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This is a question Beautiful Moments, Part Two

Last week I saw a helium balloon cross the road at the lights on a perfectly timed gust of wind. Today I saw four people trying to get into a GWiz electric car. They failed.

What's the best thing you've seen recently?

(, Thu 5 Aug 2010, 21:49)
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This question is now closed.

Going to the pub
This is only loosely related, but then I suppose this is a QOTW for all those random stories which just spring to mind.

The favoured after-work drinkery for myself and my staffroom colleagues is a couple of miles away through the bits of the city that disappear into rolling countryside. It serves good beer and cider, and is far enough from the school to prevent our well-earned drink turning into an impromptu Parents Evening.

But this isn't a story about the pub. It's a story about going there.

About halfway there is a different, small school, one of the many private institutions that dot the perimeter of Gloucester, and outside is the inevitable lollipop lady; someone with whom I have a passing acquaintance because I teach her son. One particular Friday, I was suffering quite a thirst, but was just about attentive enough to see the friendly crossing guard on the offside pavement, holding out her pole in a 'let me cross the road please' sort of way. I obligingly eased to a halt.

Not so the vehicle behind me, the ubiquitous white Ford Transit, with it's occupants of ubiquitous chavs wearing stripy polo shirts and baseball caps. As I slow down, they get closer and closer, until grinding dramatically to a halt some two inches from my rear bumper with a screech of breaks. Chav number one leans out of the driver's window and bellows "What the fuck...". It occurs to me that he is so stupid that he hasn't seen the flagging bright yellow lollipop which is waving all over the road.

This supposition is proved to be correct as he grinds the Transit's gears viciously into reverse and then first, and slams his foot to the floor, trying to burn me off in a cloud of black smoke. Only when his van is fully blocking the opposite carriageway and about five feet in front of my car does he realise that there is a crossing lady and two kids trying to get across the road, and his brakes take another pounding.

One of the kids is screaming at this point because her friend has tripped and fallen in front the van of twattishness. So crossing lady, nice and slowly, ushers both of them across and makes sure they are safely on their way home. Then, with a smile and friendly wave to me, she makes to return back to the opposite pavement.

But before she gets there, she turns to the van and looks Chavs number one and two square in the eye. She turns and marches towards the van. I was expecting her to go and ask them to be more considerate in future, but what actually happened was even better.

The fire of devilish fury rising in her eyes, she brandishes her lollipop like Conan wielding his sword. I swear to god she actually swung it around her head.

"YOU! STUPID! FUCKING! CUNT!" she bellows like Brian Blessed on ecstacy, punctuating each word with an almighty blow of the lollipop on the bonnet of the van, before stalking off in the general direction of the school. Myself, the children, and the gentleman approaching the crossing from the other side break into spontaneous applause.

As Chav number one leaps out of the door and inspects his mangled bonnet, I sneak a glance at Chav number two, who is sitting bolt upright in his seat, mouth open in mixed amazement and pain, as though he had just witnessed the queen taking a dump.

Restraining the rising hysteria, I motored off to the pub, leaving the scene of justice behind. Two hours later, I drove past the scene, seeing two very bemused van drivers still trying to explain to a bored-looking policeman what had happened.

Length? A tad over six feet, I believe.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 16:20, 4 replies)
Devonshire sirens
First post... be gentle.

I come from a grim city in the West Midlands, and over the years, I and my two best female friends have escaped to assorted picturesque enclaves of the British Isles, with nary a 60's tower block in sight.

One of my friends moved to Devon, and we other two pootled down one weekend last year to see her in her cute seaside cottage. The weather was outrageously beautiful all weekend, and just before it was time to leave we went to visit a tiny cove, all towering cliff-faces, pale sand and dramatic waves. We were going for a paddle when we heard what sounded like a choir; standing in the waves up to the waist were around eight women, singing in perfect four part harmony a song about the perils of the sea...

