Up to Scotland. Kelvingrove Art Museum.

On the Saturday, we all set off to the Kelvingrove Art Museum in Glasgow. I was very excited about our day there, but my youngest grandson was none too keen, as apparently he had visited many times with school, so was a reluctant participant. On arrival, as is usual with this type of venue, we parked up and then my son had to go and buy a permit to display on his car.  I didn’t take much notice of whereabouts on the car he attached said permit, as a none car owner, I don’t really notice such things.

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The building itself was a sight to behold, with ornate statues and carvings above the entrance door. Inside, it was even more elaborately decorated, and it took a while to take the carvings etc in without actually looking at the exhibits on display! Above the entrance hall as you entered was a full sized organ which was being played by someone who was out of sight as you gazed upwards. The whole place was huge, with countless corridors and exhibit rooms leading off the entrance hall, plus flights of steps taking you to other floors above and below.

The Entrance Hall

The massive organ was playing

As you can see from the shots above, the place was packed with visitors, and in the entrance hall, there were lot’s of information available about each exhibit room included in the Museum. It was vast, and it would take easily a full day (or probably more) to see everything.

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Each separate room seemed to have a different theme attached to it, this room, called ‘Scotland’s Wildlife’ was dedicated to all of the animal species that used to live or reside in Scotland over the centuries.

Heads full of expression

Another area was dedicated to ‘Expressions’ and was adored with loads of ‘heads’ hung above the staircases showing different human expressions. I loved it!

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Yet another area was dedicated to ‘Conflict and Consequence’ and was full of armour and weapons of every description.  It would have taken a far longer time than we had available to enjoy every aspect of the Museum, we only had time to have a quick glance at the Art Exhibition for example. I did take other photos and they are available in the following photo album. Just click on it to view them all.

However, our visit was spoiled somewhat when exiting the museum, to find a parking ticket had been slapped onto the front of my son’s car, despite the fact that he had paid for a display. He dashed off to find the parking attendants and returned fuming with the knowledge that they had given him a parking ticket simply because he wasn’t displaying the paid for ticket on his front windscreen! He had placed it on the back window instead! This incident rather took the enjoyment of the rest of the Museum away from all of us, so if you find yourself in Glasgow anytime, do pay the Museum a visit but remember! Only place your parking permit on your front windscreen!

TG

Up to Scotland. The journey there.

Sorry I’m late with this post everyone, haven’t been feeling up to blogging much of late, anyway, here it is!

Set off on Friday morning to our local train station to catch the 10.58 to Leeds. Kerri had been despatched to respite the day before, complete with huge hefty case. Train arrived dead on time, and I landed in Leeds station with just under half an hour to wait for the Cross Country train to Glasgow Central. I spent the waiting time taking a shot of a Battle of Britain train stood at the opposite platform.

Battle of Britain train

Our train arrived right on time, and after spending a lot of energy pelting down the platform in the wrong direction looking for coach F, I finally boarded, stashed my suitcase in the rack and settled down into my reserved seat. Lot’s of lovely leg room to stretch my legs, and no one sat beside me! Yippee!

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For my lunch on the train I had taken a McDonalds Chicken Caesar salad and I could also plug my phone into the provided socket and enjoy the free Cross Country wi-fi all the way to Glasgow! How’s that for travelling in style? The journey up the east coast mainline is always enjoyable, especially when you begin to travel alongside the sea. I was lucky that I was sitting on the side next to the coast, and managed (though at the speed we were travelling it wasn’t easy!) to get some shots as we flew past which I’m including below as part of a photo album.

 

We absolutely seemed to fly all the way up to Glasgow, changing crew along the way. This is necessary because this train has journeyed all the way from Plymouth, and its quite a journey! We arrived in Glasgow Central early and my eldest son and his family were waiting on the platform. It was a tearful reunion for me, I knew it would be! I haven’t seen my two grandchildren for two years in the flesh, and they had both grown so much and are both far taller than me.

My eldest informed me that they had had to park the car some distance away from the station as a fish and chip shop outside had burned down, so there was no access for cars at that time as the fire brigade had closed off all the street. There had also been a big water leak nearby as well, so it was a bit chaotic to say the least.

