Saturday, December 31, 2005

31st December, 2005

So, New Year resolutions.

When I was a little girl every year I made the same resolutions: I will not be shy; I will not bite my nails.

They look better in the photo than they are.

So this year, instead of negative resolutions, I am going to make positive ones: I will lose weight; I will be disciplined; I will ignore the voice in my head that says, 'this is rubbish - call yourself a writer?'

I will also write. As opposed to playing solitaire or Tetris or doing any of the hundreds of other things I find to waste my time. When someone says, 'Are you in work on Wednesday?' I will say, 'Yes.' Not in the bookshop or in Linden but at home writing. Or researching, submitting, filing rejection letters. I will also get on with writing in the mornings i.e. I will get up in the mornings.

And I think that is enough.

Happy New Year to one and all!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Look what Santa brought me!

Though how he managed to get her on our drive without me noticing is beyond me.

Meet Betty the Beetle. At 33, she is ever-so-slightly younger than me and much more gorgeous.

I am, without doubt, the most blessed woman on the planet. And not just because of Betty.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Man at the top

Great-aunt was so pleased with the heating allowance and the council tax rebate that she sent a card to Tony Blair saying what a great man he is. Today she had a note of thanks, personally signed by him. I don't suppose he gets many letters telling him he's doing well.

Had a Christmas lunch with the Sparklets today. They're taking a break while Em has her baby so the office will be a little quieter and less interesting for a while.

Must try not to eat so much chocolate.

I've just noticed what time it is. I usually try to avoid posting at around this time as I don't like the number seven.

It's been a while

Life has been fairly busy of late. Enjoyable but full.

Thursday evening, it was round to uncle John's to meet the neighbours for a Christmas/birthday drink. Met Harvey who liked a little drop of whisky in his tea. Perhaps I should try my Harvey on that.

The Linden staff ( for want of a better word) met here for a celebratory end-of-term lunch on Friday. Very jolly. I enjoyed it; I hope others did too! I especially enjoyed finishing off the bread and butter pudding Lanni made.

Friday evening it was a change of scene as Maggi and I went to the Brangwyn to listen to the Dunvant Male Voice Choir. Lots of rather posher than us people.

Saturday and it was uncle John's 80th birthday party at our house. I was really quite terrifically well-organised, apart from not actually being dressed when the first guests arrived. A houseful of ladies in their seventies and eighties drank gin and champagne until well past my bedtime. Two things of note: no men were invited, except those that came along as 'plus one'; we should have removed one of our sofas and replaced it with tall chairs as the elderly cannot get out of sofas.

In between preparing for the party I also worked on the piece Tim B had asked me to write for Sunday morning on incarnation. Was still working on it Sunday morning but it went okay.

Unlike the afternoon rehearsal for the drumming. I couldn't start in the right place, finish in the right place or remember what I was doing in between places. Still it was all right on the night. The audience particularly liked our white bums as we left the stage. Note: next time, make sure chairs are dusted before use. Next time! Am I assuming there will be a next time?

Monday had flowers delivered to the door. I do love having flowers delivered to the door especially when they're for me and not for the lady down the road who is out and 'could you look after them until she gets in?' So that's twice I've had flowers delivered that are actually for me. And from my uncle each time. Husband should take lessons from uncle if he wants to have a gang of adoring women at his 80th birthday party.

And so that was that. A calm down up to Christmas now, just shopping, visiting, relaxing. And fighting with cat. Charlie has been staying with us while daughter and husband have been tripping round visiting. I feed her, let her out, talk nicely to her, play with her and still she turns on me. Why do cats do that? The cat we bought with house was the same. She would lie on your lap and let you stroke her and suddenly she would bite you! It must be a cat thing. Charlie will get her come-uppance tomorrow when they collect new puppy. Tee hee. She will soon regain her place of dominance though.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sharing my wisdom

I am so well-organised that I feel I owe it to the world to offer some advice on cleaning. First of all a little test.

A girl I knew lived at home with her parents. When they went away on holiday she cleaned the skirting and picture rail 'as a nice surprise' for them. If someone cleaned your skirting would you a) be overjoyed; b) notice?

If the answer is a), then you shouldn't read any further; I wouldn't want to upset you.

Now for the rest of us, my advice is simple and can be summed up in five words. Yes, that's right, just five words. They are 'Clean where you can see.' This obviously doesn't include behind sofas or above eye-level. There are only two reasons for anyone to look above eye-level: they are lying on the floor in a drunken stupor - in which case they won't notice the cobwebs - or they are your potential mother-in-law. If the latter is the case, I suggest you reconsider your choice of spouse.

What is it?

I am way too organised and that can only mean one thing: what have I forgotten? I had better consult The List.

To say that the house would be clean without a Harvey is of course an exaggeration. But not much of one. How can one dog shed so much hair and still have a coat-full?

Me and the broom just did a waltz to the Harry Potter Waltz, but it was Viennese so I couldn't do it very well. But the broom didn't complain.

The list of films I want to see is growing. Harry Potter is there as is The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Narnia, and I have this vague recollection that there is something else. What could it be, I wonder. Perhaps we'll get to see some over the holidays. Husband is off for three weeks and plans to redecorate the bedroom and prepare the bathroom for when we get round to deciding what we want done in there. That's not as bad as one year when he decided to decorate the kitchen before Christmas and it was nail-biting stuff to see if we'd get a floor down before I needed to cook Christmas dinner. Or the year he did the dining-room.

If we are having a party for eighty-year-olds we need gin, don't we? Most of them are women and everyone knows that gin is mother's ruin.

Why is it...

that when I wake up in the night I can't get back to sleep but when the alarm clock goes off it's no problem to fall asleep?

I was very hot in bed last night. I can't decide if it was hormones, if I'm going down with a cold or whether it was the result of having my dressing-gown on top of my duvet on top of my hot water bottle on top of me.

I still haven't decided about my jigsaw. At least, I have probably decided but haven't done anything yet. I will work around it for a bit longer.

The moon tonight will be full and appear brighter than it has done for the last eighteen years. It is at its highest point in the sky, closest to the sun. It was peeking out between clouds last night so let's hope it will be clear tonight. I would hate to miss it.

While I was searching for Christmas decorations in the attic (yes, I was very brave), I came across, amongst other things, some of the books my children had when they were little (I am keeping them to read to any grandchildren I may have). Ah, lovely books, Jill Murphy, the Ahlbergs, even Albert Herbert Hawkins, the naughtiest boy in the world. Although I think Harvey is making a bid for that title. ... It's no good coming and nudging my arm for cuddles when you keeping barking. ... no, I'm only scratching you because I want to, not because you want me to. ... and barking again will not help.

Angelo, who dogsat Harvey when we were away, has decided that any girl he marries will have to sign a pre-nuptial agreement to never have a dog.

No, spellchecka, I do not want to change 'naughtiest' to 'mightiest'; just whose side are you on?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Still cleaning

While sticking up the thing that the cards go in, I discovered a piece of Blu-tack on the wall from where it was hung up last year. That could have really upset me if I were the sort of person who cared about these things.

