Friday, March 31, 2006


Older son works in Spain. There is a strike in France so he doesn't know if he can get back to Blighty tonight. Damn these Frenchies!

Although I don't see why the pilots can't just fly around France. They'd only have to go a bit more left if they were flying from Madrid.

He and his lovely girlfriend are supposed to be coming here tonight too. Couldn't the French have struck another weekend? Or better still, mid-week?

Meanwhile younger son left the house on Wednesday evening and hasn't been heard from since. I tell myself if he were away in university I wouldn't know where he was but somehow that doesn't stop the niggling anxiety. Not helped by the local ongoing murder trial either where youths are accused of killing another seventeen-year-old after a night out.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

There's something about Beetle owners

I put petrol in Betty today. At the pump in front of me was an elderly, very well-spoken, lady in an old BMW. She looked at Betty and said, 'I still have a passion for Beetles.' Then she told me about the red Beetle she'd had in 1963. Then she patted her BMW and said (to it), 'But I love you too.'

Beetle owners never forget their first love.

Is it 1st April?

On the Radio 4 news tonight was an item about estate agents in New York who are showing people round apartments in the middle of night because it's more convenient. Okay, I can go with that. I suppose.

But then there was an item about an ex-chef who sleep-cooks. He's made spaghetti bolognese while asleep, and fish and chips. His wife has suggested that he could do the ironing instead but apparently he has no control over what he does.

And this is the news on Radio 4.

A milestone

Today, for the first time in history, Harvey didn't want to go for a walk. He came in the end because I persuaded him but we only went round the block.

I don't like this.


Spotted this card when I was out and just had to buy it.
Who could argue with this sentiment?

Overheard in New York


Guy: I don't need a bag, thanks.
Store lady: You're going to carry that in your hand?
Guy: Yeah.
Store lady: That's fine with me. I love customers who don't want bags.
Guy: Why waste them, right?
Store lady: Yeah. People need to recycle. They keep cutting down more and more trees for these bags.
Guy: ...Yeah.
Store lady: Plastic bags are made out of trees, right?
Guy: ...Well, no...
Store lady: Oh, I think it's paper bags that are made out of trees.
--Duane Reade, 22nd & Park

The Hunger Site

My brother-in-law sent me a link to the Hunger Site (click on a button and a cup of food is donated to the hungry). Because Outlook wouldn't let the link through to me, I googled it and found, as well as a variety of hunger sites, a criticism.

Basically it says that donating food in this way doesn't help and may even be doing harm. Any thoughts from anyone?

In the past I visited the Hunger Site (and also free mammogram site) daily but drifted off as I do with my short interest span.

Life is never simple.


I am just licking out the mixing bowl when I think, 'uh-oh, diet!' Is this why I'm failing to lose weight? All these little 'well, it's so small, it can't possibly count' bits. No, but really how many Syns can there be in a mouthful of cake mixture? Don't answer that; I don't want to know.

It's sad to think that, since the outbreak of salmonella back in the Currie days, children all over the country have been deprived of the basic childhood pleasure of licking the mixing bowl when mum has finished.

I used to try to fly when I was little. I would jump off the top of my slide and flap my arms like crazy. I'm often tempted even now, when I'm on 'my place' on the cliffs, to leap into space. I usually make do with stretching out my arms and spinning but who knows? One day maybe you'll see my photo in the papers. 'Woman flies!'

Maybe one day I'll be a good drummer too.

Right after circuits last night we had the first of three drum workshops to prepare for the Easter morning celebration meeting. We started with a name game. It involved a rhythm – stamp, slap your leg and click your fingers twice. On the first click say your own name, on the second say someone else’s. That person then takes over and does the same. I was embarrassingly bad. I couldn't even get the stamp slap bit right, let alone click and speak at the same time.

And now I need to go out shopping. Which means driving Betty.

Younger son is home and driving Betty. Younger son has legs twice the length of mine. All the seat adjusting has upset Betty and the driver's seat is now loose. Accelerate too quickly and you're likely to go backwards thingy over wotsit, which isn't a good position to be in if you're driving.

More later assuming I haven't crashed.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Spring has sprung

We've just come back from a lovely walk over the tip. The sun is shining warm, the birds are twittering (real birds) and the gorse with its lovely coconutty smell is just beginning to bloom. You can understand why 'sweet lovers love the Spring'.

While walking, I agreed with Harvey that it was time for some serious discussion on our blog, so here goes.

I allowed myself to be persuaded by younger son to watch Neighbours at lunchtime instead of this evening - so turn away if you haven't seen today's episode yet.

