Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A nasty shock

Got on the scales this morning and leapt off very quickly. Time to get serious. Flab is gathering about my hips and while it's not horrendous I feel happier when I weigh less so please note my resolve and tell me off if you see me eating something naughty - or at least too much of it.

Trouble is I've been feeling a bit stressed recently. Not sure why. When I'm on a high or even a plateau I can cope but if I'm teetering I fall easily into 'I can't do this' mode. And we all know that stressed spelled backwards is desserts so I'm pulled towards chocolate at these times. 

A vicious circle, a ride that it's hard to get off. But I can do it. I was half-heartedly listening to a TED talk yesterday (Husband was in the same room listening to it) and the speaker was talking about reasons why we'll never have a great career or even a good career. (Larry Smith on Why you'll fail to have a great career was addressing a younger audience; it's in the quarter-life crisis group of talks.) Which sounds quite negative but I recognised lots of the reasons as the excuses I give for not submitting my manuscript or generally believing in myself. 

Unfortunately it takes more than being inspired to change an attitude borne of many years.

Come on, girl, shake a leg. Get with the beat. Hakuna matata. And other jollying phrases.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Add slam to poetry and it gets attention

Got home in time to go to Red Cafe to hear Harry Baker. He's a brilliant young performance poet, one time World Slam Champion, and maths student.

I was tired on arriving home and it was raining and it was very tempting to curl up and stay in but I'm so glad I made the effort. I love 99 problems but maths ain't one of them and Dinosaur love but this one, written more recently (he's 22), was my favourite last night.

It was my first Linden event since leaving and I was rather nervous. I should add that I get nervous opening a closed door and walking into a room in almost all circumstances let alone these. Red Cafe had had building work since the last time I was there so I wasn't even sure which door to use. Imagine opening the door, walking in and finding yourself standing in front of and interrupting the performing poet (I was late naturally). Eventually I hovered outside until someone else turned up and followed them in. And how delighted I was to see Kerry and Tim Tudor near the back with a spare seat at their table! I pounced on it. 'Is anyone sitting here? Can I join you?' (Actually I'm not sure if I asked or whether I just plonked myself down with a relieved sigh and they were too polite to tell me to clear off.)

So it wasn't as bad as I feared and the first time is done now. If I'd left it much longer I suspect I would never have gone to a Linden event again; My scarediness would have built up to monstrous proportions. And, yes, I know there is no need for it. I left with their blessing and for good reasons and most of them are lovely people but somehow knowing that doesn't help when you're a big girl's blouse.

Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink

A lovely weekend with Elder Son, Daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Surrey. Hardly recognised Elder Son at first ...

and still not sure where the red comes from.

A first for me: I watched The Voice but only because a friend of Elder Son's was appearing. Sadly no-one turned around for Otty, as we knew in advance, but exciting all the same. Otty sang at Elder Son and Daughter-in-law's wedding, during the register signing, and he is amazing. And very dedicated to his music. He wasn't given a choice about the song he sang and it didn't really work for him.

This is Otty (but not on The Voice).

It is very satisfying when your child overtakes you in ability. Not that I have much ability but I can cook so when Elder Son makes a rich satisfying casserole that's better than any of my efforts there is a certain pleasure to be found. And the cookies he and Grandson1 made on Sunday were to die for. Elder Son is a bit of a cookery nerd and has started his own cooking blog Where the elite meet to eat.

Sunday we went to Savill Garden, part of the Royal Estate. The area abounds in Royal parks and posh houses!

We'll have to go back in the summer when the rose garden is in flower.

Not real snow but part of the display in the temperate house.

But best part of the weekend, obviously, was playing with GrandSons especially as GrandSon3 didn't cry on sight of me once. 

Worst part, apart from Otty's disappointment, was the water. We lived in Southampton for four years and had to put up with horrid hard water. We're spoiled in Wales. Best country in the world and best water too.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'm getting bolshy in my old age

On Mrs Nesbitt's blog she sang the praises of a bag for cooking baked potatoes/pre-cooking chips. It sounded like a wonderful invention and lots of people thought so, so Mrs N kindly did some research and put a link on her blog to a company selling them at a bargain price. I ordered one. (What I am about to say is absolutely no reflection on Mrs N who is a lovely lady but rather on the company and my own decision-making.)

Now when it came to placing the order I found that, though the bags (they came in twos) only cost £3.99, postage and packing was £4.99. Hmm. I dithered before pressing the confirm order button but thought, oh well, if that's the cost of packing and delivering my parcel so be it.

Today my parcel arrived. No complaints about delivery time but a HUGE complaint about the parcel. The reason the p&p was so costly was that it included an unrequested catalogue.
My item weighed about 100g.

