A Busy Weekend

This is the first time I have logged on to WP since Thursday, and I am just back online after a busy weekend away.

I will be starting from scratch, as I cannot hope to catch up with all of your posts. The next episode of the serial will appear at some stage later today, and meanwhile I will try to reply to all of your comments on my posts.

Best wishes to everyone, Pete.

The Last Sunday Musings In August

Feeling quite positive this week, so no moans for a change.


After another burst of ‘big heat’, heavy storms broke the humidity and made life more pleasant, especially for Ollie.


Despite not starting a new fiction serial on my blog, I have been enjoying finding old photos online and compiling them into nostalgia posts on my blog. And they seem to be popular with readers too.


Ollie got his bath and claw trim, and feels sleek for the first time in a long while. The groomer said his skin was in good condition, so that made me happy.


Next week, we will begin preparing for our holiday on Monday week. Sorting out clothes, making lists of things we must not forget to take in the car, and charging up electronic devices like cameras, tablet, and phones. Julie was tempted to look at the long-range weather forecast for where we are going, and it currently predicts one day of rain on the Tuesday. One out of seven won’t be that bad, if they got it right of course.


Tomorrow is a public holiday in England, August Bank Holiday Monday. But it will just be ‘Monday’ for us, as going anywhere near the coast or to places open to the public will be sure to be jam-packed with visitors. As the shops are open until 4pm, I will probably do my usual supermarket ‘big shop’ for the week. Not very exciting, but then I have a holiday to anticipate!


Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope you have a peaceful Sunday.


Shotgun Blogging

As it is too hot to finish off my serial fiction post, here is a reblog from 2015. Many of you will have seen it.


I have been perusing other blogs of late, and drawing some personal conclusions about the nature of many blogs, including my own. Some of my favourite blogs publish articles of great import, sparingly posted. They are usually sumptuously illustrated, or have accompanying photographs, generally of high quality. Although they do not appear that often, the response from their audience is always immediate, and in great numbers. These bloggers are at the high end of this pastime, the careful craftsmen in our blogging community. They have experimented, worked hard and meticulously, and achieved something enduring, with work to be proud of. I think of them as the Guild Bloggers, masters of the art.

Then there are the Niche Bloggers, predominantly photographers, poets, or writers of published works. They post only about their subject of interest. We might see something of their travels, or their personal developments in their chosen field, but…

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New Book: Lara Trace Hentz

Lara is a Native American adoptee with some harrowing stories to tell about the treatment of Native Americans in America and Canada.
You can read her bio on this Blogger link. https://www.blogger.com/profile/08395257432521760435

This is her own website. https://blog.tracehentz.com/

And here is a link where you can read her new book. https://cosmicglue.pressbooks.com/

I suggest checking out those links. Like me, you could learn a lot about something we know so little about.

Sunday Musings: Still Becalmed

I have still not been posting much, awaiting some inspiration, the return of my blogging mojo, or just a change of mood. I have no idea why I feel so ‘unsettled’ at the moment.


Ollie’s groomer appointment has been put off until Friday now, because of staff problems. One day won’t make much of a difference I suppose.


If I have missed any of your posts this week, or failed to comment on them, my apologies. The same goes for Twitter, which I have not really been following for a while now.


The weather has been quite good. In fact on Friday it got to 22C and very sunny. It felt like Summer, despite some torrential downpours the night before, and rain early on Saturday.


It interests me to look at my blog stats when I am not posting. I have often advised new bloggers that ‘Content is king’. No posts = no views. I have gone from around 375-450 views a day, down to 70, then 50, then 21. I have never had 0 views of my blog since it started in 2012, but could be heading in that direction. This is not a complaint, just an observation.


After all this time, I was finally contacted by the DVLA about my driving licence. They rang me the other day, and it was not good news. They want to send me for an ‘independent’ eye test. I told the lady that my Opthalmology Consultant at Norwich Hospital is happy for me to drive, and I have been told I am safe to do so. That was of no interest to her, and she told me that “We do not accept that, only the opinion of our nominated optician”. So they disregard the opinion of a qualified doctor, and take the word of an assistant in a high street Optician’s shop. More bad news followed. She advised me that if I fail their ‘designated eye test’, my licence will be permanently revoked.
Perhaps that is why I feel ‘unsettled’? Never being able to drive again would impact my entire wellbeing.


I hope you all have a peaceful Sunday. If you have a driving licence, make the most of it while you can.


My Own Guest Post

In 2017, I was asked to write a guest post on another blog, Esme Salon. https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/

This was the post I submitted five years ago. Some of you may have seen it on her blog.