I can't believe Karl Kennedy was being so high and mighty with Boyd. It was only five minutes ago that Karl was threatening to tell Susan - no, he did tell her, didn't he? - about Alex's illness. So much for patient confidentiality then. And what is this disease that dare not speak its name?

(Bother, an email has just arrived with another 'no, thank you'.)

Neighbours seems to be turning into Doctor Kildare (an ancient medical drama), what with Alex and Steph and Janae. Who will be next to come down with some life-threatening disease? It's probably Karl's fault. He's been using his neighbours - without their knowledge - as guinea-pigs in drug-testing and now all his experiments are coming home to roost.

When the Archers turned all gloom and doom, people stopped listening. Now they have gay Adam who 'can't relax until the dishes have been done.' Although anyone less gay than bitter-and-twisted-with-sibling-jealousy Adam you'd have to go a long way to find.

I don't think Janae will test positive though.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Two things are worrying me

1) I am doing a jigsaw and I have a mouth left over. This suggests that I have made a basic error somewhere. Like putting hands where a mouth should be.

2) My computer is cheeping. Husband spotted this at the weekend but I insisted it was a bird outside - it is very realistic.

Fact or fiction

It said on the news that George Bush's Chief of Staff has resigned. He's been replaced by someone called Josh. Oh, if only.

West Wing fans will get the significance.

Harvey has a phobia

When we're out walking there's a bit of fence he doesn't like. He always changes sides so that I am in-between him and the nasty big brown fence. What? ... Yes, I know you're only being careful but I've never known a fence to attack anyone ... Yes, there is a first time for everything, I know, but quite honestly you're more likely to be attacked by me than the fence ... don't look at me like that; you know perfectly well why I'm likely to attack you ... I'll give you a clue: it begins with w and ends with oof.

He also won't come down the back steps unless I stand at the bottom and encourage him.

Immigrant punks - which happens to be the song I am listening to the moment

We had a tiler in work today. He was employed by the same people who recommended our first plumber and he is of the same cheap and surly school. Why don't these people charge more and be cheerful? He even stood by and watched while an elderly man struggled with the very heavy lid of the baptistry. Pah.

Meanwhile our bathroom is almost finished. There are still odd bits to finish off but husband was able to paint most of it last weekend. The bathroom is a lovely toffee-cream colour but the separate toilet is sunshine yellow. I'm not sure about the toilet. I originally wanted a bright light sunshiney colour but now I'm not convinced. Still it won't be the first time husband has had to repaint a room and at least this one is small.

We could use the bathroom now but it's not allowed until it's completely finished. I say so. Even then I might keep it for show, like our front room.

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

My address list went missing in work; I blamed Alun (obviously). Now I see it sitting on my desk at home. I have no idea how it got here. Fairies maybe?

Monday, March 27, 2006

My baby is 21 today

Happy Birthday, honeybunch!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Blogging not churching

I didn't go to church this morning as

a) it's Mother's Day;

b) the clocks went forward so we would have lost an hour in bed;

c) vanity.

I did think about writing a meditative Lenten piece but I've decided to go and do a jigsaw instead. Until Cary Grant is on television.

Happy Mother's Day

This is the card my daughter sent me. Inside she has written: 'But it might be too late for you!'

At least she sent me a card.

It is 2.20 pm now and younger son is still in bed.

Me and Matthau

I didn't turn into a witch but my nose has erupted: I look like Walter Matthau after a night on the gin.

I offered to wear a paper bag over my head when we went out for a curry last night (the first stage in the celebration of younger son's up and coming 21st) but husband said he loved me no matter what I look like. Younger son shrugged, 'Your nose looks the same as it always does.'

We went to a different restaurant and it was quite pleasant. The staff were smiley but the lamb in our peshwari gosht was a bit tough. So tough, in fact, that, when I was trying to cut it, a bit leapt off my plate and onto the foot of the lady at the next table. She was very understanding.

And now an enormous spot is developing on my cheek. I feel like an adolescent not a middle-aged mum.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Men in kilts again

Coincidentally this week a woman wrote into Radio 2 expressing her fondness for men in kilts. In response this website was recommended:

So if, like me and a.n.other, you have a similar weakness, hurry over and place your vote, and you may win a weekend in the Highlands with a hunk in a kilt. You can even drool over their sexy accented voices on the video clips.

But promise me that, if you win, you'll take me with you.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The proof of the pudding

I'm pleased to report that a burned hard-boiled egg doesn't taste any different
from an unburned hard-boiled egg.

How to boil an egg

I just came downstairs and became aware of a clicky clacky sort of noise coming from the kitchen.

