Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I should be at drumming now

But I thought after the day I've had it would be safer if I didn't go: I was liable to break a drum.

So it started off fine and dandy. There was a very hard frost and the sun rising over the sea was just beautiful at 8 o'clock in the morning. What's that, Harvey? ... Yes, you're right, I was up and out early. I wanted to make sure I wasn't late for work you see. After being told off last week, I didn't want to risk being late again.

I had to get petrol as I was planning on doing some driving but all my driving was in a westerly direction and the petrol in an easterly. (Because Betty is old she needs LRP and you can only buy that at Sainsburys.) So I was in the petrol station by 8.30.

I got into work at 10.15 - after I'd called out the rescue man who called out his boss because we couldn't get the petrol cap off. The key I thought was the petrol cap key wasn't. Nor were any of the other keys on my key-ring.

I called the man out of the petrol station to try as I am not very good with keys especially when my fingers are freezing but he couldn't do it so I called the rescue, thinking they'd have a magic key that opens any lock.

after 40 minutes the rescue man arrived. He tried all my keys and said, 'they don't fit.'
'No, I know' I said, 'Can you open the lock for me?'
He shook his head, 'No - not without breaking it open.'
If I hadn't have had frostbite in my toes and was afraid that they would break off, I would have kicked him.
He pondered for a bit, then called his boss, who took fifteen minutes to come half a mile. Between them, a set of skeleton keys and the skills of a car thief, they got the cap off for me.

By the time I got to work, my boss had been and gone. Next week I must get there on time!

Had the team for tea with orange juice (I don't like Chianti). My first attempt to make a crumble ended in the bin as it smelled peculiar. Fajitas and crumble - not a good way to start a diet. Never mind, there's always tomorrow.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Don't pribble with me

The burglar alarm was going when I got home from work. If I'd thought about it, I'd have thought that this isn't the sort of time you want a husband to be in Bournemouth, but I didn't think about it. I ran in, switched off the alarm and shouted, 'Are there any burglars here?' There was no reply so I figured it was all right. I was in too much of a hurry to be very concerned.

So joy of joys, I've enrolled with Slimming World again. The Kelloggs Kick Start did kick start me but I still have a target to lose 13 lbs. Which is an awful lot. I shall be grumpy and miserable for the next few weeks/months/years. A diet is for life not for something else.

It was very cold today. The sexy window cleaner came in the shop and said it was -6 in Gowerton. He didn't want to get out of his nice warm van. I told him he should count himself lucky: it's normally warmer outside of Betty than it is inside her. And I haven't worked out where the windscreen washer is yet (assuming she has one) so driving in the dark is a bit hit and miss. So far it's been all miss but I really need to clean the windscreen.

Our regular eccentric also paid a visit to the shop. She always wears a Mexican sombrero and has usually just had teeth or nails removed. She told me I was nice not like 'the snooty bugger in the shop up the road'. She showed me the card she'd had from Catherine Zeta Jones for her 64th birthday.

We have a little man - shorter than me - coming on Wednesday to take out our bathroom. It's a shame we haven't ordered a new one yet. This could take some time. We went to look again on Saturday but there were so many decisions to make, like which bath, what sort of plug, what taps, we gave up and went and had a cup of tea in Sainsburys instead. We can't keep putting it off. Prevarication ... procrastination? Now I can't remember what either mean. I shall blame it on Thrive over-tiring my body and my brain, but first I shall look them both up.
To prevaricate: to avoid stating the truth.
To procrastinate: to defer action. Of course. Procrastination is the thief of time.

Pribble is a modification of prabble, which is a spelling representing the Welsh pronunciation of brabble, which is to babble or clamour, brawl or wrangle.
I am very easily distracted but aren't you glad? Next time you are in a quiz and the question-master says, what does pribble mean, you will know the answer. Thanks to me.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Shaky, suicide and sound-bites

How is it possible to be both looking forward to an event and dreading it? Next Saturday is the start of the Six Nations and Grand Slammers Wales take on World Champions England in the only game that really matters.

