Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Watch out, Ginger Baker

I would be an amazing drummer if I had a sense of rhythm. And better co-ordination. And quicker responses. But apart from that ...

I have decided that marching through Mumbles playing a drum is beyond me. I have enough trouble walking in a moderately straight line at the best of times without the added confusion of trying to keep with the beat, man.

There was a manic dwarf in a black hat dancing to the bells. He had that crazed look in his eyes that said, 'Can you hear what they're saying? No, you can't because it's only me they talk to!! Ha ha ha ha.'

There is a high percentage of French drummers amongst us. And a Fin. (Finn?) She told me of her distress on learning that Finland had been beaten in the finals of the ice hockey by Sweden. She said, 'It's like Wales being beaten by England.' I empathised.

Lent begins tomorrow. I am giving up computer games for Lent. That is six and a half weeks without Spider Solitaire or Super Collapse or Tetris. However the daily jigsaw is not a game so I can do that.

Thanks, Maryb

This was quoted by Maryb on CHM's blog, but I think it's so wonderful I had to repeat it here. It's from Erma Bombeck:

"I haven't trusted polls since I read that 62% of women had affairs during their lunch hour. I've never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex."

That made me google Ms Bombeck and I found these other gems.

"Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, "No, thank you," to dessert that night. And for what!"

"One thing they never tell you about child raising is that for the rest of your life, at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know your child's name and how old he or she is."

I love all of those quotes but the last one really hits home. Children get older that's the trouble. if they didn't, I would know instantly how old they are.

Shrove Tuesday

For the first time in my life I am not having pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. This is because

a) I am on my own and you can't make one (two/three/four) pancake;
b) I am on a diet and I can't eat one (two/three/four) pancake.

I am very unhappy about this. I normally like my pancakes either simply with sugar and lemon or, if I'm feeling decadent, with syrup and ice cream. I don't think there are enough Syns in the whole of the Slimming World world to cover that.

And I didn't lose any weight last week so I am feeling particularly fat and grumpy.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Apparently Gavin was feeling 'suicidal' after the game on Sunday. You can't help but feel sorry for him - not something you often feel for Mr Henson - but he shouldn't have been put in that position. I hope Charlotte cooked him his favourite meal or refreshed his tan for him. If only he didn't walk around with his mouth open all the time. It's almost as bad as people who chew (gum or otherwise) open-mouthed. I have to stop myself commenting when I am with a chewer. Particularly when they are in positions of authority and, more importantly, have a say on my pay.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

George Michael was arrested for possessing Class C drugs. I wonder if Marmite comes in that category. I am convinced it is addictive.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Harvey and Holly share beds


I've been trying to remember that word for about fifty hours. It came to me in the middle of my shiatsu. I have been trying to keep it in my head all the way home and, in spite of almost losing it a few times in favour of voraciously, I succeeded. So that's good.

Shiatsu was so relaxing that, when I left afterwards, I walked into the car door. Now have large bruise on shin.

Asked the Madman of Pendine about yesterday's rugby. He said, "It didn't happen. Nothing happened yesterday. Everything's fine." A good approach, I think.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Things you shouldn't say II

We were talking about love handles. Husband said, 'You haven't got love handles ... so much as a grab rail.'

It was a day for saying the wrong thing. I did it twice in church. I had to apologise to one person but the other was Tim and it was his own fault, so I didn't.

Benny was speaking on Reconciliation. He asked us to imagine that our dog had stolen our car, sold it on ebay and was now heading for Crufts with a nice little collie he'd picked up. It worked for me.

But that apart, it was a bad weekend for English and Welsh rugby fans. If I think about it, I will only start to sigh, so I won't. But now having thought about it I can't think of anything else, so, sighing deeply, I will stop writing and go play Super Collapse II.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A thong too far

I was in a specialist shop today - I am aware that there are some sensitive souls who read this blog so I am trying to choose my words carefully - and the young lady in the changing cubicle next to mine was obviously buying her wedding under-garments - she was choosing from a number of thongs. Now that's fine but she'd brought her fiance with her and the poor boy was sitting in the middle of the shop (and it's only a small shop) trying to keep his head down and his eyes and ears closed. Now maybe he's like my brother-in-law who is a great fan of Trinny and Suzannah and can discuss the advantages of a good bra with the best, but your wedding day trousseau of all things should surely be a mystery until the day/night.

Anyway, ladies, I'll just say that I am thrilled with my purchases and, hey, we're worth it.

My excuse is that I didn't have to pay out for new glasses. Apparently my sight hasn't changed. I find that hard to believe; I think she meant my sight while wearing glasses.

All in all it has been a good weekend so far (I'll reserve final judgement until after the rugby tomorrow). Dancing class last night, the first time since November. And if I'd had the ball gown, the high-heels and the ability to dance, you wouldn't have been able to tell the difference between me and Ginger Rogers.
"There may be troubles ahead, but while there's moonlight and love and romance, let's face the music and dance."

Of course we mustn't forget there is a rugby match tonight. Scotland against England. It is hard: my heart will be cheering on Scotland but my mouth must say, 'Come on, England.' I don't think I really fool anybody though.

Friday, February 24, 2006

TGI Friday

I've recently been introduced to a new game. It's probably not new to most people - it's on its second incarnation - but is is to me. And to Alun who brought it to my attention after he'd been enslaved by it, thanks to Angelo.