I have burned my boiled eggs.

Lunch break

That's why I'm writing again.

You might have noticed that Harvey hasn't had much to say for himself for a while. That is because he is in my bad books.

Remember those men I was talking about at the Linden trustees' meeting last night? Well, Harvey is woofing even more than that.

He lies on his bed and woofs.

He stands in the hall and woofs.

He looks at me and woofs.

If he had something sensible to say I wouldn't mind but he is just waffling. So I've told him that I'm not going to report any of his comments until he makes an intelligent one. His retort - along the lines of 'what about applying that to your blogging?' - isn't worth repeating.

And now to try and eat corn on the cob without getting it stuck between my teeth. Which reminds me that my sister-in-law is considering cosmetic dentistry to remove her teeth and replace them with nicer ones. Why anyone would want to willingly go to a dentist beats me. Especially when there is nothing wrong with her teeth (and she is an incredibly attractive woman already).

Clean thoughts

So I was sweeping the floor when the words Goldy Looking Chain came into my head.

I believe that is the name of a popular musical combo - or possibly solo artiste - but why it should come into my head at that particular moment is a mystery to me. Perhaps it was God.

Maybe he was telling me I should listen to GLC or maybe he was telling me I should get one. Or perhaps, yes, this is it - it was a picture. I am imprisoned by chains but the chains are worthless - not solid gold - and I should cast them off. They're not strong enough to hold me and he wants me to be free to ... no, free from cleaning floors. I am to give up cleaning! That's it! I will tell husband that God told me to.

The sad thing is that I know people who translate every thought, image, sound, into a word from God. People like Keith. I can't help wondering if this constant hotline to God is genuine. Is God so permanently active in every aspect of our lives?

I mean, even David had times when he didn't hear from God; come to that, Jesus asked why God had deserted him. Probably he was too busy making pictures for the Keith of their days.

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

Then there's Desperate Housewives. Chris ensured the meeting last night ended in time for him to rush home to watch the latest episode. 'It's the best thing on television! The second series is even better than the first: it's so poignant and heart-rending.'

Excuse me? Are we talking about the same programme?

I pooh-poohed the first series because of the appalling trailers but husband was addicted to it - his excuse was that he was in a hotel in Bournemouth so he might as well watch it - so I've been watching the second series with him.

It's all right. Some funny bits but poignant? Heart-rending? No! Now West Wing ...

Okay, back to cleaning. Am not convinced that husband would accept God excuse.

A bad week

1. Weight gain of 1 lb at weigh-in on Monday.

2. Novel returned from agent today. No, thank you.

3. Today is cleaning day.

4. Son number 2 officially drops out of university.

5. Nose is tingling. I am either getting a cold sore or turning into a witch.

Extra big sigh. Hey ho, time for some Gogol, I think.

It's a fallacy

Anyone who thinks that men don't talk as much as women has never attended a meeting of Linden's (primarily male) trustees.

It's part of my job as Linden's administrator to take notes at the meeting. And keep quiet. But it's so hard when they waffle so much.

Pastor Chris, as he is known to no-one, has been spending too much time with Alun: he decided that I would make a good scapegoat for all his mistakes. 'It's Liz's fault.'

And when I made just a teeny weeny little comment expressing disbelief that it could take so long to decide on a date for a meeting, he told me to 'Oh, shut up.'

But he has forgotten one important fact: I am responsible for the weekly notices. I say what goes in and what doesn't.

So, if anyone out there has a really embarrassing photo of Chris, you know where to send it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hero or villain?

Reading Jodie's blog reminds me that we have been invited to a fancy dress party. The theme is Heroes and Villains and couples are asked to come as one of each.

My best idea so far is for us to go as the Red Baron and Snoopy. Anyone know where I can get hold of a Snoopy outfit?

Or perhaps I could go as Harold Bishop and be hero and villain all in one.

I am not a natural fancy dresser. My pirate outfit was described as too slap-my-thigh-ish and not scoundrelish enough. Which is okay as I was aiming for the Margaret Lockwood thirties-film-star pirate look.

This is not getting the dishes done. But I will just have a quick look on the net to see if I can locate a Snoopy costume.


I am so tempted this afternoon to play Spider Solitaire that I am considering sitting on my hands. The thing is that I have been shopping, done some writing, emailed some pitches, walked Harvey, in fact, done more today than I've done over the last two weeks and I feel I deserve the reward.

I mean it doesn't really matter. I've been reading stuff about Lent and about how it's not meant to be just a silly 'let's give something up' exercise, but rather an opportunity to give time to God. And I know all that but there's something about Lent, a set and defined time, that encourages abstinence.