Listening to their voices soaring over the crashing of the sea and the howling of the wind, I've never felt so close to something magical as I did then, and I could tell by looking at my girls that they felt the same surge of emotion, the soppy bints. The spell was broken when the ladies came to the last verse, burst into giggles, and ran out of the waves back up the beach.

We had to leave then so we never found out who they were or what they were doing on the beach that day, but ladies; I salute you.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 16:13, 4 replies)
Years ago while waiting on a cold and windy train station platform....
I saw a very old woman huddled in the corner of a large snack machine and her very old husband, his arms around her, snuggling in to keep her warm.

I don't know why but it made me smile.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 15:41, 7 replies)
Not so recently...
...but about 4 years ago I was camping with a bunch of friends at Shell Island in North Wales. We had brought along a big ol' inflatable boat with us - one of these, but orange. - and managed to absolutely fail to catch any fish from it.

One particular morning we set out at the crack of dawn. Had a fruitless couple of hours fishing out in the bay and headed back in before we lost the tide. On the way back in we spotted some dorsal fins breaking surface to our port side. A moment or two later, a young dolphin appeared right in front of us riding the bow wave and arcing out of the water while his mother and father hung off a litle ways and watched.

The little fella played with us until we had to bail and head for the marina before we lost all of the tide. An absolutely magical moment.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 15:33, 2 replies)
Come on baby, don't fear the dachshund.
I don’t get to see my niece very often. She’s three years old and doesn’t even know that I’m her aunt. It isn’t the distance, lack of time or that toddlers are, like, totally passé which prevents me from seeing this beautiful child; it is that my sister-in-law is a psychotic.

I could draw from a bottomless well of examples, really, mostly based around assault and broad-spectrum sociopathic behaviour. But no, her abhorrent treatment of me and those around her isn’t enough to stop me from trying to form a relationship with my adorable niece.

It is that I have a dog, and dogs are disease-y. Apparently I’ll pass on wiener dog poo particles straight from the dog’s anus into my niece’s mouth, and no amount of anti-bacterial hand soap or not going elbow deep in the dog’s colon will prevent this. Yes, my dog ownership will kill my niece - or at least make her ‘simple’ and thus incapable of growing into a middle class Daily Mail reading adult. As long as I live with a dog, I won’t be able to see my niece outside of obligatory birthday parties.

And, so, in June, it was my niece’s third birthday party – the third time I had ever seen this child. My sister-in-law kept preventing me from playing with this sweet little girl, proclaiming how my hound ownership was akin to turd gobbling with Gary Glitter, as far as sick twisted behaviour goes. And so I sat, moopy, in the sandbox, with my new toddler best friend, James.

Then I heard the sweetest little voice behind me! It was my niece, she’d come over to play! I turned around and she was smeared in so much poop that I’m fairly certain that her friends had joined in on the fun.

It was a beautiful moment – me, the harbinger of canine anal kernels, delivering my shit crusted niece to my sister-in-law. I held her wee little poop-covered hand to make sure she didn’t wander astray into clean children or furniture.

My sister-in-law knew exactly what I was thinking, especially when I looked deep into her soul and asked to wash my hands. I hope the irony was not lost on her.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 15:29, 3 replies)
It really rained last week when I was in town.
It was so heavy that everyone just lined up under the shelter of the shop doorways and stared out at the street, which was empty and just full of torrents of water.

A few people looked at each other and walked out into the rain, getting drenched in seconds and just enjoying walking through it. Everyone was joking and laughing because it was so unexpected, so pretty, and all the people standing in lines looked very funny, afraid of the rain.

Perhaps not so beautiful, but dancing in the rain with strangers is always awesome. :-)
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 14:31, Reply)
I woke up to this on my ceiling this morning:

This is why I leave CDs strewn around my room.
By the way, I'm emphatically not a hippy...
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 14:16, 4 replies)
About a year ago,
the missus and I were strolling along Bridlington beach as it was getting dark when I looked out to sea and there, just to the right of Flamborough Head was the moon rising. I realised that this was the first time in my 36 years on the Earth that I had actually seen a moonrise. It was a dark, dim shade of red and seemingly massive in the sky as it sat just above the horizon.