What is it about the Wales/England game that arouses such passion? To lose to anyone else - even Italy - is accepted with a shrug but losing to the old enemy makes grown men - and women - weep into their beer.

Andy Robinson is talking the talk but we know it's all mind games. What matters is the game that is played on the field. And England at HQ is scary, don't be in doubt of that.

BBC Wales always do great adverts for the rugby; in some years it's been the best bit of the season. The last two years they've had the brilliant Scrum 4; this year it's Shakin' Stevens busking outside Twickenham. No offence to Shaky, but that's a no-hoper to start with.

John S this morning was talking about the poultice of faith; let's put it on the Wales team next Saturday. And remember, they've even drafted in Dallaglio, who retired two years ago.

Maybe the spider in the shower this morning couldn't face a season of hope and agony - is hope worse than none? I've asked this before. Or maybe he'd been rejected by Miss Longlegs. Either way there was no need for him to throw himself under the cascading water; he could have crawled up under the soapdish for protection. But, no. he chose to take the desperate spider's way out. I tried to help him but I was too late.

Yesterday morning, over tea in bed, husband and I had interesting discussion (read argument) over the question I raised on here a few days ago: if a tree falls in a forest etc. He, being an engineer of sound (mind) was logical and scientific; me being of a more left-brained nature, maintained that even if it is squabbling over semantics and definition, sound only becomes noise when it is heard. We agree to differ.

Thanks to Tim I had cake and wine in church this morning. I also got tapped on the shoulder by Carol asking, 'what's that for?' The boy is wasted as an engineer; he should be on masterchef.

Last week I was told to perk up the weekly notices as they're too full of in-jokes and things people won't understand. So I re-vamp them and what happens? I get two complaints. I wonder if the writer of Revelations (hey, these letters are getting a bit boring and sameish, can you come up with something so we can end on a flourish?) got the same reaction. (Ooh, you've gone a bit over the top, haven't you? We only meant put a bit of spin on, not sex it up.)

I'm now comparing myself with a spin-doctoring Bible writer; maybe I should stop and go take a pill.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mozart

As I was driving home today a memory flittered into my head. It's only a vague recollection but I think I might, in the heat of the moment in drumming this week, have volunteered to march through Mumbles on St David's Day, playing a drum. Not that I am not now almost an expert drummer when it comes to sausage, beans and egg and mushrooms, but controlling my feet, holding a drum and keeping a beat might just be brain overload.

Mental note: do not put hand up for anything in future.

Unless it is a cup of tea.

Or chocolate.

Do all men wee in the shower? I am quite horrified by Alun's confession.

Dance class tonight. Hope the marriage guidance counsellors are on hand.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Poet sneezing


My iron went up in flames tonight. That is a slight exaggeration; it was only a small flame but scary nevertheless. I thought there was a strange smell but not a burning smell. It could have been worse; I could have been electrocuted like Ken Barlow's first wife, a million years ago.

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view, most of the ironing was finished.

My mother-in-law doesn't do anything. Apart from doctor and hospital appointments, she doesn't really go out so she has nothing to do except clean. That is why her house is always spotless. I wonder if my house will be clean when I am old. I rather hope not. And, to be honest, I don't think it's very likely. I am sure I could always find something better than cleaning to do.

However there are people who like cleaning. People who have jobs and a clean house. They don't have Harvey or me though. And how does dust get inside cupboards? You open them for a minute, next thing you know you can write in the dust.

And another thing. Every day I take off my wellies and put them away; next day when I get them out, they are the wrong way round. And why do I always get a hole in my right welly? Is it because of my extra toe? And why do I have trouble with the net every night about this time?

Life is full of questions.


I have a problem with - a lot of my posts start like that I notice - my digital radio. The little doodah at the front has dropped so I can't see the text as it scrolls by. Which wouldn't normally matter except, for some reason, Classic FM has commandeered station 4 as well as station 3.

As I can't retune it without being able to see the scrolling, I have to listen to the Archers on FM. Again which wouldn't matter except that on FM there is a little man in the radio hammering, very consistently and steadily. I don't know what he can be making but I wish he would hurry up and finish.

