The randomness of lucky things

Bogler’s Paradox: “To be truly universal, any physical law must take into account the possibility of that law not applying in all circumstances.”

Luck, eh?

You just know it’s a random universe when you meet someone who lives in the next village and you get to talking about how you’ve been trying to sell your perfectly nice, sunny little house for nearly two years now, and they tell you, oh, my neighbour put her house on the market last month, it sold the next day and they’re moving out this week.

But it happened to me yesterday and my expensive porcelain teeth are worn down with grinding through the night, my face is wrinkled from crying.

And I’m watching that ‘Page viewings’ scoreboard on Preloved (Property) inching, centimetre-by-centimetre, towards the two thousand viewings of my page mark. As of this morning, we’re on 1,993 (average: 4.1/day). To a person who has OCD over propitious numerical conjunctions, the wait is agonising.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that in a random universe one of those nearly two thousand viewers would have contacted me by now, even if only accidentally, or just to annoy me by asking how little am I prepared to sell for, how many rooms does it have (not enough, too many, out-of-square, tastelessly decorated, etcetera), is there a roof, did it ever flood, does it have electricity, what time do the buses run to town, or something else pretty stupid,  by now?

It’s in the nature of humans to ask dumb questions, to challenge inaccuracies (I insert them deliberately, but nobody seems to notice), to enjoy wasting people’s time with inconsequential chitchat.

So this refusal by almost two thousand people to act on human instinct is just perverse. Why are they behaving like this? What has happened to the pack mentality, that instead of behaving chaotically they all enjoy being part of a huge gathering of unseen presences, a zombie horde of property buyers WHO REFUSE TO BUY PROPERTY!

But, just like sometimes scientists or conjurors can flip a coin and have it come up heads 1,993 times in a row when mathematical reasonableness and experience suggest that they might flip the odd tail now and then, the Law of Probability has clearly ceased to apply in my case, and that’s just another effect you could expect in a random universe, the possibility that, in certain localised cases, there could be no probability of anything happening.

Anyway, I’d just quite like to move in one direction for now, and that’s forwards. But, hey, I got in a day’s paid gardening yesterday, and I met a pretty girl with a pair of nice, er, spaniels and we chatted amiably for a while on the shitty footpath about dogs and things, I got home and drank a second bottle of well-chilled van rosay while watching another mysteriously improbable spectacle in which 11 plucky Belgians knocked the USA out of the World Cup in extra time – the third match I have watched in a row that went to extra time only for the losing side to win.

When you live alone, except of course for li’l Hunzi and Scat the Cat, and Avi the Avocado tree, who is positively thriving on my sunny back terrace in this counter-probabilistic hot summer we’re having (while much of the rest of the world is going to hell in a handcart), you tend to start thinking everything in the universe happens because of you, and of what is going on in your head.

It’s called ‘solipsism’, and it’s very, very bad. It really isn’t all your fault!

But who’s to say?


Sneezing at cats

Five a.m. precisely, and Cat wakes me with the special gurgling purr that says she has brought home another little playmate – or, as they are known in some countries, political dissident. Just in case there is time to perform an act of Amnesty, I stumble blindly downstairs, but it is too late. On my expensive hand-made Indian rug (100% Polyester) is a stiffening corpse.

Why Cat has taken to torturing her little victims on the rug especially is a bit of a mystery. The rug is a vibrant crimson colour all over, which goes perfectly with the wallpaper, and I think that either it has an exciting psychological effect on Cat, a red rug to a moggie, as it were; or she has discovered that there is some extra-terrifying vibe for mice in the colour , that increases the frisson of killing for its own sake.

This is a cat that is artificially fed about six times a day. She does not hunt because she needs more food.

Or it could simply be that she knows that if she leaves bloodied corpses and viscera all over the new, pale-beige coloured carpet next to the rug, she will be toast. The red rug offers the security of camouflage for her crimes against mousekind.

I shouldn’t admit this, as he is an IT bod and is probably reading this on-stream while he sucks freely on my Broadband pipe, but my next-door-neighbour’s garden hides a grisly secret. Just outside our adjoining front doors, there is a riotous patch of lavender, into which I have been casting the mangled corpses of Cat’s victims for the past two years.

In decades to come, occupants of the house next door who hate lavender will stumble upon a veritable ossuary. The legend of the mouse’s graveyard will be born. Tales will be told of a fabled miniature kingdom, where all the mice in Wales come to die.

Where then should we bury Cat? She has miraculously survived the transition from life on a country estate to living in a hell of noise and speeding lorries. Now, she is to be rehomed yet again, this time to my daughter’s house, 300 miles away, as I cannot take her with me to France. My new employer (should this appointment ever be confirmed) is ‘allergic’ to cats.

As I ruefully toss yet another little grim secret away into the lavender bush, I can sort of see her point.

The Olympics: what next?

The many denigrators of the O-word Games have been put to shame by the brilliant events taking place in the city of L. during the past five weeks of the year 20–. (Note: these terms were all copyrighted by the organisers!)

Looking back at my earlier bogls, I must admit I have to count myself chief among the disparagers, now thoroughly routed. I never thought my old school chum, Lord Coe would pull it off. The resounding achievements this past fortnight of little Lara-this and Kenny-that, whizzing about effortlessly in their molybdenum Sir James Savile memorial NHS wheelchairs, have dwarfed even the Herculean efforts of our so-called able-bodied Olympiads. Records have tumbled. Millions of spectators who once grimped and grimed at paying £1200 for a ticket to watch Burkina Faso lose to Lower Nepal at tag-team wrestling have gone away thrilling to the sheer brilliance of the organisation, the warm words and friendly chuckles of seventy-thousand dedicated volunteers ringing in their ears.

Now, sadly, it is all over for at least the next hundred years, and a sense of anticlimax is beginning once more to remind the nation of our ever-present economic woes. What can compare with the sheer genius of organisation, the good British spunk, the noisy and incomprehensible but somehow uplifting ceremonial, the vast haul of precious metals with which the nation’s coffers can be replenished, once they are exchanged for Prime Ministerial honours by the bucketload? As Old King Cole put it, “Knights and dames, you are the One!”

We need something quickly to replace the feelings of elation, to exploit the legacy, to ‘maintain the momentum’, and I have the perfect suggestion: the Dog Olympics.

With Crufts Show coming up, held appropriately at Olympia, the successful trials of British canines are the perfect antidote with which to lift a sports-hungry nation off their sofas. Are we not a nation of dog-lovers? Would British dogs not vastly outperform, say, Korean challengers, if any could be found? Wrestling Pit Bull terriers; little Yorkies and Scotties chasing rats down holes; Border collies shedding sheep; Lakelands and Bedlingtons frightening burglars; a parade of Dulux dogs all painted in pastel Bathroom shades, prancing Poodles in their topiary… what a spectacular and colourful show it would be, even before our plucky trained sniffer-dogs and faster-than-a-speeding-bullet greyhounds were put through their paces, nose-to-tail with their competitors: Mexican Chihuahuas and suchlike. And to follow, orienteering for guide dogs?

I can hear the happy woofing of the medalwinners, and the cheers of the London pack, already!

Little Hunzi guards the baton at the start of the 5-metres’ beach relay race.