At the End of the Day

I haven’t done an ATEOTD for some time now, because my travails have been those of a man with adequate resources and very little in real terms to moan about. In recent weeks I have suffered a shower equipped with exploding turds, a lavatory capable of with excretial reflux, an entire electrical circuit that doesn’t work, a ch boiler advertised by the cockney psycho who fitted it as “fullay ortmatick” but which is in fact casually incontinent, carbon monoxide poisoning from an oven installed by a man of avian brain, and a series of very high blood pressure readings. I doubt very much if these events are mutually exclusive, but compared to what most people are enduring in this our sadly deranged world, these are minor tics and flea bites.

However, this has been one of those days containing genuinely important stuff – to either celebrate, or pause for reflection about. And while remaining suspicious of organised religion, I do think that taking a break from Urgent, and an injection of Important, can only be good things to do.

If you’re in or approaching the same decade as me, for example, you will notice that Limbs Aint Wot They Used To Be. After 65, muscles, joints, ligaments, and bones don’t hurt in a passive sort of manner: they complain in a tediously activist way. I brought some wood up to the house first thing this morning, then dug a tiny trench around the mains pipe into the gite….and wrapped the sort of copious insulation round the pipe which former residents of Cracow had omitted to think about.

Inordinately proud of myself, I tidied up the kitchen, cleaned the floor, took the rubbish to the poubelle, lit the fire, polished the living room work table, and vacuumed the carpet.

“Are you some kind of retarded denialist?” asked Biceps, “It was bad enough you pretending to be a bloody Navvie without then going into Victorian Skivvy for two hours”.

“You obviously think,” chimed in Legs, “that you’re still the midfield General of Stand Grammar First XI. Get a grip, man – we’re dying a thousand deaths down here”.

“Contrary to the belief system of your drink-addled brain,” Lower Back opined, “It’s all I can do to get the f**k out of bed these days. Lugging dirty great logs up eight steps is not what I call recuperation”.

Taking due cognisance of these somewhat impertinent observations from the weak flesh of a vile body, I grabbed the shopping bag and drove down to the nearby bastide village of St Pastour.

In this village, there are but two businesses: the restaurant (once very good but now average) and the shop. The latter is a classic example of human perseverance and fortitude in the face of mass-market out of town distribution dominance. It is at one and the same time épicerie, newsagent, tabac, and off-licence – for our American readership, liquor store, and for those Scots still not offended by my prose, licensed grocer.

The small, relatively young family who run it look constantly tired, but this doesn’t stop them from doing what they do. This is not to make munneee full stop, but to earn a decent living selling the slightly unusual alongside the locally-grown fresh to keep a community going.

Anyway, having finished the skivvy/navvie part of the day, I totted up those items still missing from my Christmas Fare, and then plundered the St Pastour bazaar. As usual, the brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and parsnips were all available. There was also a brilliant Chianti at €4.95 (I’m halfway down the bottle so far) and a special Malbec I know well but most people round here don’t.

In case I’ve forgotten something, but the way, this indefatigable couple will be opening tomorrow – on Christmas morning – as a recognition of how our mad economic model leads to many folk these days needing things at the last minute.

This is what else happened. My younger daughter rang from Sydney, and we both laughed out loud at human bonkersness for a quarter of an hour. I rang my elder daughter and spoke also to granddaughter Lyla who is “sited by presns coming from Sata”. I nodded off for a bit mid afternoon in a sheltered spot under a ridiculously warm sun. And then came back to discover lovely emails from Slog sources and supporters across the Globe…Spanish, English, Greek, French, Hungarian, Polish, Australian, Kiwi, American, German, Brazilian and yes, even Russian.

After reading those, I sat outside and watched the sky going from florid to full-on black. I saw a giant full Moon. I watched the smear of 10 zillion galaxies we call the Milky Way. And an odd part of me hoped – in a positive way, I have to declare – to be abducted by benign aliens with a mission to show me whatTF all this Universe stuff is about.

It didn’t happen and it almost certainly won’t. So in the meantime, have a good Christmas. I shall be (briefly) open on The Day.

Recently at The Slog: Give Little George a better Christmas

27 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. A very merry Christmas to you John. I have spoken to my son in Sydney today and yes we laughed…. Family, is that not what really matters at our age?





  2. Like you John, i am 68 yrs old, I have to throw logs down 28 steps then barrow them to the log shed, after this I am f..ked. The wood man that delivers the logs is 80 yrs old and as fit as “Popeye” but here in Portugal the life is slow compared to the UK,
    Spoke to my son and daughter-today, and the grandchildren, all are under 8 years old and excited about Santa coming tomorrow. Let’s hope they have as good a life as we have had.
    Just opening the second bottle of tinto so I can sleep tonight.
    Merry Christmas. and a good new year to you JW. And long may your chimney smoke.