It's called Super Collapse II. And it is addictive, oh, my word. You can download free trials from various places on the net. Alun has downloaded so many they all recognise him now and refuse to let him have any more. So he plays through me. 'Red left, green bomb coming, no, wait, now!' (This is in our tea break, you understand.) I am a nervous wreck by the time I have finished.

Alun's top score is over 1 million. Yip, that's right, 1 and six noughts. And he's only been playing it for three weeks. You're probably all sitting there quietly gloating because that is peanuts to what you've scored, but, hey, I'm easily impressed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

To get back to men and rudeness, I was called a brazen hussy today. And I was only talking about rugby!

Talking of which this could be either a remarkably good weekend or one of the worst on record. I am in faith for it being good. If Scott Johnson really is the man behind the success then it should be no problem. Even without Alfie.

Still I shall be glad when Sunday has come and gone.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Eye test tomorrow. First thing, which was a bit of bad planning on my part. My eyes don't wake up until some time after the rest of me. I will probably end up with a prescription for glasses like the bottom of milk bottles.

You don't see many milk bottles these days. We still have milk delivered but I guess we are one of the few families that does. Probably won't be long until the milkman joins the red telephone box as an attraction in someone's garden.

You don't see police boxes any more either. We did see one in London, or was it New York? Doctor Who should perhaps transmogrify the outside of the Tardis to help it to fit in more. Although it hardly fits in in most places that it lands in. I do like David Tennant though. He was brilliant in Blackpool and Casanova. Christopher Eccleswaite or whatever his name was, had that sort of manic grin. Which reminds of a vicar I saw today. His photo was on a website. He looked decidedly smarmy. Brrrr. I wouldn't want to go to his church. He was the second Christian today that I took an instant dislike to (I am assuming he was a Christian although with the c of e being what it is, who knows). The first one phoned me. Asked who he was speaking to and then used my name like he knew me. Brrr again.

It's not that I'm picky, you understand. I am very tolerant and loving and all-things-Christian, except on Fridays. And occasional other days.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I wish I'd written that

I didn't lose my mind; it was mine to give away.
Robbie Williams

Walkies and stuff

It snowed on us! I had a snowflake on my nose just like in the song. Me and Harvs were dead excited ... okay, you weren't. Harvs was indifferent ... What? Oh, sorry, Harvey said he was blase about the snow (Methinks the dog is getting pretentious.) ... don't you dare say it, Harvs! ... I just know you were thinking of saying, 'Moi, pretentious?' I could see it in your eyes.

It's turned to rain now anyway.

On the way home from our walk yesterday we passed a man who said, 'There's always one, isn't there?'
I agreed wholeheartedly although I had no idea what he was talking about. I was sure there probably was always one of something. But then today I found a 2 and a 3, an M, an H and a G but no 1. Does that prove there isn't always one?

Harvey tripped over a bramble twig today (It's all right, he's asleep now so I can talk about him). Poor old thing. He can hardly manage the back-door step these days; he has to turn around and take a run at it. And he needs someone standing by to encourage him when he goes down steps. I love him so much; it's horrid to see him become this old so suddenly it seems.

Something I've noticed about men

On Jodie's blog recently I commented that Tim was rude to me; he retorted that I should be 'touched' because he is only rude to people he likes.

Alun's the same. I put up with hours of abuse in the office and he claims it's only because he likes me, adding, 'but it's all true!'

Women are rude to people they don't like; men are rude to people they don't like and to people they do like. It's like the little boy in the playground who goes and pushes over the girl he likes. They're just unable to express emotion in any other way, being all masculine and manly.

What happened to poetry? What if (desperately tries to think of a poet who wrote about women rather than daffs or bridges or war) Shakespeare had written,

Shall I compare thee to a broken down car?
Thou art less rusty and more weathered:
Rough winds do shake the steering wheel sometimes,
And the bottom's pretty holey:
Sometime too hot the heating doth blow,
But more oft far too cold;
And every bit of welding declines,
By chance or holes in road;
But thy windscreen shall not crack
Nor lose possession of that windscreen wiper;
Nor shall Mercedes brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in lay-bys thou waitest for rescue:
So long as men can drive or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

(Just a minute, I can hear a drip somewhere ... found it. I needed to turn the tap on to stop it dripping.)

Where was I? Oh, yes, men and poetry. Where has the poetry gone from men's souls? Prove me wrong, boys. Be nice.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The upstairs toilet is sitting on the landing. That is fine except husband gets home tonight and I fear that if he gets up in the middle of the night, in his still-sleeping mode, he won't notice and pee on the floor.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

As good as it gets

Who will look after Harvey when I am in jail? No-one else understands his little foibles except husband and he is away half the week. We will have to hope that Bill Gates likes dogs.

You see the day started fine and dandy, if not a trifle early, except for the fact that I couldn't send or receive emails. This went on all morning so eventually I decided to try and find out what was happening. I could detail the whole experience but it would bore me so I'll just say after seven phone calls BT decided they couldn't help me and gave me another number to ring. This turned out to be Microsoft who wanted to know the product ID. When I told them, they said I was using it illegally. Any moment now I am expecting a knock at the door.

Can they trace me from a phone call? Surely BT wouldn't give out personal information willy nilly. But they must be working hand in hand with Microsoft and even if they weren't Microsoft could hack into BT's system and get my address. There is probably a swarthy man in a suit making his way to my house right now. Oh me oh mi.

The man on ebay assured us it was genuine and legitimate. He didn't mention that we were supposed to be a school.