The catalogue and bumpf weighed nearly 700g.
I have sent off a bloshy email concluding that I shall not be using this company again.

Save the rain forests ... of the oceans

This is the project that Younger Son and Nuora have set up in the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia. If you are able to donate even a small amount it will help save the 'rain forests of the oceans.'

Thank you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

'Have you ever tried to be Jesus?'

I thought it was going to be a quiet night in Zac's. 

Sean was away so I was leading the study. The dreadful weather must have put people off as numbers were low so I was in confident mood to begin. And therein lay my downfall.

'Can I ask a question?' one of our more characterful fairly-regulars asked.
'Yes, of course.'
Have you ever tried to be Jesus?'
'Er no.'
'I have. It's f***ing hard. Whoops, sorry.'

We were supposed to be reading, thinking about and learning from the book of Daniel, from the bit where Nebuchadnezzar has some bad dreams and threatens to kill all the sorcerers/wise men because they can't tell him a) what his dream was; b) what it meant. (Which seems a trifle harsh unless you think that a sorcerer who claims to be able to tell you the future should be able to tell you the past as well.)

So how we ended up considering complaints about the night shelter is a mystery. Mind you we did get there via 'Why did the police say all the Jews want to go back to Israel?' and 'Why are there all these different churches - evan-whatever it was, Roman catholic, Buddhist, c of e? It's just confusing.'

And all this was conducted with a faint background hum of chatter. It's no wonder I came home hoarse.

Oh yes, and was Jesus a Jew?

But the cake with which we celebrated Nicky's birthday tasted good.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A delicate subject

Turn away now if you are offended by the mention of poo ...

Okay, so you're sticking with me while I share my ponderings on being 60 and being a woman.

If you recall, the first delivery of post in 2015 brought me an 'invitation' for bowel screening. For those who are fortunate enough not to have yet reached this stage of life it involves taking samples of poo on three different days but within ten days.

Immediately I find I suffer from stress constipation. Do I want to go? Or is it a false alarm? Do I need to be ready with my piece of paper? Or am I just going to wee over it? (This must be easier for men.) And now I've succeeded to collect sample one I know I've only got nine days to do the next two. Now normally that would be no problem; but as I said stress constipation strikes and I'm counting days anxiously.

I am something of an expert when it comes to baby poo; I can deal with dog poo with no problem. So why is it so hard when faced with my own faecal matter?

I am reminded of a quote from Germaine Greer from many many years ago. She said, 'If you think you are emancipated, you might consider the idea of tasting your own menstrual blood - if it makes you sick, you've got a long way to go, baby.' 

I would say I have a long way to go but then I think: why would I want to taste my own menstrual blood? In what circumstances would it be necessary? 

I fear feminists would say I am a lost cause, and not just for this reason. I am not above playing the pathetic female to get out of doing an unpleasant task. Yet the idea that men are inherently superior to women is patently nonsense. As individuals we have different strengths and weaknesses that sometimes mean we veer off the normal graph line for women/men but normal is only the average and who wants to be average?

I've petered out now. I didn't really mean to go here so don't have the thoughts to keep up with my fingers. 

Really all I want to say is 'Poo!'

P.S. I'm pretty sure that in 8 years or more of blogging I've never labelled a post 'Germaine Greer' before!
P.P.S. Dr Stu has sent me a photo of Different Shades of Poop an indication apparently of how healthy it is. If you'd like a copy of the photo just let me know!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It might have been the bang on the head

Remember that chap who'd been hit on the head by a saucepan? (By his wife I believe.) Anyway I saw him this morning near the prison. He was across the road from me but he waved and shouted, 'Praise the Lord.'

What could I do but return his wave and shout, 'Praise the lord, brother!'

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A fishy soup to be in

I've been trying out a few new recipes this week. I say a few; I mean two.

Yesterday as we had a surplus of rather sad-looking vegetables I made root vegetable and lentil soup. I think it could probably have done with a few more minutes cooking as the lentils, even though they were whizzed, were still in evidence. But I served it with cheese scones that I've made numerous times before and every time they amaze me. They have a very high cheese content and you'd think that would make them stodgy but they're invariably the lightest and fluffiest scones you could wish for. I followed that up with baked pears and cream (as they were selling off a packet of only-just-in-date pears in Sainsburys, reduced from £2.25 to 69p - how could I ignore them?)

Today it was a recipe from the Sainsburys magazine I attempted: prawn and coconut soup. 

Mine doesn't look exactly the same as the picture in the magazine but tasted yummy nevertheless. But salty. I shall be drinking water all night long.

Tomorrow it's back to boring roast chicken but tonight it's raspberries and cream and The Bucket List, number 3 for us to watch in my series of Christmas present dvds.