Monday, October 14, 2019

Surpassing my own excellence

I have done some stupid things but yesterday I surpassed my own standard: I poured boiling water over my legs.

I didn't mean to obviously. What I meant to do was empty the jug of boiling water down the sink. What I had forgotten was that the 'jug' was in fact the top of my blender, which I had incorrectly opened previously meaning it didn't have a bottom.

So when I lifted up the 'jug' of boiling water it all poured out over me. Cue some leaping around and ouching. Followed by cold showering of my legs.

Meanwhile Nuora ran out to the greenhouse and fetched some aloe vera. 'Slit this open and rub the sap over the burns,' she said.

The rest of the evening I alternated between rubbing sap on my legs and pressing a bag of frozen veg between them.

I'm pleased to report it worked.

Having visualised weeping and falling-off flesh I'm delighted to say all I have to show for the burn is a bit of redness. A lucky bunny.

Not so lucky this morning. I can't explain what it was all about but I was sworn at a lot, and my integrity questioned. I'm not perfect but in this instance at least I had good intentions. Road to hell etc.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Take the girl out of Wales

I just said to Husband, 'I'll do it now,' adding to myself, 'in a minute.'

It's a well-known Welsh thing, this now in a minute, but do others say it? Or mean in a minute when they say now?

When I went out to work in my early twenties I was teased because I added, 'is it?' onto everything I said. For example, 'I'll go and copy these documents, is it?'

I was working with very Welsh men, from the valleys, so maybe that's not a particularly Welsh thing. It was probably just my insecurity wanting reassurance that I was doing the right thing all the time.

Scented reminders

A post on Sonata's blog reminded me of this.
A gift from my mother. My last birthday before her death in 1972. She apologised for not being able to afford to buy me the perfume.

In my bottom drawer ever since.

When it rains it pours

Have been taking it very easy this week to allow myself to recover and it seems to be working. Staying in has been no hardship as the weather has been gloomy and intermittently wet. And when it rains it pours.

To use the time wisely - and to lessen the feelings of guilt - I have been working on my next novel, a follow-up to my first. I have almost reached the middle and the inevitable 'this is rubbish and why am I bothering' stage, so it's a bit of a struggle, especially as I have no idea where it's going.

I have a basic plot: I know what will happen over the course of the year - well, vaguely - but it's all the getting there and distractions. Some I think, at the time of writing, are hilarious but are they really? I suppose the main purpose of the first draft is to 'get it written' so I shall persevere. 

What I do love though is that the characters invent their own stories. I just relate what happens to them. 

* * * * * *
I was anticipating doing a lot of cheering for Wales during the game on Wednesday morning against Fiji. As it turned out it was far too tense a match for much celebration. After beating Australia in the previous game Welsh spirits were high and, as is ever the case, optimism hitting sky level. We get carried away very easily. One win and we're at the world cup finals - and winning it.

Anyway Wales has another game to play on Sunday - against Uruguay - but is already through to the quarter-finals.

Photo from Walesonline
Another thing I did while 'resting' this week was watch a documentary about a former Welsh rugby international who is living with HIV. Gareth Thomas was legendary on the pitch, a great servant of his country, and much loved. He was also the first openly gay professional rugby player. 

He has been living with HIV for some time and was terrified that if news broke he would be ostracised, treated differently by any and everyone. When a reporter knocked on his parents' door at 5.30 one morning and asked them what they thought about their son having HIV he decided he had to do something. It had to be him who chose the time and place to announce it, not have it leaked by some rubbish newspaper.

He decided he would take part in an Ironman Challenge (swim, cycle and run for stupid number of miles) to prove that HIV didn't mean weak and frail. It was especially challenging as he couldn't swim before he started training. He also made the documentary, which included interviews with HIV experts as well as others living with it.

The documentary was both informative and moving. His emotions were very much on display and his fear was palpable. There will, sadly, be people who will shun or even vilify him, but what from I've seen the huge majority of messages have been supportive, as they should be.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Whoo whoo croak croak

Feeling sorry for myself. Last week I had a cold sore and ulcers; this week I have an ulcer and a cough - rapidly turning into runny nose as well. I diagnose run-downness and prescribe rest. I shall try anyway.

My condition wasn't helped by the trains last Sunday.

The Swansea Society of Model Engineers has its base just behind us and on bank holidays they open to the public for the rides. When my children were little it was very cheap and it's not much more now but since some bright spark mentioned it on social media as a hidden gem the queues are horrendous.

But the last two years we've been invited to the Residents' Open Day. No queues and everything is free! And that was last Sunday. I had at least six and possibly seven train rides and that's a lot of tunnel whoo-whoo-ing. Little wonder I got croakier. But it was worth it.

