The Meerkat Muse – 1st December 21

We are into the month of Christmas, but do we feel festive?!

Before we cut into the metaphorical turkey, let’s go back to November, which for me is not a Christmas month. Well, I’ll concede that in terms of preparation it is, but in terms of celebration, it isn’t.

Harsh, but true.

Maybe it’s because November is my birthday month. I’ve always compartmentalised my birthday and Christmas, because the two aren’t all that far apart. I count myself lucky that I wasn’t born in December, wherea birthday can get washed away in a tinsel tidal wave. It’s not that I don’t like Christmas, but the adverts and the pressure of the occasion and all the planning… it seems to start earlier with each passing year, and I feel it diminishes the season. Christmas is special because it’s once a year, not three months of a year! Plus, bombarding Christmas adverts at kids only makes their demands more expensive and amps up the anxiety of parents.

Speaking of birthdays… well, I need to decide on a new tattoo, but I have vouchers to help me afford a new one. I’m leaning towards something DuckTales themed… and my daughter, who has taken to calling me ‘low-budget Spider-Man), bought me… well, see for yourself:

I have two new books to read, both of which are part of The Expanse series. I have a new Star Trek scarf and a new summer coat. I am also now the proud owner of an Oculus Quest, which is a VR headset gadget, and it has already provided a moment that my wife found hilarious. I’m undecided on whether to share my ‘dancing’.

Oh you know what? Let’s share the dancing, and the dubious artwork I created in VR land:

Let us also rejoice at Vader Immortal!

Covid’s Cold Fingers

Until very recently, my family had not been directly impacted by Covid-19, but in mid-November that changed. It would be an understatement to say I am opposed to the ignorance and pseudo-science that pervades the anti-vax establishment, and that opinion has only solidified during the pandemic. Claims that the vaccines are unsafe are rather bellied by the facts, though anti-vaxxers – as with most anti-scientific groups – will strive to ignore the facts, often going to great lengths to distort them.

Now, with my family being affected by the virus, my patience with anti-vaxxers is at an all-time low. They claim to be on the side of freedom, when in fact they are on the side of death. If their choices did not impact so many others I would not be as vocal, but anti-vaxxers leave others vulnerable to a deadly disease, which is selfishness of the highest degree. I appreciate that mandates are not wanted, but if the ignorant and the selfish wish to perpetuate a deadly virus, there will be consequences. No one wants businesses to have to bring in rules around masks and vaccines, but they have a duty of care to their employees and customers, and if the ignorant and selfish don’t like that – well, they have a choice to make, but they cannot evade the consequences.

Personal responsibility seems to be something that society is moving away from. Nor is this specific to the right or left. We’re in a rush to pretend we don’t play a part in controlling the spread of this deadly disease. We’re pretending it’s not up to individuals as well as governments and businesses. I will grant that some governments (such as Trump’s Republicans and Johnson’s Tories) have failed us, but people who ignore the rules because they don’t believe there’s a risk (or worse, because they were hoodwinked by anti-vax pseudo-science) fail us too. Actions have consequences. Freedoms come with responsibilities. You cannot have one without the other.

I’ve seen a hashtag pop up on Twitter with the announcement that masks will once again be mandatory in shops over Christmas – ‘#DoNotComply’. Some people are trying to equate having to wear with a mask with the persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust. That’s ridiculous and offensive on far too many levels to count. Masks help make a difference, especially when used alongside other measures.


Do you sometimes look at a word and it looks wrong, even though you’ve been using it for decades? Work is one such word. As I typed it, it just felt wrong, even though it was right. ‘Skeleton’ is another word that does that to me. Anyway, I digress. In the latter part of November we got some news at work that’s led to some fairly major changes, which followed on from other major changes. The short version is that my boss and friend from my previous bathroom retail days is getting promoted, and this has opened up the possibility of a promotion of my own. It won’t see a major shift in income or how I work, but any opportunity to A: earn extra money and B: stick on the CV that I’m in a management role is an opportunity I can’t pass up. Of course, applying for the role is not the same as getting it.

I’m not certain how things will play out. A bit of restructuring has taken place at the top and that’s one reason why my boss has been given the chance to step up. Where it all leads, I cannot say. We shall have to wait and see.

Terrence and Sharon

All I can say about this is that my wife and daughter between them found and named some funny-looking carrots. I don’t know which one’s which.

New Tattoos… Eventually

Part of my birthday present included tattoo vouchers, as mentioned earlier on, and the theme is likely to be DuckTales. This could well be my first colour tattoo, and there are two candidates:

Do I go with A?:

Or B?:

This one is going out on Twitter as a vote, and that vote ends today.

Home away from Home

I’ve probably mentioned on a few occasions that I’m originally from Stevenage. I live in Basildon but I’m originally from Stevenage. At the weekend I paid a visit to my former home town, and for the first time in many such visits I ventured into the town centre itself. Normally I see the train station, the leisure park and my parents’ house, but this time I had the time to see the town centre.

I wanted to upload pics, but this seems to have put WordPress into a spin, so no pics for now. However, as with most visits, there’s a certain… wistfulness? Stevenage was my home for a long time. The town centre has changed, but not a great deal. It is instinctively familiar to me, even after all this time. The whole town has a similar feeling, and I enjoy going back, though it doesn’t happen too often. That said, Basildon is home, and whilst I will always have a home away from home, Basildon is where I’ve forged a life of my own.

Cold Snaps

Winter is definitely here. Whilst up at Stevenage the weather was bitterly cold, and we even had a little snow. Monday was no better, and the gloves are on. It would be a massively understatement to say things have turned! It did get a little better on Tuesday, but all the signs point to a very cold winter – let us hope it doesn’t drag on as much as the last one did!

What more do I have to offer for this particular Muse? Well, it’s the first of three Muses in December (the 15th and the 29th being the other bi-weekly occasions), which makes it slightly unusual – most months only end up with two. I’ll have to show off whichever tattoo wins the vote (assuming I can get an appointment to get it done by one of the next two Muses), and I’ll prepare an annual Muse that recaps 2021. I’m not sure what to say (yet) about this year. It shall require some thought! In the meantime, take care everyone, and tune in next time!

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