It's really about proving something to myself.

So I won't play games.

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

The plasterer has just told me that we are three inches of floor tile short. Which, of course, involves buying 15 foot of floor tile. Do I look bovered?

I will just be grateful that I don't have a murderous and deranged neighbour playing mind games with me. And go and do the dishes.

Is it written on my forehead?

A few posts ago I mentioned that I had bought a drawing from a Polish art student who was selling work door-to-door to raise money for his further education.

Another Polish student has just shown me his portfolio - and it is exactly the same as the first student's! Did they go to the same art school in Poland? Or do they have one stock of drawings (probably done by someone's auntie) that they take it in turns to go out and sell (probably to raise money for drugs!)? They look as if they are done by someone's auntie as they feature lots of cute cats and children.

At least the first student did a good line in patter. He kept telling me the children were his brother and sister and the farmhouse his old home in Poland.

Perhaps there is a secret mark on my gatepost that indicates 'sucker lives here'. I shall look carefully when I go out.

But why do I still feel guilty for not supporting him?

Shiko and sex

While waiting for husband's phone call last night I went blog-browsing. From a link on a link I came across a blog called 'Girl with a one track mind'. Well, I didn't know what it was going to be! It sounded more interesting than 'Cars, trains and planes' and 'All you ever wanted to know about quantum mechanics'.

I shall be more cautious in future. It was not the sort of thing a woman of tender sensibilities should read last thing at night. Or any time. I blush just to think of it.

So, drumming. I almost kept up last night. Even though we were doing complicated rhythms (that is such a hard word to spell!) I managed the basics.

They are an interesting bunch. The manic dwarf had removed his hat and I almost didn't recognise him. Then there's the Miss-Marple music teacher, the gorgeous woodturner, the rugby-shirted beer-drinking in-need-of-Trinny&Suzannah social worker, the moody French mademoiselle, the shiny-pated struggler, the must-be-an-ex-addict-turned-university-student, lots of others, and me, of course. And nearly all of them smoke!

Find out more at

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hoots mon

Alun says: Why does a Scotsman wear a sporran? To tickle his fancy.

Janet says: What is worn under a Scotsman's kilt? Nothing: it is all in good working order.

The owner of this blog accepts no responsibility for the people with whom she works.

Prayer wanted

A message has just come round our prayer chain.

A 16-year-old boy in Bridgend has just found out that he has liver cancer and only a few weeks to live. Andre, one of the lads from Linden, works in a community youth project with him. I don't know the boy's name but God does.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Men in skirts

On Saturday Scotland played Italy in Rome. I am in Wales so I have no idea why the village was full of men in kilts. Not that I'm objecting: I like a man in a kilt.

Husband asked if I would like him to dig out his princess skirt; I said no. A man in a skirt is NOT the same as man in a kilt. I don't know why. Maybe it's the knees peeking out above the long woolly socks that are so fetching.

I mentioned my fondness for men in kilts to my fellow team members at the pub quiz last night. The chair of Linden's trustees told us Scottish men wear tartan shorts under their kilts: to keep their tackle in check, he said (although he used a different word for tackle). The joke had to be explained to me and Mr D.

We came joint fourth in the quiz. It was a good job we weren't joint first as our tie-break answer would have come into play. When was the Guardian first published? Any ideas? I'll give you a clue: we were about 150 years out.

In prison in the morning. I wasn't supposed to be but I guess that's what they all say. Kristina and I did pretty well, I think, considering we had been let down by all our (male) musicians. However must remember not to sing Love Divine again. The choice was made for us and only about three people sang. Including a lad on the front row who had the voice of an angel. I thanked him at the end, saying, 'I don't know what we would have done without you.'
He said, 'God always provides.' That's not the sort of thing you expect an inmate to say.

It doesn't do to wonder what they're in there for, especially those in the segregated unit. I look at their faces and think, what happened?

It's so easy to make the wrong choices. We were talking about that yesterday. There but for the grace of God is a very true aphorism. The trouble with sin is that it's so tempting.

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

Yet another bad weekend for Welsh and English rugby fans. But, at least, Wales lost with style and hope for the future. Stephen Jones was suggested as a future captain on Scrum V; that would be an excellent choice.

Apparently Alfie had a minor stroke (a ruptured artery in his neck). Doctors have said he can play again but maybe it's time to put away the gum shield. Incidentally I thought it was his gum shield that was decorated to make it look as if he had big gaps in his teeth; it's not. He has big gaps in his teeth.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

No records for me

I am not going to be a world record holder. Guinness said '... it is not something for which we are currently interested in listing a record.'

