Saturday, 5 March 2016


Hello folks.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been blogging for a little wee while; the old Oxcliffe Fox has been in semi-retirement – oh, all right, yes, complete retirement.

Most of our day-to-day activities is being covered by My Good Lady and it seems a bit pointless for me to go over the same ground.

I’ve also been troubled by one or two health issues – none of them major in themselves, but tiresome nonetheless.

I’m diligently performing my physiotherapy exercises to relieve the arthritis in my hips; my upset tum comes and goes periodically; and I’ve now been diagnosed with Dupuytren’s contracture in my hands – whereby my fingers slowly curl up inwards into the palms.

And somehow all these maladies begin to seem like a metaphor for growing older. Life seems to slowly contract, both personally and socially, until one’s consciousness becomes focused on one’s miseries.

The outside world ceases to become of great interest, and certainly, for me, the itch to communicate has faded rather badly.

Whereas once writing was not merely a pleasure, it was a need. Now it has become more of a chore.

That’s not to say I’m not getting out and about a bit – be it the library, the pub, the golf club; I’m still doing the cooking two three times a week to give MGL a break; I still get pleasure in my wine.

And even as I write, MGL and I are planning a holiday in France for September.

So, yes, I’m still creaking along. It’s just that the energy levels have depleted to such an extent that just making the effort to express myself is more than I can cope with.

Writing is more than just an effort of will, it is the product of a life lived at a peak of mental and emotional stamina.

It is precisely this that I no longer seem to have.

Oh, I’m not saying I shall never post a blog again; something might just crop up which excites me enough for me to put fingers to keyboard again. It just won’t be all that often.

I shall ask MGL to put a mention in her post if and when I do, so any kind readers who wish to can visit again.

So until such a time, I shall bid you adieu.

The Oxcliffe Fox has left the building!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Living in our brave new high-tech age

ISN’T TECHNOLOGY wonderful – especially when it works!

Unfortunately, I think I’m a little jinxed when it comes to the high tech stuff.

For example, on our recent holiday, our Kindle packed up after just one hour’s use. (I’m sure I fully recharged it.)  It would have left me stranded, literature-less, had I not been at the airport where I hastily picked up a much more reliable paperback at the bookshop to keep me amused.

Again, we purchased a Sat Nav device a couple of weeks ago, intending to use it to find our way to the hotel near Liverpool Airport – always a little confusing.

The first device was a Garmin and it refused all attempts to find a satellite. I returned it to the dealer and it was exchanged, this time for a TomTom device of similar specs. On our drive down to the airport the thing kept conking out on us with a message to say that the battery was not charged. Things got stranger when we neared Liverpool and the device started giving us directions for the streets of Buxton! On the way home we resorted to using a good, old-fashioned paper atlas.

I’ve contacted TomTom and they have advised me on a course of action – it seems another battery defect of some sort – but, so far, without result.

It’s not a dissimilar story with our PC and our laptop which occasionally seize up – always without warning and usually at the most inconvenient moment imaginable. Sometimes they refuse to start up, sometimes to shut down; sometimes they go into a “sleep” mode so deep that they refuse to wake up again. And sometimes it’s the software that flatly refuses to work the way it should.

And all this worries me when I think of our new car, and amount of technological wizardry it has as standard. Surely, the more complicated they make it the more there is to go agley.

And of course, now, we have “smart” phones and “smart” TVs and the like.

I shudder at the prospect of all this “smart” stuff going wrong. What will our brave new world be like then?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A Paris awakening

I’M ASHAMED to see that my last posting was back on April 3rd. I can only put down my lack of activity as a combination of energy-less-ness and indolence. I think of it as the watching-the-grass-grow syndrome – and it can be quite an addictive pastime.

Still, conscience doth quicken and all that… My Good Lady has kept a fair summary of our doings over the summer in her blog, and I don’t feel inclined to repeat it all again here.

What’s fired me into hitting the old keyboard again is our latest holiday – and especially our visit to Paris for the first time in over forty years.

Oh, it’s changed beyond belief of course. It’s dirtier, busier, nosier, all that… But somehow, still quite fascinating. And it had one totally unexpected side-effect on me – it started me writing again.

I used to do a fair bit of scribbling – stories, articles, radio pieces, you name it – and all with a modest amount of success.

But for about ten years now the fire has gone out of me, the hunger, the need – the compulsion to write, the sense of somehow not being quite complete as a human being unless I can put into words what life around me is all about.

In Paris I find myself observing again – the prerequisite of all writing – and somehow needing to jot down what I’m seeing. Sitting at a pavement brasserie I find myself reaching for my pocket notebook to dash out this observation or that…

“…Three fat ladies sit on a low wall, eating ice creams…”

“…An old, lambretta scooter leans against the kerb, a relic of a bygone age…”

“…Two Japanese girls snapping each other against the background of Notre Dame Cathedral with dinky little cameras, both very young, in pastel-coloured coats, short skirts and tights…”

…Little notes like these. I don’t know why, I don’t know what it means. It’s just an itch I feel the need to scratch. Maybe the sheer human chaos of Paris has triggered a semi-defunct impulse into stirring again.

Anyhow, just thought I’d share this before I go back to watching the grass grow.


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