Now I have a dilemma. Some time ago I started a jigsaw. it is an enormous jigsaw and I haven't finished it yet. I'm left with the boring bits to do. Now, I need to clear it away so do I roll it up as it is on my jigsaw mat or do I dismantle it? It is so big it is practically at the very edges of the mat so if I roll it up it might fall off; on the other hand, I hate to give up on a jigsaw. On the third hand I know I will have lost interest in it by the time I go back to it. You know how it is: you sort of get your eyes into the particular way of seeing for each jigsaw and it will take me ages to find that again.

I seem to be coming down on the dismantling side. Perhaps I'll have some lunch while I'm thinking.

Green fingered?

Not me. I have had my poinsettia less than a week and it's already dying. That must be a record even for me. I haven't given up hope though. I've given it a nice long drink and I'm playing Classic FM to it in the hope that it will think, with such beautiful music in the world, life must be worth living.

Bad decision of 2005: buying a new suite in cream. I shall have to make sure the room is always lit by candles so no-one will notice the beetroot stain. And the general state of ground-in dirt. It would help if Harvey didn't rub his head on the side of the arm when he gets an itch.

Shh, don't tell him but his Christmas present arrived today. It's a new (whisper) bed. I don't know why I'm whispering; he doesn't hear me when I'm standing next to him talking to him these days.

Number one son is in Spain looking forward to Austrian mulled wine and mince pies. How cosmopolitan my family is!

Part of the purpose of last week's visit to the in-laws was to exchange gifts. All fine and dandy except we brought home a gift from one sister-in-law intended for the other sister-in-law. And it's about the size and weight of a small kennel.

Spellchecka recognised poinsettia but couldn't cope with beetroot.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

She scrubs up well

You shall go to the ball, Cinderella!


How is it possible, I wonder, to have a carrier-bag full of odd socks? No, more than that: a carrier-bag full of odd black socks. There should be a European standard controlling the manufacture of black socks. And where do the missing ones go? To a secret sock rendezvous. Is it like the Great Escape? Is there a Steve McQueen sock (sports with an M logo) or a Donald Pleasance sock (greyer than the rest)?

Why does smoked fish never taste as good as it did when my granny cooked it for me when I was a little girl?

I am just trying to put off writing more cards now, can you tell? I thought there didn't seem to be as many on my list as last year and I found out why. No, not because last year it was full of cards to Ted and Doris, but because I had just left off lots people as I'm discovering on a daily basis as cards arrive.

'We wish you a wombling merry Christmas.'


I've just realised that husband has gone away without getting decorations down from the attic. That means I will have to brave the scary loft ladder. Not that it's actually scary unless you're a complete and utter wimp. Like me and Harvey. No, I know you don't want to go up it anyway, Harvs, but I'm just pointing out that you're a wimp too. ... You are so.

On our walks these days it takes us a long time to get not far. Except today. We got to where we normally turn back and Harvey wanted to go on; he even cantered. That lasted about five minutes. Just long enough for us to get to the end of the path and for Harvey to think, 'Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.'

Perhaps he will be too tired to bark aimlessly tonight.

Handy hint for the day: no home should be without a Tubigrip. You never know when you might need one.

Nearly time for Neighbours. I can't believe the new man in Susan's life has got leukaemia. Or perhaps I can.

Monday, December 12, 2005

I'm back

Having laughed at my outfit for the ball husband endeared himself further en route by saying that, of the 50 people going from his works, we were the oldest. I felt really good by the time I got there.

Still the hotel was nice. An l-shaped room with glass along the two outside corner walls. And lovely smelling smellies. I thought guilt might have made him relent and bid for tickets for the England Wales rugby international next spring but he didn't. As the starting bid was £500 I wasn't really surprised.

Got home, cleaned corner of room ready for tree and (a grape just jumped out of my mouth!) went out today to buy new lights for it. Do not think I should be allowed out on my own. Came home with whole new colour scheme for decorations.

Now all I have to do is clean rest of room, decorate trees and some other stuff that I choose not to consider now as it will only depress me. Speaking of depression a man has been trying to get in touch with me for two days; he is phoning again tonight. Husband has refused to answer and take a messagee so I will have to be talk to him. There is nothing really wrong with him it's just ...

We had a Christmas card today. It was addressed to Mrs Liz Hinds and family and was posted in Wales. It is from Ted, Doris and family. (Not their real names.) Now I know several Ted and Dorises but none of them send me a card and I haven't seen them for years. I don't recognise the writing and I haven't a clue who they are. It is rather worrying. At least it would be if I had any room in my brain for any more stuff but it is full.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Simply the worst

On my new Rat Pack Christmas CD there is a recording of Frank singing The Lord's Prayer. Without a doubt it is the worst record in the history of the world. Forget Mr Blobby; forget Celine Dion. This is so bad it makes you wonder what he was thinking in doing it.

You can listen to a little of it here. is before it goes downhill.

It's a sad day...

when you need your glasses to make a cake. You also need dark brown sugar, a fact I knew yesterday as I had it on my shopping list. So it was a shame I didn't buy it.

Fortunately they had it in the shops by school. Fortunately because I could go there without bothering to wash or make myself presentable in any way; if I had had to go to Mumbles it would have been a rugby league game. (Do you like that? A whole different ball game, do you see? Without the cliche. Except no-one will understand it.)

I normally use St. Delia's recipe for Christmas cake but this year I am using Nigel's and it includes lots of interesting fruit like figs and cranberries. I have never chopped figs before; they are very strange. I thought I had read the recipe carefully; it was only after I had chopped the figs that I read the bit about taking out the hard stalk first. Still I don't suppose it matters too much. The cake is basically fruit held together with a bit of glue.

Lots of lovely Christmassy music on Classic FM. And they played my favourite: The Girl with the Flaxen Hair.

Did Carol Thatcher win I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!?

On the 18th day before Christmas

I have perfected the art of getting dressed without getting out of bed. Not many people can say that, I bet. And even less do it.

Today I am making a Christmas cake, or rather I am making a Christmas cake as a birthday cake but it will smell the same. The house will be filled with Christmassy aromas, like burnt newspaper. Perhaps I'll light a Holly Hill candle too.

Started writing Christmas cards last night. It is boring. Then this morning I remembered something I read (maybe on a blog?) that suggested thinking about the person you're sending the card to when you write it. That could be pray for; I'll try and do that when I continue.

The lady at the publishers said they had another collection of monologues to consider as well (as I knew) and that it would take a few weeks to decide as it would 'be difficult'. I suppose I should pray that the collection that can be best used by God will be chosen; or I could just pray, 'choose mine!'

I have arrived: my hairdresser gave me a Christmas kiss!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Gobbolino is ...

a witch's cat.

Tentative steps

Okay, following on from rethink/redirectioning (or rather multi-directioning), I have sent some monologues to Kingsway publishers this morning. They already have another collection being considered but they're willing to look at my work too. They're all Bible characters and I've read lots of them aloud - or had them performed - either in church or in prison. So, God, it's up to you now.

Off to work now. Christmas tree arrived last night - I'm fairly sure it's legit - so we can start decorating it after the morning's class has left. I've just re-read that sentence; it sounds as though a tree mysteriously appeared on the Centre's doorstep. That's a much nicer explanation; shame it's not true. But I can pretend.