'It' being fastest manuscript rejection. I wonder if I could get a Blue Peter badge instead. Without lying about my age, of course.

As part of my new strategy for getting my novel published I am writing a blog. Or tahre, (that is meant to be 'rather' and there is only one letter in the right place - if I had typed 'rehtar', would you have understood it? Researchers say you should be able to) the heroine of my novel is writing a blog. In today's entry she mentions me, quotes me, in fact. I surprise myself with my versatility, to say nothing of my schizophrenia.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Not for me, thank you

My tea guests last night expressed surprise that I don't drink. 'We had you down as drinker,' they said. What does that mean? What identifies someone as a drinker (apart from the difficulty in formulating sentences, unsteadiness on the feet and general abandonment of responsibility)? What makes me look like a drinker (apart from the difficulty in formulating sentences, unsteadiness etc)? Okay, point proved. As I said, it's a good job I'm not a drinker. Knowing my inability to refrain from eating more than just the one square of chocolate, I would definitely be an alcoholic by now.

Not that there haven't been times when I've said, 'I could do with a drink.' I always make do with tea but something stronger would have done me far more good on occasion, I'm sure. If nothing else, everything seems funnier - or so it appears - when you've had a drink or two.

But I just don't like it - and the most recent time when I said, 'go on then , just a mouthful of champagne to see in the New Year,' led to me spending the first hour of the New Year throwing up.

Against Dieting by Blake Morrison
Please, darling, no more diets.
I've heard the talk on why it's
good for one's esteem. I've watched you
jogging lanes and pounding treadmills.
I've even shed two kilos of my own.
But enough. What are love-handles
between friends? For half a stone
it isn't worth the sweat.
I've had it up to here with crispbread.
I doubt the premise too.
Try to see it from my point of view.
I want not less but more of you.

Life breathing

I read this on a blog belonging to Maggi (I think - I get confused in my wanderings) who is mentioned on Jon's blog.

"You need to breathe," one of my friends said, as we walked home through muddy fields. I filled my lungs, thinking he meant I wasn't appreciating the fresh air. "No", he said, "that's not what I mean. Your life needs to breathe."

I am a genius!

I have put a link on my blog! All on my own with no help. So go visit the British Bloggers' Directory and add your blog. And tell them I sent you.

So, where was I?

Didn't go to Slimming World for weighing on Monday. I felt too fat and couldn't face a second consecutive week of weight gain. Having resolved to do better this week, I sat down to lasagne and ice cream pie yesterday. But that's not a problem. No, it's fine. It's only Wednesday now. I still have six days to go before weighing so it'll be fine. It will be.

On another topic: tumble dryers eat socks. Not in the way that washing machines do i.e. swallowing them whole, but bit by bit. They nibble away at them, munch, munch, chew, chew, usually starting at the ankle and then slowly gobbling their way through until the whole heel is devoured. If I'd spotted it before I could have saved my Snoopy socks from their fate but it's too late now. I may simply offer them to the tumble dryer as a gesture of goodwill and in the hope that they will satisfy its appetite, at least for the time being.

On yet another topic: does anyone else ignore boring-looking mail? I don't just mean those envelopes addressed 'To the Householder', but anything in a white-windowed frame. I shouldn't, I know, but life's too short to bother with paperwork.

You'll like this - but not a lot

Number two son is coming home from university today. He is halfway through his second year and he is rethinking his future.

It's something of a family custom; in fact, he has done well to last this long: daughter decided first choice university wasn't for her after fourteen hours.

The main problem I foresee with him coming home is the fact that his bed is covered in bathroom accessories. Daughter is coming home - just for the night - tomorrow so can't move everything into spare room so will have to move it into son one's room - and hope he doesn't come home until the bathroom is finished.

It is taking a long time, you're right. But it's well on its way now. Just because you can't move on the landing for workmen's tools and bits of shower doesn't mean there's been no progress. If the camera worked, I'd show you, but like most things in this house, it's not performing very well.

The plasterer (tiler) has just arrived and broken some bad news to me: we are a border tile short. This might not sound much but of all the tiles in all the world, it had to be a border tile that we're missing! The ordinary wall tiles (large white plain) cost about £1 each; the border tiles (small white with a few shiny blobs) cost £4 each. And only come in boxes of 5. The noise you can hear is the sound of my teeth being ground together.

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

Thanks to Jo Moore I have been reading Paul Daniels' blog - yes, the Paul Daniels. Okay, I know that's fairly sad but I was curious. He comes over as less unbearable than on television. I wonder who else has blogs.

