Tag Archives: tinman is an idiot

Stately Tinman Came From The Stairhead

Since lockdown commenced we have heard numerous stories of people who were going to use what is light-heartedly being referred to “all this new free time” to embark on long-deferred self-improvement projects. People were going to learn a new language, lose two stone, replace the battery in the smoke-alarm that ran out in 2004.

Our situation was to be regarded not as a problem but as an opportunity. We have been given lemons so should make lemonade, using instructions from YouTube.

It turns out that this is not what has ben happening. Bored people have been watching Sister Act rather than Citizen Kaneplaying Candy Crush rather than chess, and not so much baking bread as eating bread.

We have been given lemons and are putting them in our gin, which we are starting on at eleven in the morning.

Not only that, but an article I read yesterday said that now was not the time for all these grandiose schemes, that they only increase stress.

Sadly the realisation that self-improvement is a bad thing that no-one else is actually doing anyway has come too late for me.

I decided that I would read Ulysses, so I am reading Ulysses.

It is not going well.

I have read it before. I was a student on the 1970s, believed myself to be an intellectual, and therefore took on anything that was as long and impenetrable as my sideburns. Books about philosophy. Progressive-rock double albums.  2001: A Space Odyssey.

And of course, knowing that Ulysses was the toughest, cleverest, esotericist (Joyce makes up words, why can’t I) work of them all, I hurled myself eagerly at it. And bounced right off.

I read to the end, though by reading I mean following the words on page after page, letting the meaning not so much flow over me as pass somewhere nearby. I ticked it off my smart-arse bucket list and moved on.

And in time I put away childish things, such as doing stuff just to think myself clever, and moved into adult life. I thought no more about Leopold, Stephen or Molly for decades until I saw this:

It is cleverly priced. Had it even been €5.99 I wouldn’t have bothered, but at less than four euro it got me thinking “sure, even if I give up after ten pages, so what” so yes I said yes I will Yes.

Then didn’t. That was in 2016, and I brought the book home and never even opened it.

Cabin fever, though, does odd things to a man, so this week I’ve given it a go (and I’ve just realised that it has so fried my brain that I accidentally first published this post three hours ago, when it was only half written). I’m on page 262 and have no idea what’s going on. I’ve just finished what I think is the Sirens episode (the book is a series of episodes supposedly mirroring those in the Odyssey but there is nothing in the text that hints at which one is which) and the second last sentence is “Pprrpffrrppfff.”

I have four-hundred and-twenty pages to go.










No Competition

There are many possible reasons why the piece that I posted in yesterday’s blog did not win the competition I entered it for.

The judge may have been the Devil, and felt that I was slagging him. Or he may have believed that I am actually the Devil, and was not therefore writing as somebody else as instructed. Or the judge may have been God (in a way I suppose he was) and might be fed up hearing about the Devil.

I may have used the wrong type of font (the wrong type of type, in other words), the wrong amount of grovelling in my accompanying email, or the wrong amount of money in the bribe I sent in the post. Or they might just have thought that what I wrote was crap.

And then there is one other possible reason.

The third part of the opening sentence, for those of you not from around here, refers to a recent match between Chelsea and Swansea City. The game was nearly over and Chelsea (the away team) were losing, and when the ball went out of play one of their players decided that the ball-boy (from Swansea, who were winning) wasn’t returning it quickly enough, so he tried to toe-poke the ball away from the ball-boy and accidentally kicked him. This created something of a fuss in the world of football.

And it happened on an evening when I had my entry just finished, and I decided that I would use the incident, as it would give the piece a sense of freshness and immediacy. So at the very last minute I put that bit into the opening sentence and sent my entry off.

Last night, after the bitter pill of defeat had been swallowed (that’s not actually true, I entered knowing that I had no chance, they gave very specific guidelines about what they were expecting and I ignored almost all of them) I opened the Word Document on my computer so that I could copy the story to here.

And in that document, the one that I submitted to a Serious Competition run by the flagship Arts Programme of our National Radio Station, the very first sentence reads “I have never hit anyone, never stolen anything, never licked a ball-boy during a football match”.

Sometimes Spellcheck isn’t worth a duck.

Gone, Gone, Gone

I’ve just come back from the Gym (it’s been raining heavily here for 39 hours now so I wanted to practice on the rowing-boat, it may soon be our only way to the shops).

