The Meerkat Muse – 21/2/24

Welcome back one and all to the greatest show on earth, the Meerkat Muse!

Not that we’re bragging or anything…

Let us begin by picking up with the events of two weeks ago.

The King

King Charles has cancer, which is something I would not wish upon my worst enemy. At any age, and no matter one’s background, that diagnosis must be terrifying. As someone who has lost family to cancer, I wish the King a swift recovery.

It’s certainly going to be the case that King Charles will receive the very best care the country (and perhaps the world) has to offer, which won’t be the case for all the average Britons who received similar news. It strikes this meerkat as grossly unfair that by virtue of birth, someone can receive much better and much quicker healthcare than someone else.

This whole saga has dominated the news, yet precious few lines of ink have been spilt discussing the imbalance between what royalty is granted, and what ordinary people receive. On social media, some of the unhinged folk have been whining that all this is down to stress caused by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan. This is total bullshit (the same group claim the stress allegedly caused by Harry killed the 96 year-old Queen Elizabeth, and the 99 year-old Prince Phillip), but this won’t stop the rabid hater crowd from pedalling their claims.

The (Wannabe) Tyrant

The highly convoluted legal situation concerning former US president Donald Trump seems to get murkier with each passing week. Recently, the courts ruled that a former president is not immune from criminal prosecution for acts committed whilst president. This is important, because if he had been ruled immune, Trump would not potentially face prosecution for his part in inciting the 6th Jan Insurrection.

It also sets a precedent. If former presidents were granted immunity from prosecution from crimes committed during their presidency, they could potentially get away with all sorts of things. I am pretty certain the detractors of President Biden would be outraged if it were impossible to bring criminal charges against him for any alleged misdeeds as and when he leaves the White House, but will they take the rough with the smooth, and accept that the rules should apply equally to everyone?

It’s not cut and dried, not yet. Trump could appeal the court’s decision. This adds up to further delays, possibly beyond the date of the next US elections, and if Trump were to win the election, he would, as a sitting president, be immune to prosecution.

A BBC article quoted one Professor David Super, who remarked that Trump possibly believes a president’s legal status is a bit like a monarch’s. King Charles has sovereign immunity from both civil and criminal proceedings; perhaps Trump believes he ought to have similar status? It would not be a tremendous surprise to me if Trump thought of himself as ruler of a fiefdom, lording it over the commoners, knowing they will lap up whatever he says.

Trump, like King Charles, was born into wealth, and the privilege that goes with that wealth. He’s lived a luxurious life since he was a kid. I believe he believes his own hype. He thinks he deserves all of that unearned stature, even though several of his businesses have gone bankrupt (with serious consequences for his employees). Trump is all about serving his own interests.

Tattoo Choices

After a great deal of internalised procrastination (something I am very good at), this meerkat finally came to a decision about his next tattoo! The theme was more or less locked in as something Super Mario-themed, but what to go for? I considered Bowser, I considered Mario himself, or a power-up, and I flipped between different generations of everyone’s favourite moustached plumber. Super Mario Bros 3 remains a gorgeous, amazingly-crafted game, and Super Mario World is always so wonderful to play. Did I plump for something from one of those games, or go for something more modern? What to do???

The question ultimately became the inspiration. Virtually every iteration of Super Mario Bros has featured the golden question block. Normally this would yield at the very least a coin for Mario, and on a number of occasions, it would grant him a power-up. The more fiendish creators on Super Mario Maker might hid enemies to trick you! The question block swiftly became the tattoo of choice, though this didn’t settle the question of what generation.

In the end (and as my wife pointed out) the most recognisable symbol would be the original. There’s more chance of a casual Mario acquaintance recognising objects from the original game, so I made my choice, and went back to where my personal adventure with Mario began.

Alas, you won’t see the finished tattoo within this Muse. It won’t be completed until the next Muse cycle, sorry!

Damp Days

Following a spell of unseasonably… well, not warm weather, but let’s say mild conditions – the mercury has plummeted. The difference between 10C and 5C is quite stark when you’ve gotten quite used to the latter! What does not help is the occasional outburst of persistent rain. It’s winter, so cold, wet weather is to be expected, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it! Typically, it rained on the day I wanted to post my laptop off for repair, which meant having to take extra care to secure my hardware against the elements.