I have just found a blog directory, so excuse me a moment while I go and enrol.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Just in case you haven't seen this

Other people's blogs

I've been reading blogs and I notice a lot are very intelligent. Or intellectual. Not necessarily the same thing or at the same time. Reading my blog, you wouldn't think that I had a Master's degree; you'd probably be surprised to discover that I had more than five O-levels (for younger readers, they came before GCSEs). It surprises me too. And don't be misled by the Master's; the course was a doddle. A three-legged wombat in a bow tie could have got through.

But to get back to the point, it's time this blog got a bit of class about it. I should quote from a book, preferably a philosophical one, wise words about birth, death and the in-between bit. I shall go and see what I can find.

Okay, these are the best I can do.

I never intended to buy a dog. I was actually going to buy some cat food.
From Kitchen Blues by Rabbi Lionel Blue

Truth is, I didn't think for a minute she'd jump. For one thing she was wearing a four-hundred-dollar jacket. You just don't jump off a bridge in a four-hundred-dollar jacket. It isn't done. The jacket would get ruined. Carol was from the Burg, just like me, and in the Burg you gave the jacket to your sister and then you jumped off the bridge.
From Hot Six by Janet Evanovich

Which just goes to prove that everyone needs a dog, and committing suicide takes planning. I should have more to say than that but I am full of ice cream pie.

Incidentally if you enjoy a book with lots of laughs, try the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. About a bounty hunter in New Jersey. First one is One for the Money.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Midsomer madness

There was only one murder in Midsomer last night. Or so I'm told; I fell asleep. For me, it passed its credibility level. I can believe that, on a regular basis, six people can be killed in two days in a small village in middle England; I can accept that if Inspector Barnaby's wife or daughter are involved in any sort of group activity, there will be one or two murders (I'm surprised he hasn't made the connection yet instead of arresting all the wrong people); but last night's episode took me one step in gullibility too far.

Sergeant Jones was sitting waiting in a car parked at the roadside. Barnaby came out of an office and ran - yes, ran - waving papers at him. Were these papers going to be significant? Was Barnaby excited? Oh, purlease. Can you imagine Morse waving papers? Running excitedly? In fact, Morse would have sat in the car, listening to loud opera, waiting impatiently for Lewis to come out of the office, and when he had, he'd have snarled and asked what took him so long. Morse was a proper detective.

So I fell asleep but not before being able to spot the baddie at fifty paces.

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

Another bad weekend for Welsh and English rugby fans (Wales 18 Italy 18, France 31 England 6). We are not counting this year. This has been a mere blip on the pathway to next year's world cup. We will not be downhearted. Salty tears do nothing for keyboards.

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

You might have noticed - with relief some may say - that my blog has been quiet: I've been away. Only for the weekend. We went to Derby for a wedding. It was in a hotel. The registrar was very nice but it was all over in the scratch of an ear.

Highlights: the groom's mother wore Dolce & Gabbana and Jimmy Choo's; actually can't think of any other highlights. Except maybe chocolate hearts on the table (it was a wedding and I didn't eat my pudding and, yes, I will regret it when I go for weighing tonight).

However I was paid my third compliment in as many days. A drunken 30-year-old complimented me on my 'crackers'. And not a wonderbra in sight. (At my age you take compliments wherever you can get them.)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It would be funny if ...

Alun just sent me this.

And a pound of elbow grease

Do you want to know how bad my mood is?

I have resorted to cleaning that's how bad.

I couldn't sit still or concentrate so I've even polished the silver. In case that sounds grand, I should point out that my silver consists of a small photo frame and a thing to stand wine bottles on (both presents).

My gran collected brass and she would set aside a whole morning to polish it all. I can see the attraction: the steady repetition and the shine appearing before your eyes. Very satisfying. It's times like these that I regret belonging to a church whose idea of decoration is a couple of bits of driftwood and some pebbles. It's the 'smells and bells' type of church I need now. Big chunky candlesticks that I could really work my mood out on.

How dare he?!

Daughter is being bullied by a stupid old man from a business association in Exeter. He has made her cry. I would like to beat and kick and pummel him until he begs for mercy. How dare he? (How unprofessional is he?)

What makes a man think it's okay to yell down the phone at a young woman for half an hour?

I was in a bad mood before; now I am positively murderous. You don't mess with a mother and her cubs - especially not a mother with hormonal disquiet.

Toothpaste on my sweatshirt told a tale on me

It's impossible to get toothpaste off clothes, I find. Without a proper wash that is. No amount of sponging will completely remove the telltale smudge.