I used to think that 'as good as it gets' meant something was absolutely wonderful. Then I saw the film of the same name. In it, Jack Nicholson's character uses it in quite a different way. He says to a crowd of people in a psychiatrist's waiting room, 'Suppose this is as good as it gets?'

When I thought of the title to the post it was that usage that I was thinking of, but actually my life is just excellent. I am very happy (as long as I don't think about Welsh rugby) despite computers, kettles and cars. Thanks God, my life is as good as it gets.

Oh, and by the way, after I'd rebooted the computer, my emails worked okay.

Scarlett's porch dress

I got up by mistake this morning

I mean, I have to get up but not quite this early. So I've been browsing.

According to maryb in Atlanta, Scarlett O'Hara country, the New York Times has published an article about why ice is slippery. There's scientific debate about it apparently. I bet someone is getting funded to work it out. I wonder if I could get a grant to find out why pigs can't fly.

Maryb also talks about her mother's favourite sayings. It reminded me of my great-aunt. Auntie Vi was president of the local WI, had been to garden parties at Buckingham Palace, had a hat for every occasion and could swear like a Townhill teenager. (I'm sure Mumbles teenagers are just the same, it's just that TT flows better.) If someone annoyed her, she would say, 'Kiss my arse Tom Chalk.'

I never found out who Tom Chalk was. But there was another story about my great-grandfather and a fellow-builder name of Sparrow. He must have upset my great-grandad because, one day, when Mr Sparrow was up on a ledge, my great-grandad took away his ladder, saying, 'Now fly, you bugger!'

I'm from good stock.

And now the time is 8.15, which doesn't sound very early but the internet broke down in the middle so I've been and showered in between starting and finishing this post, which began at 7.25 am.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The phone just rang

It told me I had a message. It never does that. The message: One to the Arsenal. Then it thanked me for calling BT.

My life is very confusing sometimes.

I think I saw a UFO on the way home from aerobics - I was on the way home from aerobics not the UFO; I don't know where that had been. More likely it was going. It seemed to be heading in the direction of the water melons. Perhaps it was a case of 'ET go home'.

I have been insulted by three different men today. Perhaps I will ask Mr Guinness if that can go in his record book too.

I went to aerobics instead of drumming as my circuit trainer is skiing.

I hope daughter found her way back to the station and home again tonight. I have not heard from her since she wanted to know where she was.

I should have been born two centuries ago then I could have worn a dress like Scarlett wore to the barbecue. All lace and flounces and green and white. Fiddle de di. But really Gone With the Wind is a strange film. The opening sequence laments the passing of the Southern way of life with slaves. Rhett Butler is rather dishy though.

And that is probably all the rambling I will do for now. I have noticed that I write rather more on my blog than anyone else seems to write on theirs.

It's what men are for

Emails have been flying back and forth this afternoon.
Me: Kettle's blown up.
Him: Probably the fuse.
Me: Fuse?
Him: (sigh) In the plug.
Me: And what would I do about that?
Him: Change it.
Me: For ... what? A frozen pea?

For goodness sake he's known me long enough to know I don't do fuses. Yes, I know that's girly and pathetic but I am girly and pathetic - it's part of my charm.

But I NEED A CUP OF TEA! And boiling water in the saucepan is a pain as the automatic lighter on the hob doesn't. I might have to try husband's suggestion and put a teabag in the coffee percolator. It's either that or suck a teabag.

It's a good job I can still hop and skip when I am out with Harvey otherwise life would be truly unbearable. I haven't perfected the clicking heels together in the air at the side yet. Although I can almost do it to the left but not the right. I must be left-sided. I am right-handed but left-eared.

Major crisis!

My kettle has blown up!

That is worse than coming home planning on having sandwiches for lunch and finding that I have no bread. And no car, as already explained.

So that is two things. Do I believe in the 'things happen in threes' saying? No, definitely not. But perhaps I should avoid anything electrical, mechanical or likely to break in any way for the rest of the day. Not that I am superstitious but just in case.

Faster than the speed of ...

At 3.17 pm I emailed some sample monologues to a publisher; at 3.38 pm I received a rejection. Now that is quick even by my standards. I wonder if it could go in the Guiness Book of Records. I think I shall ask.

I have submitted my claim to the Guiness Book of Records. I will let you know if I am successful.

It runs in the family

Daughter just phoned me from Plymouth wanting to know where she is.
Thank goodness for google maps.
'Is the railway line to the north or south?'
'It's to my left.'
'Well, you need to go down the map so make sure you're always walking downhill.'
She's my daughter all right.

I wonder why my apple tastes fishy. Not so much tastes as smells fishy.

Betty broke down this morning but at least she was kind enough to do it before I left home this time.

We've chosen a towel rail. £179. Last of the big spenders us. We've also chosen tiles and pretend tile flooring, which is nicer than it sounds. We haven't actually bought any of these yet as we didn't take any measurements with us.

You've never got a toad when you want one, have you?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Forfar 5 Fife 4

Any Plymouth Argyle fans out there? Daughter has to write 1000 words about them and as she knows nothing, she would be grateful for any tips.

When she mentioned the Plymouth football team I instantly thought, Plymouth Argyle. That is the result of a childhood spent with a wireless in the house. Coming home of a Saturday teatime, I'd find my grandfather sitting in the corner, listening to the football results and marking his pools coupons. The names of the teams were, and still are, as familiar as old clothes.
Charlton Athletic _ _ _ 1 _ _ Queen of the South _ _ _ 3
Although I think Queen of the South might have been Scottish so that wouldn't have happened.