With the laptop off for the keyboard repair, my avenues for updating the site would become limited. Sure, it would be possible in small doses, but I had a lot of writing I wanted to do (not least of all providing the final tweaks to Fontana & Istilor), and none of that was truly possible without my laptop!

I’ve also gotten back into Football Manager 21 of late, and I’ve had to put that career on hold. Talk about withdrawal symptoms!

Author Interviews

I owe many thanks to Berneta L. Haynes, for providing me with an interview platform. Her interview with me is now live on Waking Writer, and hopefully it offers a nice little insight into my writing ideas and processes 🙂

Family Fun

I recently had a weekend at my mum and dad’s, for a house party. I dare say this did wind up feeling like an exhausting occasion, as my cousins and their kids were in attendance. I can now very much understand the exhaustion my parents, aunts and uncles must have felt when we were all kids, and I speak as someone who wasn’t even playing host! It was a good day, not least of all because I could catch up with family, but come the end of it I felt knackered! I ended up with a thumping headache, and I can’t blame the alcohol. I might be able to blame a lack of caffeine though.

A highlight (especially for my daughter) was meeting my brother’s dog! She is a spaniel, and she is adorable! I don’t think she will be meeting my cat any time soon, but she is so friendly, as all good dogs are.

Marvel Jesus is Risen!

After months (in fact arguably years) of speculation and hype, the first teaser for the third Deadpool instalment (that which unites the Merc with a Mouth with the MCU) dropped during the Superbowl. Needless to say, it was a frenetic blur of action, quips, and hints of what to expect, but I am very excited by the look of this. Anyone concerned that Disney might tone Deadpool down need not worry, for it appears he will be as, um, unique as ever.

I wound up watching the trailer at an ungodly hour, because…

The Night of a Thousand Pukes

My daughter was sick shortly before bed, and carried on being sick every few minutes for a few hours, despite various remedies and medication. After a time she seemed fine, but she utterly destroyed any chance of a good night’s sleep, and guess who had to be up early for work? I know she didn’t mean it, kids get sick from time to time and it’s enormously frustrating for them, however it’s also extremely exhausting for me and her mother! It’s one of those things. My wife was also sick at one stage, though whether that’s connected I don’t know… though my mum was also sick, so was it something the three of them ate at the family party?

It got worse. My daughter remained sick throughout the day, to the point where my wife took her to the doctor’s, who in turn referred her to A&E! She was quite dehydrated, so needed to be put on a drip, but given the state of the NHS, how long would that take? I offered to head down to A&E to meet them, but was told not to, given that I would only get in the way, which is fair. Consequently, I headed home, and pretty much collapsed onto the sofa!

What would the following day bring?!

It turned out that my daughter (and probably my mother, and possibly my wife) had gastroenteritis. This is a nasty little bug that enflames the stomach and intestines, hence all the vomiting. I was prepared to wait up for them, but then things changed…

My wife called me to say she’d fainted! Needless to say, I shot up to the hospital and waited with her and my daughter for a time, until eventually I brought my daughter home. There was no telling how long we’d be down A&E, especially since the doctors wanted to run tests. Thus, we ended up home, shortly before 10pm. My wife got home around 3am, and it is of no surprise that we slept in till late the following day! I could do without all the drama! My brother would also wind up getting sick, lending credence to the gastroenteritis theory (or maybe food poisoning), and it does seem that there is a bug on the loose. I hope I avoid it!

Please, no more hospital trips!

The Stress Does Not Stop

Immediately following all of this rather astonishing and unwelcome drama, it was back to work, and straight into a world of delivery carnage. It seemed there were failed deliveries everywhere, and naturally the stores are the first port of call for annoyed and disgruntled customers, so that mean I was among a number of colleagues across the company having to deal with the consequences of these problems. It’s one thing to clean up my own mistakes, but these are issues being generated for me by others, and I despise the extra stress this brings. I don’t need all of that whilst being worried about my wife and daughter!

All of these events conspired to make me forget about Valentine’s Day (well, not completely, I had already given my wife a tattoo voucher), though after all the hijinks, it was set to be a low-profile event anyway.