I lived in London for sixty years. Born and raised in the dockside area just south of Tower Bridge, it was all I knew. I grew up there, went to school there, and got married there. Like most people, I moved around. It’s a big city, lots to see, and all the districts are different. I lived in middle-class areas, upper-class areas, and cramped rented flats too. After two divorces, and a geographic circuit of the Capital, I spent the last twelve years in the trendy confines of Camden Town, a stone’s throw from the centre.

I worked there too. One third of my life as an EMT, dealing with the demands of a population of over seven million, plus the tourists and commuters. The next fifth of my life spent working for the police, a total of thirty-four years in the emergency services, dealing with every bad thing that one of the biggest cities in the world can throw at you. By the age of fifty-nine, I was worn out. London is not really a place that you live in. It is something you endure, somewhere you survive. You learn to live by its rules. Don’t use a car unless you really have to. Don’t flaunt anything, and walk straight, catch nobody’s eye. Never back down. Only fools speak to strangers, and only tourists or children sit on the top deck of the bus.

Oh, it has its perks. Restaurants, cinemas, bars, theatres. Lots of them, everywhere. Shops, shops, and more shops. You can buy anything you want, but not always what you need. You are a small fish in an enormous shoal, so unlucky if a predator spots you. Stick with the crowd, and you will get by, unnoticed. But forget trying to sleep. Sirens, helicopters, 24-hour life and transport, with ambient light so bright it feels like the sun never sets. Always tired, struggling through one day to the next, in the relentless pace demanded by city life.

Retirement loomed as I approached sixty. Time for a change. London is no place to be old.

So, we bought a house in Norfolk. Only 120 miles north-east, but it might as well be in another country, and at another time. A drive of just over three hours by car takes you back over fifty years in the process. We settled in a place where people still say “Hello” as they walk past. Where a parcel left outside your door is still there, a week later. You don’t have to lock your car, and you could probably leave your doors unlocked too. Children don’t follow old people to mock them, but to help them. Your neighbours help out, and are happy to ask for a favour in return. Traffic jams are but a memory, and within twenty minutes drive, we can be standing on a deserted beach.

And the house cost less than the price of a lock-up garage, in the street we happily left behind.

It’s not all perfect, nothing is. Public transport is almost non-existent, and I have to travel twenty miles to buy a decent shirt, or to find a good street market. There is one cinema, and the choice of places to eat is limited by the modest expectations of local people. No local shop, and no real village centre, so it is not easy to meet new people. But it is dark at night, and I can see the stars, for the first time other than when on holiday. I can walk my dog past wild deer, and watch fish jumping in the river. I feel like I live in an England that I only ever read about in history books.

And I know which place I prefer.

Guest Post And Featured Blogger: Narayanan Uma

I am presenting a guest post today from Indian blogger, Narayanan.
His site is https://chapter18.wordpress.com/

Here is his short bio, followed by his guest post. Please visit his blog to see more about his life and thoughts.

I am Narayanan, a publishing professional with deep interest in philosophy, comparative religion and political thought. I work on topics that present an opportunity to evaluate issues critically and offer an alternative view point.

A pillion ride with the pizza delivery boy

Any time is pizza time.

Having spent 20 unsuccessful minutes waiting to hire an auto, I grudgingly decided to walk the three kilometre route back home from the vaccination centre. Since employing the jazzed arm muscle immediately after a Covid preventive shot may not be a great idea, I left the car at home, got myself dropped at the centre by a considerate neighbour and happily joined the expanding tribe of the fully inoculated before I was stranded on the roadside desperately looking for a transport back. Just as I made a few hesitant strides, a bike from behind stopped aside and the youngster, lifting the glass shield of his headgear, asked me “ Sir, can I drop you somewhere?”. With the logo of the company prominently on display on his T-shirt and a bulged backpack firmly secured on him, I knew that he was a pizza delivery boy zipping through to make the next delivery of the delicacy and satiate the pangs of hunger of a starving soul. Since his immediate call of destination fell close to the place of my residence, I happily accepted the offer and squeezed myself on the bike, with the backpack sandwiched between the two of us. “Make yourself comfortable Sir” said the compassionate boy as he moved himself forward, almost sitting on the fuel tank, to create a little more space to accommodate my large body and soon we were on wheels!