Now I have to walk Harvs and think about rugby players.

Gold star

Julian was very pleased with me in Thrive last night: I was pushing myself. I certainly was. By the time I finished my ears were whistling. Which would have been all right if they hadn't been whistling 'Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.' Heaven felt a few inches closer than I'd like just now.

Stephen Fry was researching his family history last night. The first scenes showed him in his house in a book-lined room. It was just as you would expect for Stephen Fry.

Books I recommend:
The Kite Runner (but not to be read if you're feeling at all depressed; I would not want to be responsible for your suicide);
Life of Pi;
One for the Money (and the rest of the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, laugh-out-loud funny);
The High Flyer;
The Heartbreaker (last two both by Susan Howatch);
for a totally frothy and silly read - anything by Katie Fforde.
My favourite book of all times that I can pick up and read again at any time is Brother of the More Famous Jack, mainly because I fell in love with one of the characters.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fashion Doctor

Tell the fashion doctor all your woes!

No, it's not me but a close relation!

Too much scattering

Apparently a report has said that, because of all the people scattering the ashes of loved ones on the tops of mountains, the soil up there is changing. That sounds very unlikely to me. Unless there is one mountain that is particularly popular for such sport. There can't be that many dead mountaineers. Or perhaps they don't mean mountains but hills. In which case you'd think people had better things to do with their time than comparing soil on hilltops. Can you get paid for that, I wonder.

I saw a woman doing my ideal job on television a few years ago. She lived in the wilds of Canada and was a driftwood collector. Which is what I am in a small way. But she did it big-time. Huge wonderfully-shaped logs - and I mean huge - that she exported to garden centres in Britain. How much fun would that be? Apart from having to avoid bears. But it was just her and her dog out in the woods and the water.

In Thrive when we have relaxation, Julian tells us to go to our favourite place. Mine is always with Harvey on the cliffs, looking out at sea. Jules says imagine the sun warming you but that is difficult as I always have my coat on as it's windy. But I like it like that. Fewer people.

Sad that we don't go there anymore as Harvey can't get in and out of the car now and he's too big for me to lift easily. Big sigh.

On a lighter note, I spotted this advert when I was googling for Christian magazines. I'm not saying anything about it just reporting its presence.

Christian Sex?Learn How Christian Wives Become Multi-Orgasmic. Christian Sex Guide

Walkies and watermelons again

I forgot to mention that there is another watermelon in the garden round the corner. I peered down all the gaps today and, hey presto, there it was. This is definitely a case for Doctor Who. Anyone know how to contact him? I know the PM broadcast a message on satellite when she wanted to summon him but I don't have access to that. Anyway, look what a bad egg she turned out to be.


There was a lone man out on the tip. I am normally wary of men without dogs as the tip doesn't go anywhere (well, only indirectly and muddily) but I figured this one was probably harmless: he was wearing a fluorescent orange jacket.

There are lumberjacks in the wood attacking the rhododendrons that are smothering the natives. From the other side of the valley i could hear the sound of falling trees. Which raises the age-old question: if a tree falls in a forest and there is no-one there, does it make a noise?

I'd always thought the answer was obviously yes but today I wondered. What is the definition of noise? Do soundwaves only become noise when they hit my ear-drums? If there is no listening device do they simply shot off into infinity?

Time for lunch. And other brain-aching thoughts.

I am lying about the time again. Do other people have numbers they don't like? Or is it just me?

The first snowdrops

Okay, so I should have waited until they were fully out but it will probably be raining by then.

Mrs Rochester, I presume

I was watching, from behind the bedroom curtains, a dog (not Harvey) barking at the postman. I was so intent on watching the dog, I didn't notice that the postman was staring up at the house. I hope he was trying to work out the number (he's new and it's not logical), but I fear he may have spotted the mad woman in the attic. My hair is a little playful in the mornings.

Incidentally, Harvey went to bed as a grumpy old man and woke up as an excited young puppy. He thought. He soon realised his mistake but it was good to see him while it lasted.