So we sat down, her between my legs and her back to me and watched it creep upwards for a good 10 mins before sharing the most passionate kiss.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 14:14, 2 replies)
Bus
17 year old me was on her way home from college early one afternoon. I took the seat nearest to the window so I could put all my stuff down the side of the seat
out of the way of everyone else. We got to the third stop in our journey and all the seats were taken. Two old women board the bus and stare at me.
I had my headphones on but could still hear them complaining about how rude I was for not giving up my seat. They went on and on about how inconsiderate
and rude I was throughout the journey and how back in there day they'd have offered their seat to the elderly not like the youth of today.

Until I pressed the bell and gathered up my belongings.
They glared at me until they noticed what it was I was pulling from down the side of the bus seat.

I gave them a little smile as I hobbled past on my crutch.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 13:12, 2 replies)
This was a while back......
....when I used to have to get the train home from work. It was small station with a bridge over the tracks from one side to the other. As I got to the top of one set of steps I noticed a woman carrying a baby and a shit load of shopping down the other side. I ran over to her an offered to take the shopping down for her. She refused my help.

To be fair I am a six foot skinhead and I was wearing a hoodie at the time so I could see where she why she may of refused.

Anyway I walked on ahead of her and just as I got to the bottom she slipped and screamed. I caught the baby but could do nothing to prevent her from falling flat on her face.

The good bit wasn't catching the baby, it was the look on her face which was a mixture of gratitude for catching her nipper and shame for judging a book by it's cover.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 12:56, 3 replies)
my girlfriend and I are currently having a time out
Due to her not fully trusting that I won't dump her again like I foolishly did in February and then realise my stupidity.
I'm taking her out for a meal tomorrow night if she accepts the invite I've just texted her and I'm gonna ask her to marry me.
I hope it's a beautiful moment anyway, got nothing to lose except my dignity!



Invite accepted, best go and spunk a months salary on a sparkler!

Edit: Bugger, she can't get a baby sitter till Thursday!

Edit 2: Starting to wonder if this is such a good idea?? :-S
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 12:31, 20 replies)
PHWOAR


Sexy or what, eh?
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 12:21, 5 replies)
Cheeky Pea Roast from Karma QOTW. But it was a Beautiful Moment!
Oh sitting in those sardine tins in the sky is great isn't it? Especially the budget airline ones are fantastic. Im suprised they dont put us in boxes and rack us up like luggage to be honest.

But I guess the annoying part is the fact that the cheap air fares open up the skys to those that perhaps, arent of the social standing to travel. My earlier post about visitors coming to see me now I live abroad is a perfect example of that.

But on a particular flight one day to Spain. Me and my now ex was getting particularly annoyed with a woman sat infront of us, who had two unruly and hyperactive children.

The first thing she did was get herself and her kids to put the seats right back. Now why in sardine class, they allow you to put your seats back leaving the person behind you with their faces pinned to the back of your seat is beyond me. But its incredibly annoying, and its invasion of your own limited space.

Now I understand that kids get bored on planes and stuff. But this woman just couldn't control them. And the guy she was with did nothing to help either. He just sat there like a zombie, no doubt monged out on drugs.

The kids were running upa nd down the plane knocking into us, kicking the seats and generally being noisey and violent with each other.

The woman was one of those council scum class type of people who talk with their tounges in the back of their throats. After listening to her squarking on for about an hour and swearing at her kids I had completely had enough. But held my temper for the sake of peace.

Now the karma came when the plane was landing. A fault occured on one of the engines meaning we had to crash land. She and her scruffy kids perished. But I survived!! hahaha!

