I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Why thumb-twiddling was invented

Adults rarely admit to being bored. It's thought to be a character flaw. Pensioners are particularly defensive: "In the old days we made our own entertainment." they say as if that exonerated them from under-occupation. I, being even older, envisage them playing Tin-Can Squat. Alone. In a cobbled street. Bordered by outdoor loos.
You can be bored by something, or by nothing. Huw Edwards the BBC newsreader bores me. His orotund voice saps even exciting news. I suppose he’d be a perfect candidate to tell me I was suffering from an incurable illness. "The incurable illness is you, Huw," I'd say. "You are oblivion incarnate."
Being bored by nothing is thought to be the boree's fault. Clever people have brains which play imaginary bagatelle, Texas Hold'em, even Russian Roulette. Such brains can read novels not yet written without the aid of a Kindle. Really clever people do not suffer from boredom; otherwise they'd cease to be clever.
It’s possible I fall asleep at night because I’ve been overtaken by boredom. If true this disqualifies me from being clever. I'd argue the point but, alas, there's too much supporting evidence elsewhere. The only unwritten novels I can read are by me.
Ciabatta's boring.
WIP Second Hand (29,182 words)
From the expression on his face she guessed Ogrill had some crushingly managerial response to make. Unfortunately for him he was forced to restrain himself as a customer started piling purchases on Francine’s previously empty conveyor. “See me in my office,” he said hurriedly.


“In your break, o’course.”

“In my break?” Francine was able to invest her protest with a whine she’d picked up from other women who worked in the store. An eloquent whine which stopped just short of being impertinent.


  1. I play Freecell when I’m bored, but now I think about it I often play Freecell as a diversion from doing something my conscience tells me I should be doing, but don’t want to. I could defend myself against criticism for being bored by saying that Freecell is a game that demands a certain amount of skill. I think what arises from this is that boredom is not a simple thing to define, and perhaps falls into two categories

    The space of time between doing something and deciding what to do next, especially if protracted.

    The state of mind induced by doing something which you are compelled to do but have no enthusiasm for symptomised by lack of concentration.

    I reckon I am often bored and would have no quibble if that defines me as not being clever.


    WIP - A bit of good observation here. The impression I get in supermarkets is that ninety nine percent of overheard conversations between “colleagues” revolve obsessively around the subjects of break times, and shift work hours.

  2. Boredom rarely if ever arises in one's own being. Few people will indeed admit to being bored if left on their own. But when you are assailed by an emission from another person or object, from which there is no escape, it can I agree become an excruciating torture. I imagine you for example sitting next to a gardener at a dinner party who insists on telling you about the life cycle of the vegetable marrow ...

  3. Sir Hugh/Joe: This is the blog mechanism at its best. Which doesn't mean to say I came up with something brilliant and forced the pair of you into brilliance. Rather that I started a hare and you ran with it but in slightly different directions. Both of your comments are mini-posts rather than comments, adhering to the idea I had (which was not terribly profound, just sufficiently diverting) and showing that we were all operating on the same plane. There is nothing more discouraging than when a commenter picks something irrelevant or trivial, ignoring the spirit of the post. Although, of course, commenters are and must be allowed to say what they like.

    There is also the matter of style. Whether I succeeded or not I tried to create a tiny essay. A word that's hard to define but in this instance I take to mean a collection of languid sometimes disconnected elements which carry the potential for encouraging response but never exactly the same response.

    That's enough. This re-comment is more important than the post itself since it touches on why we blog. Unfortunately, though I have striven hard, it's an extremely difficult point to raise without seeming self-regarding. I can only hope that you can both see through the confusion and understand my pleasure at receiving your comments.

  4. Objection! Objection!
    Ciabatta boring? Not! Delicious toasted, buttered and eaten as is or topped with scrambled egg.
    Huw Edwards? H'm, okay, not exciting like Paxman but kind of trustworthy, like an old-fashioned family doctor or village pharmacist. Probably why they picked him to read the news: don't worry folks, the world out there is ending but we're safe here.
    I'm probably clever (note fake blushing) because my own company rarely bores me. But innumerable things considered entertaining bore me to the point of ragte.

  5. Natalie - I don’t recognise for sure the artist for your avatar, but it reminds me of Mark Boxer’s illustrations for A Dance to the Music of Time.

  6. Sir Hugh, thanks for the comparison, I liked Mark Boxer. But the artist of my avatar is moi, myself. She is called Augustine and is my alter ego and features in many strips, some of which are on my website and/or blog which you are cordially invited to visit:

  7. Natalie: While you waltz off into the gloaming (whatever that is) with my brother, you and I are left at an impasse. I see ciabatta as an over-chewy, rank flavoured wraparound which dominates rather than complements that which it contains while you have other views. Had I wished to pick something which bored you specifically I might well have offered the argument which demonstrates that overhead-cam internal combustion engines are inherently more efficient than those based on pushrod-actuated overhead valves and even more so than outdated side-valves. Go on, make my day. Tell me you're fascinated and I'll cheat and go on to differential calculus. At Tone Deaf we never claim to be fair.

    I would also point out what I believe to be a flaw in your ciabatta defence. Immediately you refer to toasted ciabatta (ie, thus transformed) suggesting that ciabatta au nature is less defensible. This is a bit like the travel brochure rhetoric which argues that one of King's Lynn's great attractions is the ease with which one may catch the London train.

    But in raising this I am drifting away from my original aim which was to pick at the nature of boredom. Let me toss you a well-chewed bone. Arguing about ciabatta is infinitely less boring than eating the stuff. I'll give you that.

    As to Huw Edwards, I remain schtumm. He forms the subject of my PhD dissertation compiled as an out-patient at The University of Spalding (easily the most boring outpost of advanced education in England) located in the county of Lincolnshire (not only England's most boring geographical sub-division, but also host to the country's lowest domestic property prices - suggesting that no one wants to live there). The title: In Troubled Times Telly Viewers Will Often Take Comfort From Being Bored.

    I fear I have treated you shamefully. Perhaps you can now see why my following has shrunk to almost nothing. I hover on the brink of an apology.

  8. Roderique, Sir Hugh is your brother? Are siblings allowed to comment? Are they even allowed to blog? Anyway, hello to knighted brother Hugh.

    Ciabatta (toasted): I stand by my defense though I will admit that the huge holes in it (ciabatta, not defense) make toasting a special skill not everyone can acquire.

    Please do not apologise.
    I'm glad my comment inspired another of your comic improvisations giving rise to chuckles across the Atlantic and perhaps beyond.

    I will try to provoke more often even if the barriers around your site are hell to climb over.

  9. Natalie: Is there anything I can do to ease your way into Tone Deaf? I'd be sorry to lose you through weariness.

  10. I long for someone to regale me with the life cycle of the vegetable marrow, preferably in the throes of passion...

  11. Lucy: I'm told that marrows are rarely involved in the throes of passion. I can believe it of such blubbery, watery entities.

    Looked up throe and got a pang (funny enough on its own) or spasm. The word lost a lot of its impact when it was translated from the German into Middle English: thrawe, thrahe.