In drumming Camilla (no, not 'the') mentioned that we should remove all rings and bracelets because they damage the drum skins; Boyd, who is very sweet, pointed out that they can also hurt the hand. I haven't taken my wedding ring off for 27 years; was it going to be a choice between my marriage and drumming? Fortunately no. The homeopath recommended using electricians' tape. Apparently that's what they do in football. He looked at me with very intense eyes when he said that. It was like being in a room with the Mona Lisa.

Harvey has decided to do his 'let's go out the front door and in the back' routine.

The air was very white this morning; I had to blink hard several times to make sure I wasn't going blind. You can't usually see the air.

So the question is: should I watch Desperate Housewives? I have resisted because it is on past my bedtime and because I poured scorn on Mr Matthews when he said he was hooked. But can so many people be wrong when they say it is brilliant?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Much as I love Betty, I have to say she is not the car for a Russian winter. There was ice on the inside of her windscreen after drumming tonight. If I'd had any money and the chip shop had been open, I would have had chips. But I didn't and it wasn't. So I had porridge when I got home. It's been a long time since I've had porridge and I'd forgotten how yummy and comforting it is. Mmmmm.

One lad from drumming - the one who looks like a limp-wristed Dylan Thomas - is walking on fire next week.

Bad mistake

I was going to make a root veg bake for tea but it was getting late and I'm going drumming so I browsed in the freezer and found a Weightwatchers salmon and broccoli bake and decided to eat that.
Reasons why this was a bad mistake:
1. the portion would have been nearly enough for someone who'd just eaten curry and chips and drunk three pints of beer;
2. the salmon tasted off;
3. the sauce tasted like margarine did in the old days when it first came out;
4. it was horrid, horrid, horrid and I didn't eat it.

No wonder it was a weightwatchers product. You couldn't get fat if that was all you had to eat. It's enough to drive a girl to buy chips on the way home from drumming.

But I won't.

If you've got to be knocked down...

it might as well be by a ferrari. It was so close I probably have paint on my jacket. At least I think it was a ferrari; it had a horse on it.

In one of the gardens we pass on our daily walk, there is a watermelon. I assume it's a watermelon but I can only see it if I peer down the tiny gap between the wall and the fence. But surely it's the wrong time of year for a watermelon to be growing in a garden in Wales? And if it's not growing there, what is it doing? Perhaps it's an alien egg. I just thought of that. Has there been a strange meteorite storm over the country in the last few months? Has anyone else seen any watermelons in unexpected places? I wonder if I should report this to NASA or whatever the British Space Agency is.

Alun might be a lowdown skunk but he has his redeeming qualities. He is very good at cheering me up and bolstering my confidence.

Jelly babies are good for cheering people up. As is a joint companionable grumble.

Driving home this afternoon I was behind a lorry/mixer thing. It had a notice on the back. "Warning. Wet cementitious materials can burn." Cementitious????

Now I come to think of it, I've never seen the people who moved into the house with the watermelon in the garden. Perhaps they are aliens and they are breeding a new generation of themselves. This could be a job for Doctor Who.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Shock! Horror!

West Wing is being axed! Season 7 will be the last. A new president will be voted in and that will be that. No more Jed, and, worse, no more Josh. I can't write any more just now; I need space.

9.09 - what a horrible time. I will lie and call it 9.10, which is marginally better.

The problem with poor hearing

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and at one point you don't quite catch what they've said? However they're smiling so you nod and smile along. And then later you think about what it might have been that was said and: a) you realise that your response was totally inappropriate; or b) you can't believe they said that!

Naah, that can't have been what was said. Or if it was, it wasn't serious.

So anyway, the Inland Revenue. When they ask you to put in your debit card number and they say it should be 19 letters, they expect you to realise that they mean 18 numbers. Only they're counting the number that goes in a different box as well. It took me half an hour of struggling plus a phone call to the Helpline to sort that out. And I have A-level Maths.

Another day, another ramble

The post arrived on Saturday when I was still in bed. From the sound I guessed it was my novel being - very speedily - returned. It wasn't; it was a card catalogue. But before I found that out I was able to perfect the 'Do I look bothered?' face and the 'I was expecting it' shoulder shrug.