We all had lot’s to talk about and before I knew it, I was being greeted at the door by Sandi the dog and all the cats!  A welcome cup of tea, then we set off to the supermarket so that I could buy some bits and pieces in, such as my gluten free bread and cereals etc, then we all spent the night watching Prometheus on Blue Ray which I had taken there with me so that they could watch it.

Tomorrow, they planned to take me to the Kelvingrove Art Museum, so I was really looking forward to that!

TG

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The best laid plans.

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We had one of those days on Saturday. A day where none of my plans came to fruition and it was all my own fault.. The initial plan was to walk down to our local train station, catch a train to Leeds, buy my train tickets for my forthcoming trip up to Scotland to visit my eldest son and his family, then another train to Huddersfield and from there the last leg home. That was the plan.  We did arrive at our local train station where unfortunately I began to suffer from griping stomach pains, no doubt caused by eating lot’s of soft liquorice the day before.

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Panic set in, and we ended up dashing down the road to Sainsbury’s for a toilet instead of clambering aboard the Leeds train.  At this point, we did discuss abandoning the whole trip and going back home, but eventually deciding that the risk was worth it we caught the bus to Huddersfield, thereby completely cutting out Leeds altogether.  It was a beautiful day, with a cloudless sky and far too good to waste, even if I was in some discomfort and having to keep my shop browsing to shops which I knew contained a loo. How embarrassing I thought and completely self inflicted as well! What idiot eats a ton of soft liquorice when they are planning to venture out on a run-around the following day? You all know the answer to that one!

Needless to say, I did make it home without having any mishaps or embarrassments and can assure my readers that I won’t be so foolish ever again.  So remember everyone, if your planning a day out the following day, keep off the liquorice!

TG

Facing reality.

It has taken me a full week of indecision, of toying with ‘should I compose a post or shouldn’t I?’ questions. How to word it? How to explain how I feel about my current situation? Should I just keep quiet and keep it to myself? As I’m am a great believer in the old saying, ‘A trouble shared is a trouble halved’ and although I don’t know most of you personally, I am also sure that putting it all down ‘on paper’ as it were, might help to clear my thoughts and my mind, so here goes.

You see, the last three sessions of Carboplatin  I have received have not worked. Not only that, the cancer is now spreading into my bones in my spine. I never do anything by halves, and this particular cancer is a swine. Serous Carcinoma. You can Google it if you want to know more about it. It’s quite rare and a sneaky little so and so, wandering around via your blood stream or lymph nodes into other areas, and is seemingly immune to anything you throw at it.  I was told the news last week by my Oncologist, and although I have insisted on trying another type of chemo before throwing in the towel in defeat, she also advised me that I really needed to sort out Kerri’s future.  We had a heart to heart chat about how it may ‘pan out’ and she warned me that although I might be feeling okay now, once my liver begins to pack up, my deterioration will be fairly swift. Not painful she assured me, but occurring rather quickly, hence the advice that I must sort out arrangements for Kerri’s future.

It is this aspect that fills me with dread. We have been inseparable she and I, for so long and the thoughts of her leaving to go and live somewhere else fills me with a sadness I cannot explain to anyone. I don’t fear dying, its something that we all have to face sooner or later, its a part of living and will occur to us all as sure as eggs are eggs, but the thought of seeing my sidekick leave, knowing I face it all on my own without her is almost too much to bear. Yet, I have to do it, I must know she is settled and happy somewhere before I leave. Truth be known, I’ve been putting it off for so long, I should have encouraged her to move to a shared house years ago but she didn’t want to go, and I secretly didn’t want her to go either. We’re never apart, so much so that people in town who know us both pass me by without recognising me if I’m by myself. It’s come to the point these last few years, as I have begun to have health problems, that I need her as much as she needs me. But I have to be strong and unselfish and think of her and her future needs, not mine.