Though the posture of my sitting was anything but comfortable, the spicy aroma emanating from the hot pizzas inside was so invigorating that I soon began to enjoy the ride, clasping the bag with my two hands and taking in the warmth of the stuff. “It should be farmhouse pizza that is selling most in this monsoon season” I made an informed guess to the boy based on the cocktail of smells of crispy capsicums and fresh tomatoes that was filling my nostrils along with the flavour of that baked oregano. “ Yes sir that is always the favourite but the Mexican and the Tandoori Paneer are also in great demand”. “ Oh that would mean that the business is brisk… so how many pizzas you usually deliver in a day” I continued the conversation with my probing questions and the boy was more than willing to indulge. “ Around 15 to 20 sir and after putting in twelve long hours of work, my earning is just about Rs. 400- 500 a day. I get Rs.25 per delivery” there was a tinge of lament in his voice as he said this adding “and the petrol expenses is all on me”. “ But I am sure customers would be tipping you handsomely when you deliver these hot pizzas at their doorsteps”. “ Nothing much sir and maybe an occasional ten or twenty rupees. In these difficult times, not many are willing to shell out anything extra and some even ask back for the exact change after deducting the amount” . “ Is that so…that’s very mean” I sympathised with the boy as he continued “ The other day, one customer held back my bag till I returned the excess two rupees fifty paise that wasn’t readily available with me. Some even cancel the order if I am late by a few minutes and I will be made to pay a penalty for that”. “ Oh life is tough” I agreed with him as I struggled to balance myself as he negotiated a deep pot hole in the middle of the road to avoid splashing from the muddy rain water puddle.

“ Riding in these roads constantly is laden with much risk and how are you protected? Do you have a medical claim or an insurance policy?” I turned concerned and animated now as I became aware of his daily professional hazards. “ Insurance? We don’t have anything of that sort and if some mishap were to happen, the responsibility is entirely on to me. I am doing this job only for my survival” the helplessness of the boy was too evident to ignore. “ How long have you been doing this?” I pressed him for an answer presuming that he would be new to the job. “ Almost two years now, joined just before the pandemic struck. I really wanted to change but as most of the factories are in bad shape, no company is taking any new staff now.”

“You speak so very well and I am sure you would be a matriculation pass” I prompted him to reveal his educational background not very sure whether he would have achieved that significant academic milestone that I just mentioned. “ Sir, I am a science graduate and studied physics and mathematics as my subjects. I will share my certificate with you on WhatsApp” he stopped the vehicle as he said this, having reached our common destination. Never before was so much revelation squeezed in a three kilometer ride, of ordinary people we meet everyday but know very little about…and in five minutes!

As I got down from the bike with some assistance from the boy, I thanked him profusely for his timely help. “ No problem sir” was his disarming reply as I shared my mobile number for him to send me the image of his degree certificate. “ That’s my degree certificate. Please help me get a decent job” requested the boy on hearing the peep of the WhatsApp message alert on my mobile. “ Sure, I will definitely try” was all I could muster to utter looking at the genuineness of his academic achievements!

“Thank you sir” said the boy in all smiles displaying in the process the whole array of his white teeth that resembled a lavish dose of mozzarella on a cheese burst pizza!



( 1 USD ~ 74 rupees)

New Year, Old Offer

2022 is upon us, and it is once again time for me to offer to host guest posts. Whether you are a regular follower, or a brand new one, as long as you follow my blog or follow me on Twitter, you can have a guest post here on my blog.

It can be about anything you want, and doesn’t have to be original. You can recycle one of your favourite posts if you wish, or perhaps just introduce yourself to this wonderful community on WordPress. It can be poetry, a short story, something about your life, or even why you decided to become a blogger.

There are a few ‘rules’, but they are easy ones.

*Feel free to promote a book or project, but NO selling goods or services.

*The post should be under 2,000 words, and any images should be reduced in size.

*I do not correct or edit any guest posts, so make sure they are exactly as you want them to be seen before sending them to me.

*Send me the guest post AS AN EMAIL- NOT A MS WORD DOCUMENT- to petejohnson50@yahoo.com

*Posts will be shared on Twitter, and usually appear on my blog within 24 hours. They are never deleted by me, so will remain here as long as I am blogging.
(As in as long as I am alive)

There is no deadline or time limit on this offer, but to get 2022 off to a positive start, why not send me one before the end of the month?

Happy Christmas 2021

I would like to wish all my blogging friends and followers a very Happy Christmas.

It has not exactly been a memorable year, and we can only hope for a better one in 2022.

My thanks go to everyone who has read my posts during the past year, left Likes and Comments, and also shared on social media or reblogged.

There are no plans to change my blog format next year, so be prepared for more of the same old stuff.

Best wishes to everyone, wherever you live, and whatever you celebrate.

Pete. X