There wasn't a chocolate fountain at the party but the wedding cake was shaped like a fairy-tale castle complete with turrets. One of the guests was a member of Showaddywaddy; another had played in a band that once played on the same bill as the Foundations (Build me up, buttercup). Do I know how to name drop or what?

Speaking of name-dropping, last year I was corrected by Dylan Thomas's daughter. At the same event I was asked if I would consider being an after dinner speaker at a rugby club 'do'. I said I would but he never got back to me. Perhaps my drooling at the thought of it - free dinner and rugby players - put him off. Or perhaps it was the fact that I didn't give him my phone number.

Harvey came with us to the party (not actually to the party - yes, I know you would have been good but, as I've already mentioned, people don't like drooling, especially when they're in their best clothes ... oh, you do, Harvs! ... don't sulk, now, you know I'm telling the truth - but to the in-laws) and I think m-in-l was more pleased to see him than she was to see us. There's no need to look so smug, Harvey.

I have drunk my cup of tea so can no longer justify sitting here with the ironing crawling out of its basket. But must first reply to Madman of Pendine.

I just remembered something else I wanted to say. Apparently the smallest language in the world is spoken by about 500 people in South America somewhere. There are no numbers or colours or words for family members. I can't remember how many vowels it has but there are 7 consonants for women and 8 for men. The only gay in the village uses the women's alphabet.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

In case you were wondering what I look like

Apparently it's this:
If you go here
and upload a photo of yourself, it will tell you which celebrity you look most like.

By the way, his name is Giberto Gil and he is at the forefront of the Brazilian music scene.

Walking clears the head ...

but croaks the throat. I didn't feel ill enough to justify not walking Harvey for a second day so we've just come back. How anyone can say Harvey is stupid when he can tell when, like Superman, I've got my socks over my trousers that it's time for his walkies is a mystery to me.

We saw a tiny bird, not much bigger than a wren and with the same podgy belly, but with yellow bits. I will look it up in a book.

Okay, so how do you look a bird up if you don't know what it's called? That seems to me to be a major flaw in the system. As I didn't notice what shape its beak, tail or wings were, I'm up a tree without binoculars.

On a different subject, I have joined a journalists' forum. I'm not a journalist but it is a very active forum and I would like to be. It is no wonder I have not been making millions. I send out one pitch every fifteen days; proper freelance journalists send out fifteen pitches every day. (Note: next week this will be my aim - can't do it now as have to clean toilet.) One freelancer said she lost a client before Christmas, one who paid her £20,000 a year.

Do not disturb

My cleaning has ground to a halt as Harvey is sleeping peacefully in one corner of the room. Just where I need to hoover. I have hoovered right up to his bottom and he didn't even blink. I could wake him but, ahh, bless. It's not as if the cleaning is important. I can wait.

I have a twitchy eye.

We're going to a wedding party this weekend. There will be a chocolate fountain apparently. I wonder if it will be big enough to stand under. Probably not.

Will Jonny Wilkinson ever play at international level again? He is the Gary Lineker of rugby: every mum's favourite. Not bad for an Englishman.

Children and animals

Once again cleaning has inspired me to offer some advice.

If you have children or animals, or plan to have either, do not buy a cream-coloured sofa. In fact, unless you are very posh and would never consider sitting on a sofa in mud-caked trousers or eating beetroot/curry/chocolate anywhere except at the dining table, do not buy a cream-coloured sofa.

Did you notice that I dropped in the fact that I am cleaning? In spite of being poorly. I am such a martyr to housework. Dust, dust, polish, polish, my fingers were five inches longer before I took up housewifery.

There are people who like cleaning; can you imagine that?

I think I am becoming a semi-colon addict. 'My name is Liz and I'm a semi-colonist.' The hardest step is acknowledging it, they say.

I have to avoid the man who works upstairs (not here but in the bookshop) as I made him have his sign replaced. He had paid a lot of money for it too but it upset me. Imagine looking out of the window and every time you did you were greeted by 'independant'. Urrrggghhh, it makes me shudder just to think of it.