The Stress Continues

It seems like stressful things come in threes, and the news that my laptop’s repair was not proceeding as desired was the third (hopefully last) complication. It seems the repair place tried two keyboards, neither of which were compatible, and then a third, which was also not compatible. They’re ordering a new one from China, and the ETA for this, as of the 14th, was two weeks! Grrrrrrrrrr! This is holding my progress with The Awakening’s sequel, and it is has unfortunately forced a short delay with releasing Fontana & Istilor.

Doctor Days

Towards the end of this rather barbaric week I had a health check at my local doctor’s surgery. I have to confess to a bit of anxiety beforehand: what if it transpired I had something seriously wrong with me? I am increasingly aware that my 40s body is not as robust or as fit as my 20s body, something that is increasingly frustrating. They say youth is wasted on the young; I hear that loud and clear!

Still, the check went well. It seems my cholesterol, weight and blood pressure are all within acceptable levels.

The Bus Station Brawl

I was bringing my daughter home from school via the bus, and aside from the usual hustle and bustle of a busy bus at the end of school, everything seemed normal. Once we arrived at the bus station everyone bundled off, and my daughter and I got into the station, when behind us a fight erupted. It was between two women, who began throwing punches and pulling hair on the bus, and carried on their commotion once off it. Why this all happened is beyond me, but we didn’t linger to find out! At least one of the women had kids with them, and I can’t imagine how terrified the ordeal must have been for them.


I genuinely believe the stress of everything set off a cold. I wound up becoming bunged up and sniffy, which I loathe. My nose is running, and I have that foggy feeling in my head, which has been exacerbated by the saga of items missing from deliveries and mini family crises. My only hope is that we are now finally reaching the end of all the chaos.

Bringing Fontana & Istilor Forward

Recall how I’d lamented about delays to Fontana & Istilor? Well, my wife found our old laptop (which suffers from power supply issues), and I was able to get it charged enough to make my desired updates to Fontana & Istilor! This means it is now back on track for release on the 29th of February! Woo!

School Christmas Dinner Dreams

Quite what compelled this particular nocturnal adventure I have no idea, but nonetheless, I voyaged back to my school days, and I believe to my final days at school, which curiously overlapped with Christmas dinner. My chief memory of the dream is seeing a lot of scrumptious food, and not being able to quite get what I wanted. Imagine piles of gravy-soaked meats, Yorkshire puds, golden roast potatoes and all kinds of incredible desserts… I am getting hungry just thinking about it.

Other dreams have drifted my way too. In one night I dreamt I was a T-800 terminator, fighting other terminators. At one point I was blasting one in the face with a Gatling gun. In another, I was driving a go-kart down an Australian motorway. I don’t really have any context for any of that, though there must be something, somewhere in my subconscious that has dwelled on these things.


I know people who have cats. I know people who have elegant, graceful kitties. My cat is definitely not elegant or graceful! He’s a good boy, and I love him dearly, but he is such a poser!

See what I mean?

Monday Madness

Another day at work, another day of utter lunacy. It seemed everyone and their dog had some kind of urgent problem, and the most frustrating thing is that none of these problems concerned my customers. I was in the situation where (yet again) work was being generated for me, at a time when I really didn’t need the extra stress.

Can I go five measly minutes without a fresh problem?!

It’s no one’s fault per se, but when all this extra drama seems to land on my doorstep, it aggravates me. It’s one thing to wind up with extra work because of something I’ve done, but to go from a mundane if manageable Monday, to a manic and murderous Monday, through no fault of my own… well, that’s the sort of territory that really grinds my gears.

Tremendous Tuesdays

At least the following day brought some fun. Firstly, I set off to town to get my new tattoo, and in a rolling back of my original teasing statement, I present to you all an early picture of tattoo number seven!

I am very happy with it!

Afterwards my wife, daughter and I saw Argylle at the cinema. This was quite a good film, if not standout amazing, and it teases the way forward for another franchise. After this, we had all-you-can-eat Chinese food, an over-indulgence, but one I always enjoy!

With that, we have reached the conclusion to this Muse. Where will the next one take us? You’ll have to wait and see 🙂

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