Sadly that didnt happen. But both her kids spewed up all over her during landing. Probaly due to a deadly mix of too much coca cola and endless supply of chocolate she was ramming down their throats. The cabin crew were unable to supply her with any cleaning stuff as they were seated for final approach. So she had to sit there, and arrived in Sunny Spain covered in spew.

Me and the ex smiled to each other and muttered "haha Karma!" to her as we disembarked. Felt bad for the cleaners though! I saw her again at the lost luggage counter at the airport as well!
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 12:17, Reply)
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate

(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 12:08, 8 replies)
People who say money can't buy happiness are talking bollocks.
I could sort my life right out if I had the wonga.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 12:04, 10 replies)
With thanks to Rolls Royce and RJ Mitchell ...
Standing in a Kentish field, with my son and my dad, watching a Spitfire looping around and around and around...
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 11:52, 2 replies)
Given that beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
Last week we watched as a Smart car gently reversed out of its parking space, across the car park into the back of two other parked cars. (Apparently "smart" doesn't mean they can go without drivers ... or can apply their own handbrakes.)

Had it not been so graceful (under the force of gravity) and not been a Smart car, it wouldn't have been so funny ... oh, or beautiful.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 11:43, 2 replies)
Ten years ago:
A young man sits at the edge of the playground, watching everyone else have fun. In fact, he sits at the edge of everything; he doesn't understand how to talk to people, boys think he's weak and girls think he's creepy. They're probably right. So he hides where nobody can see him during the mercifully short breaktimes, and goes to chess or art club during lunch so he doesn't have to be near most of the other people, and he spends a whole lot of time trying not to cry or show how lonely and bored he is.

Last night:
A young man sits at the edge of the dance floor, watching everyone else have fun. He sips the drink from the round he bought and suddenly remembers the other young man from a decade ago, whose position was so similar and yet so very different to his now. Right now, he's sitting this one out because he's tired, he's been up all day organising the social events of the weekend, he was drinking the night before too, and his mate wants to try to cop off uninterrupted.

He remembers the other young man.

He realises that right now he has chosen to exclude himself.

And the knowledge that I have that choice now makes me smile wider and laugh harder than I have in a long, long time.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 11:15, 6 replies)
Alien Invasion...
This Saturday just gone, I spent the day at the Norman Lockyer Observatory near Sidmouth helping out at the South West Astronomy Festival. Barring some rain in the morning, it was a glorious sunny day on the south coast and there was a brilliant turn out of star gazers, amateur radio enthusiasts and interested locals with their kids. My job was to help run a “Physics is Fun” stall, with loads of hands on experiments and crafts for the kids, big and small, to get involved with. We made solar system bracelets, demonstrated tricks with water and launched paper rockets with some copper tubing and a foot pump. My personal favourite, however, was the spinning UFOs. Essentially, this is two polystyrene cups taped together, back to back, which are launched in the air by wrapping a couple of rubber bands around them then firing them like a catapult.

There’s a bit of a knack to it, and, after a couple of hours of the kids laughing at me for being pretty inept, I got the hang of it and started to get rather proficient. Now, if you get the angle and the spin right and put a bit of extra back spin on with your finger when you launch them, you can get these things to fly pretty high and do some impressive loops. I’d been demonstrating this to a small crowd and explaining the concepts of lift and momentum when I decided to launch another.

Somehow, I got it just right. With a bit of judicious help from a passing breeze, the cups looped into the air, climbed to about 20 feet and spun over the observatory, where they hung for what seemed like eons (but was more like 30 seconds). They then gently looped back and floated down into my waiting hands where I (astoundingly) caught them. I turned to see that a group of about 15 people were standing, open mouthed at what they had just seen. One of the parents turned to me and said “That. Was. Amazing...” Her child, no more than six years old, tugged at her sleeve, saying “Mummy, can I stay here and play with the Physics lady? Then can we go and see some more telescopes please?”