His partner used to play rugby for Wales (once or twice). Rugby players are very big, I find. You don't always get a proper impression on the television because they're surrounded by other rugby players.

Ah, well, with the thought of rugby players dancing in my head I will return to cleaning.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A new low

The phone rang when I was watching Neighbours and I didn't answer it. If it was you, I apologise. But, in my defence, it was a very exciting moment (neighboursly-speaking).

Should I have my hair cut like Susan Kennedy, sort of toilet-brush look?

I am very poorly. I think it was drumming last night. ONE two three FOUR FIVE six ONE two three FOUR FIVE six takes it out of you. My throat has not been the same since. I want someone to phone me so I can sound poorly.

Me and Betty overtook a Porsche today. I was very proud of her. In truth the Porsche was not going fast but it made us feel good.

Nearly interesting

I thought I was going to have something interesting and exciting to write about. But I haven't.

There was a bird quacking in our chimney but when I stuck my head up it flew away. That's all.

I will need to go to the hairdressers soon. I can tell when I need to go by my increasing resemblance to a badger. The optician has been inviting to visit him for a long time too. I will have to make a day of it; get my eyes and hair sorted at once. In Boots they have a special offer: buy a hearing aid and get free glasses. I wonder if I could buy a hearing aid ready. I'm sure to need one soon. Especially when I'm watching West Wing. Although I think it's more poor understanding than hearing that is my problem there.

I am just wasting time waiting for the shop to open before I go out, can you tell? Then I will post my novel and get some lights for the bathroom.

Is it Christian to pray over a parcel, do you think? I could do that coverall prayer - if it be your will, Lord - when really I mean, please, please, please, let the agent be interested in my manuscript.

By the time I get Betty started the shop will be open now. '...the shop will be open now.' I'm sure that is not good English.

A house of books

I walked past a house last night and every wall was covered in bookshelves full of books. Sitting in the middle was a man reading. And his neighbour said every room in the house is the same. I have never seen so many books outside of a library. It was awesome.

I am coming to the conclusion that if I want to be a good drummer I will have to start smoking roll-your-own. Out of the group of about 18 last night, only three were non-smokers. And that included the retired English teacher, the retired homeopathic music teacher and me. I thought smoking was dying out. It is a bit like stepping back into a fifties Parisian Left Bank scene.

Now to work. I am sending 'the novel' off to an agent today; I'm taking bets on how long the rejection takes to arrive.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I can't believe...

what a low-down skunk I share an office with!

Since before Christmas he has had me believing that he had beaten my record on Spider Solitaire; and he hadn't!!!! He'd beaten my score but only because he was doing the easy level not the middling one. I even trusted him when he said he hadn't been able to print it out to prove it to me.

I am way too gullible for that office.

As a result of Sunday's meeting two people plan to rent out Finding Nemo next weekend and another two are considering coming to drumming classes. Well it's a result I suppose. Of sorts.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Is this a record?

I just had the tiniest grape. It measured 5 mm and was perfectly formed. If I had taken a photo of it I could have sent it to the Guinness Book of Records but I ate it.

On week 2 of the Kelloggs Kick Start diet. I am enjoying my two bowls of cereal a day but suspect I should probably not be eating everything else as well.

Forgot to mention the Strictly Come Dancing night on Friday. Black tie affair in a village hall with the most sumptuous buffet. Our dance teachers were there but fortunately it was dark. Could have done with hob-nailed boots to deal with some of the farmers who didn't care where they went or whose feet they trod on. But all that was forgotten when I tasted the meringues. 'To die for' was never more appropriate.

Teetering on the brink

Wednesday morning at 5 o'clock as the day begins except it's Monday and more like 10 o'clock, still my proper day is sort of beginning. I have got out of bed, had breakfast, taken my keep-me-happy-and-bendy pills, drunk my two cups of tea and I'm ready to go.

I want to send my newly-revamped novel off to an agent today but I am still struggling with a title. I know it can be changed later but I still need to grab the agent's attention. A quick review of book titles suggest that most of them are quite ordinary; it's only a few that have long and funny titles. Ooh, I just had a good idea.