Monday, December 05, 2005

It is a truth ...

universally acknowledged that a woman can navigate her way anywhere unless she is thinking about Christmas when asked, 'is it left here?'

I like to think of any unexpected detours as an opportunity to see bits of the countryside you would not normally have seen. A bonus in fact.

A lovely relaxing weekend in beautiful Ffald-y-Brenin. Only hiccup occurred when I realised that the sheet I had taken with me was a single not a double. In true boy scout fashion I resolved the problem by getting us to sleep inside the duvet cover (with the duvet on top). There aren't any problems, only challenges. Or something like that.

He's very handsome but ...

Harvey was so excited when he came in and saw that I had put milk in with his breakfast that he didn't notice where he was putting his foot.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The first one

I saw my first Father Christmas last night! On a tractor.

That's all.

Off to Ffald-y-Brenin this weekend. Looking forward to sleeping, walking, eating, relaxing, reading in front of a log fire.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The countdown begins

Yay, December at last.

And it is absolutely pouring with rain. But at least it's not so cold.

I have searched everywhere I can think of and I can't find my main Christmas CD. I have found three others but not the one I was looking for.

When the children were little and we used to go and do the Christmas visit to grandparents, we'd listen to a Christmas story and music tape in the car. The first story was about Gobbolino, the witch's cat. I can remember it to this day; it was lovely and quite moving. All the other cats would start hissing, 'Gobbolino is a witch's cat, Gobbolino is a witch's cat.' Ourgh, they were nasty. We listened to it so many times that dad refused to have it played any more. I wonder if we still have it.

We've also got a storybook that we'd read in December with stories about the fairy who ate too many mince pies and one - I can't remember the name - about evil trolls and a big white dog who scares them away. Ah, those were the days.

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

And is it true that we have Coca Cola to thank for our image of Father Christmas? Or did I make that up?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The big story

I have noticed a similarity between John Sampson and Chris Matthews.

When they have read/heard something they particularly like, they bring it into everything. It becomes their buzz word/phrase/idea of the moment.

I mentioned to Alun today that Chris is very 'into' the story we're in. It turns out that Chris gave Alun a book for his birthday last week. A book called Epic, all about the big story. So that's where it came from. At least it's an improvement on 'when the rubber hits the road', which became a standing joke.

Alun and I met with Chris this week and used the word 'story' as much as we could to see if Chris would notice; he didn't. Until we pointed it out. He thinks we're incorrigible. Is that a good thing, I wonder. Perhaps not in a respectable (and, I might add, highly-respected and no doubt looked-up-to) church administrator.

I am waiting up to bid on ebay. And I have found the clock. It was hiding.

Why me?

I just logged on to my Amazon page and found, under the Recommended for You heading, the book, How to irritate people. As if I need a book to tell me that.

The question is: why did the little Amazon fairy think it was suitable for me?

Harvey's Top 5 Hates

1. Having his temperature taken
2. Our kitchen floor
3. Piles of leaves at the side of the road
4. Being ignored
5. Would have been fireworks but now he's going deaf he doesn't mind them

The time now is 11.08 am

Good advice

“You must have long-term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-term failures.” Charles C. Noble

Posted at 8.42 am not whatever time the blog says. Any suggestions where my clock has gone?

And if anyone says swallowed by the crocodile ...


What has happened to my post? That is most peculiar. I know! It's been sabotaged by jigsaw-ers envious of my world ranking. I'll try copying and pasting. Let's see.

Nope, that doesn't work. Fiddlesticks!

I haven't got a clock either. What's going on?

Top 20

I am at this moment, 8.19 am, number 20 in the world! Not as good as Tim's top ten ranking but, hey, I don't have my glasses on. I needed to record that fact now because I've probably already moved down one or two slots. And by the end of the day will have dropped out of the rankings altogether. There are a lot of good jigsaw-ers in the world. Actually, there are a lot of people who have nothing better to do than keep doing the jigsaw until they could do it in their sleep faster than I could do it wide awake.

I hope they have some Christmassy jigsaws in December. Although that will probably mean lots of snow.

See what an early start I am making? This is part of my new resolution. It has floundered
slightly as I have discovered that we should be printing the new issue of the church magazine this week and I have hardly started on the layout yet. I sort of forgot but also had lots of work to do. Yes, so that's my excuse. Anyway I am going into work (overtime!) this afternoon to get it done. I am hoping some deliveries will be made this morning; that's why I'm not going in first thing. Anyway by going in this afternoon I can stay on for Thrive. So it all works out for the best.

There was a slug sliming up the wall last night. And me with no slug-ridder in the house. Huh, who needs men? I did it all by myself, no problem.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A narrow escape

God must have been watching over me this afternoon in the bookshop.

It wasn't entirely my fault that the books fell on the woman; they must have been a bit unstable before I nudged them. Anyway they only hit her arm, and she didn't mind. She said she didn't and she bought something in spite of me trying to brain her.

Also I didn't set fire to the shop. Or myself. Although it was a close call.

At least a fire would have warmed me up a bit. I am still chilled. Never mind. Off to Thrive now; that will warm me up. Then writers' group. Then bed with my hot water bottle as husband-shaped bed-warmer is in Bournemouth.

Our new resolutions

Harvey and me have decided to get our arses into gear . .. Yes you did ... Having bad joints, a heart murmur, memory loss and a tendency to trip over your own feet is no excuse. We could all say that. (except the heart murmur.)

Harvey and I share pills, have I mentioned that? Each morning I take cod liver oil, evening primrose oil, glucosamine and a happy pill; so does Harvey. (Except for the happy pill.) Although he will avoid the glucosamine if he can. I must post a photo of Harvey so all the world can see that he's the handsomest dog in the world.

So anyway when we were walking some things cleared. I have made some decisions and thought of some avenues to follow. (Avenues? The English language is very strange.)

We saw Big Bird again too. I suppose it is the time of year that they start to get hungry. It is unnerving having a large carnivorous bird with enormous talons circling overhead.

Grandma has failed her flight test so she is unable to go to her grand-daughter's wedding just after Christmas. She would need oxygen on a flight and the only plane that could provide it was travelling through Christmas Eve night. It would be very likely that you would see Father Christmas on such a flight and everyone knows that if you see him, you don't get any presents, so I don't blame her for not going. However it does raise a rather more important worry.

On aeroplanes the cabin crew always go through their safety routine that includes, 'in the case of emergency oxygen masks will fall down). What they don't say is that they won't have any oxygen in them - unless you're travelling in the right plane (i.e midnight on Christmas Eve.)

I have written this much and not even mentioned Wales's famous victory over Australia on Saturday. See, I had faith. I no longer have any fingernails but that is small price to pay. I don't think anything could have stopped Shane, not when he had 99% of Wales willing him on. And Charv got Man of the Match. A fitting tribute to the man who has reclaimed his throne after being second-most hated man in Wales after Bin Laden and before Saddam Hussein.

The first day of the rest of my life

So I am making a new life resolution: to be more effective. I think that covers it.

They said on the BBC this morning that this week it is 25 years since John Lennon was shot. I can't believe that; I'm not that old. That means that most of the bloggers I know weren't even born when John died. That can't be right. I shall write to the BBC and tell them they have got it wrong. They don't often get things wrong but they are definitely wrong this time.

