bought one of his books as a way of saying thank you.

    • What a great story! Perhaps you were inspiration for future characters…

      PS Lychees, huh? How mysterious. Personally, I wouldn’t have said you were missing out on all that much. (But then, I don’t like baked beans or marmite, so what do I know?!)

      • One of the comedians I used to drive around was Mark Billingham. I’m told that in his new guise as a thriller writer, he includes characters based on people he’s met, so I’m guessing he’s put me in there somewhere, although I’m not keen on the genre, and he’s written several books, so until they do a TV series based on his work, I’ll never know!

        The lychees thing I’ll explain if we ever meet up again at a social or something.

      • Oh, i love his books! He’s a very good mystery writer. I will definitely look for you in the next one that comes out. You’d be a driver then?

      • @ amylee. Yes, for some years I was a driver/tour manager in comedy. A lot of the jobs involved just driving comedians to gigs around London, but sometimes I’d take them on a nationwide tour (Ed Byrne, Supergirly, Mark Thomas) and then I was a “tour manager”. I even took Louis CK to a Jongleurs club in Watford once.

    • I meant to add at question 3 – Sandwich Spread. I used to love this, but when I tried some a couple of years ago, it tasted like Heinz had emptied a sugar bowl into the jar.

  18. 1 For a Socialist government to be elected.

    2 I too look things up on the internet a lot, but I’m not sure whether this really counts, as I am learning stuff (and might even remember some of it). Also while I do this I am always listening to TP&TH at the same time, and that is useful as I have 35 years to catch up.

    But one thing is really obvious, and that’s that I don’t read the paper any more – the Guardians accumulate in piles till I have to throw them out unread. I used always to do the hard crossword and the sudoku, and now I rarely do either. Oh, I also used to play an awful lot of Freecell, and I don’t do that any more – now THAT is wasting time…I don’t even do it at work any more!

    3 Southern Comfort for me too, but for a different reason – I used to have a bloke I didn’t see very often but when he did visit he would bring a bottle of SC with him. Then he dumped me.

    4 Val Smith! Where are you? I still have your sofa!

    5 Once during my poverty-stricken days, I’d encouraged my kids to take up stamp-collecting (which is pretty cheap when you’re just beginning, plus educational); my mother was very keen on it and I’d done some myself from time to time – I specialised in colonial Latin America, which was also my research interest then – I was doing a master’s in history at Essex (which is where I met Val Smith, see 4 above).

    Anyway, we were in a stamp shop in Colchester and I happened to notice a sheet of stamps from Venezuela or somewhere and I was just saying to the kids “oh, these are lovely – I wish I could afford them” or some such; and a man standing behind me said “I’d like to buy those for you, if I may” and he put some money down on the counter and walked out very quickly, before I had a chance to say “Oh no, I really couldn’t.”

  19. 1. I have this joke with myself lately that I’m waiting to win the lottery, anticipating it, even — but I never buy a ticket. I’ve got a lot of things I’m working on, and I’d like to finish something and find some level of success with it, but…

    2. RR/’Spill/Clip Joint, of course!

    Also, this is sort of embarrassing, but I’d have to say, lately, it’s food. Not eating it, but thinking up recipes, trying things out, anticipating what I’ll cook later. I like to make things that take a long time–bread, for instance. I think it’s a response to being stuck inside a lot this winter with blizzards and sick children, but it’s also a way to distract myself from things that are more important to me but seem impossibly hard to concentrate on.

    3. I don’t know…I still like most things I ever liked. I’m not a picky eater at all. I’m losing my taste for sweet things. Not that I don’t like them, but I’d choose something salty any day.

    4. I’m terrible at keeping in touch with people. Terrible. I do actually kind of like facebook for that reason. It suits my lazy, disorganized, chance-based way of keeping in touch with all of the interesting people I’ve met in my life that might live very very far away.

    5. Hmm…I’ll have to give it some thought. Maybe – I’ve made two features, and they both required a lot of people to offer time and skill and equipment, frequently for free. I feel like i didn’t thank all those people enough.

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