It was always the same man reading the results. I don't think he ever took a holiday. In fact, he probably modelled for Tim, 'On the third stroke the time will be 4 15 and twenty seconds.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I've managed to find a new top to go over the new top I bought. Fortunately there were three women in the changing room at M&S advising their friend so I got them to advise me too. I really need someone to dress me.

Although I later discovered that M&S has an in-house style guru who will advise on colours and styles and help you choose outfits. And all for free. The trouble with something like that is that I would feel obliged to buy what she suggested even if I didn't like it. I suppose I could always take it back another day. When she wasn't there. Which she wasn't today.

That is dreadful: I just did a spellcheck and discovered I had spelt grateful as greatful. See, that's one of the signs of ageing I was talking about.

On ageing

It's a strange thing, ageing. Physically my body shows all the signs of getting older - I started to list those signs but depressed myself too much, so I'll leave it to the imagination - but inside I feel younger than ever. I surprise myself when I realise how old I am. People my age used to be ancient I thought but apart from a tendency to nag Angelo to pull his trousers up and to tell Alun to get a haircut, I feel less ancient than regressing.

There's an incredibly energetic lady who comes to circuits. Even though she's much fitter than I am, she just seems more grown-up (she is, in fact, 6 years older).

Perhaps I'm confusing growing up and ageing. There's a little saying I've seen somewhere: getting older is compulsory; growing up is optional.

But does there come a time when Peter Pan has to leave Neverland? Will someone tell me?

I'm not leaving for a while anyway: I'm having far too much fun.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Our plasterer was Welsh surfing champion for three years. He can also strip a Beetle engine in five minutes (and put it back together again - although he didn't say whether it would still go.) I knew he was a nice man. He has also introduced us to an alternative plumber. An all-round good egg.

Oh, dear, Ieuan just brought me a news alert. Gareth Thomas admits he's feeling the strain: "I've done nothing but worry for the last five nights about what I am coming back to and what I have been accused of." Oh dear, oh dear. Let's hope Scott Johnson can get them all into concentrating mode otherwise Ireland will walk all over us. Will Gavin make the team? Probably not, or possibly. I'll do a Chris Matthews and sit on the fence. Probably on the bench because we need him but not in the team because the team don't like him. Why does Wales do this to itself?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Writers write

That's what they do.

The plasterer who's been knocking out walls has been very clean and tidy, putting cloths down and cleaning up after himself, but it is inevitable that dust gets everywhere. Now maybe if you see a surface covered in dust you will clean it; I prefer to write messages in it. Well, there's no point cleaning until he's finished, is there?

While we've bought the basics for the new bathroom, we still need to think about things like tiles and a towel rail. Husband was browsing the net this morning looking at the latter. Why is it that you can find any sort of towel rail except in the just-right-size that we want?

Those among you who aspire to the trappings of wealth may be interested in this towel rail. Prices start at £9,118.00 - but that does include VAT you'll be pleased to hear.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Driving Miss Betty

The thing about driving modern cars is that, when you go round a corner and you hear a clonk, you don't have to stop to check what has dropped off. (Nothing had.) However I consider the extraordinary a perk of driving a Beetle. You never know what will happen next. A trip to the supermarket can be as exciting as a trip to Le Mans. As long as you have your rescue card with you and comparatively easy access to a phone. (Not always as simple as it sounds when you refuse to own a mobile phone for fear it will adversely affect your brain workings.)

I managed to find a top to wear to a wedding next month. I tried to be adventurous and buy a different colour from those I usually wear but it didn't work. Although it probably didn't help that I can't dress myself properly. I tried on one of these see-through-over-a-cami top and was grumbling because it was too tight. Then I discovered I had my arm in the wrong hole.

I was also deterred by the mirror that insisted on showing me my badgered hair. And, because we are economising I cannot go to the hairdresser until just before the wedding. It could be too late by then: my transformation to badger will already be complete. Will anyone notice, I wonder? Should there be a question mark after that or not?

What's an URL?

I am trying to put a photo in my profile and it says I need an URL. Have I got one?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tra la la

There is a wondrous tree stump in the woods. Depending on the angle it could be a donkey's head or a wizened old man's face. It would look marvellous in our garden. I will have to talk nicely to husband next time we walk and persuade him to take a wheelbarrow. And wellies without holes as it is on the opposite bank of the stream.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Plasterer caused me some concern today as he announced that the bath and shower we have bought will not fit in the space we've allocated to it. Worried email to husband results in calming email returned. He has already considered this and 'have a plan'. Plasterer does not sound convinced. I smile merrily and say all will be fine.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Thrive tonight. It is a shame that boxing is not part of this circuit: I could do with taking it out on something. Taking what out? The edginess that has been part of my day since this morning.

I don't think we have any wellies without holes. Not left feet anyway. I wonder if I could get away with wearing two right feet.

I am struggling with the Time Traveller. Only because I read last thing at night and it is the sort of book that takes concentration. What's that, Harvs? ... You're hungry? Oh, yes, it is tea-time.

Finding it hard to work

You Are 50% Weird
Normal enough to know that you're weird...But too damn weird to do anything about it!

Ruddock gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

St. Mike of the Grand Slam has gone. A state of stunned shock hangs over the country.