Thought for the Day on the Wogan Show featured an Irish priest talking about George Best. (The postman just came; he is rather lacking in humour it has to be said. But I would probably not be very cheerful if I had to get up early every morning. He brought us an invitation to a champagne party ... at DFS. I don't know why they invite us; we have never bought anything there.)

Anyway, George Best. The priest did a very good tribute that included something very good but now I have been so distracted by champagne invites that I have forgotten it. I think basically that he said what a lot of other people said, that George Best was a lovely man. That is probably the best thing you can say about anyone, be they great footballers, pop heroes or princesses.

Little Timmy Oakes spoke in church yesterday about losing everything for the sake of Christ. He was very challenging, made me squirm uncomfortably. I think I am in a rethink period of my life.

Drumming circle in the afternoon in the Inferno. It was the coldest inferno I have ever been in. Was numb by the time I left. But good fun. All kinds of shakers and clatterers there. I was the oldest woman - by a long way - and the most normal-looking; Mike wasn't the oldest man, and definitely not the oddest looking.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

You shouldn't ask ...

unless you're sure you want to hear the answer.

I thought it was just my short-distance vision that was going but today I mistook a leaf for a chicken. However it was a very good impression the leaf was doing.

More seriously, I started talking to God in "". As if he needs to have it explained to him.

In September I cut down on my out-at-work hours in order to spend more time writing. In the three months since then, I have achieved nothing. I have piled up the rejection slips and frustration. So today I asked God if I should be doing something else. Get a proper job, do some sensible with my time.

Maybe - no, definitely - I could spend my writing days more constructively/efficiently. But maybe I should not be allowed the privilege of writing days until I have proved myself. So not having so much time to write but writing more in that time.

But I asked for a clear answer, a definite alternative. I don't know if I will like it but it is God who has gifted me writing opportunities before in my life. I am not the sort of person who takes the initiative; life happens to me not the other way round. I drift and God hands me a goody on a plate. I'm hoping this is what he will do now.

But maybe it is time to give up silly ideas of being 'a writer' and rejoin the real world.

Not so smart, eh?

The greedy squirrel who ate his fill of nuts and then took to burying them is regretting it now. The bird-feeder is empty and, like a forensic detective, he's making his way around the garden sniffing every inch to try and find his hidden store.

I will put some more out soon but we must consider getting a squirrel-proof feeder - if such a thing exists. I just half-heard a report on the radio that it is chipmunks that are the greatest threat to British wildlife nowadays. I can't find anything more about it on the net so perhaps I misheard. Chipmunks? The ones with squeaky voices?

Now why would Spellchecka want to replace 'misheard' with 'misread'? Does it think my sight is worse than my hearing?

Good advice

According to Stevie Wonder's dad you should always 'look at the negative but live in the positive.'

And according to Brian, you should always 'look on the bright side of life.'

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The first sightng

I am delighted to report the first sighting of this year on these shores of the Greater Litup Christmas Twit. Spotted in Linden Avenue. We can be confident that its arrival will herald the approach of the annual switch-on when we can expect sightings to be reported all over Swansea and, indeed, the country.

Meanderings and musings

On our walk we saw a fantastic bird. It rose up out of the undergrowth not five metres away from us. It was either a small buzzard or a large kestrel; I'm not too hot on identification. Amazing anyway.

Are holly trees without prickly leaves still holly trees?

Strictly speaking it was tobacco Sir Water Raleigh introduced to Europe.

Recently I have received two very funny but too rude to repeat here emails. One was a captioned photo; the other a slide show. I did email them to Alun in the church office. They amused him greatly but the only people he said he would consider sending them to were his brother and me (and, obviously, I'd already sent it to him). What does that say about his brother? Or me? Or Alun and me for that matter? Did we think other people wouldn't find them funny or did we think other people would disapprove of us?

It's not that they were obscenely rude you understand. They were hardly rude at all. Okay they were a bit rude but the thing that made us laugh wasn't the rudeness. It was the humour. Okay that's my conscience satisfied for today.

Philosophise and sanitise

While cleaning this morning I remembered something Wendy said when we were on holiday. I had been grumbling about temporary deafness (we were climbing a mountain at the time) (in a car) and she said, 'What you need is a candle.'
'Oh,' says I.
'Yes,' she says. 'You stick it in your ear and light it.'

Which reminds of the old monologue that used to be played frequently on the wireless when I was a girl, involving an imagined telephone conversation (i.e. you only hear one side) with Sir Walter Raleigh. He, whom you can't hear, is obviously explaining his new discovery - cigarettes.
'So, have I got this right, Walt? What you're saying is that you roll it up, put in your mouth and set fire to it.'

Whoa, two squirrels just went l for leather down the front steps.

Only one has come back. He must have been seeing the other off. 'You leave my nuts alone, you bad squirrel. Thy are mine, all mine.' (That is said in an Eccles accent.) (Eccles goon not place.)

I am still a girl at heart.

Now I have set myself a grammatical conundrum. I wrote "He, whom you can't hear..." because you can't hear him i.e. object, but I am talking about He i.e. subject.

I would be grateful if any English graduates out there (preferably but not necessarily with first class honours degrees) would comment.

Of course, I could just rewrite the sentence in a completely different form. But where's the challenge in that?

I am depressed; have I mentioned that? I received another rejection this morning. This time for a short story. First time round they sent it straight back saying it was too downbeat; I rewrote it, they kept it for six weeks and now they say it's not a suitable storyline.

It's a good job the sun shining. And Wales will beat Australia on Saturday; I have faith.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Christmas wrapping

I would be the first to admit that I have a low boredom threshold but even I was surprised when the will to live left me as I was carrying the parcels downstairs for wrapping. And whoever thought little fat pink piggy-banks would make good Christmas presents for numerous nieces and nephews had not thought ahead to the packing process. Next year everyone is getting something rectangular even if it's a box of biscuits.

I have one piggy left-over so that's Secret Santa sorted.

Good job I had Elvis to accompany me.

Now shall I watch 24 or do some jigsaw? I am currently doing The Alphabet Shop, which claims to have ten items for each letter of the alphabet, which sounds impressive until you realise that it includes xanthic acid, xoanon, yale lock, zephyrantes and zeolite.

I'm sure piggy just winked at me.

There was a programme on television on Sunday evening about animals who had made the news. One woman, who said she was so accident-prone that they knew her well at the local A&E and insurance companies refused to cover her, was driving home through Richmond Park when she heard a noise like her tyre going flat. She was well-used to that happening so got out to check. It was fine but as she stood up from looking at it, a duck fell out of the sky and hit her on the head. As Alun said, she wasn't accident-prone; she was cursed.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The psychology of dreams

I had a dream. I had a baby and it was a chocolate matchmaker. I think I might have killed it by not feeding it. But I couldn't tell if it was dead or not as I didn't know how to except by seeing its eyes move and its eyes were closed and wouldn't open. So I think it probably was dead, which might have been for the best as it didn't have any arms or legs either. And also, presumably, it was made by Nestle. And that would have caused a few ethical problems.

That was one of the less odd of my dreams.