I don’t think I’ve ever been so pleased in my life. Here’s a child who wants to spend their Saturday engaging with science and was actually begging to visit a telescope.

Why do we need to make up magical explanations for the world around us, when the simplicity of showing children a toy that they can make in their back garden is so much more satisfying and is a way in to catching a kid’s imagination? If this weekend showed me anything it’s that we shouldn’t lie to kids about how things work as generally, they’re totally switched on and seem to get it that finding out the truth about stuff is pretty awesome.

As an aside, I’m thinking of developing the cups by calling them “Inuit Puffin Cups”, decorating them with glitter and taking them to Glastonbury next year and selling them to confused unicorn worshippers for five quid a go.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 9:26, 11 replies)
Why I joined the B3ta community after months of perusing
In June I read about the Prof and Jess. I had never come across a web community before who really, really cared about its members and friends. This was something I wanted to be part of, even though I live in Australia. Without being flippant, I just wanted to say that an awful tragedy can affect others to do positive things. A moment to witness how people grieve together for the good souls made me realise the good and beautiful things in life. May those people continue to inspire others.

(I hope this is not taken the wrong way and by no means is it my business to comment on other people's loss. May the Prof and family have some peace, love and light).
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 8:53, 7 replies)
This morning
waiting outside my house at about 7.15 this morning, I was standing there in the cool morning air waiting for me sister to turn up and give us a lift to work. As I was standing there an aging man jumped out of a taxi and come over to have a chat to me.

I recognised him as a brother to one of my neighbours; a few doors up is a 57 year old man called Lawrence. Now Lawrence is completely homebound after years ago he had a gaul bladder op, which after a bizarre blood clot complication resulted in him suffering a massive stroke and being in a coma for months on end. After waking up again and going through all of rehab, he's now a shadow of his former self and relies upon the support of others every day. I haven't been living there long and didn't really know him myself, but I knew he was constantly being supervized. A few weeks back I saw his water overflow for his house pouring out of the front of his house one morning and you automatically fear the worst, so I went to investigate. He did answer but didn't realize that the water was pouring out of his house, so as he was unable to I organized the local council plumbers to come out and have a look for him. The next day his brother called around to my house and thanked me for checking, which was nice.

Anyhows, the brother had called over to see Lawrence this morning and we ended up yapping about what he's doing now, which is helping to maintain a care home for the council. He's handing in his retirement notice early (aiming for next January) as due to the new "Tag-team Government" they have decided to cut the already over-stretched department's budget and effectively stop funding to programs for recoving drug addicts and alcoholics. This coupled with the block on police expansion in the UK is just one of the many powder-kegs waiting to explode upon us, and he doesn't want to be a part of it when it happens.

So with that, he solemly says "Oh well, I've got to go, it's Lawrence's birthday today and I got him a cake" and whips out a small sponge cubcake with a single smartie and a candle sitting on top. "He can't have much as he's diabetic, but it'll cheer him up" and with that he said his goodbye and walked to Lawrence's door. After a quick light of the candle and a knock of the door Lawrence answered and was greeted with his brother singing "Happy Birthday" to him, and Lawrence was beaming.

Can't beat moments like that.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 8:35, Reply)
Mindfuck, you say?
Last year my fiancee (then girlfriend) and I were driving to my parents' house for a family reunion. She was a little nervous as to how she would be received by my family, but was going with me anyway. (Background: she was separated but not divorced at the time, mainly because her ex husband needed health insurance and could get it no other way. Being the decent sort that she is, she had agreed to give him extra time under her benefits to get the situation resolved- hence her still being legally married.)

So as we drove through West Virginia we decided to stop at a rest area to use the loo. As we got out of the car she slipped her arm around my waist, so I put mine around her shoulders. We were both very happy and smiling as we headed for the building with the restrooms.

An old guy with a cane was coming the other way and beamed, his leathery face lighting up as he saw us. "You two must be just married."