In the meantime, if the Taxol I am to be given in the next few weeks, doesn’t begin to shrink the little blighter, I will then continue fighting by myself by keeping myself fit till I drop with exercise and walking, and by eating a cancer busting diet. I won’t give in until my last breath, its not in my nature to do so. I shall also keep smiling and making the best of each day as it comes, although without my trusty sidekick that will be more difficult to do.

I will also keep blogging as long as I feel up to it, and as long as I feel the subject matter is interesting enough to write about.

Technogran

Thoughts from the corner seat.

 

I don’t want to give the impression that I tend to spend a lot of time whiling away the hours sat in the Merrie England coffee bar, but I did find myself sitting in my usual favourite corner seat on Tuesday, contemplating some of the other patrons as I did so.  It wasn’t planned at all to even pay a visit, but suddenly I was overcome by an urge to sample a piece of their delicious home cooked apple pie, an experience that I wish you could all try out. Oozing with apple and surrounded by melt in the mouth pastry, its to die for, and this Granny shouldn’t even eat it!  Knowing full well that in all probability, I’d be wracked with tummy ache afterwards, I decided to risk it and found myself standing at the counter ordering a piece of apple pie (without ice cream or cream though!) and a small latte coffee.

Peering down the room as I waited, I noted that my favourite corner spot was currently occupied by a lady known to me.  I made my way down the aisle towards her just as she was just about to leave.  We made polite conversation and I then took her place in the corner to enjoy my treat.  Glancing around from my vantage point, I couldn’t see anyone that I recognised.  As I sat there observing everyone, I noticed a lady trying to find somewhere to sit.  As most of the tables already had at least one occupant, she eventually ended up asking another lady who was sat at a table in the middle row if it was okay to sit at her table.  She sat down. They obviously did not know one another.  After a few minutes of sitting opposite each other in silence, they eventually began a polite conversation, such as the one that took place between myself and the man with a Kindle on my previous visit to Merrie England, when I ended up sitting at his table.

As I watched between these two ladies who had previously been strangers to one another, it did made me wonder how many people had become friends simply by sitting at the same table and striking up a conversation with each other.  It would be very interesting to be able to find out wouldn’t it?

Technogran

A Day out in Carlisle

Yesterday, we set off on one of our day excursions along the fantastic Settle/Carlisle railway line and pulled by a steam engine. The train arrived at Leeds on time and we set off on one of the most picturesque train rides in the entire country, which takes in some breathtaking views of the Yorkshire Dales and crosses the famous Ribblevalley Viaduct.  We were being pulled by Black number 44932 an engine that we have never travelled behind previously. My brother (who is as enthusiastic about trains as I am) were travelling with us as they have never been on an excursion before.

Waiting for the train on Platform 12

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Here we are all patiently waiting on Platform 12 for our excursion train to arrive.

Stretching our legs at Appleby

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Steam trains have to take on water, and our first water stop was at Appleby.

Enjoying ice cream

Here we had a good fifteen minutes to stretch our legs and enjoy an ice cream from a lady who was selling them on the platform.

Black no 44932 in Carlisle

The first chance I had to take a good shot of the engine was when we finally arrived in Carlisle and all the other passengers had departed! Everyone wants to take a good photo of the engine, everyone wants their photo taken in the cab, its not easy to get a clear shot of a steam engine with no one else on it.

Unfortunately we didn’t have long in Carlisle and so couldn’t visit the castle, so we had a walk around the shopping precinct there, we were shot at by two storm troopers on the way, and then we sat out in the glorious sunshine and enjoyed a Costa coffee (and some hot chocolate with marshmallows in Kerri’s case and Terry’s case.

Stormtroopers in Carlisle

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Heading our way!

Kerri happily joined in with all the theatricals by getting out her invisible lightsaber and attacking them both. (Always the actress!)

We made our way to the Lane’s Shopping Centre where I took a shot of these attractive coloured lights in the roof, and also one of a very interesting statue at one of the shopping junctions. Shopping centre’s like this one will in my view be the only savour of our towns to counteract the threat from out of town supermarkets, plus they are ideal if the weather is bad as they are covered.