A combination of weight gain, hormonal turmoil, toothpaste and the fact we're going to a wedding on Saturday and will miss the rugby, is helping me perfect my impression of hell-on-legs. I feel sorry for anyone who crosses me today.

When we agreed to go to the wedding, the Six Nations tournament hadn't started and we assumed that the Italy game would be a small hurdle for the Wales team to leap and missing it wouldn't be crucial: that was before Ruddygate. Now the Welsh have something to prove. Yes, I know they said that before the Ireland game - look what happened there.

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Maryb has a lovely post on her blog about the vicar who has resigned because she can't forgive the bombers who killed her daughter in July. There is a link to Mary's blog in my friends list. If I knew how to, I would put the link in here with her name but I don't so I won't.

Daughter has created a new blog on the lines of Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diary - only for veggies. Again if you visit the link to Anna she will tell you where to find it. It's very good.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The holiest of all

I had a hole in my shoe. It kept getting bigger. At last I decided I couldn't trust the weather not to rain for much longer so I bought new shoes on Saturday.

I hate buying shoes. I hate shoes. I hate feet. Mine at least. You only have to look at them, sticking out aimlessly at the end of your legs to think, 'urrgghh'.

I buy shoes on the 'they look all right; they fit; they'll do' principle. This works to a certain extent but it doesn't allow for the 'ow, they didn't dig in when I tried them on - even though I didn't have them on for long' problem. And, strangely enough, it's my not-so-wide foot that has the problem.

It's just as well that I did buy some on the weekend though as it's raining today. Which creates a dilemma for me as regards dog-walking. My wellies also have holes. I am such a holey person, I should have a halo.

Don't speak to me!

I put on half a pound last week!

I had a good eating week and I still put on weight! I hate everything and everyone. It is a good job Alun is not in the office this morning.

Bah, humbug.

Monday, March 06, 2006

What sort of dog are you?

I am a Bernese mountain dog.

There's somebody at the door

As soon as the woman started speaking on the phone last week, my heart sank. I knew what she was going to say. 'In the past blah blah, we've been so grateful blah blah.' And I knew what would come next: will you have a coin collecting card again this year? By the time she got to that point I had psyched myself up to say, 'No, I'd rather not,' so why did my mouth say, 'Yes, okay'?

Was it the thought of brain-damaged babies or just this terrifying inability I have to say no?

You're supposed to leave this card out and ask friends and family to put £1 coins in it. We don't have family locally and we're not in the sort of neighbourhood where people just drop in. I suppose I could invite people round for a meal and then say casually, 'Oh, by the way, would you like to contribute to brain-damaged babies?'

But it's probably easier if I just do what I always do and write out a cheque myself.

It's the same with raffle tickets. Guide Dogs have me down as a sucker and I never win anything. (But the dogs are awfully sweet.)

And men who come to the door. Only last week a Polish student trying to fund his way through art college came selling drawings. Normally, they're like Tommy, deaf, dumb and blind, and they're selling t-towels that don't work, but his drawings were quite good. What exactly I am going to do with a drawing of a little girl posting a letter is not clear yet, but one day, maybe, he will be very famous and I will have an original. I hadn't thought of that before; that makes me feel much better.

We used to have a gypsy come round. She was spookily accurate in the things she said so, although I didn't really need the lacey things you put under things, I thought it safer to buy than to risk being cursed.

I have been known to hide on spotting JWs or sellers. Isn't it odd how you can tell a JW at 100 paces? I know I should tell them about the love about Jesus, but chances are I'd end up becoming a Mormon.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Day 5

This is the fifth day of Lent and my fifth day without computer games. It is incredibly hard sitting in front of a computer and not bringing up a game to play. I have read so many blogs, visited so many websites and done the daily jigsaw so many times (it doesn't count as a game) that my eyes are going funny. It would be so easy just to click onto Spider Solitaire. And who would know? Or who would care? Except me.

Got told off in drum circle for wearing a ring while playing a djembe. I forgot to bind it up in Velcro. Not Velcro, that stuff you put over plasters to stop them coming undone. Microporous tape, that's it. Quite similar to velcro. It was a long-haired gentleman of oriental appearance who told me off, not one of my group. I just banged sticks together instead.

Somebody brought along a Hang, which is rather like a stuck-together lidded wok, but which sounds wonderful. A bit like real tuned wind chimes.