As I got to our house I saw that our car wasn’t in our driveway. “Ah,” I thought, “Mrs Tin has gone out.”

I put the kettle on, emptied my gym-bag and then loudly marched into our room to change out of my tracksuit top. I got a real shock when I got in there.

Mrs Tin was asleep in bed.

Those of you who fear that this story will end in a sad tale of car-theft can relax. Those of you who fear for the sanity of your friend Tinman can start to be very afraid.

The car wasn’t in the driveway when I got home because I was driving it.

I wonder do they have a gym for brains.

Wet Wet Wet

Since my inaugural swim in the sea a couple of weeks ago I have gone each weekend morning, braving chilly winds and crashing waves to use my swimming style which is so reminiscent of the Olympians seen over recent days, in that my arms flail like a boxer’s and my legs move in that jerky fashion used in the Walking.

Today is the first day of my two-week holidays (I’m not counting Saturday or yesterday, I’d have been off anyway) and I have decided that I will swim on each of the next fourteen mornings too.

I woke at 7.30 this morning, thought “oh, time to go swimming” and then realised that what had woken me that early was the sound of the rain on the roof. I lay there disappointed for a few seconds and then thought of a plan.

To get to the sea I park in the South Beach Car Park and walk through a short tunnel under the railway line to get to the beach. I could leave my clothes in the car, dash back for them after the swim, and dry and dress myself  in the tunnel.

I drove down, undressed in the car and ran down the beach in driving rain. I plunged into the sea, briefly made its choppiness even choppier, and came back out. The rain had stopped.

There were now hailstones instead.

I trudged back up the beach feeling as if I was being whipped (or at least what I imagine that feels like, I’m not into that sort of thing), took my clothes and dried myself, as I had planned, in the tunnel.

There is a footpath beside the tunnel and what I had forgotten is that this is Monday. Commuter after commuter on their way to the station passed the tunnel and stared at me from under their umbrellas. I am well used to being looked at as if I’m a lunatic, it happens a lot when you have teenage kids, but I have rarely received the look so often from so many people in so short a space of time.

There are thunderstorms forecast for tomorrow. I might just skip a day.

I Can See For Miles

I mentioned recently that I have acquired two pairs of glasses, one for short-range vision, one for seeing things farther away. It’s kind of an Amish version of bi-focals.

Anyway, things have gone fairly well up to now. I can read comfortably with the short-range pair, and, should I feel the sudden urge to do so, I could probably thread a needle, count the spots on the back of a ladybird, or, if not actually being able to count the angels dancing on the head of a pin, at least be able to see that they are there.

With the other pair I can see the surface of Saturn.

The two pairs came in identical cases, so I’m sure I don’t have to paint pictures of what happened this morning (you’ve seen my attempts at pictures, just imagine them with the wrong glasses).

I got onto the bus, fired up my netbook and started to type. What appeared on the screen appeared to be gibberish, which was probably actually the case, but blurred gibberish. On the other hand I could see traffic lights two miles away turning red, cyclists with no Hi-viz jackets were hi viz to me, and I could tell, not only how many passengers were at the next stop, but whether they were carrying the correct change or not, all of which would all have been more useful if I’d actually been driving the bus.

It’s a long and slow day when you struggle to read a computer screen, can’t tell 8s from 6s and generally manage to achieve nothing.

Though on the bright side, at least you can see the boss when he’s coming to see just how much nothing you are achieving.

Mindfulness Course – Week 1


On Thursday I mindfully ate a raisin.

As I report on my Mindfulness Course over the coming weeks it may appear that I am making fun of it. This is not what I will be doing, I think already that the course is fascinating and I have real hopes that it will make a difference to my life, especially my mental one.

I will, however, be making fun of my attempts to fulfil its demands.

So anyway, on Thursday we were each given a raisin and told that we were going to eat it mindfully. We were to look at it, be mindful of its shape and colour, then smell it, then very slowly eat it, being aware of all of the tastes, sensations, memories that this might provoke.

Unfortunately back at step one I looked at the shape and colour of the raisin and found that it reminded me of a dried snot. This was then what my mind was full of during the rest of the exercise.

I have a long way to go.

Back Again

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how overwork was getting to me, and about how the long days and lack of sleep were causing me to slip back towards depression. I wrote that I was going to fight the problem head on, was going to take the following week off and all would be well. You all wrote words of comfort and encouragement and agreed that a break was just what I needed.