Shopping Centre in Carlisle

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It was a real pity that we hadn’t time to take in the Castle but we made up for it by sitting outside a Costa coffee shop and enjoying both a cappuccino (in my case) and the gorgeous warm sunshine.

Here for your enjoyment I’ve placed all of the shots I took with my camera and phone into a photo album. Click on it to view it as a slideshow.

Enjoy.

Technogran

A little time to kill.

 My hair appointment was not until 12.30pm. It was only 11.30am, and I had already been loitering in several shops to the obvious annoyance of the staff. No one wants a customer who has no intentions of buying. I had a good hour to wait, and in our small town, there’s only one place to do that when your alone and in dire need of somewhere to wile away an hour or two, the Merrie England coffee shop. I’ve blogged about our Merrie England coffee shops before, they attract a varied age group, some young mothers with their offspring, some older patrons who frequent the tables to meet up and enjoy a good natter, some lone patrons such as myself, who maybe just fancy a coffee and a sit down before going on their way to elsewhere.

As you walk in, the counter, always filled with appetizing goodies such as their delicious home made apple pie to give just one example, is on your left. The Merrie England staff are always attentative and I was served immediately.

Tea and a Gluten free Turkey salad sandwich please.”

The sandwich has to be made to order, so I was instructed to go and sit down and one of the staff would bring my sandwich to me once made, and so armed with my cup of tea I looked around for an empty table. No luck, but I noticed that my favourite place had one man sat in it, engrossed in looking down at something in front of him on the table. Carefully navigating my way down the aisle between the tables, cup and saucer perched precariously in my hand, I made my way to the right hand corner at the back.

Is it okay if I sit here?” I asked the man.

Yes, of course! I’m going soon anyway!” he replied. Sitting down opposite him, with my back to the rest of the other tables, I placed my shopping bag on the empty seat beside me, noting as I did so that the item he was engrossed in on the table was a Kindle. Hmm. That peaked my interest immediately because as I’m such an avid reader, I’ve been considering getting one myself. Always strapped for storage space in our tiny flat, I’m constantly having to recycle my books practically as soon as I have read them. But how to open the conversation about his Kindle? I decided to act dumb.

Is that a Kindle your using?” I asked.

Yes it is!” came the reply.

I’m considering buying one myself, as I love reading. Have you found yourself reading more since you bought it?” I enquired, genuinely interested in the answer.

Yes, I think I have. It’s the convenience I suppose.” he replied. I then asked him if you could now get most books on the Kindle to which he replied the affirmative.  Shortly after, he rose and left and I hoped that I hadn’t made much of a nuisance of myself, asking my questions of a stranger, but I simply couldn’t sit at a table with someone and not make polite conversation, its not in my nature to do so.

As soon as he had vacated the corner seat, I moved into it, finding it still nice and warm. People were still leaving and arriving, as soon as one table became vacant it was quickly filled with new faces, all earnestly engaged in conversation with each other. Deciding to do an experiment of sorts, I took out my phone, and took a picture of them all, enjoying a tea or coffee and a good natter. Would anyone notice?

I think I already knew the answer, and its why I prefer to sit tucked away in the corner seat.

It's always crowded.

 Technogran

A Day out in Scarborough.

Here she comes!

On Friday we enjoyed a day out to Scarborough and travelled there on the Scarborough Flyer pulled by the Duchess of Sutherland. We have done this excursion in the past, setting off from Huddersfield, but as the route has been altered due to works on the line causing the excursion to be diverted through our little station, it was a forgone conclusion that we would take advantage of the situation.  The train was roughly half an hour late arriving at Brighouse, but she soon caught up so that by the time we arrived at York we were on time.

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The weather was fairly cloudy and we had endured some rain whilst waiting for the train to arrive, but as we arrived at Scarborough it had brightened up somewhat, although it was still overcast. After taking some shots of the Duchess (which isn’t easy to do as everyone else is busy doing the same thing) we made our way down through the main shopping street to the front. I always like to go down to the front at Scarborough via the steps, as you get a lovely vista of the whole bay, the Castle on top of the hill, the harbour and of course the beach and shops.