I should record, for posterity, that Wales beat Fiji (by one point) in a game that was more depressing than the thrashing by the All Blacks the week before. Wales were also beaten by South Africa by quite a lot (although a try was scored at the last minute so I don't count that) but Wales played more like their last season selves. A bit more like them anyway.

The All Blacks also beat England. We watched the game in the White Rose. I couldn't cheer for anybody. I sort of wanted England to win and sort of wanted them to lose. It was a predicament.

I am starting a serious diet again today. My weight has gone up quite significantly over the last week (but nothing to do with the biggest tub of Maltesers you have ever seen because everyone knows that Maltesers have the less fattening centres.) So you can expect my blog to become far more gloomy and downbeat.

There was a squirrel, a jay and a magpie and they were all eyeing up our nuts. The squirrel ate his fill then started burying them. The magpie watched where he buried them and dug them up. The jay frightened everyone off whenever he felt like.

I saw a card today. It said: If God had intended me to touch my toes, he would have put chocolate on the floor.

I should also record that I have a cough (slight), a mouth ulcer (nasty) and a lump on my chin where I punched myself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Big Debate

Harvey and I are having a disagreement. ... Yes, Harvey, I will put your point of view in a minute, but first I want to point out that you are a dog. ... No, it does have quite a lot to do with it, as it happens.

It is not acceptable in human company to investigate a stranger by sticking your nose in her crotch. ... It might well be the best way for dogs but it isn't for humans. Especially if you are slobbering at the time. ... There are plenty of other ways of determining if someone is friend or foe and, anyway, I would have thought you were more likely to make foes that way. ... No, I'm not going to argue with you any more. I am the boss and you will do as I say. .. And don't "Pah!" at me. ... Not even under your breath!

Probably not one of my better ideas

I hadn't allowed for the fact that 99% of the population of Swansea would also be in Debenhams; I thought it was just me they had invited. I was in a bad mood before I got into the car park.

Still I saved over £100. And, while in the checkout queue, I managed to resist buying a pain-free hair remover, in spite of my newly-discovered wish to avoid razor rash.

In my relief to reach the till, I forgot to claim my free box of chocs, but Thorntons gave me one instead. (But it could have been 'as well'.)

And it only took me three hours. And it's done. More or less. So perhaps it wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Was slightly puzzled by a Cliff Richard calendar for 2006 that promised 16 months. Maybe he really thinks he's Peter Pan ... no, that doesn't work. If I hadn't already given Janet a nuns having fun calendar for her birthday, I would have bought it for her; she needs more months in the year.

Lured like a lamb

Having been persuaded to open a Debenhams account on Saturday - at least my fourth but they keep getting invalidated as I don't use them after the initial save - I feel I must visit the store today.

It is offering a 'whopping 25% off' (some items but inevitably not the things I want), plus my 10% as a new cardholder, plus, and this is the best bit, a free box of Belgian chocolates to card-holders.

You would think I would have had enough chocolate, having practically lived on it since Sunday morning, but my view is that you can never have enough chocolate. It will come in useful at some point, I'm convinced. When the latest rejection drops on my doormat or ... it's raining or ... it's Wednesday.

So, anyway, my plan for today is to do ALL my Christmas shopping in one fell swoop. I will not dither and faff about for ages, wondering whether someone will like the amusing tumbling ferret or not; I will just buy it.

After all, how many of us really like the presents we're given by distant relatives who we never see from one year to the next and who know nothing about our likes and dislikes? How much better it would be if we bought stethoscopes for Africa (as Jan did for my birthday) or goats or worms. But if I did that, I would be sure to upset people and already I am missing five cards that I normally receive on my birthday, so am wondering what upset I have inadvertently caused.

There was a massive power cut in Bournemouth yesterday. Husband phoned me at 8.45 from bed - for warmth - where he was cuddling his laptop by candle-light. That's the disadvantage of using television just for watching Neighbours; you don't know what's going on in the world.

Meanwhile first son has not emailed from Madrid in response to my emails. Has there been a plane crash? Is he lying unidentified in some strange hospital bed calling for me. I wish I knew as there is a parcel here for him and I want to know if it's my birthday present and I can open it.

Must make a list now of 'things to do' in town. And shower. And go.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I met a tramp today.

I was walking over the tip, at the furthest point, when he appeared from another path. I wnder if he is living out there; I recall seeing an encampment of sorts in the woods. I am ashamed to say that it made me anxious. I said good morning but my smile lacked warmth.

I suppose a woman alone (yes, I know you were, Harvey, but somehow that doesn't fill me with the confidence I would once have had) in a deserted area shouldn't be too friendly with strange men but all the same, I felt guilty. I had been meditating on the Lord's prayer and my actions seemed to be in contrast to what I was considering.

Strangely enough though, when I repeated the prayer, I realised it doesn't directly say anything about others. Apart from forgiving them. Although I suppose Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, woud encompass our treatment of others.

But what could I have done for him? He is one of the regular faces of Swansea. I have often seen him just walking. I think he is one for whom homelessness is less of an evil. I suspect he prefers it his way. Or maybe that is just what I tell myself to relieve myself of duty/guilt. It was very cold last night; the postman said there was a frost at 4.30 am. The sky is clear tonight; it will be cold again.

Twas on a Monday morning

... the gasman didn't come to call.

He was supposed to be bringing the spare part that would solve all my problems - except possibly the husband who says the wrong thing - but it hasn't arrived so he can't.

When he visited on Friday, the boiler behaved itself perfectly. As it has done on every occasion that I've called out the gasman over the last three years. Ten minutes after he'd left it stopped working again.

I do find that cajoling works moderately well. But, like me, it is only open to encouragement when it is in an amicable mood. I can sweet-talk it as much as I want but if it is feeling tetchy, I am wasting my breath. Hitting does not work but it makes me feel better. I have tried explaining this to the gasmen but they don't understand. They are men.

I wonder if there are any gaswomen.

It is Prince Charles and Donna Davies's birthday today.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The right response

Gentlemen, I'd like to give you some advice.

Imagine your female partner spends a lot of money on a special outfit for an important occasion when she wants to look her best and feel confident, and she comes home and tries it on for you to see. What you must not do, what you absolutely must never do, is laugh. Not unless you want to regret it for a long time.

Apart from that, I have had a wonderful birthday weekend. Lovely presents from gorgeous children and a generally jolly time. I do love birthdays.

On a sadder note, Wales were abysmal against Fiji on Friday night. Even allowing for the fact that not only were the Lions missing through injury but also, for some strange ruling reason, players who play abroad were left out too, they were rubbish. Much more disheartening than the All Blacks game the previous week. Look now I've depressed myself. Will have to eat some birthday chocolate to cheer myself up. There's very little that chocolate can't redeem.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Twas on a Friday morning ...

the gas man came to call. And this time, before inviting him to follow me upstairs, I remembered to explain that the boiler was in the bathroom.

He is a rather large man and the space in front of the boiler is rather small. But he has a West Country accent, which is nice.

Of course he didn't arrive until nearly 11 by which time the boiler had calmed down and was working properly. I asked if he could come at 9 because that's the time the intermittent fault most often occurs but that was impossible for them to arrange. Some time between 8 and 1 was the best they could do.

