The Meerkat Muse: 12/6/24

We are moving into summer, but are we getting a summer?! Welcome back to the Meerkat Muse!

Feeling Low

Recall that, right at the end of the previous Muse, I’d mentioned I had begun to feel under the weather? Well, that feeling accelerated rather rapidly, and as per the Wednesday, I was feeling quite sorry for myself. I had no energy, and I will admit to feeling quite grumpy. I hate feeling ill (to be fair, who enjoys it?!), and wanted my equilibrium back. No amount of medication seemed to shift the cold/flu/whatever it was to my satisfaction, though at least I ruled out covid (I took a test to be on the safe side). The trouble is, I can’t simply chuck a sickie, because A: sick-pay isn’t as good as regular pay and B: we’re too short-handed, so all I could do was grin and bear it, even when I absolutely, positively, did not want to.

Such was the state of me, two weeks ago today, that I headed downstairs to sleep on the sofa, in order to spare my wife my coughing and spluttering. At least I was off work on the Wednesday, which made a difference. If I’d had to go to work, I might have passed out at my desk! I took to some fiery noodles to try and help sweat out the cold, but succeeded only in making my mouth feel like it was on fire.

The Coma Dream

Perhaps this was a result of my addled brain, but I had a dream where I was in a coma for a couple of years. When I woke up, my immediate thought was ‘I must check my emails!’ I would like to believe that, were such a scenario to play out for real, I’d have other, more important priorities!

Unkind Weather

So, May delivered some mixed conditions. It was bright and sunny and also incredibly damp. The month ended with overcast conditions, and a bit of rain, which is disappointing. I don’t except blazing hot weather in May, but it would be nice to have better weather at that point in the year!

The Car Alarm

So, so tired…

The other night, someone’s car alarm kept going off. Were I a violent person, I would have grabbed the nearest heavy object, found the car, and battered it until it could not emit a single sound. It was constant, and the last thing one needs when feeling unwell. If the alarm is faulty, then take the car to the shop to get it fixed! Whoever owns this car has no respect for their neighbours!

Internet Issues

Curse you, technology!

Due to some form of external interference, we lost our internet connection a couple of Sundays ago. Since so much of what we do relies upon some form of connection, this was frustrating! It becomes impossible to play certain video games without being online (even games that don’t strictly need you to be connected will still refuse to work properly), and it certainly leads to some consternation among the younger folk! What makes it more aggravating is that, when it’s an external factor, you can’t easily fix it. I ran some troubleshooting with my ISP, but they were limited to what was going on inside the house, so they couldn’t really do anything.

Banoffee Escapes

To remove this sense of frustration, I treated (or inflicted, depending on your perspective!) my wife and daughter to a banoffee pie! We had popped into town earlier in the day to pick up some essentials, and I decided to take full advantage of this opportunity. Banoffee pies are indulgent delights!

You take a generous quantity of digestive biscuits…
… have a lot of fun smashing them with a rolling pin…
… mix with some melted butter…
… and add some caramel, bananas, and whipped cream.

Every element of this dessert speaks to me. I love it, even if it’s decidedly unhealthy! I wound up making two, having over-estimated ingredient quantities, and come the evening, it was time to enjoy!

General Lethargy

Whenever I’ve felt my cold starting to abate, it reminds me that it’s still present. In early June my head felt very foggy, and I was struggling a little to find focus. It seemed that this bug wanted to cling to me, and I could not shake it. To demonstrate how much this had been kicking my ass, I wound up sleeping in till 10am on the aforementioned Sunday, which I nearly never do these days. Exhaustion has been a constant companion of late.

Snarky Sarcasm

Working in retail sales, you will inevitably face people who feel the need to be passive-aggressive and awkward. These traits are not likely to yield any favours, yet there are still people who think that being rude and difficult will grant them preferential treatment. Here’s a newsflash to those people: it won’t. My approach to any queries from rude people is to stick them to the bottom of the pile.

