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 ~

Mapping my mind

Reading a different post reminded me that we can no longer brainstorm. Apparently we have to mind map. That started me thinking about how my mind would look if it were to be mapped. This is what I came up with...

Whoops, It's come at the beginning. Never mind.

If I could delete the words of For Those in Peril on the Sea and other school favourites, I would have a whole lot more memory to use. But then I suppose you never know when you're going to need to sing these hymns. For example, you might be held prisoner by a WI member and she would refuse to let you go until you ate a pot of her home-made chutney and sang Jerusalem three times.

And did those feet in ancient time...

The joys of dogship

I came downstairs this morning wondering what I should do first (after breakfast of course - nothing comes between me and my Bran Flakes - except Harvey) to find that Harvey had solved the dilemma for me. (Yes, I know you aim to please, Harvs, but you really shouldn't have bothered.)

While cleaning the floor I pondered. Did he bark in the night to be let out? I could have slept through it; as I've said before, I like to sleep. Was he overtaken by events causing him to pooh first and worry about it afterwards? Or is it a continuing sign of the senile incontinence that the vet mentioned?

He looked sheepish when I got up. Oh, dear.

I think I will have a rant as I am here. I do not want to shout at Harvs as I he will have forgotten by now what it is he did. He is becoming increasingly goldfishlike.

So first of all, men drivers. In particular stupid men in big white mercedes who don't have the sense they were born with. That's what Michael Moore should have called his book. But I forgive him - stupid man in bwm not Mr Moore whom I don't need to forgive as he has done nothing to upset me - because I am a Christian. I am not letting it hang on and fester. I would just like to ask what it is about cars that makes men so ... aww, stupid?

Rant number two. Editors who do not reply. All it takes is a polite little 'no thank you' and I would know where I was. As it is, I sit and wait like a lovelorn duck. I think hope is the worst thing. If you hope, you are destined for pain.

Of course I don't really mean that. Well, I do but it won't stop me hoping.

Climbing out of the pit of despondency into which I have fallen, I will tell a joke. I heard it on the radio last night. I should point out that the significance of it is not the joke itself but what will follow. (I have to say that because I make a mess of the joke.)

Man walks into a bar with a newt on his shoulder. He orders a pint for himself and a whiskey for his newt. The barman says, '... can't remember' but the man then says, 'Because he's my newt.' It must have been something to do with whiskey and shorts.

Anyway, the point is that a nurse told this joke to her patient (in a crime drama) who had had a stroke and couldn't smile and it made him laugh. She explained that even though the part of his brain that allowed him to make himself smile didn't work, the bit that controlled involuntary laughter did. She said it was quite common with brain-damaged people. I really liked that. Smiling can be false but laughter is harder to fake.

It occurs to me that I am training myself to ignore Harvey's barking during the day as he is almost always barking for no reason. Perhaps he did bark in the night and my subconscious brain ignored it. That is a much better - and more hopeful - excuse than senility.

He must be dreaming about frolicking in the fields; his back legs are running in his sleep. Bless.

The spellcheck on this is very good. It looked at dogship and wondered if I meant Toshiba.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The meaning of Christmas

Writers' group last night. We talked about and wrote for the Christmas concert. I mentioned that I would quite like to take Jesus out of Christmas. I love the family time, yes, and the presents, both giving and getting, and the atmosphere. It is a good time. But then someone on the radio says, 'don't forget the reason behind the season,' and I feel guilty.

As Christians, we're supposed to be remembering the reason in our daily lives, so why have a special day?

I'm not sure though whether that is very helpful for a Christmas concert aimed at the once-a-yearers.

I'm also not entirely sure that my idea for a sketch involving two turkeys ending with a bad case of flu is a good one. Well, it's good but is it pc?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Why is nobody content ...

to be what they are? Our bedroom door wants to be a cat, our fridge wants to be a space rocket and I want to be a famous writer.

