Men Are From Jupiter, Women Are From Venus

Over the next couple of nights, there is to be a celestial conjunction. Or as much of a conjunction when two things line up… I’m not sure that’s a conjunction so much as, well, just the basis of making a line. Anyway, as Sky News spectacularly put it “Venus and Jupiter Are To Collide”.

Then, to alleviate any kind of fear that the headline may have conjured up, they added the word “In Illusion”. Which doesn’t really clear it up, it more kind of makes you think that Dynamo might be taking up star gazing.

What it boils down to is that we, the humble humans, can stand in our back gardens the length and breadth of the British Isles and gaze sort of Westward to see the bright light that is Venus and the bright light that is Jupiter kind of next to each other – on top of each other, even – in the night sky.

It’s being reported like it’s some massively amazing event. It’s two things lining up. I’m willing to bet that from where I am sitting writing this to where you are sitting reading this someone could probably draw a line. That’s all that’s happening with the planets but, you know, it’s important to show an interest in space now if you’re a media outlet because of Professor Brian Cox or something. It may be a law.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening. Sky News then took the time to explain that while it may look as if they are colliding the two planets are seperated by millions of miles. Not to mention the fact that were Venus and Jupiter to actually collide something has gone VERY WRONG in the universe and that would probably be the least of our worries. Or, as a comment on Sky News succinctly put it “If this actually happened we’d all be dead”.

Now, we’re quite used to celestial phenomena being a once in a lifetime thing – you can’t see another solar eclipse from Britain unless you stand on a ladder balanced on Beachy Head in 2197 and that sort of affair, so the Sky News article rounds off with how long it will be before two points of light line up in the night sky again (I mean, technically, it’s a day because they’re always in line…).


Not exactly the far flung future.

If something occurs within the lifetime of a DFS Sofa deal expiring then I don’t think we need to worry…


Dude, Where’s My Bus? Wait, I’m On It. Dude, Where Am I?

There comes a point in the life of every seasoned bus traveler’s life where they will gaze up from whatever they were doing – reading a book, nodding off, trying to work out if it’s only you that finds Nemi in the Metro completely unfunny – look out of the window and wonder where the hell you are.

Usually the moment passes within seconds once you get your bearings. You realise you’re not as far through the journey, or maybe a bit further, than you thought you would be at this arbitrary moment of looking up. You’re never exactly where you’d expect to be, though, which is both strange and speaks volumes about the punctuality of public transport.

But occasionally you’ll look up, as I did tonight, and have no idea where you are. Well, ok, I knew where I was but I couldn’t work out how we came to be where we were given that the bus route does not go anywhere near it. And then we went on a mystery tour of the back roads of Mirfield to get us to where we should have been when I looked up – well, either just before or just after – and not where we were when I originally looked up.

You know when you see a road and you think “This is not a road buses use on a day-to-day basis…”? It was those roads. Roads where you could hear the squeak of the air compressed between the bus and the car. Roads where the trees – undaunted by the likes of double decker buses – had chosen to grow out into the road and branches dragged along the windows like a kid playing the railings with a stick.

At one point we went so far back towards Dewsbury that I was convinced the driver had knocked off for the night and was heading back to the depot having not checked for remaining passengers, leaving me to potentially spend the night in a drafty bus garage somewhere with an angry bald man who kept saying “fuck” a lot.

I almost cheered when the bus made a turn back in the vague direction of Huddersfield and our convoluted route was rewarded with the addition of one passenger. A man we had driven past going the wrong way just minutes – long, long minutes – before.

Totally worth it.

On The Bounce

The house behind us has a trampoline. Of course it does, because all gardens now come fitted with a massive trampoline as standard and all children have evolved to the point where they can only function properly if they’re bouncing up and down, constantly, for hours at a time. Like when your grandparents used to play with a hoop and a stick for hours. Or something. Except they probably looked less sinister. Because there’s something unsettling about a child – or children – bouncing up and down with an expression on their face that shows that they can’t understand why they’re just bouncing when there are lots of other things they could be doing.