I hear on the radio today that the Health Secretary is trying to get doctors to offer evening and weekend appointments. That was the norm when I was growing up. The doctors are shaking their heads but I don't see why they couldn't not do afternoon appointments and do evening ones instead. That would suit people who work much better. Mutter, mutter.

I am turning into an old grouch!

My birthday tomorrow!!!! Yippee!!!! Children coming home! Goody!!! And what's more, I'm not as old as I thought I was, so that's even better.

Drumming was excellent last night. I think, only think mind, but I think I am improving. One of the men, who also attends the Tuesday night session, was doing it all wrong. Tee hee.

I have been investigating publishers. I am considering writing a book about the middle ages. I have been turned down by one on the grounds that nobody wants to admit to being middle-aged. However research proves that in America they don't have that sort of attitude at all. (I like that - research proves. It was only me on the internet but it could have been an academic study undertaken by professors.)

Anyway, so I looked up some other Mind, Body & Spirit small publishers (couldn't think what else it would come under) and they all have dodgy publications. Lots about witches and new age stuff and I Ching (therefore I chink). Should I be associated with such?

I suppose any big publisher is likely to have a dubious section and that wouldn't bother me so is there any reason why this should? And I do go for shiatsu. Oh ye of few scruples and lots of creases.

Tra la la. Waiting for gasman to finish. Don't want to hang around upstairs but limited as to what I can do down here without water.

I definitely have sportswoman's elbow. Perhaps I should wear a sling. I also have a twitchy third finger that clicks the mouse button without being told.

I hope he hurries; I have to go to work. Oooh, he's got a long tube and a box out of his van.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


I have been grumbling this week about editors not replying to my suggestions; since then I've had three replies. All saying the same thing. No.

I am so depressed. I wish you could hear me sigh. I am tempted to open the box of birthday choccies Mr Sainsbury kindly gave me but that would only make me fatter and even more depressed. Sigh.

I'm cleaning today. And it is grey and wet and miserable. And so am I.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Our little adventure

Or: I could have been a boy scout.

Harvey was bright and breezy on our walk, leading the way, so when he carried on past the our usual turning point, I followed. We manoeuvred a few boggy spots and then we came to the biggy. I would have turned back but Harvey had already pottered through. It was me wot got stuck.

After getting brambles in my eyes and up my sleeves, I managed to regain my place on the bank and summoned Harvey to join me. He duly obeyed and sank up to his waist in mud. Help me, mum, he cried. (Yes, you did!)

Fearing naught for my own safety, I leapt in and as the mud made its way over the top of my wellies, I had a vision. Our skeletons being found in fossil fuel in the sometime distant future and archaeologists nodding and saying, Hm, dog and woman of homo less-than-sapiens species, probably early twenty-first century.

I won't be bore you with details; suffice to say, we got out.

Continuing on our homeward journey Harvey made it through another boggy bit but, when faced with a slightly wider boggy bit, sat down and refused to move. This is where my boy scout training came in handy. I gathered sticks and made a pathway over the mud for him. I called him from where he was sitting watching me and showed him the way across. He picked up one of my sticks, took it away and sat down and ate it.

Hm, now cunning was called for. Cunning and camouflage. Up to my wrists in mulch I sincerely hoped I wouldn't come across any poo, be that dog, fox, badger or bear. (Bears cannot run downhill, have I mentioned that before? I think it is an important fact to bear in mind.) I did what I think was a very convincing job in making my pathway look like solid ground and I called Harvs again. I showed him the path, walked across it and called him to follow me which he did - through the mud alongside the path. Dogs! No, Harvey, I do not owe you big time for dragging you into the jungle. If you recall it was you that led the way and me that rescued you. Humph, you can't argue with that, can you?

Home for a nice warm soapy wash in a bucket outside the back door. Suppose I should do the same for Harvey too.

Also home to creepy window-cleaner. Brrr.

Barking mad

I have determined the origin of this phrase. It describes a dog who keeps barking for no reason at all. Alternatively it describes the state to which the owner of said dog is driven. It is usually followed by violent behaviour.

After the wind and rain of the last few days, it is glorious here today. The colour of the air is more springlike than autumnal.

Must remember to wash today. I wonder if forgetting to wash is symptomatic of ageing. Which reminds me, I was flicking through a book about French women recently. It tries to explain why they are inevitably chic-er than their British counterparts.

It concludes that it is partly the fact that they are born with a certain arrogance, believing they are beautiful, but also they work at it. A typical Frenchwoman would never go out in trainers and jogging trousers or without their hair perfectly coiffed. They spend a lot of money on good clothes and accessories. They wouldn't be seen dead in M&S briefs but believe that feeling alluring begins at the basics.

Which makes me wonder what has happened to all those French women you see in little towns throughout the countryside, dressed from head to dowdy toe in washed-out-black and with more wrinkles than you could throw a pie at. Maybe there is a French Department for Elegance that has ruled that at the first sign of a droopy bum or unbrushed hair in public, the guilty party must, without delay and with due compliance, move to a designated area deep in the countryside. Inspectors are employed to make random visits to homes to ensure they're not harbouring a victim of age and lost fashion-sense. Severe penalties are imposed on those who rebel.

More tales of the strange - but strangely entertaining - behaviour of my spellchecker. It suggested changing Frenchwoman to Frenchman. Garlic and Gaulloise, no thanks.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

And another thing

I am a wishy washy sort of person. I do not specialise in high moral principles. For instance, what about euthanasia? I don't know.

There are all sorts of causes I should care about, do something about, but I don't. Mostly because I can't be bothered.

Why make a fuss about the Lottery? There are all sorts of ethical questions about many of the products/companies/banks we use. Why stop at the Lottery?

Because why not. Doing the wrong thing in sixty-seven cases doesn't mean you shouldn't do the right thing in one case.

I don't think I've argued that very well but I know what I mean.

Now it's time for Neighbours so high moral principles will have to wait for a bit.

Life is a lottery

But does that mean we shouldn't object?

Walking in the rain clears the head and wets the knees. A good case for wearing shorts all year. Except you would end up with frozen kneecaps and a reputation.

So the Lottery.

I've never bought a lottery ticket. Not particularly for the reasons you might expect. When it first started I objected to the fact that it was run for profit and was and is just another method of indirect taxation. So I didn't buy tickets. And since then, well, I just can't be bothered really. (Do I look bothered?)

Now Linden is reconsidering its position on accepting Lottery funding and the leaders want to hear from people what they think of this idea. As I suspect there are only about three of us who hold strong anti-acceptance views, I need to get my thoughts clear. Although my argument will not be convincing, I'm sure. I am not a convincing sort of person.

Anyway. To accept funding is to condone the Lottery. It must be. Or it would be seen as that in most people's eyes. You can't say, 'we don't agree with what you are doing but we'll take your money anyway.' Well, you can but no-one will hear you above the clatter of money. It would surely be hypocritical anyway. Saying that your use of the money will clean it, redeem it, won't cut ice with anybody outside of the church.

My main objection is that Linden, like the rest of society in its acceptance of the Lottery, would be saying, 'Put your faith and hope in this.' Don't we have something better, more eternal, to offer?

How can we support something that gives people, especially the most needy, a glimpse of a false hope and encourages them to seek after it?