Scarborough from the steps

Scarborough tends to be one of those seaside towns that I have often spent a day in, yet never stayed for any longer. It’s a bustling fishing port as well as a holiday destination. We walked around the harbour, taking in all the sights and sounds and taking photos along the way, ending our journey by walking along the walkway to the lighthouse building where the statue of the diving girl stands facing the harbour entrance out to sea.  There are lot’s of boat rides to take, one on a small version of a pirate ship, but I wasn’t sure how long it would take so we didn’t bother. Besides, Kerri was on the hunt for a t-shirt to add to her now not inconsiderable collection, and I intended to get yet another fridge magnet for my own collection.

Scarborough Harbour stitch

Following a short gaze out over the choppy sea towards Cayton Bay, we made our way back along the walkway to the shops along the seafront in search of some t-shirts. We eventually found some and she bought two, one white and one black. If there’s one treat I never miss whenever I’m in Scarborough is to visit Pacitto’s Ice Cream Parlour on the seafront for a Knickerbocker Glory. You simply haven’t lived until you’ve tried one! Kerri had a chocolate milk shake. We then decided to return to the shopping area above via a very steep narrow street which was quite a climb!  After taking a well earned breather at the top, we made our way slowly along the shopping area, paying a visit to the Brunswick Shopping Centre, where Kerri took a look at the mobile phone shops to admire a Nokia Lumia 710 that she wants for her next phone.

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As it was now raining,  we quickly made our way to the railway station and enjoyed a decaff cappuccino  and a hot chocolate apiece in the station cafe, and then once the rain had stopped we ventured along the platform so that we could take some more photos of the Duchess as she patiently waited for us passengers to return and climb on board.  We departed Scarborough dead on time, but we were again held up during the return journey owning to signalling problems along the way, and we arrived back at Brighouse about ten minutes late.  We’d enjoyed a wonderful excursion to Scarborough pulled by one of my favourite steam engines, and as always on these day trips, we’d also made some new friends who were sat at our table during the journey.

I am hoping we get the chance to go on the Leeds to Carlisle excursion this year before it ends, as for me it’s the ultimate steam engine excursion to be on, with those spectacular views of the North Yorkshire moors and the breathtaking journey over the Ribblehead viaduct.  Enjoy my photos taken during our day.

Technogran.

Downhill all the way.

Yesterdays walk was not really all that enjoyable as far as I was concerned. We all met up in the bus station as we so often do, and from therein there was a lot of confusion as to exactly which bus we were supposed to be catching in order to arrive at the start of the walk. S was supposedly our walk leader but he didn’t seem to be too sure about the bus either, and the fact that our departure displays are all incorrect (see my previous post) didn’t exactly help matters. As most of the other walkers are car owners and don’t frequent the bus station as I do, I had to keep warning them that the information via the displays was wrong.

Watch your step!

Worse was to come when the bus actually pulled into the stand and we asked the driver. He didn’t seem to have a clue where he was going, but despite this we all took fate into our hands and clambered on board. I had to laugh to myself, imagining us ending up anywhere where we would be doing a sort of ‘mystery walk.’ As it turned out, the bus was the correct one, and we set off in good spirits only to end up turning round when it was decided that the walk leader was leading us all up an hill that was far too steep for some of the members to tackle. I quietly sighed to myself.  Recrossing the road, we then set off down a lane and at last seemed to be on our way. Trouble was, the route wasn’t really all that picturesque, having a large estate on the right hand side and not much of a view on the other. I hadn’t taken my camera with me (must have had a foretaste that there wouldn’t be all that much in the way of spectacular views to warrant it.)

The walk leader had on top of his head, one of those straw boaters which looked a little ridiculous to be honest with you, seeing as the sky was overcast and grey. We also had to watch our step walking along the path as there were many loose stones to trip up the unwary. The lady in front of me very nearly fell over one such loose stone. The only thing of note worthy of a quick photo was two horses who were resting in one of the fields as we walked past. One of them had a hood over its head for some reason. I took the shot because I knew that Kerri would love to see it.