He says it's family reasons; the press speculate it's player power. For the coach to leave mid-Six Nations there must be something major no-one is talking about.

One press report suggests Clive Woodward may be approached to take over. From the sublime to the he'd flippin' better not.

Give the Welsh a foot, and they shoot themselves in it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Passing the time until Neighbours

I was asked today what advice I could give a young girl whose mother died last year and who wants to find her father.

There's not a lot I can say, except maybe do it while there's time. But she's young; she maybe needs more time to find herself before finding him. Now there are too many possibilities that she might have to deal with, that she might not want or be able to face.

But it's hard not knowing your father. It's like not knowing a bit of yourself.

I used to think: so what, he didn't want to know me, and I don't need to know him. But it's not true. A chunk of soul is left dark and uncharted.

And if you leave it too late, well, it's too late.

I have a half-sister. She doesn't want to know me. Hey, she hasn't even met me yet; most people give me the benefit of the doubt for the first couple of meetings!

I have one photo that she is in but she is mostly hidden so only the side of her hair can be seen. It's dark and wavy, like mine.


In which Harvey and I share sad stories

It is taking longer and longer to cover shorter distances on our walks. Harvey can't even stand on three legs to pee now. He has to wee like a girl. What's that, Harvs? ... Sorry, Harvey would like to make it clear that he COULD stand on three legs to pee if he wanted to but he chooses not to. He has always felt that it is a silly custom and now he is mature enough to cock a snoot at the world and do it his way. So there.

It's all right, Harvey, I will tell you a sad story to cheer you up. ... You don't want cheering up? Well, I do. So I will tell it anyway.

It is Valentine's Day today. This morning Alun popped into the office and said, 'I am taking the day off to spend it with my lovely wife.'
Taking the day off to spend it with his wife! I felt, well, betrayed isn't too strong a word. All year long I have to share an office with him and on the one day when I might have expected a little appreciation, he disappears to spend it with his wife. Men are so feckless. 'I'm not sending you a Valentine's card next year.'
'Did you send me one this year?'
'No, but that's not the point.'

I never liked Valentine's Day until I was in my twenties because I never got a card. Except from my mum. And once, in junior school, from the wimpiest boy in the class who used to wet himself. I think he came out at university.

So you see, Harvey, it's ... zzzzzzzzzzzz ...et tu, Harvey?

I'm so excited!

My new thesaurus has arrived. It is big and beautiful and full of words. It even gives you breeds of sheep and synonym nuances. And rhetorical devices such as epanadiplosis. There is so much I don't know! It is making me groan.

A valentine for ladies of a certain age

This was my valentine's card last year. I felt it was worth keeping. In fact, I have it stuck up on the wall so, for anyone entering my study, it is the first thing they see.

I was amazed in the bookshop yesterday at the number of people buying valentine's gifts. Expensive ones at that. It used to be, back in the good old days, that people only sent valentines to secret lovers. Now they have valentines 'to my wife/husband/next-door-neighbour's husband. Taken all the fun out of it.

I am totally addicted to Ella Fitzgerald at the moment. The only time I take her CDs out of the player is to put on Madeline Peyroux. Is it an age thing? Or a mood thing? Mood, I think.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Jodie will love this link!

You Are Cream Pie

You're the perfect combo of simplicity and divinity
Those who are like you live for understated pleasures

I also discovered that the song I should strip to is Britney's Spears' Toxic, but having been reprimanded for mentioning cleavage, I didn't dare show that one.

Thanks to Shirl for this link.

The trouble with cleavage

I was told off yesterday - by a man - for talking about cleavage in my blog. 'How would it be,' he asked, 'if I wrote about women staring at my groin?'

The thing is, Timothy, women wouldn't actually stare at your groin, at least, not when they're supposed to be talking to your face, which is the point I was trying to make. I'm sorry if that is a disappointment but take it from me: you should be grateful.

Wales 28 - 18 Scotland

There is a new song being sung in Wales today.

The Madman will be particularly pleased as he bet £2 (last of the...) on Wales to win by 10 points.

The experts all said it was over when the Scotsman called Scott was sent off twenty minutes into the game but Scotland played remarkably well and bravely.

Next game in Ireland in two weeks.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Spot the difference

my hairdryer:
which is which?

I think it was a compliment

At the salsa evening last night, a man I hadn't seen for a while said, 'You look so good, I didn't recognise you.'
Um ... thank you ... I think.
He then spent the rest of the conversation staring into my cleavage.

I bet Gilberto Gil doesn't have that trouble.

Anyway the good news is that we have ordered a new bath. It will be three or four weeks before it arrives but, hey, we've only been without one for a week so far. I can't help feeling that we might have done this the wrong way round. When we arrived at the bath showroom today we promised each other that we would not leave this time without ordering something - we didn't specify what.

It concentrates the mind, being bathroom-less.
'What handles would Madam like on the doors?'
'Madam doesn't actually give a fig.'

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The secret's out

The hall smells like a pub the morning after. As only Harvs and me are here and I don't drink, it is a puzzlement unless ... Harvey is a secret drinker!