I have stood in queues in the Post Office behind people buying £30 worth of Lottery tickets. For most of them it will £30 lost. Whether they can afford it or not isn't really the point. It's more to do with putting your money where your faith is.

With lottery funding Linden could do some fantastic things, helping the outcasts and needy. But wouldn't we be also helping to create them?

I'm sure the leaders aren't reconsidering the issue because of the dire financial state we are in at the moment. If I thought that, I would be truly disturbed. What would have become of faith?

Monday, November 07, 2005

It was a very good year

I am a little distressed, on browsing through ebay, to find stuff that is younger than me described as vintage.

Although now I come to think of it, vintage is usually a good thing. Cheese, port, and lots of other things that I just can't think of at the moment, all improve with age. Up to a certain point, that is.

The question is: have I passed that point? Indeed, have I reached it? Perhaps I missed it. That would be bad. Like over-ripe Stilton I would have nothing to look forward to except the dustbin.

This will take some more consideration.


Deep sigh. And again.

Trouble is that Wales weren't really bad - apart from the lineouts, the scrums and losing the ball. I really hoped we'd gotten away from that sort of scoreline. More deep sighs.

Think about other things.

A foz wandered through the garden this morning. Now that would have been something - a big orange bear in the bushes. It's time to get things started on the Muppet show tonight.

There is a picture on our office door of Miss Piggy with my name underneath. I wonder which of Miss Piggy's multifarious qualities they are associating me with. They being Cath and Em. The voice? The personality? The bosom? Can't be the hair. There are worse people to be likened to. Margaret Thatcher. Adolf Hitler. Russell Crowe. Could do with a bit of Miss Piggy's confidence. Perhaps I should take up her habit of slapping people when they disagree with me. Heyyyy yohhhh! Watch out, Alun.

First son will be arriving in Madrid about now.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I had to have chocolate.

All because of Rico Gere and Daniel Carter. Well, not just them. Another 13 or so All Blacks helped. 3-41 Very little to be cheerful about for Wales. Massive defensive effort, which took its toll. Hey ho.

Pouring with rain so we're not going to the fireworks at St Helen's so it's going to be a night in with chocolate and West Wing. I can think of worse ways to spend a Saturday.

Now, how up-to-date is my blog? Have I recorded that Rob has a new project to work on? The first few weeks he will be in Madrid from Monday to Friday, then it is supposed to change so that he is only in Madrid for three days a week, and then finally he will only be in London. Very exciting.

Less exciting but still important news is that Neil was diagnosed with a heart murmur this week. He had an ecg on Friday and goes to see the doctor next Thursday for his results. I looked murmurs up on the internet - always a foolish thing to do for a hypochondriac - and it was reasonably reassuring. It is quite likely to be an innocent murmur. I don't think 'innocent' was the word they used but similar; like a benign tumour, it doesn't present the same sort of serious problems. Poor Neil. He does not have brilliant health, what with his hernia and now this.

Drumming was good on Thursday. Less terrifying than the last time I went. Boyd is awfully sweet and encouraging but I am still - along with Mo - worst in the class. Although I am not convinced that the lady sitting next to me was actually playing the right things. But she wasn't looking around panic-stricken, and thus remained undetected.

Did some writing on Jairus's daughter this morning. Actually it was a monologue for Jairus's wife that Caroline will read in prison tomorrow. Caroline, Jez and Tracey are doing the presentations there. In hindsight the team should have been bigger to allow for the fact that Tracy is a beginner at this and a trifle hesitant. However I'm sure they will be fine. Lionel phoned me on Friday morning, after I'd given the names to David, to check that everything was in hand. I think whenever he sees Jez's name he panics. Jez is way too laidback for Lionel's liking. I crossed my fingers and said, 'Everything's fine, well organised.' At that point, the three of them hadn't even managed to get together but it was said in faith rather than a downright lie.

The fireworks are very loud but fortunately Harvey isn't hearing many of them. That is partly due to the television blaring in the lounge and the radio blasting in the kitchen. But it's also due in no small part to his increasing deafness. It has its benefits as my grandfather would have been the first to testify as he turned off his hearing aid when my gran was in a mood.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I like it

The editor of the Sun was arrested in the early hours for allegedly assaulting her husband, who just happens to play Grant Mitchell in Eastenders. Phil Mitchell also reported being attacked by a woman. A bad night for the Mitchells.

Thursday already

An exciting morning so far. Chugged my way through a load of ironing and have only stopped because the rest isn't dry enough yet. That's the trouble with hols: the way stuff piles up.

First son has a new project to work on. It means two days a week in London and three days in Madrid. He can give Mr Beckham some footie tips. Very exciting. He is not at all perturbed by the fact that he doesn't speak Spanish. I would be. That is the thing with being young: you only see the excitement not the pitfalls. Or perhaps it's just pessimists that see the pitfalls.

I don't think I'm a pessimist really though. I am actually quite a jolly person. The fact that my mouth turns down at the corners making me look miserable is not because I am miserable but because of my granny.

I wonder why gravity has more effect on older bodies than on younger. Probably to do with hormones; most things are.

And that's the trouble with diets: the more you think about what you're not supposed to be eating, the more you want to eat it. Chocolate. Smooth, creamy, milky Cadburys chocolate. Melting in your mouth, tantalising your taste buds. Savouring the taste even after it's been swallowed. Mmmmm. Chocolate. I'm looking out of the window and picturing the scene as a chocolate wonderland. I don't have any bananas either. Oooooh.

There was a wonderful bit on What Not to Wear last night. Trinny and Suzannah were doing up a couple of older ladies - in their sixties, I guess. Trinny went and asked some old men who knew one of them what her good points were. One of them said, 'She's got her own teeth.'

And, 'She could be quite fanciable.' And this from a fatter balder Frankie Howerd lookalike.

I'm still chuckling about the teeth.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Whoops again

Whoops wasn't written on Wednesday 2nd, but on Tuesday 1st. Was that my fault? Surely not.

Credit card has let me down; I cannot break into the garage using it. It's not as easy as it looks on television. I do now however have a bent credit card.

I can't use a cane to fish the keys out as they are inside the car (locked) inside the garage (locked). And neither brute force nor a trowel work. Not a trowel; I mean one of those flat diamond-shaped things that plasterers use for flattening plaster and putting cement on bricks. A brickie's equivalent of a spatula.

Uncle John has phoned all the way from Australia on his mobile. How amazing is that? His voice and my voice being sent up into space and finding their way right across the world to the proper place. I've been known to get lost in Debenhams so that is really totally fantastical.

Sainsburys has very kindly sent me a birthday present. It's early but it's the thought that counts. A voucher for a free box of Green & Black's organic choccies. Yum. I do like Sainsburys.

Harvey is dreaming about .. what? Chasing bunnies? Running away from bunnies?

I've just added West Wing Season 6 to my Wish List. We've just watched the bit in Season 5 where Josh is knocked back by Leo but then Jed sides with him and they whop it to the Republicans. Yay! That, of course, is a rough approximation as I'm never absolutely sure what happens in West Wing.

Oh, oh, bunnies must have caught up with him as Harvey is hiding his eyes now. Now he's eating a rose petal - to comfort himself I guess. I hate it when I wake from a nasty dream too.