Hooded and not

Eventually, the vista in front of us opened out somewhat to allow a view right across the valley towards Southowram and we could see as far as Clifton and even Scholes from there. It was still overcast but it was beginning to brighten up somewhat. We all took a breather half way so that some of the walkers could have a sit and a rest for a few moments, then we continued onwards down into town.  After arriving back in town, three of us, myself included decided to lunch at the Ship Inn, whilst the others went to Wetherspoons for their meal.  For me, it had been a rather disappointing walk on the whole, and I don’t think I will go on another walk around Rastrick again.

View from the top of Rastrick

Technogran

Bus Station Woes.

 

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I’ve blogged about our bus station in the past.  It’s not all that old and is supposed to be a shining example of bus station design, with its unusual ‘big dipper’ shaped roof. It’s certainly something you can’t ignore if you happened to be driving past our little town on your way to Halifax. We passengers who have to use it have been less impressed. When it was first completed there simply weren’t enough seats. They provided just four seats to every stand, with the result that waiting for your bus became almost a scrum to the death if you needed to sit down for any reason. Many of the younger passengers had to resort to sitting on the low windowsills which wasn’t ideal or comfortable, not that the provided seats were any more so. You have to be near fainting with the cold or heat, or loaded up with a huge amount of shopping before resorting to actually sitting down on one of the seats. After some vigorous complaints from those hardy passengers with bottoms like steel who can endure sitting down, our seat tally has since been doubled and we have been generously provided with eight to every stand.

I have concluded long ago that whoever designs bus stations never actually use them themselves. The seats are made of metal and are not shaped for comfortable sitting, so they are freezing in winter and akin to sitting down in molten lava in summer. The ambient temperature of the bus station itself is not helped by the fact that it consists of windows from ceiling height to nearly floor level, none of which are double glazed.  In winter you daren’t sit down for more than a few moments for fear of freezing to one of the seats, you have to keep walking up and down the long concourse just to keep yourself moving.  In summer, someone could make a roaring trade growing tomatoes seeing as the station so resembles a huge green house. As I sat baking yesterday waiting for my bus, it was 72% outside the bus station and roughly 90% inside. I had to keep my eye on my sandwich which was in my bag in case it began to toast.

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In order to avoid the pitfalls of our bus station, we local passengers have, over the length of time that we have had to use it, learned to try and time our entrance to just before our bus is due to arrive to avoid freezing to death or being cooked.  And mentioning time brings me to the latest saga which has been taking place for at least the last few months with little sign of anyone from Metro bothering to put it right. Our bus timetable displays are constantly wrong. Not only wrong, but to confuse the unwary passenger, they contradict each other. We have two types of information displays in the bus station, the two largest one’s are hung from the ceiling, one at either end of the station, and the other smaller displays are sited just above each stand door, and only show the arrival and departure times for that particular stand.  In order to try and send every passenger who uses the bus station stark raving bonkers, the large displays tell an entirely different time to the one’s above your stand and neither are correct.

You enter the bus station, firstly gazing hopefully at one of the larger timetable displays with the vain hope that someone from Metro has paid the station a visit since your last attempt to catch a bus in order to fix the wrong displays.  The large stand might state that your bus is due in 20 minutes from stand D.  You make your way down to stand D and look up at the timetable display above your stand only to note to your horror that your bus is due in 10 minutes.  Either that, or its not even up there. Which one is correct?  Have you time to dash off to the shops for that item you’ve just remembered or not? It must be a worse situation for anyone who hasn’t used our bus station before and is not aware that Metro are on a ‘drive every passenger in Brighouse insane’ campaign.  They must think they are hallucinating and probably if they have any sense, will find another route to get from A to B that doesn’t necessitate using our confusing bus station at all.  Meanwhile the rest of us who have little choice but to endure every trick in the book that Metro can devise to thwart our journeys, are beginning to compensate for the wrong times stated by the displays, by simply ignoring them completely.  We arrive at the bus station looking as carefree as possible ( for the cameras and to annoy Metro) and make our way to our stands with the vain hope that we have managed to time it right.

They won’t get us down or turn us into gibbering idiots with all this confusion, no matter how hard they try!

Technogran