11th January MMXXIII

The 11th day of the Gregorian calendar. 354 days of 2023 remain. In Tunisia, it is Children’s Day. In England, Southampton F.C. host Manchester City in the E.F.L. League Cup. In. Nepal, Prithvi Jayanti is being celebrated.

January is a time of sales, newness, and winter blues in the northern hemisphere. My younger sister Astrid was born on the 20th day of this month and remains to this day, my younger sibling. Also, she’d be a star if Astrid found more hobbies. A new year means resolutions and opportunities to start something fresh. Go on, Astrid, give it a try! Spring is coming soon…

Newness means looking at new ideas. Talking about baby names with my future Prime Minister friend, some oddities were suggested. Brahma Timothy Dalton Kiki Glauber Berti Acton was not considered, although it was recalled by my mate Brahma as a great baby name suggestion. No chance. Maltese rebel Vincenzo Borg, born on this date in 1777, stood a better chance. Also born on this day was SAS founder Paddy Mayne. The name Mayne has a good ring to it. It sounds like Maine. Maine Road? Very direct. A main road. Never cross the main road, as were told as a kid. Never cross the Maine Road, as Manchester United fans used to say.

Suggested names often link to history, time, and dates. In the month of the wolf moon, Wrestler Mick “The Dulwich Destroyer” McManus was born on this day. Combining the letters of man with the letter u isn’t appropriate. He was born on the same date a few years before Arthur Scargill. They are in good company with Bud Acton, my all-time favourite basketball player. I’m fibbing. I don’t really like basketball. The Manchester Giants are okay. Manchester City are better. İlkay Gündoğan plays for the boys in blue. İlkay means first moon.

Today is former Halifax Town striker Jamie Vardy’s birthday. To save money on a party, he and former Manchester City player Leroy Sané can organise a joint party reading Thomas Hardy books in the memory of the great wordsmith. A photo of great mountaineering humanitarian Sir Edmund Hilary could be placed on a wall behind a breathalyser to ensure party guests don’t drive home under the influence of alcohol. That great invention by Welsh inventor Tom Parry Jones has probably saved more lives by being a deterrent than not. So, that all can appreciate the Chinese calendar year…

The Chinese year is somewhere between 4719 or 4659, 壬寅年 (water tiger) to 4720 or 4660 癸卯年 (water rabbit). Give or take. China has recently reopened and gives me a chance to try and book a flight back soon whilst applying for the visa. Perhaps I can call via Croatia, which has now fully adopted the Euro coinage, and will abandon the kuna as a currency in 4 days. These days, I’d simply favour a stable job and some pounds or RMB to help the future move along smoothly.

Indigo is a cool sounding word and same. It has passed from the Greek word, ‘indikon’, meaning ‘from India’ to Latin into common usage English. It reflects the meaning of a purplish blue colour produced by a plant with a similar name, Indigofera tinctoria. In naming formats for kids, it is gender-neutral and apparently appeared as far back as the year 1436. Marco Polo (1254-8 January 1324) is believed to have first brought back the plant and dye instructions to Europe. These days, the plants are often known to improve soil and bring new life to earth. This plant obviously provides a natural compound that allows blue to be added to clothes, canvas, and a multitude of materials. Naturally, I’m a blue as a Manchester City fan. Blue is natural. Look at the skies* and the sea. [*unless in Manchester, on this sodden wet morning]. There’s something about the moon and blue that feels right.

12:46pm China time, in Huizhou. 04:46am, Greenwich Mean Time…

The moon is rising.

Merry Christmas 2022.

The first Christmas I’ve had in Britain since 2013 is finally here. What a year to choose! As gas prices soar, sprouts finally have their day. As a shortage of cauliflower hit our local Lidl, we moved to brocoli (which is better all round) and trimmed it all off nicely. That’s Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve done. Having ate with Dad and Shaun, I’ll spend tomorrow at my Mam’s with Mum and Paul and Paul, and Beardie and Panda.

In fact, I think that I spent Christmas 2013 in Cornwall, so 2012 was the last Christmas I had in Manchester. Today, I met my good friend P.M. Brahma and went for lunch at the fantastic Northern Soul Grilled Cheese in Manchester, then a coffee in Afflecks and some dessert afterwards. Later, Panda, Blue, Shaun and I walked Clayton Vale. The Eve of Christmas has been quite relaxed. My thoughts have been elsewhere, but I am trying my best to enjoy it here.

On reflection, seeing the resting place of a deceased homeless person, hearing of a 19 year old lad hanging himself and the unfortunate death of a pedestrian at the hands of a Police car, could and should put many things in perspective. I’m not a huge fan of Christmas and its pressures on people. Please do stay safe. Please talk. Give help, where you can. Don’t be a knobhead. The world needs more light and love.

Dad has been good, treating us all at Christmas. Yesterday, on Christmas Eve’s Eve, I visited Aunty Chris and Uncle Ed. It’s always a pleasure to see family. A few brews and a wander ended up with getting back to walk Panda down Clayton Vale. Why not?! A good way to relax in the freezing winter mist. Panda was happy. That’s the main thing. I’m excited for Christmas at Mam’s house and switching off a bit. If my mind allows me to switch off. Much to say and do.

All the best for Christmas and New Year. Hope it’s a good one, no matter how hard it seems. Peace and love. 🐝