I'd also like a Christmas jigsaw.

Like Cinderella, I'm going to a ball. When I was 17 I fell in love with a Scarlett O'Hara ball gown. My mum said she'd buy it for me if I had anywhere to wear it. Of course I didn't.

Time for boiled egg and marmite on toast, I think.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I appear to have locked the garage keys in the garage. As the spare key is in Bournemouth I might have a bit of a problem.

Tomorrow I will try the credit card trick that always works on the television. Also brute strength (of which I have a lot naturally.)

Other than that it will have to be buses or lifts or not go anywhere. I can't not go to Thrive!

I was up before 7 this morning as Harvey couldn't sleep. Yes, I know you were woken up early, Harvs, but you could have gone back to sleep. I was trying to. It wasn't that difficult.

Love Soup is starting to drag now. Surely they must get together soon.

An envelope arrived today and on the front it read, Lonely heart enclosed. I haven't opened it. I don't think I would like what I might find. It's bound to be sad if not dripping with blood.

Yawn yawn. Time for bed, said Zebedee.

Monday, October 31, 2005

And the beat goes on

I bought a drum in Tenerife!

Or rather Mike bought it for me as an early birthday present. Now all I have to do is learn to play something other than fish and chips.

That is always assuming that it lasts longer than anyhing else I've bought in Tenerife. Last visit a watch we bought for son 2 survived a week before the strap broke; a silver bracelet I bought this time already has a broken catch.

However we bought the drum from a large black man who prodded Mike in the stomach and called him Del Boy. So the entertainment value was high if nothing else.

My brain was up and thinking before I was this morning; it had two good ideas. Sadly my memory is still asleep so can't remember what they were. They must have been good as I leapt out of bed to come downstairs and write them down before I forgot.

While on holiday I was trying to remember the group name of Dipsy, Laa Laa and Poo. There was another one too but its name escapes me. I got up this morning reconciled to the idea that I would have to look it up on the net but, fortunately, the name came to me: Teletubbies. It's strange how things can bother you/me. Most probably only me. Still can't remember the missing one though.

Halloween tonight. Will keep our house dark in the hope that no Trick or Treaters will dare to climb the steps.

Harvey says the Teletubbies were rubbish and he should have been given his own show. I don't know if that would have worked. Yes, Harvs, I know an invisible rabbit had a whole film made about him but that's not quite the same, is it? Why not? Well, it's just not. Oh, stop arguing and go back to sleep.

Ah, yes, my conspiracy theory. I have been trying to acquire, for Uncle John, a copy of a book called 'In God's Name', about the death of Pope John Paul I, who only reigned (?) for 33 days. In the book, the author, David Yallop explains his reasons for believing it was murder! Yes, murder. The book is out of print now so I've been bidding on ebay but every time I've tried, I've been outbid at the last minute. Surely there can't be that many people who genuinely want a copy of the book? Thus my theory is that the Roman Catholic church is buying every copy that becomes available. Why should they do that? Because the author gets too close to the truth obviously.

They've probably already tracked my computer down and marked me out as a potential something or other, so should I choke on a pizza or mysteriously get run down by a moped, tell the police! They shan't get away with it.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Jiggety jig

I have reached an age when I look better in the dark.

Actually I have been that age for some time but kept trying not to believe it.

So, Tenerife. Most interesting thing is that we had a female pilot on the way back. Oh, and I got to look down into a volcano (dormant) (since 1798) and I conquered my fear and went in a cablecar. Which was fine as I pretended it was a train.

Spanish is a strange language. It bears very little resemblance to French or Latin so I am at a loss with it. Even more strange: whatever happened to Latin? No-one has been able to explain that to me. Not even Harvey is in one of his more lucid moments.

I also don't understand my brain. I am saying one thing in my head and my hand is typing something else. Something similar it's true, but not what I wanted. Not mistyping but a completely different word. It's behaving like one of those 'clever' (huh!) phones that try to pre-guess the word you're texting. Perhaps it fears that the time will come when I will no longer need my brain as I will have a machine instead and it is trying to adapt to suit the trend.

I just mistyped adapt as adpat. That's a jolly word, and it's mine not the puta's as I can tell mistyping from errant wordplay.

So anyway, Tenerife. Yeah, good, Not too hot, some good food, lots of sea swimming, and I read Atonement. It disturbed me; I wasn't happy at the end. It reminded me of Life of Pi in that, when you reach the end, you're not absolutely sure what the truth is. I'm not sure if that isn't cheating by the author. Yet it has given me a good idea for my new novel. I managed to think about it quite a bit while lying in the sun. It took my mind off the fear of skin cancer.

Gone With the Wind was rejected 38 times before Margaret Mitchell found a publisher; Stephen King had 30 rejections for Carrie. Maybe I should persevere some more with ... whatever it is called now. I will make a decision this week.

EE Cummings also had lots of rejections and she is a he apparently. Did he write the drowning poem or was that Stevie Smith?

I like Latin; it is logical. Also you don't need to put on a funny accent while speaking it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

As Harold Wilson said

A week is a long time in Tenerife, and four hours is a long time in a plane. Not that I actively dislike flying. Apart from the take-off and landing, but four hours is a long time for anything to stay up in the air. With all the planes in the air at any one time, God, even as the Trinity, won't have enough fingers to hold them all up (that was very strange; I thought I was typing 'all up' but it came out as 'up all' - so I changed it - a brain is a funny thing) so he must delegate to the angels. In which case I'd like to put in a request now for Gabriel to carry our plane tomorrow. He was so gentle and reassuring with Mary when he was breaking some rather startling news to her that I'm sure he would be a angel you could depend on in an emergency. Not that there will be an emergency. But he's not likely to fall asleep on the job. Perhaps that is what turbulence is really. Angels who've had a night on the tiles the night before and they momentarily drop off while on carrying-airplane duty.

I've got my pirate costume all ready and I've packed my books; I suppose I should start thinking about clothes to take now.

I got a copy of Bridget Jones's Diary from a charity shop for 50p. I did have a copy but Anna lent it to someone - although she denies that. But I'm not taking it; I bought it more for keeping than reading. I have a variety of others both fluffy and serious. Mostly fluffy I admit. Ian's Mckewan's Atonement is my gesture to intellect. Tenerife is not the place for intellect.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Other peole's blogs

I'm cleaning today so have a lot of think and am spending all my little breaks on blogging.

I have been reading, and been impressed by, other people's blogs. There has been a lot of talk of personal faith, community, individualism, direction and intellectualism. I don't actually have a lot of trouble with intellectualism being a girl of little brain - to misquote Pooh. (Or Milne, I suppose.) But I found this poem recently and it strikes a chord. It's by a Pulitzer-Prize-winner, of whom I have never heard.

Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape –

and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died

hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something –
for the ear bone

is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where

once, in the lively swimmer’s head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only

two inches long –
and thought: the soul
might be like this –
so hard, so necessary –

yet almost nothing.
Beside me
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors,

unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn’t see anything
through its dark-knit glare;

yet don’t we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it

lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts –
certainties –
and what the soul is, also

I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,

but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
through the pale-pink morning light.
~ Mary Oliver ~