That would explain the early morning shakes and the empty beer cans on the kitchen floor. Oh, dear, I will have to have a serious chat with him. There are already too many drinkers in this family. Why is it that the children follow their father's example and not mine? Although when children have a father who happily talks about swapping neighbours' gates when drunk and sitting in gutters singing, it must be hard to not think it sounds like fun.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
I have said it before but I will say it again: I do not see (no, not at all well) why it is that I can do exercises to tone up my leg muscles but I can do nothing to improve my eyesight. It is most unfair that I need my glasses to read cooking instructions or how to use my new iron. I even have to make sure they're in my bag when I go to sainsburys in case I need to read a label - and we all should, of course. Why, the other morning, I had to sign for a package and the postman offered to lend me his glasses.

Another thing Bob Dylan and I have in common

We can't sing.

That is one good thing to look forward to in heaven: being able to sing out loud without making walls cover their ears. I am assuming I will be able to sing well in heaven; doesn't it say somewhere that all infirmities will be gone?


At this time 26 years ago I was in hospital. I had been there ten hours and the reason I was there was not going to make her appearance for another five hours. She still takes a long time to get ready. Happy Birthday, daughter.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Not the woman I'd like to be

I must be lacking in sex appeal.

There were council-workmen out opposite our house cutting down bits of trees. I went across and asked them, 'Please, Mr Lumberjacks, will you come and cut down a tree for me?'

'Yuurrh, for a price.'

But they forgot to come and give me a price in the end. I obviously didn't flutter my eyelashes enough.

Or maybe with my similarity to Gilberto Gil, they thought I could do it myself.

I have tidied the study today. So now I have no excuse not to work tomorrow.

Rant of the day

A woman came into the bookshop on Monday and asked if we'd display a poster advertising a concert in a local church. I said we would and, having glanced at the poster, asked her if anyone had mentioned the extra 't' she'd put in celebtrate (I am such a helpful soul). She looked at it, shrugged and said, 'It'll have to do. I can't be bothered to do it again.'

Is it me? How could she do that?

I had to snopak out the 't', which means it now reads celeb rate, but that is preferable in my eyes.

That's the trouble with John Smith and his auntie having computers: everyone thinks they're design experts. The number of home-produced posters I've seen that have made me squirm, uurrggh, it doesn't bear thinking about.

But a simple spelling/typing mistake is unforgivable when every program has a spellcheck of some sorts (even the Americans don't spell that badly).

I need a cup of tea.

Double dating

Two pair sounds as if it should be tautological but it's not.

We saw two pairs of courting kestrels today. I assume they were courting with it being Spring and a young man's fancy turning.

I have been out twice today; guess how many times it has rained today? Yip, twice. The benefit being that we saw a rainbow, Harvs and me. A bonus glimpse of God's glory to come.

What Bob Dylan and I have in common

We're both iSfP types. Being introvert, sensitive, feeling and perceptive. However I don't feel very much.

Take the test here

That's the first time I've tried putting in a link; I wonder if it will work. Unlike me.

Thanks to Chalky for the original link.

And another thing

There is absolutely no way that the dealing in Spider Solitaire is random. It knows what card you need and it keeps a hold on it. It thinks I don't know but I do.

Peanuts from heaven

A peanut fell out of the sky to my feet. Most odd. Unless ...

Yes, that's it: I am the victim of an alien plot. They know I know so they have to dispose of me. Unfortunately - fortunately for me - the alien charged with the task isn't very bright. He looked through the wrong end of his telescope and misjudged the size of projectile needed to squash me flatter than an anorexic supermodel. A lucky escape this time but for how long?

I need all you fellow bloggers out there to promise that, if my demise comes unexpectedly in a peculiar way, you will tell the authorities all you know and point them in the direction of the water-melons.

I have bought a magazine (for research purposes only) and it has a free recipe supplement. It offers "30 healthy recipes for energising, de-stressing, anti-ageing and brain-boosting." It is just what I need. Especially as it has chocolate cake on the cover.

Aah, a quick look through suggests that you can't have it all. What's good for one thing, is bad for another. There had to be a catch.

Was distracted for a few (big few) minutes then, reading magazine,and now it's time for lunch.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A new week? I hope

It was a week ago today that my problems started; I am hoping that from now on there will be no more. I am counting the shower - our only way of bathing - that is leaking prodigiously and the intermittent leak in the downstairs toilet that has become constant, as left-overs from last week and not the beginning of another week of mishaps.

I forgot to say that, on Saturday, I broke a dish. Not any old dish but one of my 'best' ones, from the set that we had when we were married. However as it is the first breakage in 27 years, I count myself fortunate. Especially as the intervening years have seen us bring up three children and enjoy occasional visits from Grandad.

But today is another day, as Scarlett would have said when she woke up.

Monday, February 06, 2006

More aliens in our locality

Any scientists out there? This could be a fungal growth but is far more likely, in my opinion, to be another infiltration of our planet by alien life forms. Either way red spells danger.

I wonder why our bit of Wales is so prone to this. It is, of course, an exceptionally beautiful area - Gower was the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to be designated in Britain - so possibly aliens are attracted to it for that reason.

A thought occurs: possibly we're not looking at the advance scouting party of an approaching war fleet, but universal holiday-makers. Unbeknownst to us, we're living in what is Costa Gower to a Venusian.

Old dog old tricks

Daughter and son-in-law are visiting with Holly, their four-month-old springador (springer/lab cross). They didn't bring Charlie, the cat, this time; she is being looked after by neighbours. So we just have a senile old dog and a young puppy both getting over-excited. Must remember to get some more disinfectant.

Holly and Harvey get on very well. Even so far as cuddling up together to go to sleep. Aaah, bless.

We also have water, electricity and a bath on the path.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Why Mexican?