P.S. Younger Son and Nuora are more relaxed about having the children's photos on the internet.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Leather leanings

Have spent the morning trailing around charity and furniture shops looking for a new sofa. You wouldn't think it would be so hard but we seem to fall in between the youth who want the slouchy slumpy sofas and those who want the high back granny settees.

We want a cushion with just the right amount of softness combined with a reasonably high back. We can still manage to get out of low chairs - although perhaps we should be thinking about the future. Then again a sofa isn't likely to last that long.

The first sofa we had, the one we bought when we were expecting our first child and anticipated lots of evenings in, lasted us for years and years. Admittedly towards the end people used to grumble about not being able to get out once they'd sat down but who wants visitors anyway?

This - only our second - sofa hasn't lasted so well at all. Not only are the support straps gone the covers are worn out, probably from too much washing. And therein lies another problem.

We finally found a sofa we both liked in the last - and most expensive - shop. I am just thinking, 'This could be it,' when Husband said, 'I'm not sure about spending lots of money on a sofa while we have grandchildren.'

The style is also available in leather but I have a thing about leather furniture: it's not warm and cuddly. On the plus side it's easier to wipe down when chocolate, wine, ice cream etc inevitably gets spilled. And that's just from Husband. On the negative side it's even more expensive.

You can understand why our grandparents had a front parlour they kept for best.

What do you think? Do you have a leather sofa? 

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Imaginary friends and numbers

So we're walking back through the woods - in the rain that wasn't supposed to start for another hour - and the subject of calculus comes up.

What's the difference between algebra and calculus?' I foolishly ask Husband, who then proceeds to tell me, leading us into imaginary numbers.

'i is the square root of -1,' he says.
'Everyone knows you can't have a square root of a minus number.'
'Which is why it's imaginary. j and k are also imaginary but I don't recall what they are.'

If I tell anyone I have imaginary friends they will look at me strangely and probably avoid me in future; mathematicians can talk about imaginary numbers and everyone thinks they're geniuses. This seems unfair to me.

One of my not imaginary friends - not actually a friend in fact - asked me to bend over and put double bows in her shoelaces. I checked and she already had double bows.

That was on Tuesday. It wasn't until this afternoon that it occurred to me that she could have done it herself.

Now it's October George is allowed on the beach again.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Just a small, um, scratch

Husband and I have just returned from the surgery where we had our annual flu jobs. (We like to do things together; it's our idea of a hot date.)

On the way home I grumbled, 'The nurse always  says you'll just feel a small scratch, but it's not a scratch. It hurts!'
'They used to say just a little prick before it became non-pc.'
'At least that is accurate. It feels like a prick. Definitely not a scratch.'

That aside, glad to have that out of the way. I have been flu-free ever since first getting the jab. Not that I had flu very often before that, probably only once or maybe twice in my lifetime. But at our age, you know, you have to take any precautions they offer you.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Holiday reading

I managed to get through quite a number of books on holiday. It's amazing what time the absence of television and the internet creates.

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
I somehow manged to miss this in the original flurry of fame but had added it to my want-to-read list. It was certainly gripping. At least the first half was. Original and interesting but I was less enthusiastic about the latter half. I definitely felt cheated by the ending.

Old Baggage
by Lissa Evans
I read about this on someone else's blog and ordered it from the library. I wasn't convinced enough to buy it outright! But it was great. Feisty characters and a great period setting - ex-suffragettes in the 1920s. In my head I could hear the lead character being voiced by Miriam Margolyes. She would be perfect for the part - and if you're familiar with Ms Margolyes that may give you an idea of Mattie's qualities.

The Killer in the Choir
by Simon Brett
The latest in the Fethering mysteries featuring two friends, Carol and Jude, who like to investigate any murders that happen nearby - and there are plenty of them! 
I love Simon Brett's work - he has written a number of comedy series for television - and these books are easy to read and aren't in the least gory. My only complaint is that Carol is always uptight and prim, and Jude is always relaxed and empathetic. I know that reflects their characters but Carol has so few redeeming points while Jude is so perfect.
**** or *** (I am trying to be more generous in my starring and as I always look out for new books in the series I suppose it has to be 4*.)

The Woman who Wanted More
by Vicky Zimmerman
Kate is about to move in with Nick but just about everyone thinks she's making a mistake. Most out-spoken is Cecily, a ninety-seven-year-old in a care home. Cecily lends Kate a cookbook designed to cater for every occasion. Through the book and Cecily's friendship - such that it is - Kate comes to the point of having to decide.

The Red Notebook
by Antoine Laurain
I saved the best until the last. A bookseller, a gilder, a lost notebook and a cat. What more could you want? Ah, yes, a Parisian background.