With Jan and Mike, went to an African extravaganza yesterday afternoon. It was all right, a bit disappointing. Followed it with a trip to the Green Baize in Uplands for a drum circle. We arrived in time for the last hour or so; it was groovy baby. I shook my avocado with the best of them.

To Tenerife on Friday: I am concerned that the x-ray machine will pick up my gun. It will be very embarrassing if I have to open my suitcase in front of everyone. Oh, gosh, just thought, what if... ? Oh, no, too horrendous to contemplate. Perhaps I won't take it.

Just did a spellcheck. I had spelled yesterday as yersterday; the puta suggested that I really wanted to type in airstrip's. Its logic excels even mine.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The good and the bad

I have a perfect wiggle. Our dance teacher was ecstatic about it. 'Doesn't it feel good?' he said. 'Oh, yes,' I simpered. I would have agreed with anything I was so pleased to have some praise. After the previous night's disaster a compliment on wiggling my ears would have had the same response.

If I ever needed convincing that I have the co-ordination of a blind wombat, Thursday night's drumming would have done it. I have no control over my left hand. Very little over my right but slightly more than my left. Woe is me. Alun and Angelo were very sweet and encouraging when I told them. I am practising. Both, right, left, right, both. So far I cannot even manage this let alone trying to think about one while doing the other.

Tim O thinks there is enough evidence on my blog to have me sectioned. I do not think that is the kind of thing you should say to someone's mother, who is old and ... um old. I do not believe him anyhow. I'm sure everyone thinks like me. Although, possibly, they do not say so out loud. But then not many people have woken up and thought that they might be dead.

I am so disgusted at the failure of my diet that we are having bread and cheese and lots of it for tea. I have made some yummy onion bread. At least I expect it will be lovely.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Our friends across the sea

The trouble with Americans is: they can't spell. I suspect this is the root of all their irritating little habits, like eating too much and waging war in foreign lands. It gives them a deep sense of inferiority.

I shall start a campaign to bring good spelling to the US of A. It will change the path of world history and I will be declared a hero and have a day named after me. They will call it ... oh, perhaps they'll call it Spelling Day, and it will be on my birthday. Or maybe, as no doubt it will be a long process, on my deathday.

There will be a national holiday and everyone will go to ice cream parlours and eat prettily-coloured cones with their neighbours.

Until then I must remember that the spellchecker is American and thus cannot spell.

The interesting thing about this topic is that I tried to post it once and it disappeared into the ether. It is probably residing in the CIA's database even now and I will be rounded up whenever there is a threat to American security. I have seen 24; I know what their computers can do in the blink of an eye. The question is: will I be allowed to post it this time?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The afternoon of living dangerously

I am tumble drying all my washing. Even those items that say 'do not tumble dry' in large letters. Actually they're very small letters. I shall blame any shrinkage on my eyesight. This is the height of my dangerous living.

I should be more adventurous. But that involves being brave and I am not brave. Most things in life scare me. Perhaps I was born in the wrong body; somewhere out there is an incredibly brave and intelligent and witty and wise hamster that looks like Jennifer Aniston.

I like to sleep too.

I have to say it; I can deny the truth no longer. I prefer white bread to wholemeal. I know I should prefer wholemeal as it's much better for me but the crusts are so ... brown. That reminds me; I nearly gave Harvey Bran Flakes for breakfast. (Yes, I know you're regular enough already, Harvey) (as if you have to tell me that!) To follow that to its illogical conclusion, I could have ended up eating Harvey's food. (I might be welcome to it but I don't think that's quite the point, Harvs.) Which also reminds me that in thrive the other night Julian suggested that we walk around talking to someone. I was a sad lonely creature so I began talking to the original Harvey, the invisible rabbit. He made as much sense as I did. It's quite comforting to think that he's always there when I need him. Now if I walked around talking aloud to God, people would give me funny looks.

What I'm going to do today

I woke at 7 something and thought, 'I'll be dynamic and get up and do lots before I'm awake'; at 10 past 9 I looked at the clock again. I do not remember falling asleep. Do we wever remember falling asleep? Wever is an interesting word. I have been creating a few words of late. Donkum is one, as in, 'oh, you donkum.' That was sort of deliberate; wever is, of course, a typing error, but it is still an attractive word.

