Something About Nothing

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A few weeks ago, in order to maintain a regular blogging schedule, I committed to regularly writing short posts about ‘not very much’, instead of longer posts that pretend to be about ‘something’ but aren’t really about anything.

Since making that pledge, I have written anything much.

So the plan didn’t work.

And now I’m reduced once again to writing about how I’ve failed to produce any meaningful content for this blog, aside from a couple of poems, one of which was a Haiku that I wrote ages ago and the one I posted yesterday, which was about Bovril.

Bovril!

Who writes poetry about Bovril?

Anyway, I’m really just posting this as confirmation that I am still alive.

I have just been occupied with lots of stuff lately.

Some of that stuff is work related and it genuinely makes me sad that I have to spend good blogging time working on paperwork that no-one is ever going to read but nonetheless needs to be completed so that I can answer honestly when people ask me if I’ve done it.

I’m not above answering dishonestly about completing paperwork and I have employed that strategy many times in my life to get people off my back, but it generally is prudent to complete it anyway, at some point, because even though most of the time no-one bothers to read it, it only takes one excessively keen and enquiring person to start probing for the whole house of cards to come tumbling down.

I feel there are some of these overzealous vultures circling at the moment so I’m being particularly careful to “dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s” in my professional life.

However, all work and no play would make James a dull boy so I have also been quite busy filling potential blogging time with other fun stuff.

I could write about that fun stuff here.

But I won’t.

Because that might create the illusion that I lead a vaguely fulfilling existence.

Which might even be the truth if I really think about it.

But I think a sense of satisfaction with my lot in life would be setting entirely the wrong tone for my blog.

Less Is More. More Or Less.

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Sometimes, when I can’t think of anything to write about, I write about the fact that I can’t think of anything to write about. It’s a little self-contradictory but it solves a problem.

Equally, when I don’t really have time to write anything, I occasionally write about the fact that I haven’t got time to write anything, even though by writing about a lack of time to write anything, I am proving that I did have time to write something. Albeit something pointless.

The other solution would be to write nothing.

Which may be preferable in the short term but writing nothing on one occasion often leads to a longer-term scenario in which I write nothing for weeks on end.

Which is bad for me.

It may be less bad for you.

But this blog is an entirely self-indulgent affair, for the most part, so ‘bad-for-me’ is undesirable.

Then again, at the moment, I really am quite busy and being busy seems like a state of affairs which is likely to continue indefinitely.

Which means this blog is likely to take a ‘back seat’ unless I can think of a solution.

And one solution is to write shorter posts.

About not very much.

As opposed to long posts about not very much, which is my usual modus operandi.

So that’s probably what I’m going to do for a while.

Write short posts about not very much.

Like this one.

But maybe I’ll aim to make them better than this one.

Although they probably won’t be much better than this if I’m honest.

Scraping The Barrel

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Is there any problem in the world that can’t be solved by a nice biscuit? Maybe a Chocolate-covered Digestive, or perhaps a Jammy Dodger?

I mean obviously obesity.

It stands to reason that you aren’t going to solve obesity by eating Shortbread.

But, aside from that, is there any problem in the world that can’t be solved by taking time out to munch on a Malted Milk?

Ok, admittedly, it’s unlikely to solve some of the bigger world problems. The UK’s ignominious separation from Europe is still going to be mishandled by Tory infighting regardless of how many Oreos you stuff into your mouth and the septuagenarian toddler in the White House is still going to spout ridiculous, regressive rhetoric irrespective of your Hobnob consumption.

But on a personal level, is there any problem that can’t be overcome by eating Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Well yes.

Eating excessive Viennese Whirls is not going to make your job any more interesting, your bathroom any more decorated or your utility bills any lower.

Bourbons are certainly not going to finish that novel you’re trying to write.

Or start writing it for that matter.

Consuming Custard Creams, gorging on Garibaldis or polishing off Pink Wafers will not lead to long-term happiness.

But they do make a lovely addition to a cup of tea or coffee and may put a smile on your face for a few minutes.

Which is something.

Jaffa Cakes are nice too, but people are often unsure whether they are biscuits or cakes.

And the answer is clearly cakes.

The clue is in the name.

But regardless of that, they do the job of a biscuit well enough.

And whatever your biscuit of choice, or hot beverage for that matter, you should go and have one of each now.

It would be a better use of your time than reading this.

It might have been better for everyone had I not shifted myself away my own biscuit tin in order to write this banality.

But, for the sake of ongoing blog content, I decided to switch scraping a biscuit barrel for a metaphorical one.

I’m truly sorry.

Have a bourbon on me*.

*I won’t actually be providing the bourbons – you’ll have to buy those yourself. Feel free to switch to another biscuit of choice instead. But do have a biscuit. You’ll feel better for it. Unless that biscuit is a Rich Tea. Because seriously, what is the point of those?

Even I Don’t Know What This Post Is About And I Wrote It

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I’m in work as I write this.

Which might seem a bit naughty, because one should never use work time for blogging and I absolutely never would. It’s not ok to blog during work time.

The above paragraph was written on the basis that although there’s no chance my boss ever reads my blog, if she actually were to read it, I’m fairly sure she wouldn’t get past the first few sentences. Much like when she reads my emails. If she does indeed read them. Which doesn’t always appear to be the case.

Although I don’t make a habit of blogging in work time, my moral stance on blogging during work time is perhaps more liberal than the stance I took a mere 2 paragraphs ago. Frankly if my employer thinks it’s ok to expect me to complete paperwork in my own time then surely it’s ok to blog during work time.

