Bumtree

I have made use of the free selling site and app called Gumtree on several occasions in the past and have been delighted with the results.

While not everything has sold quickly, in most cases something has gone within a three week period, and if I have priced things fairly, it has all been good. But I am wondering about the thing lately.

I accept that there are some items that cannot be sold over this medium. I do not seek to sell them. Yet, when the rulemakers start to be arbitrary about the things – accepting one item and rejecting its brother – you wonder whether they are really smart enough to understand the difference between legal and illegal.

Further, while the listings are easy enough to put up, the first response to many of the careful prices is a flat 30% offer. That’s desultory and predatory at the same time, though not illegal in itself. I always thank the responder for the offer and if I can make any accommodation, I will do so…but the accommodation is a final thing.

Then it starts to get interesting. As soon as the accommodation is suggested, a series of barriers or extra demands are raised. Can the item be sent to the other side of the country at the accommodation price ( ignoring shipping costs ) and is there a vast range of accessories included free with it? Can a friend pick it up and pay by cheque? The odour of fish grows stronger with each text message.

The only saving grace with this is the fact that the advertisement is free in the first place and no goods ever have to be handed over without cash being exchanged on the spot. On all occasions when this has been the case, the deal has been good.

Well caveat emptor et vendor. It is the sort of activity that can be carried out while other things are going on, and no-one can force a sale either way. But if the buyers really do want to do business, they’ll have to do it with dignity. It ain’t a verge collection.

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Sex Talk For Social Media

It may appear that the current climate of political and social commentary is adverse to the topic of sex. Every day we see mimes, memes, and moans about it, and we can be sure that anything we write is being minutely monitored to see if it can be used to destroy us in a future political campaign. This paragraph, for instance, is being digested by a robot in a server somewhere and the component words stacked up for re-transmission. If I insert the name of a body part a red light comes on at the front of the server cabinet to alert the operator that there may be something juicy. Here, I’ll show you:

Scapula.

There. See? Red light. If I typed male scapula or female scapula it would ring an alarm horn. Whoops, I wrote horn. That’ll be a paddlin’…

This is funny now, but wait until I’m 93 and campaigning for the Senate and it all comes out. The only saving thing will be that I can claim it was fake news, but that I forgot who really wrote it.

But it is not too late to reform. If I pledge to behave and to agree with whoever wants to scold me, I will be allowed to be guilty. This can open a career in the apology business – a growing industry – and I can start to take on contract work for sports stars and celebrities. I have drafted an all-purpose admission of guilt and shame that can be used as an introduction to civic ceremonies, weddings, and trophy nights, and as it can be read from small hand-held cards, it should prove most popular.

I am even thinking of having the apology cards embroidered for use in Oklahoma.

They’ll be the Sorry with the fringe on top…

Hard Times For Soft People

Fate can be very unkind for many of us. Health problems, money problems, personal problems – they can all appear to limit our lives. What we need in these occasions is health, wealth, and happiness as an antidote. The simplest way to get this is to enter the social media and press the “ meme me “ button.

The result is rather like activating a dump valve in an industrial shower stall. You are wise to brace yourself before you hit it as the initial wave of sentimental horse shit can knock the unwary off their feet. Once a steady stream of unwanted advice is established you can turn round in it and get your bearings.

You will be encouraged to forget your troubles as you are forced to remember those of others. And in many cases you will be asked to send support…or even money…to any number of good causes.

Is this a help? In some instances it can be; if you are subject to low blood pressure the sight of some of your advisers can raise that. Then again, if you are inclined to be morose, their profile pictures may cause you to giggle.

And always remember that if they are somewhere else sending you memes, that means they are not at your front door pressing pamphlets on you. You can open the screen door without having to wedge it…

It may be difficult to cheer up, but not impossible. Even the mighty occasionally drive their cars into lamp posts.

Things I Never Write About

While I have treated of many topics here on ” Here All Week ” over the past six years, there are some that I do not deal with. Others may approach them, but I do not feel myself qualified to comment. Certainly I do not think I could make things better.

a. Suicide.

I have known a number of suicides in the last few decades. All of them had a history of distress, but few of their acquaintances knew to what depth it went. Two instances were reported truthfully, and one was clothed in deception.  One I have decided to believe the report, though I strongly suspect it. In the end it is all the same.

b. Adultery.

Is that still a thing? It would be for me, but I may be living in a parallel universe. I should not know how to deal with it, in any case.

c. Family abuse.

