On The Road To Bastardom.

Every now and again I announce I’m going to start training to be a bastard.  Events in recent days, weeks and months have made me say that  quite regularly actually.  Being a nice guy seems to be getting me nowhere.  Well, last night at work I got to try out as a bastard, and with no little sadness I have to report that I think I passed…

As I came on shift last night, I was informed that one of the residents wished to stay up a couple of hours later than usual in order to watch a fireworks display, and that they had been told that whether this was possible or not would be entirely “up to John”.  The firework display – an annual affair for the Newton Ferrers Regatta – was to start at 9.30pm, and was due to run for maybe half an hour.  Normally my default position is to accede to the wishes of my residents, but this time saying yes was not so straightforward.

One problem was the knock-on effect accommodating this request would have on other residents, some of whom are rather particular about the time they get attended to.  I have yet to master the art of being in two places at once…

There were other considerations, but the main problem was that this resident needs two carers to assist to bed, and from 9 o’clock onwards I would be on my own.  I would be no good to anyone if I put my back out.  Doing so while defying explicit written instructions about best practice in manual handling probably wouldn’t do me a lot of good either.

It’s been jokingly remarked before now by one or two of my colleagues that some of the residents might see me as a “soft touch”, so willing am I to do any daft little thing for them.  This was one of the few times where I was going to have to say ‘no, sorry, I’d like nothing more than to accommodate you but it just isn’t possible’.

To say the resident was unhappy would be a bit of an understatement.  There were petted lips, and threats to “raise merry hell”, along with that of “going on strike”.  There was the expressed intent to leave the very next day, and stop taking any medication.

I was all the bastards under the sun.  The powers of the bastard flowed through me, triumphant.  And I hated every second of it.

So there you have it, proof if ever needed that even nice guys can be transformed into complete bastards by the power of the situation, as outlined by Philip Zimbardo in his book The Lucifer Effect.

We made up within the hour and no crisis ensued.  I don’t know if that counts as a mitigating factor in my favour or not….?  Still, being a bit of a bastard should make me more of a hit with the ladeez….  😉

Trains, Pains, and Automobiles…

It appears that my poor little car is buggered.  The mechanic has suggested it might be worth the gamble of spending £70-£100 replacing the belt, but apparently it is quite common when a cambelt goes for further work to be required on valves and pistons, which could cost about £500 or more.  Considering that the car has just had a new exhaust fitted, and is probably only worth £500 or so anyway, I am disinclined to spend more money fixing the thing.  Money, this month in particular, is something I just do not have.

This creates for me a bit of a pain, namely with regard to getting to and from work.  Yesterday I got a lift to Newton Ferrers from a colleague.  On finishing my shift I decided to walk to Brixton, a stroll of about 4/5 miles, and then catch a bus.  The walk took a little over an hour, all uphill, and the bus cost me £3.90!

Today I am working in Ivybridge.  The first train direct from Plymouth was at 0809, arriving at 0824.  Sadly for me I had to be at work by 0730.  So this meant catching the 0625 train for Glasgow, and changing at Totnes for a connection which got me into Ivybridge for 0724.  A journey of just about an hour!  I finish at 4 tonight, so it is anyone’s guess what time I shall get home tonight….?

Wish me luck.  The rest of this month I am going to need it.

The Creepy Crawlies of Newton Ferrers.

I was a little bored on night-shift the other night, so to while away the hours I took a few photos of the local nocturnal bug life.  I even made a movie of a snail, Helix Aspersa, an ugly little bugger up close, reminiscent of the beast from the movie Predator.  Though maybe that’s just me.  Anyway, enjoy…

A Common Shiny Woodlouse

The Common Shiny Woodlouse, or Oniscus asellus.   I knew them as ‘slaters’ as I was growing up.  Horrible things, I have never liked them.  It’s body armour is called ‘epimera’.   At the rear there are two pointy bits called ‘uropods’.  You can tell it apart from other woodlice by these, and by the antennae, or ‘flagellum’, which is in three segments.  The eyes are a group of shiny black bumps knows as ‘ocelli’.   These little beauties are found all over the UK.

A Leopard Slug I think…

This, I suspect, is a Leopard Slug, known as The Great Grey Slug, or Limax Maximus.  It may be a rather young one.  Slugs are hermaphrodites, so it is no good telling them to ‘go f*ck themselves’, as they would.  It is said on the interwebs that slugs can travel at speeds of up to 0.00726mph.  Certainly they travel at a pace that allows for a high degree of accuracy in measurement!  And did you know that some slugs have over 25,000 teeth?  Well you do now.  Sweet dreams.

Helix Aspersa, Common Garden Snail

This snail spent the entirety of my night-shift climbing the stairs towards the office and then back down to where it started from.  It took about 6 or 7 hours, a round journey of about 3 metres.  For nothing.  And I thought sheep were stupid.  A snail’s eyes are in the tip of it’s tentacles.  These beasties too are hermaphrodites, having both male and female sex organs.  Yet, apparently they prefer to mate with one another.  There is a lot of love in the world of l’escargot.

At the foot of the stairs…

Where am I going?

And last came the spider…

Possible Orb Web Spider

I am not sure about this wee beauty, but I think it may be an Orb Web Spider ( Araneus Diadematus), but I am not 100% sure.  Nevertheless, it’s a pretty little thing.  If anyone knows what kind of spider it is, I’d be obliged if you’d let me know.  Thanks.

Oh, and before I forget, here is a wee video of a snail.  It is my first venture into wildlife documentary filmaking, so please be kind.