She blushed and said, "No, we're not married."

I added, "Well, actually she is married- just not to me."

Chaos ensued.

(She eventually said yes to me anyway.)
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 4:42, Reply)
True story
I remember' the first time i ever saw a swan.
A majestic sight with its flowing white wings in midflight forming perfect arcs in the air.
Time stood still as out gazes met , a certain understanding beetween two species.An understanding that this moment was special and beautiful.

Then my mum drove into it leaving a very sizable dent ,a very pissed off (but unharmed) swan and a very shocked five year old me.
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 3:39, Reply)
this afternoon
while out and about, having a tea and people (read:girl) watching, chatting with a friend i hadn't seen in a few weeks and talking about the new job, future plans etc...I realized that today, of all days, was the one year "anniversary" of my re-diagnosis of lymphoma. Was right chuffed that a year later , I was sitting on a bench, talking about what I am planning to to and where I will be come the year next. Great feeling, that ! =)
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 3:17, Reply)
Long ago, between starting working and getting my motorbike
I commuted into Derby by train and bicycle. Cycle to station, jump on train, then cycle from derby station to work/college, depending on the day. dreadful way to travel, the timings meant I spent around 3-4 hours a day commuting-assuming central trains could be arsed to provide a train.
College was at Mackworth, the other side of the city. As I only went one day a week I got hopelessly lost. On one such occasion I had to ask for directions, and that is how I found Derby is full of Poles and other eastern europeans. Not that I have anything against them, unless I'm asking for directions.
"I'm sorry, I'm not from round here"
Time after time after time.
Eventually I got a bit worried. My train would be leaving soon, and it was over an hour between services. Eventually I stumbled across a Derby native.
"Nah then, yer want to go oop t'junction, then g'left, etc etc"
Never has a Derby accent sounded so wonderful!
(, Mon 9 Aug 2010, 1:41, Reply)
Café del Mar
Watching the sunset at Café del Mar in Ibiza (Which isn't the most unique experience) whilst sampling alcoholic beverages was quite special.

Going out round the bars afterwards and returning with no shoes or socks was great as well!
(, Sun 8 Aug 2010, 23:25, 1 reply)
At Stackpole Lilyponds
last month, whilst on a Prince's Trust Challenge Cymru programme, I was down the lakes early in the morning with camera, hoping to see otters alleged to live there. I'd been going down at 6.30 every morning, trying to be as quiet as possible, saw swans, coots, wagtails, noisy herons, pike, everything but bloody otters. I thought "sod this, I'll go and practice my Tai Chi over the other side of the bridge". Went through the short form a couple of times, nice and relaxed; guess what appeared out of the reedbed by the bridge? Not one, but four otters- two parents and two cubs. I managed to get a few photos before they buggered off out of shot; that properly made my day.
(, Sun 8 Aug 2010, 23:03, 2 replies)
Being a teenager with a YouTube account
I decided to meander down to Summer in the City yesterday, and find some of these new-fangled Internet Celebrities. Got a hug off Charlieissocoollike, Nerimon, Eddplant, Mickeleh and many hugs from Hexachordal, but that's beside the point.

There was a gig, at the Kilburn Luminaire, and it was really amazing.

I'm bad at estimating numbers, but I think there were a couple of hundred internet denizens shushing each other to make everyone quiet for the songs, which is a sight I'd never banked on seeing.

The highlight of the evening was possibly a massive crowd of YouTubers singing harmonies to the list of colours in Hexachordal's song Indigo - everyone had mostly only just met, yet we were all acting like friends who'd known each other for years, singing our hearts out while mostly sober (due to a combination of mass underage-ness and the fact that in London, drinks are far too expensive).
(, Sun 8 Aug 2010, 22:44, Reply)
monkey fucking a frog
the best thing i've seen recently was that monkey fucking a frog on youtube.
(, Sun 8 Aug 2010, 21:01, 14 replies)

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