Things got better, I got better and once again I wrote posts of shining wit, or at least a Spoonerised version of that.

The problem, which I was embarrassed to admit here at the time, was that I never took that week off. Because I had too much work to do I felt I couldn’t take the break that I needed because I had too much work to do.

From all over the world I can hear all of you you saying “Jesus, Tinman, you big gobshite” (though in a far more lady-like way, of course). And you are all correct, because of course the problem is back.

I got home at a quarter to eight on Friday evening (a time at which I get home far too often these days) and was in bed at half-past, not the way in which anybody should spend a Friday night. I slept until half-past eleven yesterday morning, got up for four hours (just long enough to see my team get knocked out of the FA Cup) and was back in bed by half-past three. I slept again until about 2.30 this morning and lay there until six (on a Sunday, a time that I previously thought existed only for people who are employed to shout “six o’clock and all’s well” (a profession which I believe is dying out, like thatching, building giant rock-catapults and walking in front of cars carrying a red flag) and for mad people like my dad and brother, who think that it’s the ideal time to get up for golf.

So I got up and started writing this, since I have given myself jet-lag.

There are four people arriving at the office at 8am tomorrow to get answers to a list of questions which they sent on Friday, and which already prove to me that (a) they are totally up themselves and (b) haven’t a clue what they are doing. I will not offer these opinions in their presence because we need to keep them happy (I must stress that the company is not in any trouble, we need their report for various expansion plans that we have for the coming year). They will be here for a week.

Adding this information to the fact that I already face my busiest week of the month has had the same effect as the kid at the other end of your see-saw suddenly deciding to get off.

The blindingly obvious answer, of course, is to get another job, to accept finally that the one I have is no longer fun, it’s hell on earth. But I don’t know if there are other jobs out there, and leaving would mean leaving the girl who is the other half of my work-team, and also frankly my best friend, at a time when she herself is suffering. The neck-and-shoulder pains which kept her out for the month of December have turned out to be Degenerative Disc Disorder and arthritis of the neck. She is thirty-three years old.

And it’s a job and a company that I’ve liked for a long time and would like to like again, for all its flaws, its petty unfairnesses, its constant pressure and its debasing Performance Management regime (I got the highest score that it is possible to get for the last quarter and still believe that the system is intrinsically evil). So I’ll stick it out for a while longer, hope that things improve (we are supposed to be getting a third person, that’s all we ever needed, the acceptance that we needed help) and just come here when I need to blow off steam (I’ve found this quite therapeutic, though I doubt it’s been much fun to read).

My attempt at Sidey’s Weekend Challenge will follow later in the week, as will my Weekly Drawing Challenge (I’ve just looked up WorkPress’s suggestion, ironically it’s “Hope”) and I’m making you all a solemn promise.

The next time I book time off I’m going to take it.

Tangled Web

If your company makes you wear a swipe-card on one of those lanyard-things around your neck, then here is something that you can do if you ever feel that not enough people are staring at you on the bus.

Scarf like this (hat optional)

Keeping the lanyard on as you leave work (you need it to get out the door), wrap your long scarf around your neck in the Tom-Baker-as-Doctor-Who fashion. On route to the bus stop realise that one end of the scarf is trailing longer than the other, protruding from the bottom of your coat with, as the saying goes, hilarious results. Stick that end of your scarf into your trousers pocket to avoid embarrassment. Upon boarding the bus take out your iPod, put the ear-buds into your ears and the iPod itself into your coat pocket.

Then, and only then, decide that it would be a good idea to take off the lanyard.

As an impression of an octopus in a tumble-dryer it’s pretty hard to beat.

Without a Leg to Stand On

Tingirl has been a pupil of the Gaiety School of Acting for many years now. She genuinely is a terrific actress, and mentioned recently that she would love to study drama at university, and even dreams, though she knows it’s unlikely, of going to RADA.

I mention this now purely because of a conversation Mrs Tin and I have just had. The topic came up and I said “if she got accepted into RADA I’d sell a leg to help pay her fees”.

I meant to say “kidney”. I even had a picture of a kidney in my head. I have no idea why I said “leg”.

I think Mrs Tin is a bit worried now about my exam on Friday. It’s not encouraging when an Occupational First-Aid candidate seems to believe that you can sell a leg.