Life imitates art. Or is it the other ay around? We watched a DVD on Saturday (we tried to go dancing but it had been cancelled and no-one had told us) about a woman who is convinced that her neighbor has murdered his wife as he is much too cheerful just after she dies; a very similar thing occurred in church the next day.

Occured, on the other hand, is a word I don't like. Primarily because I struggle to spell it. Like cappucino. ............. I have just worked out how to do spellchecks! My puta was blocking pop-ups.

Another day at the coalface

Chris has decided it would be a good idea for all Linden staff to keep a record, for two weeks, of what work they do during the day. It's meant to be completed in half-hourly periods. it is amazing how long it takes to deal with emails. Especially when there are eleven from janet.

I might have upset Alun suggesting he would need to be creative with his completing. We all will need a little creativity. If we want to be seen to be worthwhile. We are, of course, worthwhile, but that might not be totally obvious from our diaries. Jared is worrying but he does a great job.

Emmalee no longer fits in her Dipsy outfit. One button pwonged into space. Cath meanwhile looks slimmer than ever.

Rob and Victoria visited last weekend. It was good to see them. What we saw of them that is. Mostly eating.

Good worship time in the evening. It is very hard to shake off the manacles pinning me to my chair but I did. The wonder of God the creator dying on a rugged cross is most powerful. It's strange how things take on greater significance at some times more than others.

Was lying in bed Monday morning when te thought that I should be somewhere else struck me. It was true; I should have been at shiatsu half an hour earlier. Fortunately Kate was able to fit me in later. It was so completely relaxing I almost dropped off.

I am definitely getting fitter too. A circuit is not as hard work as it was when I started. I still struggle with treadmills and spotty dogs but that is for an altogeter different reason connected with child-bearing. Phil and I usually meet in the loo twenty minutes into the evening.

I started watching 24 tonight while eating a baked potato and salad - how virtuous. I think I could soon be hooked. On 24 that is not pot and salad.

Tim O suggested that I did myself no favours with my 'week in the life of' in In Touch. Maybe that is why Chris has come up with the time-keeping idea.

Registered with a dentist today - just as well as I am getting twinges - but cannot be seen by said dentist until March. Why on earth did Martin Morgan have to go private? I canot believe any dentist doesn't earn enough. And he always seemed such a nice man. Except for his tendency to talk to you while your mouth is wedged with cotton wool. But probably all dentists do that.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Good hair day

I finally had my hair done today. I am no longer an elderly badger. (Please say how wonderful I look when you see me next.) My joy is complete. Made even more so by the bargain jeans I bought in Debenhams sale. Designer jeans reduced to £30 from £40 but actually only £15. Which sort of makes up for the rest of the money I spent.

Drumming tonight. I feel like drumming tonight, sausage egg and beans and mushrooms. But I must learn to take some control over my left hand.

Shall I begin on my huge pile of ironing now? Or waste more time blogging? Fortunately I couldn't find the link to online subutteo. Fish and chips, fish and chips, fish and chips.

The good thing about going to the hairdressers is the opportunity it provides to read glossy celebrity mags. I say read but I mean look at the pictures. I would need to put my glasses on to read and I have some pride left. At last I know who Sienna is. Or what she looks like at least.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The drawer is actually becoming rather a nuisance. It stops me opening the drawer underneath, the one that stores the grater, making it impossible to grate cheese. Quite possibly a world-catastrophic level of calamity in the making, especially with Rob coming home this weekend.

I fear I am allowing tetris to take over my life. It used to be Spider Solitaire but being the regional champion (eat your socks, tim O) has cause me to lose some of my enthusiasm for it. I am painfully bad at Tetris.

It is summerlike outside today. The sun has the heat of a June day.