Case in point, a guy called up the showroom about bath panel. For those who don’t know, a bath panel is an acrylic, MDF or wooden plank that fits to the side of a bath. They come in a variety of designs and colours, and they can therefore add a bit of pleasant decoration to the bathtub itself. Some panels are designed to be cut down on site by the fitter (we sell baths in a range of sizes, and it’s not practical to stock specific sizes of each colour and pattern), and some panels are designed to fit the contours of shaped baths, such as the P-shape bath. P-shape baths have to have specific panels, because no two P-shape baths from different companies are alike. If you buy the bath from Company A, you have to use their panel to guarantee it will fit. Anything else is unlikely to fit correctly.

The guy had been talking to one of my colleagues, and wanted to order a panel for his existing P-shape. I began to explain to him that in regards to the end panel he wanted, the reason it was bigger is because it’s a universal panel that has to be cut down. I didn’t get as far as explaining that special order products can’t be returned, under any circumstances, before he got shirty about having to cut the panel, and hung up.

Seriously dude?

I have no idea why people choose to be so needlessly passive-aggressive. Perhaps it works for them, on occasion, but it will not, and never will, wash with me. I am not impressed with such behaviour. As I said, it will ensure your query winds up treated as a low priority.

Unfortunately we live in a society that does seem to reward abrasive behaviour. People might talk of it as though they are ‘being upfront’ or ‘being direct’, but that’s merely an excuse to be rude. Quite why we tolerate rudeness and aggressive posturing as much as we do, I have no idea. There seems to be a trend in society to accept this, and we shouldn’t.

Saying Farewell

Last Tuesday, I awoke to news that a former colleague from my office supply retail days had passed away. He was not that much older than me, but by all accounts, he had taken the death of his father very hard, and unfortunately this would take its toll on him. I can’t say that I knew him terribly well, but during the time we worked together, he was very-much a good person, always relaxed and chilled, and always ready to make others laugh. He brought a lot of joy to proceedings, even if I didn’t get to experience that for very long. He is going to be missed.

Writer’s Block

Maybe it’s the cold talking, but lately, every time I think to myself that I’ll do some writing, I seize up. I can’t quite bring my brain and my fingers to cooperate and place words on the page. This even extends to my Writing Prompts series, which I just cannot find any momentum with at the mo. Still, these things happen. Sometimes the grey matter of this greymuzzle refuses to do what I want it to do. It doesn’t help that this cold has left me feeling shattered, so I hope that once it’s cleared, I will feel right, so to speak, and will be able to focus more.

Butting Heads

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking of the expression ‘it’s better to seek forgiveness than to ask for permission’. There’s certainly some scenarios where I have applied this philosophy, but it doesn’t apply to each and every set of circumstances. Imagine for a moment that the friend of a friend enters… let’s say a shared workspace, and takes, without seeking to clear it with anyone first, some stationery. They rather presumptively assume it’s fine, and part of that thought process is because they need it for the site they oversee. In their mind, do they feel their workspace is more important? Do they presume that because they are friends with the other overseer, they can take what they want, without making sure it won’t disadvantage their friend or friend’s workspace in any way?

It will be a topic of conversation when I next see my friend, because frankly, I don’t like the attitude this third-party brought to proceedings. They weren’t rude, but their approach was pretty arrogant. I suspect they are being a teeny bit exploitative of their friendship with my friend, and I hope that can be nipped in the bud.

Happy Pride Month!

June is Pride Month, a cause I am happy to get behind. Of course, a lot of companies make a big song and dance of LGBT rights at this time of year, only to ignore the subject for the remainder of the year (much as they will pay lip-service to ethnic minorities and women), but I don’t want to get too political here, so I will simply say ‘Happy Pride Month!’


As of last Thursday, the 6th of June, it has been eighty years since Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, marking a decisive moment in World War II. The invasion was crucial to opening a second front against Hitler and the Nazis, and unquestionably hastened the end of the war by years. I believe the Soviet war machine would have eventually ground away at the Nazis on the Eastern Front, but at a huge cost in lives, so the impact of D-Day cannot be understated.

