Mum was worrying about what to get one of her friends. She bought a book token for her but gave it to someone else, so has been scratching her head. On TV, someone came on singing Mull of Kintyre.
"Oh - that's what I'll get!" said Mum. "That's good. She'll like that."
Yes, I liked it too - I've always loved Mull of Kintyre. I never got tired of it, though I know it was being played constantly, and some people got sick of it. Maybe I wasn't quite as exposed to it as others.
In any case... we were both enjoying it, tapping our toes to the tune, and the bagpipes started up. As you know, that raises the drama of the song considerably... but I couldn't hear them. I heard the singing alright; just not the pipes. I stopped tapping my toes - all the fun had gone out of it for me.
Is it that my hearing has got so bad? Or is the sound from this modern digital TV (for some reason) just not as full and rich as we got from our old mono TVs, or from our big old hi-fis? Perhaps it sounds OK to the normal ear but not to the deaf/hard of hearing?
If there was a piper in this very room, would I not be able to hear him? I bet I would - but in one way it would be overwhelming, and in another way I wouldn't be able to grasp it at all. It would be like swigging a long cool drink but getting it all over me instead of quenching my thirst.
I can't judge. People ask questions sometimes, but I don't know the answers. Maybe the sound is better on modern equipment and it's just that my hearing has gone downhill. I've always known it was bad and getting worse, and that high tones in particular are hard for me, but it doesn't stop that sinking feeling when you listen for something you know is there and can't make it out.
Later on, there was an ad for a piping band CD, Spirit of the Glen. I couldn't hear any of that either. I want a refund on these ears - they're not what I ordered. Perhaps I'll bin all my tapes this Christmas....
No, I wouldn't be so rash; I've already started to go through them with this purpose: if it makes sense to me and I enjoy it, I'll keep it. If it whooshes over my head like a whisper of wind, it's gone. No matter what it is. There was one old tape I was playing (a James Last party tape), and after a while I thought "I really don't recognize this... and yet it's one of the ones I played a lot." I went closer to the hi-fi and studied the song list, trying to work out which song it was, then fast-forwarded, only it didn't seem to move. And it sounded just the same when I put it on again, chugging along like a distant African chant... I took it downstairs and said to Mum "is there something wrong with this tape?"
She played it on her own hi-fi and then said "yes, it's bushed! It speeds up then slows down. Throw it out."
It's not good news that I had to check with someone else that it WAS bushed - this tape I knew so well.
I respect window cleaners and am glad of the work they do. But I hate it when I'm sitting here at my computer and there's a strange thump, and you think "what's that?" and when you glance round, all that's there is a cat staring at something you can't see. (Nothing unusual about that). You go to see if anyone came in the door, and it's closed fast - but when you return to your desk, there's a guy at the (upstairs) window next to it, scraping foam off with a rubber blade.
It throws me every time.
I must learn to look for the window cleaners first, and chase up other possibilities second. Just because it's only waving trees, flapping birds and slinking squirrels outside that window, it doesn't mean the view doesn't occasionally get filled with a large human being.
If you came here via my profile, this is my emergency blogspot - my main blog is here.