Which is probably why one of the children in the house behind us always has a prop when she’s trampolining.

Today alone she’s been trampolining with an old stylee squeezy washing up liquid bottle of the sort you would make Thunderbird 1 from following a step-by-step guide on Blue Peter and, later on, a Blu-Ray of some description. I have also seen her bouncing up and down with a CD in her hand, a book, and a normal definition DVD.

And a packet of crisps.

A balloon.

You get the idea. It’s like she’s conflicted. She wants to bounce but she also wants to watch a movie or do some washing up or something, but the urge to bounce is just too strong. Even in the evening, while bedecked in a onesie of some sort, she’s wanting to watch a Blu-Ray of something – sadly it’s very hard to tell what movie, but I’m willing to be it’s one that will put the willies up you – but she’s compelled to bounce. To bounce and bounce and bounce until she’s all bounced out. And has returned back to the house.

Leaving the Blu-Ray gently undulating on the rubber of the trampoline.

Yeah, there’s a Blu-Ray in their garden.

Just abandoned on the trampoline. Forgotten. As though any compulsion to watch it has been driven out by the bouncing.

Maybe it’s some sort of mind control. Or maybe it’s just a way to get stuff out of the house and left in gardens for other people to steal.

I wonder what film it is…

Book To The Future

Probably not that surprisingly for a house occupied by two bookish types, we have a lot of books. There are shelves and shelves of them – two deep – all over the house. And that’s just the physical books – we probably have another five hundred or so books on our Kindles. Hell, I probably have nearly five hundred on mine alone. Ooops.

So, yeah, we have a lot of books. There’s books we’ve read and there’s books we haven’t read. And there’s more books we have bought after the books we haven’t read that we haven’t read either. There are a lot of books.

A lot of books.

And every now and again we have a bit of a book shuffle where we take all the books of the shelves and go through them all, losing ones – to charity shops – that we don’t think we’d read again or ones that we’ve since picked up on Kindle for a low, low price. Or where we find a run of books that we really, really want to read again so they form a shelf of books that have been read but should be re-read and are in no way to be confused with the books that haven’t been read. Or the ones that have been read.

We have a lot of books.

Today we had that reshuffle. And a look through practically every book we have. And we got rid of thirty. Thirty books.

Do you know what a difference thirty books has made to the shelves?

Absolutely none.

In fact, if you asked me where those thirty books came from – and how they actually fitted on the shelves – I don’t think I could tell you. Because I’m fairly sure the shelves are as full now as they were this morning when they had thirty more books on them. It makes no sense. The remaining books have expanded, or something, to fill the gap left by the thirty that have departed. But if those thirty were to come back I’m sure we could rehome them.

I just don’t know where.

I reckon we’ll probably get rid of another thirty this time next year. When they’ll already have been replaced by sixty or seventy new ones. All of which will have mysteriously found homes on the shelves without too much fuss.

Books are magical.

Batman. Not For Girls.

The Batman Fighting Buddy
For sale in all good stores
It’s rated well on Amazon
It’s got some real good scores.

It’s some kind of plush toy
That stands about thirty centimetres tall
And if good for having a scrap with
If you’re only really small.

But the write up of the product
Misses out an entire gender
Boys can make Batman talk
Girls may as well surrender.

In this world of superhero films
And books and cartoons too
It’s wrong to think they’re just for boys
Girls are heroes too.

But often they are overlooked
And it’s weird in this case
Because essentially this toy’s a doll
Just bigger, with Batman’s face.

But it’s deemed alright for boys to play
Because it’s the Dark Knight
And girls don’t get a look in
And that doesn’t feel right.

But that’s the way that these things work
Even in this enlightened age
Toys for boys and toys for girls
Drive people into a rage.

If I knew a tiny girl
Who needed a present picking
I think I’d buy her the Batman toy
And watch her give him a kicking.