I popped down to Linden to take some photos of Cath and Em to accompany a newspaper piece about the search for an Em-replacement during maternity. I got there to discover the camera had no battteries. Undaunted I went to the chemist to buy some. Got the wrong ones. Returned to chemist to exchange them. Took photos, dozens of them; Cath and Em liked two. I couldn't judge as I wasn't wearing my glasses.

I can do exercise to tone up my flabby body; why can't I exercise my eyes to tone up my eyesight?

Poetry in motion

My cutlery drawer won't open; neither will it close. It's stuck a third-open, which is convenient for getting cutlery out but inconvenient when crumbs drop in it.

Went to see Roger McGough tonight. He was excellent. Very funny and didn't even mention Lily the Pink. I felt quite inspired by his poem about some prison work. I should write a poem. It's better not to think what the men are in prison for.

There is a difference between being pedantic and being grammatically correct.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Yesterday morning, on awakening, I decided that I would become a philosopher. My reasons for this: there was an item on the news that peole i.e. scientists,had become very excited because they'd observed a gorilla using a tool. (I thought that had already been observed so perhaps i misheard the item.) Anyway this paticular gorilla - or was it a chimp? no, I'm sure it was a gorilla - had tried to cross a stream and found it too deep. Te gorilla had then got a branch from the riverside and used it to test the depth of the wat ahead. The important thing is - in my view - that this was a female gorilla.

Was the male sitting under a tree thinking, how did this river come to be here and where does it go? Both actions I think are equally valid - although if food was on the other side on the river, then the female's was the most helpful. Especially for the preservation of the species.

But then I started thinking that all the famous philosophers were men. And Greek now I come to think of it. So perhaps the right is right for a female Welsh philosopher.

Of course, the male gorilla may already have been swept away by the raging water in the river, no doubt, later to be declared a hero albeit a dead one. The best heros are dead ones because no-one can say anything nasty then.

It is easy being a philosopher; I wish I had thought of it sooner. All these thoughts in my head with nowhere to go now have a place to call home. Thoughts like: is there an 'e' in heros?

Church this morning. Alun on following Jesus. He asked me if I could think of a story about following. The only one I could think of was me not following Michael to the top of a hill. I told it and only realised after sitting down that people probably think I was lazy when actually I was scared. If I am to be a philosopher I will have to speak more clearly than that. Although philosophers usually think slowly. I will also have to use words more accurately. I will not have to speak more clearly - it was not my articulation that was at fault but my telling of the story. So I need to think slowly and not allow myself to be rushed and also to consider what I am saying before the words leave my mouth.

For instance, a wise philosopher would probably not have said that the child's haircut looked as if his father had used a pudding bowl. That was probably not the wisest thing to say. Not to his father anyway. But I am only a trainee philosopher so I will not worry about that. As Colin said, about something completely different where I might or might not have been at fault, that's gone now, passed. I feel already as if a mantle of wisdom has fallen onto my shoulders, grasshopper.

Our bedroom door has started to meiow. It is very lifelike.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Off to Exeter

So we're nearly ready to set off with bag and cat for Exeter - although we haven't told Charlie yet. She is still innocently curled up on the basket chair.

The house will be very empty after this weekend.

Drumming was good fun. I only did a corporal jones once ... or twice. I could manage the sausage egg and beans and mushrooms, and the fish and chips, and even the egg-fried rice. It was the spaghetti bolognese that was my downfall. More later on this. I just want to do a quick round-up of what's been happening over the last two days.

Friday in work was crazy. Trying to get the magazine ready for Sunday we kept running out of ink. Chris made one emergency dash and Mike Hurst made another. But he didn't get back in time for us to do many copies. I might go in early tomorrow morning to print just a few more off; I hate to miss a deadline.

Things weren't helped by Mr Matthews deciding he wanted all sorts of other tings ready for Sunday too. He says the muse is with him and he can't help himself. Indeed it would be criminal to stand in its way.

Then dancing last night. I really didn't want to go as I was feeling tetchy but it was surprisingly fun. Mike struggled with the jive! It is so unusual for Mike to be the one struggling instead of me. We got it the end. For this week anyway.

Anyway off to Exeter now.