  3. Have a great Christmas, John. Get the fire going, give those aching limbs a rest, and finish off that wine you bought.

    Let’s forget about all the troubles of the world for one day, treasure what we have, and enjoy our brief time on this planet.


  4. Merry Christmas John. I would wish you a Happy New year but I don’t think that is possible or likely. It could be an absolute stinker- but then The Slog will really have some meat to get its teeth in!


  5. @JW
    ATEOTD has been missed but is warmly welcomed upon its return.
    Thank you for the last 12 months of debollocksation, humour, wit, enlightenment and making connecting to the Internet worth doing.
    I wish you, yours and every Slogger all the best for Christmas.


  6. It is still Christmas Eve here in Quebec; a plus 17C Christmas Eve. Runners in shorts, golfers galore, even canoeists out on the river. It could just as easily have been -20C on this day and has been many a year. Definitely a Green Christmas this year. Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel y Feliz Navidad. Thanks JW.


  7. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you John. I enjoy your thoughts. If nature can take its course by this time next year I may have my first grandchild. At 64 it’s been a long wait.


  8. Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year JW. Thank you for the last 12 months … sanity is the truth and you keep it flowing so thanks. Plenty of life in these old bones (well young relative to you) but it is all a state of mind.


  9. @Jaime in Q

    Unbelievable isn’t it. I’ve just returned from a Christmas Eve run with my eldest. I could not conceive of running in shorts and still overheating at the end of December. It’s usually cross-country skiing time.

    Thank you again JW for the high quality of your articles, and managing to maintain a forum that seems to attract so many erudite and decent commentators.

    Happy Christmas to all.


  10. Happy Christmas JW. I concur if something didn’t ache when I wake up I would think I had died. The really annoying thing is that your back doesn’t say at the time eg “these logs are way too heavy” A body could really use a strain gauge so when it goes to Amber you stop before it clicks onto Red.


  11. Found amber a long time ago, what is green like? Empathise with the unwanted body awareness John. I have the lumber lumbar lumber lergi too. Just wish I had the age, experience & wisdom, of you lot, to balanced it out. I’m new here & I am so enjoying your observations & the discourse, Ta all. As to the seasonal bit “Paff Humbug”, prefer to spread the joy & happiness I bring to others over fifty two weeks, rather than gush it in one. Tongue removed from cheek, sermon over. Looks like there will be lots to write & type about this coming year, enjoy the seasonal spirit.


  12. Happy Christmas John, and thank you for another year of wit and information, you remain ‘first click of the day’
    I am also nearing my 8th decade and the old body complains more now , but I have a pal who is full of ‘can’t do that’ so I am in the use it or lose it camp.
    My wife is my regulator with ‘I think that will do you for today’ time fo a beer, and no, she’s not for sale.
    By the way if you fancy a laugh today pop over to ‘call me Ishmael’ blog. No punches pulled there….
    So my friend, have a great time and lang may yer lum reek.
    All the very best, Mick from Brittany.


  13. Have a happy Christmas and New Year JW. Thanks for all your efforts during thIe last year – and relenting on the letters. Your many informed contributors 
    Deserve to be included.


  14. As I sit here, in anticipation of another flooding storm, just prior to the farcical speech of the great unelected one, I have to say upon reflection that the elites of the Western World are all on song this year:

    Queenie the Unelected turns to christianity for hope
    Porcine Dave turns to christianity for hope
    Archbishoprick of Canterhorsey turns to christianity for hope
    PopeyPooh turns to christianity for hope

    Yet all of these people are endorsing wars and pestilence upon the populations of the earth as they plunder the planets resources and wealth for themselves. There’s something very wrong here. Their only hope is that the peoples of the planet don’t rise up against them. Our only hope is that we do. I cannot abide a single one of them


  15. I suspect that the New Year will only herald more of the same, perhaps a bit more concentrated, the shouting down a bit louder and the smokescreens a bit smokier but, nothing is going to change much.
    Same old same old.
    Why would that, which serves them so well, change?
    The rich may well get richer and, the poor will certainly get poorer but, there isn’t enough hungry bellies yet to bring about the change we all so badly need.


  16. You’re a daily port of call, John, and a vast hat-tip to you for your wit, wisdom,and occasional apoplexies…a very Merry Christmas and wishes for an excellent New Year for you and all the Sloggers.


  17. Hope you had a lovely relaxing Christmas and I wish you a wonder filled New Year. It is absolutely p*****g down here in West Yorkshire (usually 365 days a year), the river has burst its banks and is a sad start for some people and the local pub. However life goes on…………………


  18. JW belated seasons greetings. prokopios has spoken for me, I would suggest though in addition, [considering your advancing age] that you perhaps employ a young French piece to do a bit of hoovering and dusting for you?


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