But actually I don’t tend to blog during work time very often. Continue reading Even I Don’t Know What This Post Is About And I Wrote It

A Lacustrine Staycation

For the sake of context I should point out that I wrote this a week and half ago when I was still very much on holiday in the Lake District. I’m not any more. It doesn’t really matter but I don’t want anyone reading this to feel mislead.
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That’s just the kind of person I am.
Anyway, without further ado, here is my account of my holiday in the Lake District:

As I write this I’m warming myself by the fireplace.

Which is unusual.

Because, while there notionally is a fireplace in my small Victorian terraced house in Reading, it is not something Mrs Proclaims and I ever use, for all kinds of practical reasons.

However, even if we did avail ourselves of the facility in question, it would not be usual recourse for us to do so in the height of the British summer.

Which is, supposedly, happening at the moment. Continue reading A Lacustrine Staycation

The Elephant In The Room

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Hello people of the blogosphere. I’m back after something of an unplanned hiatus from the world of blogging. I wasn’t sure what to write about for this post – on the one hand my first post in a while ought to be a spectacular affair, both witty and profound, irreverent yet informative, offering reassurances to my regular readers that I’ve not lost any of my trademark humour while ensuring any new readers who happen upon my blog might want to stick around and read more of my ramblings.

On the other hand, sometimes you can put a bit too much pressure on yourself, and when you’re out of practice, sometimes it’s better just to post something – anything – even if it’s a bit rubbish just to ‘get back on the blogging horse’ so to speak.

I’ve got a few posts in the works, some of which will see the light of day on these very pages soon, but for this post I’d thought that the best thing I could do was to address the elephant in the room.

Because it’s not often you see an elephant in your front room. Continue reading The Elephant In The Room

James Attains!

James Proclaims (4)

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Hello people who read my posts. Today is a very exciting day for two reasons, both of which pertain to this very blog.

Firstly, it’s an exciting day because today is my two year blogiversary.

That’s right it’s been two whole years since a slightly younger, slightly greener (in the metaphorical sense of lacking experience rather than literal sense of actually being the colour green) version of me sat at this very desk and typed the first ever post that appeared on ‘James Proclaims’.

Except that isn’t entirely true because the first post on that I published, on this day, twenty-four months ago, was actually just a rehash of a ‘first post’ I’d written for a different, now defunct blog.  Continue reading James Attains!

Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 5 – A Lack Of Prose Disturbs Me

James Proclaims (4)

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After a fortnight’s break from this ‘feature’, I’m back with more ‘Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Any More’.

It’s perhaps appropriate, after a two-week hiatus from the series, that this post is about how I don’t write any more. Although to be honest I’ve disappeared from this blog multiple times before (for longer than two weeks) and in any case, I have actually posted a few things on here in the last two weeks, just not a post about ‘stuff I used to do’.

Maybe I should add ‘writing about stuff I used to do’ to the list.

Or is that just ridiculous?

I think it probably is, but in the context of other stuff I’ve considered appropriate material for this blog, it’s perhaps not all that ridiculous. After all, I did once write this post Continue reading Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 5 – A Lack Of Prose Disturbs Me

Birthday Blues

James Proclaims (4)

Hello blogosphere!

Today is the 4th April and therefore it is my birthday. My birthday is on the 4th April every year and I fully anticipate maintaining this tradition for many years to come.

One of the main reasons, indeed possibly the only reason, that I went into the education profession was that the 4th April is always in the Easter holidays and so, theoretically, I would never have to work on my birthday.

This theory has been proven incorrect on three occasions since I joined the teaching ranks. Arguably the worst was a few years back when my birthday fell on a working Monday, but today was almost as bad, for today is Tuesday and once again I found myself at the metaphorical coalface of my profession. Continue reading Birthday Blues

Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 4 – I Read A Book A Week (But Never Dostoyevsky…)

James Proclaims (4)

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Here we are then at part 4 of my miniseries on stuff I used to be able to claim I did, but now I don’t really do.

And this one is on reading.

Books that is.

Because I used to read a lot of them and now I don’t.

Although, contrary to the suggestion in the title of this post, I never used to read a book a week. That was a little nod to one of my favourite sit-coms, ‘The Office’ (original UK version, although I am very much a fan of the US version too).

The comment about Dostoyevsky is a nod to the same episode, although it is true that I’ve never read any Dostoyevsky.

Judge me not though, for I can point to a great many worthy authors that I have read, thus proving my intellect. For I have read (and in some cases enjoyed) works by Dickens, Hardy, multiple Brontes, Stendhal, Flaubert, and numerous other authors that appear in the ‘Classics’ section of your local bookshop.

But don’t be too impressed, I’ve also read everything Dan Brown ever wrote, so I’m clearly not averse to an ‘easy read’ either.

In fact, my parents used to joke that I’d read anything I could get my hands on, even a cereal box if there was nothing else available. And in truth I have read some pretty good cereal boxes in my time. The Frosties box of summer 1987 stands out as a particularly good one, although the Coco Pops of autumn 1991 would run it close.

I jest of course, for while these days, as all sensible consumers should, I read the ingredients of cereal boxes to make sure that nothing contained therein is going to slowly kill me over time, I wouldn’t read a cereal box for entertainment purposes. Jars of Marmite on the other hand…

But I digress, for my parents made that observation about my reading habits (or one of them did and I’m not quite sure which of them to blame…) because as a child I did read a lot.

It might make me sound like quite a worthy child but I’m not sure that I was. It was the eighties and there wasn’t really much else to do. Continue reading Stuff I Used To Do But Don’t Do Anymore (Or How I’ve Become A Less Interesting Person Over Time): Part 4 – I Read A Book A Week (But Never Dostoyevsky…)