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WE watched Wallace abd gromit and the Curse of the were=Rabbit last night. I had nightmares after it. You see how bad my typing is before I correct everything? I have clumsy fingers; I am not a bad speller. Not unless something has double letters in it. I struggle a lot with double letters especially rrrrrs and llllllllls. However I have noticed that the Time Traveler's Wife is spelled with one l. I think that must be American. I would check if I could find my glasses. I remember: I took them in the kitchen so I could read the instructions on the new little thingy for the pressure cooker lid. No wonder old people eat simple food like potatoes and chops: you don't have to read any instructions for those. Yip, I was right: traveler is American. So why have they used it in British editions?

The perils of living in suburbia

I was called upon to be assistant lumberjack yesterday. I've done this before and I noticed then that the life of assistant lumberjck is a perilous one. It always seems to involve standing just where the tree is about to fall. In fact, it usually involves pulling the tree down on top of one' s self.

But now we can see the light(at the end of the tunnel)house.

Sleeping is equally dangerous. My to-read pile by the bed is so high I fear it may topple over in the night and kill me. Or at least knock me out, leaving me to wake up with a cracked skull and no memory.

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I asked the manager of Borders if they had any CDs by Gogol Bardello and the Gypsy Punks. He stared at me, stared at the computer and said, 'No.' That's the trouble with these big stores: not in touch with the Ukrainian punk folk gypsy scene.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Googling for Gogol

I have just been introduced to Gogol Bordello. I've downloaded the Gypsy Punks singing Start Wearing Purple and another one about revolution. I haven't quite got the hang of this downloading yet: I downloaded both and instantly lost them in the mire of my computer, so had to start again. The music is rather fun though. Hard to sit still while it's playing. I wonder if I can put in a link ...

The person responsible for introducing me also brought the Pogues to my attention many years ago. And look what that did to me.

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The blogs have been quiet for a while. Where is everybody?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It's not as easy as it looks ...

catching snowflakes on your tongue.

You might not know this about me, but, as a child, I was taught the skill of tracking by that master of the art, Trapper Dai the Hare (so-called because of his fondness for Grecian 2000) (I spent my formative years watching Eric and Ern). I was hoping to practise my little-used ability but the snow had melted by lunchtime. The only thing we could say for sure was that some people in big boots had walked the same path that we were using. ... Harvey says it could have been one person walking back and for but, personally, I would discount that suggestion. (He is not as skilled as I am.)

Another thing you might not know about me is that I have six toes on my right foot.

That is a lie.

It is my left foot.

Blogging women

Husband has been doing some research - for work he said - on blogging and its use in marketing. His comments - basically that I am too old and too female to be a blogger - made me google some stats.

Most of the numbers I found were targeted at American business, however, it appears husband is right. "Bloggers are primarily male, young, broadband users, long-time internet users, relatively well-off financially and well educated."

I am an oddity. But then so are Shirl and Maryb and CHM.

In fact, in my admittedly small blogging community, 66.66 recurring % are female, with 33.33 rec % being females over the age of 35. And it is that 33.33 % that does the most blogging. So ptthhh to statistics. Women rule the blogs!

Gwnewch y pethau bychain

In other words, 'Do the little things.' Supposed to be have been said by Saint David in his last sermon.

St David's Day is celebrated in Wales on 1 March, in honour of Dewi Sant or St David, the patron saint of Wales. When I was school, we had a half day holiday in celebration; today's school-children are less fortunate.

According to an ancient manuscript, Dewi died in the year 589. His mother was called Non, and his father, Sant, was the son of Ceredig, King of Ceredigion. After being educated in Cardiganshire, Dewi went on pilgrimage through south Wales and the west of England, where it is said that he founded religious centres such as Glastonbury and Croyland.
He eventually settled at Glyn Rhosyn (St David's), in south-west Wales, where he established a very strict ascetic religious community. Many miracles have been attributed to him, the most incredible of which was performed when he was preaching at the Synod of Llanddewibrefi - the ground rose underneath him so that he could be seen and heard by all.
Dewi was officially recognised as a Catholic saint in 1120. Though the feast of Dewi as a religious festival came to an end with the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the day of his birth became a national festival during the18th century.

Now March 1 is celebrated by schools and cultural societies throughout Wales. It is the custom on that day to wear either a leek or a daffodil - two of our national emblems - and for young girls to wear the national costume and boys to wear the rugby strip.

So that's the history. Now for something much more interesting: how to make Welsh Rarebit.

Put two large tablespoons of beer into a saucepan. Add a tablespoon of butter, 4 ounces of Cheddar cheese, season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of mustard powder. Stir ingredients over a low heat until thoroughly hot (but not boiling). Pour the mixture onto slices of well buttered, freshly made toast. Brown lightly for a few moments under the grill.