The invasion – from the preparations to the day itself – was an enormous effort, developed over the span of many months. A range of pre-attack strategies were used to weaken Nazi defences ahead of the attack, and to keep them off-balance. Thousands of soldiers lost their lives that day, and it is vital that they are remembered. Sometimes I fear people have forgotten the sacrifices made to oppose fascism, given how it seems to be on the rise, so it is important to remember what was being fought against on D-Day. The Allies battled against the cruelty of a far-right regime, and they didn’t do so just to watch them rise to power again, least of all on their own soil. We can never forget what they did.

The Quiz Fail

Last Thursday, the trio of us at work went to a quiz night at a local bar, or so we thought. It never occurred to any of us to check that they were doing a quiz night, we assumed, based on previous experience. Sure enough, there was no quiz! Ah well, we had a couple of drinks, and put the world to rights as we did. Still, I’d been looking forward to a quiz!

The Nose Bleed

This is not what you think. Whilst I have been prone to nose bleeds in the past (thankfully, not so much as an adult), this was a case of me scratching myself, and nicking a bit of skin in the wrong manner, thus having a bleed from the nose that required two plasters to stop. How I managed to wound myself in such a manner is beyond me!

The Rise of Hay-Fever


My cold has pretty-much passed, but I think hay-fever has taken its place. My nose is tingly, all the time, and my eyes have started to feel itchy. I am taking medication, but that leaves me feeling drowsy, so sometimes, when I feel I need my wits about me, I have to make a choice: drowsy or bunged up. Not a great choice!

Election Predictions

I keep reading of the possibility that come the 4th of July, the Conservative Party will be virtually wiped out. This is certainly no bad thing in my view, but predictions are not always right, so it is bold to assume we’ll see the end of the Tories any time soon. They may certainly be blunted as a political party, but to the extent some suggest? I’ll believe it when I see it. As of the 8th of June, the collective prediction of various polls suggested the Tories could be reduced to 108 seats in Parliament, which would be their worst ever General Election performance, eclipsing their return of 156 seats in the 1906 election. This would also represent a loss of 264 seats, a huge collapse from the previous election.

I continue to retain misgivings about whether Labour will truly distinguish themselves from the Tories, but they remain the most likely party to win the election, and they could wind up with 451 seats. This would give them a majority of 125 seats, meaning Labour would comfortably control Parliament, and they’d be in a position to set policy virtually unopposed.

A big part of Labour’s likely gains is due to the Tories facing pressure from the Reform Party. The hard-right Reformists, led by Nigel Farage, have set their stall out as an anti-immigration party, using immigration as a scare tactic. This is not new – the Tories themselves pursue this angle at virtually every election – but Reform are pushing this angle very hard, and it’s giving some Tory supporters food for thought. The irony is, this split of the right-wing vote is likely to grant Labour a margin of victory considerably greater than they might have otherwise achieved. This strikes me as kind of funny, since Farage is not the sort of person who would especially want to see a traditionally left-wing party take power, yet he is virtually guaranteeing it!

There is a long way to go. A lot can happen in an election cycle. Polls can shift in a heartbeat, so let’s not make assumptions. However, the signs are promising that the Tories will get their comeuppance for 14 years of failure and pain.

Back to Rain

Will it ever stop?!

Monday delivered more rain. We are nearly at the midpoint for June, and the weather remains horribly erratic. Some forecasts have suggested this weekend will be a scorcher, but that remains to be seen!

Euro 2024

The European Championships are nearly upon us, and all I can conclude is that England do not stand a chance. I know some may call this meerkat cynical, but I base my conclusion on decades of experience. I would dearly love to be wrong, but somehow, I think I am right on this one. If you ask me, the smart money is on France, though Germany as hosts have to be taken seriously, despite their recent failings.

Will I be eating humble pie where England are concerned? Well, in two weeks time we’ll be closer to an answer. Stay tuned!

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