I recoil from it when I hear, and wish never to hear more…but for the sake of the victims, there are occasions when it should be boldly and openly discussed. I can offer cake and sympathy but sometimes I have no idea what to say. Have some more cake…

d. Extremist politics and religion.

I can stand a certain amount of Trump-bashing or Morrison-bashing before I react, and the reaction is mild anyway. I also grit and grim ( as opposed to grip and grin ) when I see racism, sinophobia, or xenophobia tricked up in pseudo patriotism and generally just let it through to the keeper…in the knowledge that no-one wants to keep it anyway. I am inclined to ignore ignorance.

I do not react well in other areas – when someone decides to be anti-Semitic or anti-American thinking it to be kewl. But I have been able to rein in my replies reasonably well – the 30-day snooze button on Facebook has been a godsend. But, like a snooze button on a clock radio, you can only press it so many times before you decide to just unplug the damn thing and throw it away.

Note: I am more aware these days of the psychological consequences of associating with idiots and ratbags, and seek to reduce this to a minimum. If Facebook friends are still able to read this as a shared message, they may take it as a favourable endorsement of their characters. Otherwise…

 

 

 

Living Your Own History

I have given up pretending to be other people; I have commenced pretending to be myself. Whether I will be more successful at it remains to be seen, but I know one thing – the clothing bill will be considerably lighter.

Do I have enough life accrued to have a history? And is it notable enough to be worthy of re-enactment? I’m not Dwight Eisenhower or Jim Carrey…so I don’t know whether anyone else will want to see me playing me. But I will still pursue the idea for my own purposes.

What was I? A little kid, then a teenager, than a young man, than a middle-aged man, and now an oldish sort of man. I have never climbed a new mountain, nor discovered a new cure for anything. Equally, I have never murdered people nor stolen money from them. Just an average Joe.

But an average Joe who had a great good time doing several things; taking photographs, reading books, and building scale models. If I re-enact what I did then I will not please or harm anyone else, but I can still please and harm myself…hopefully in equal portions.

This column, and the others I write, are part of the re-enactment I do of success in school. That petered out early, but these WordPress posts are going along nicely.

The Little Studio continues to take dance pictures as well as commercial illustration to the satisfaction of the customers.

The Little Workshop is spooling up to produce more and more scale models that please and delight me. And keep me agile of mind and hand. The activity is totally beneficial.

I may decline to wear the clothing of my childhood – the Howdy Doody vest is a difficult garment to integrate into normal day wear – but I’ve noticed recently that I can rock the flannel shirt and work trousers…and as a retired man I can wear them in more places than you’d think. The white moustache and flat cap help as well.

She’ll Be Right, Mate.

Lying on your back in a hospital bed…as opposed to sitting upright and lieing unashamedly…makes for a good opportunity to review the basics of life. I have been promised that I can go home tomorrow and that it will be as a walking case. Limping, is rather a more accurate adjective, but at this stage of the game I am not going to quibble over words.

Two legs. One sore but working, one comfortable and working. All will get better and eventually I shall be walking to the bus stop again, working in my Little Workshop, and driving my Little Car. I am delighted with the prospect.

Like General Douglas Macarthur said after surviving a Moro attack as a young lieutenant: ” Anything I got after that was velvet. “. I will henceforth never have to walk. I’ll get to walk…

Reliving The Lives Of Someone Else’s Ancestors…

I used to take a great delight in the re-enactment hobby. I discovered it in the 1980’s as an adjunct to the activities of our local muzzle-loading rifle shooting club.

We’re in Australia, but a section of the country that has little colonial history of note – few battles and none of them famous. Re-enacting colonial times would mainly involve hard work, dirt, and discomfort. It is an unattractive prospect compared to the pageantry and bloodshed of  the United States, Britain, or the European continent. There is little in the way of glamour to it all.

So I reached out – gathering materials to pretend to live in 1860’s America, 1800’s England, and various areas during the Middle ages. There were a lot more things to wear and do when one concentrated on these cultures. At various times you could have seen me as an ACW soldier of either side, a British soldier of 1815 or 1860, a medieval dentist or crossbowman…it was a varied picture. But none of it was a picture of my own life …or of the lives of my ancestors.

Ultimately, this is where the activity failed. It introduced me to like-minded individuals here and now, and I value their friendships….but it had no valid connection to my life.

So what has taken the place of this once all-consuming passion? What fire burns in the grate now? And why is it producing a better heat for me? Read the next post and see.