Quite often have to walk along a narrow bendy bit of road without a pavement to get back from our walk - or go on it. In some places there is enough room for cars to pass each other and us without hitting us but there's not in others. Add to that 'careful' drivers (mostly little old ladies) and our presence on the road often makes the traffic stop. It can be embarrassing walking along being aware that everyone is waiting for us to get out of the way. The trouble is Harvey doesn't care. Not that he could walk any faster if he did. In fact me trying to hurry him up results in a sulky backward tug on the lead.

It's bad enough if it's just one car but if there is one coming each way and they both stop we have a Mexican standoff. Now Harvs and I were discussing this on the way home today after such a standoff. Why Mexican? Harvs wanted to know. I had to admit I didn't know.
'Perhaps it's because the Mexicans are particularly polite,' I said.
'Or cowardly,' Harvs said. 'But I wasn't aware that they were renowned for either.' He is a very learned dog, and I had to bow to his wisdom.

So I looked it up when we got home. This is what it said.

"This expression came into usage during the last decade of the 19th century, most likely originating in the American southwest, although one reputable source claims that the term is of Australian origin. One possibility is that it may relate to the difficult and paradoxical social and economic conditions of 19th century Mexico."

So now we know.

I've just discovered that Scotland beat France today. In the words of Victor Meldrew, 'I can't believe it!' But as husband said, 'Anyone beating the French is a good result.'

Hope upon hope

By the time we'd taken the third service at the prison we were getting good. Well, not bad anyway. I got a few 'thank you, miss' as the men left so it can't have been too bad.

The only problem arose when I nearly got into a fight with a prison officer. You know how smug the English can be. The Welsh are never like that; we rarely have the opportunity.

The games night was remarkably even-tempered. We did a quiz to test our male/female-ness. I'm pleased to say that I came out on the female side, unlike one of our party who was very border-line.

We also played Masquerade. I've never played it before and hope I never play it again. It's like charades only worse and I had to mime 'Frederick Soddy, professor of inorganic chemistry at Oxford'. My team guessed Oxford. We lost rather badly. I'd like to say that we had harder clues to mime but the other team managed to guess 'Bishop Desmond Tutu's tutu' and 'Sir Harry Secombe's inside leg measurement'.

We nearly didn't make it to the games night as, when we were getting ready, a strange smell developed in the kitchen. It turned out to be the fluorescent lamp fitting that had been leaked upon. Husband switched off electricity and removed fuse, but I still refused to go out in case something was smouldering away secretly. I didn't want to come home and find Harvey fried. I wasn't happy until the whole light fitting had been removed, the source of the smell discovered and my concerns put to rest. So, as well as no water last night, we also had sparse electricity as one circuit was switched off.

As I write it's lunchtime Sunday and the situation has not yet been resolved. Although the leak is more of a dribble than a geyser now.

It's 34 years today since my mother died.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart

Someone wise said that, not me. I'm too busy crying.

Also, halfway through the second half we discovered the kitchen was being flooded. Husband has spent the day taking out the bath and sealing pipes. Or not as the case may be. Now he has run out of solder and we have to have the water switched off until he can buy some more.

And for those following the saga of my week, it turns out that Betty's petrol cap key was in her ashtray all the time. I didn't even know she had an ashtray!

Big sigh.


Big sigh. Nothing more to say really.

He who does not hope to win has already lost

So said Jose Joaquin Olmedo, whoever he might be. I'm looking up quotations on hope as we're talking about it in the prison tomorrow. There are some good ones.

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do. (that's Pope John XXIII)

And just for good measure here's Bob Hope: I grew up with six brothers. That's how I learned to dance - waiting for the bathroom.

Hope is such a vital component of life. Without it, it must be impossible to survive. We're going to be talking about the hope that God gives us to men who probably have little else to hope for. It's an honour to go in and a time when we are so aware of our weakness. A time that we need the Holy Spirit to be in there ahead of us, speaking through us, so that the men hear not what we say but what God says to them.

The hopes of Wales this afternoon will be in quite a different place. We haven't won at Twickenham for a long time and, with so many players missing, it's hard to have bucketloads of hope, but 'he who does not hope to win has already lost'.

When we go round corners Betty's glove compartment drops open. Daisy used to toot occasionally on turning a corner. It inspired this poem.

I have a little Beetle,
Daisy is her name.
She likes to toot her horn at whim;
It's driving me insane.

Although tooting at corners could sometimes be appropriate, it wasn't usually, so a glove compartment quirk is probably less troublesome.

Off for a games night tonight. With the competitive spirit of some of our players, we could be in for a fighting time. Some of the least likely people turn out to have combative natures. And most of them are in positions of responsibility in the church.

Back to hope now. In many different ways.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Mushrooms are people too

I was just cooking some mushrooms for my omelette when they started squeaking at me. It was very disturbing.

Didn't stop me eating them though.

Has anyone worked out how to cook an omelette so that it ends up looking like it does in photos instead of a soggy mess? Tastes nice though. These tomatoes are exceptionally nice. Vittoria on the vine from Sainsburys. Yum.

The last two days are taking their toll: I am the epitome of wet lettuce today.

15 Gareth Thomas, 14 Mark Jones, 13 Hal Luscombe, 12 Matthew Watkins, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Michael Owen, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Colin Charvis, 5 Robert Sidoli, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Rhys Thomas, 1 Duncan Jones.

