Rummaging in a boomer’s bookcase

You wake up on the morning that is the start of you never going back to the office again. You are retired. The farewell party, such as it was, is over. They said, ‘don’t be a stranger’; they meant ‘don’t be a pest’.

The treadmill has been switched to ‘warm-down’ mode; now there is more time to do things other than the daily habit of going to work and the question that Michael Caine and Cilla Black first asked me back in the sixties: “What’s it all about, Alfie?” emerges from the very depths of my mind as being relevant for the first time in my life.

So, what is it all about? And how to fill in my days now? Spend a lot more time with my neighbours? I had known the old darling living alone on one side of me a long time. She regularly came over either to tut tut about the state of my roses or tell me about the strangers who had recently started to ‘appear’ inside her house and annoy her. Her intense face and very detailed descriptions of these shadowy strangers were very compelling as she asked me to go over and shoo them away. But she farted while talking which made it hard to maintain composure. Eventually her family came and took her away, the new owner rented it out and it’s just not the same anymore. The neighbour on the other side hasn’t spoken to me in thirty years, ever since I told him I would shove his hose up his arse for him. It was all from a little misunderstanding about my Saturday afternoon hobby of filling a 44-gallon drum at the bottom of the garden with household rubbish and dead leaves, throwing on a bit of motor-mower petrol and becoming lost in the primal experience of flickering flames and clean, white smoke wafting into the ether. He was a health inspector for the local council and was never off duty. Apparently I was in contravention of some by-law that designated the time of day by which all 44 gallon drums had to cease operations. It was not as if I was body-painted and dancing naked; I was just lost in the mesmerising timelessness of the experience. Anyway, things got a little tense, things were said and the end result was that he painted a red line on the path between our houses, along with a written note attached to my car’s windscreen on which he assured me that the red line was the closest to his house that I was legally allowed to park. A suggestion of backing his trailer into my car, should I venture over the line, was not to be taken lightly. Presumably there are no council by-laws about painting red lines on the footpath. Other than that, he went about his day whistling loudly as though I didn’t exist, which suited me fine. Ironically, when he lost that job with the council he set himself up as a firewood merchant. Funny old world.

Perhaps, to fill in the days, I could engage a little more patiently with the people who come knocking on my door. I have never been receptive to strangers knocking at the door at the best of times and now that I am retired, the cynic in the back of my mind keeps whispering that door knockers are just the front-people of a fund-raising industry that has evolved just for the purpose of trying to extract the last of a retiree’s savings before he/she is shipped off from ‘their home’ to ‘a home’; care or funeral, it’s all the same to them. They just know they have a limited window of opportunity to get their foot in the door and convince me to direct debit a negotiated amount of money to their most worthy cause. Still, perhaps I am being a little grumpy and judgmental, so let’s keep an open mind.

Meanwhile, recognising that I no longer had a staff lunchroom to express my well-founded opinions about things, I gave thought to putting to good use a blogsite gift that turned up in the Christmas stocking my daughter presented me one yuletide morning. My very thoughtful daughter never resorted to socks & undies. I could fill in a few days writing down everything I have tucked away in bookshelves and cupboards over the years about politics, religion, astrology, aliens and other assorted subjects to finally start sorting out what’s it’s all about. So, throw a few lumps of coal on the fire, pull the cork from a 12-year-old single malt, get a nice warm glow both inside and out and start writing. It shouldn’t take too long, provided there are no door-knocking interruptions.


  1. Poor knights of the red cross
  2. I dream of things that never were
  3. All the stars in heaven
  4. Twinkle, twinkle
  5. Angels in our midst
  6. A bolt from the blue
  7. The land of milk and honey
  8. We come in peace
  9. A mid-winter night’s tale
  10. Beam me up
  11. We are stardust
  12. I am the alpha
  13. A new sheriff in town
  14. Good vibrations
  15. A time for every purpose
  16. Let there be light
  17. The dawning of Aquarius
  18. A cosmic Indian summer
  19. Greenpeace crusaders
  20. Caveat emptor
  21. Throw another virgin on the altar
  22. Clean up your room

References & acknowledgements

It would take months, even years, of intense hypnotic regression to track down all the articles, videos, documentaries and books from which little nuggets of information lodged in the corners of the attic of my mind over the decades.  However, acknowledging writers, scientists and thinkers who I think have most influenced my thinking and stirred my imagination in these matters over the years, and whose books I still keep in my library for reference:

The Bible: authors: various

Chariots of the Gods: Erich Von Daniken

Genesis Revisited & the 12th Planet: Zecharia Sitchin

Our Cosmic Ancestors: Maurice Chatelain

Fingerprints of the Gods: Graham Hancock

Zealot: Reza Aslan 

Sapiens & Homo Deus: Yuval Noah Harari

Holy Blood Holy Grail: Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln

A short history of nearly everything: Bill Bryson

Communion: Whitley Strieber

Magicians of the Gods: Graham Hancock

Dictatorland. The men who stole Africa Paul Kenyon

Red Sea Spies: Raffi Berg

UFOs & Nukes: Robert Hastings

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