Okay so there are some names missing but that's still a good team. Yes, Ieuan agrees with me, and he should know. He is standing in the corner of my screen blinking steadily. Every now and again he twirls a ball or does a leap of joy. He will be doing that a lot on Saturday.

Have I mentioned that I was there? Last year when Wales beat England at the Millennium Stadium? At the start of their Grand Slam season. But we're not here to look back; we are not like the English who take every opportunity to point out that the World Cup trophy is in their cabinet - failing to mention their miserable record since. We're looking forward - to the next World Cup and before that to this season. Go Wales!!!!!!

Yesterday ended on a high note

Tina and I went to the Jazz Club last night. Yeah, man, we're cool cats.

Now you're picturing a dark, smoke-filled cellar? Think again. Think: someone's extended living-room complete with peach anaglypta wallpaper. And this is 'Wales' Premier Jazz Venue'.

It was very crowded with grey-haired, old gents in shirts and ties, beautifully-coiffed middle-aged woman in stilettos and furs and trendy students. I wonder if you would see such a mixture of people at any other music event; I doubt it.

The band, Solid Airbag Berlin, consisting of three Russians and a Welshman, played Jazz Funk (apparently). They were good for the first half but started sounding a bit sameish in the second. But it was good to be out and forget about cars and plumbers and other mishaps.

We talked about flirting. I am not sure if I know what it is. I wouldn't know if someone was flirting with me or if I were flirting myself.

I have heard women on the phone to some men and their voices change; actually I do that myself. But is that flirting or playing a role? I am happy to play the role of stereotypical woman when it suits me - oh, dear, am I really driving the wrong way down a one-way street? Silly me, but what can you expect of a woman, Mr Traffic Warden? The Sisterhood would be turning in their bras if they hadn't burned them.

(You see, Mr Traffic Warden, from where I joined the road it wasn't absolutely clear that it was one-way. No, I won't do it again, sir.)

Tina pointed out that the problem is often in other people's minds when they see a man and a woman working in close proximity. 'Liz and Alun share an office and get on well, therefore ...' Ha ha ha ho ho heee, ha ha ha, hee ho ho ho ho ha ha ha he ho he ho he ho ha ha ho ho ho ha ha ha hee hee hee ho ho ha he ho he ha, oh, stop, my side's splitting.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

And then my day got even better

So I got ready to go to circuit training. I drove to the bottom of West Cross, pulled into the right-hand lane to turn up the hill and Betty stopped. And wouldn't start again. Not a murmur would she make. I sat there and quietly screamed.

Fortunately, eventually, two people came and pushed me to the side of the road. Stupidly I hadn't brought my rescue card with me. Or my purse. I screamed some more.

Then I walked all the way up the hill in the dark, the freezing cold ... and my shorts. Got to Linden, phoned John Sampson who organised a rescue party for me. Thank the Lord for John.

Neil Thomas and his jump leads came and put life back into an old girl. He got Betty working again too. Neil thanked me for breaking down. No, thank you, Neil. No, thank you, Liz.

I was, in a way, quite relieved that I didn't have my rescue card with me. I was laughed at by the boss of the rescue firm yesterday for having a Beetle. To have to call them out twice in two days would have been unbearable.

I want to eat!!! Something chocolatey to cheer me up. It's a good job I don't have anything chocolatey.

The plumber called again

He said he could do it tomorrow. I told him not to bother. Yaay. Way to go me! No more Mrs Nice Girl (but I was very polite).

And, of course, we don't have a plumber now.

I've just had an argument with the plumber

He phoned. He said he was here from 8.30 until 10 and that he came back at 1 to try again. I said I was here all the time. He said he stuck a note through the door; I said he didn't.

He didn't believe me and certainly didn't want to believe that he had made a mistake and had been sitting outside the wrong house all morning. He kept repeating himself and I kept arguing.

Then he said, 'I rang the doorbell.'
I said, 'Aha, got you there (no, I didn't really) - we don't have a doorbell.'
He said, 'Yes, you do, on the right-hand-side.'
I said, 'No we don't.'
He said ... and so on until he mentioned that we still had the for sale sign up outside our house. 'That's 210,' I said.
'No, it had 208 on the door,' he said, still in denial. This continued for some time, him wondering what had happened when it was blatantly obvious he had gone to our neighbours'.

I did not like his manner at all. He is phoning back tonight to re-arrange a date to come. I don't want him to come now. But he is very cheap. Oh, phooey.

A message from God

With my recent experiences of early mornings, I think God is telling me that I shouldn't get up early.

And that is what I shall tell my boss next time she tells me off for being late.

Revelation 21:1
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

That disturbs me even more than being no cheese in heaven. Although I would argue that cheese is not the result of decay, therefore it will be there.

Yes, I have just studied the process of cheese-making and, although it involves bacteria, that is a natural reaction and doesn't automatically spell decay. Result: cheese in heaven.

9.36 now

And no plumber.

The noise you can hear is the grinding of teeth.

Harvey poses

I should be in bed now

The little man said he was coming at 8.30 am. It is now 8.40 and he's not here. I got up early (again) to make sure I and the bathroom were ready, and where is he? He'll be lucky to get a cup of tea from me today.

I have said goodbye old and faithful bath, you have served us well. Now I just want the deed done.

Just stopped to do the dishes in case the water is turned off. And make a cup of tea - for me - obviously. It's now 9 and still no sign. I am not amused.

There are 54 days until the clocks go ... forward.