I've added it to my brainstorm sheet. Yes, I quite like it. But I like most of them when I first think of them. Better leave it to brew for a bit.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Talking to myself

I wonder if I am talking to myself too much. Yes, I know you listen to me, Harvs, but not everyone would understand that. Perhaps I should speak more quietly or without moving my lips. The trouble is that when you're walking you need something to keep your brain occupied. Like preparing sentences. It's always good to have a stock of some you made earlier ready for emergencies, and, although I haven't had call to use it yet, I am sure that, 'Unhand me, you blackguard,' will come in useful should I ever come across a blackguard.

And some things it's good to hear out loud. They sound different out in the air than they do in your head. Which reminds me, I was doing some upside down bicycling before I went out and it made my ears go funny, the way they do when you feel as if you're on another planet; they're still like it now. And no matter how much I stretch my mouth, it doesn't make any difference.

No wonder they hung up

The phone rang just as I was engrossed in writing. I stretched a hand out vaguely to pick it up and knocked my glass off the table. It fell on the floor and broke. By now I had the phone in my hand so whoever called would have heard the crash and the resultant 'Oh, bum!'

They hung up.

1471 didn't help as they had withheld their number. Who does that? I don't even know how to.

But don't you hate that? Missing a call and not knowing who it was. Not so long ago we didn't have 1471 but now we do it is more annoying.

My jumper is soaking. Pride, or rather what remains of my sense of shame and stops me wearing a pinny that is absolutely gungy - I have washed it; it just doesn't want to be clean - in front of the roofing men, made me do dishes unprotected. The result was inevitable.

They still haven't called back.

Betty wasn't a happy Beetle last night. She stopped going just as I was pulling into the Linden drive. And then again halfway up. She also sounded as if she needed to clear her throat. I think that is a perfect explanation of how she sounds and I can't understand men who look at me strangely when I say it.

It was probably someone selling something and they recognised bad timing when they heard it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Is honesty the best policy?

I have spent most of the afternoon creating a blog for my alter ego. It wouldn't have taken me four attempts if I hadn't kept forgetting to log on and off as different people. Still it's done now. As long as I remember who I am when I am writing it will be okay.

My t-shirt smells of ginger; I wonder why.

I forgot to report that Alun is now trying to claim that cups of tea he makes when I am not in the office still count towards his tally. It is nonsense of course.

Honesty does not always have its own reward. We could have put proper cartridges in the printer before Alun took it back and pretended that they had been there all along, but we didn't. Let's just hope that there is a heaven where we will get our just reward. Although, strictly speaking, we did get our just reward for using cheap compatible cartridges when it says not to. But it didn't say it in VERY BIG letters.

Just heard...

Monologues turned down by publisher. At least it was quick if not painless. And it's the first rejection I've had. This year. I wonder how soon I could reach 50. Perhaps that should be my aim. Then I could publish an anthology of rejection letters in time for the Christmas market next year. Could be a big seller, the perfect gift for the wannabe writer.

Although reading between the lines of the email from the publisher, it sounded as though the decision was made by a different director against her better judgement. If you read the small print hidden very cleverly between the lines that is. Which is an art in itself. But one that grabbers-of-straws have perfected.

Zip zop zap

I have cleaned my desk. There is now a clear space on it. I've also lit a candle so I am all ready to start work. Tra la la.

I am having trouble locating Indy and the Last Crusade. Someone must have it, I'm sure. It will just take a bit of detective work to discover it.

So, drumming last night. As classes have finished we have to join the experienced group if we want to continue. I went along with Barnaby. It's a group largely made up of women. Plus a homeopathic man, a French boy, the arty hip man in big black coat and Martin who thinks he's Ginger Baker. Lyn, the treasurer, looks as if she should be judging jam in the WI not ordering new skins. An interesting group.

After zip, zop, zap, bing, bong (if anyone said bing, the rest had to bend forward, arms in air worship-fashion, and say bong), we did body percussion. Slight problem here as it entailed using feet and hands, and brain is not made to cope with more than one action at once.

Then on the rhythm I chose the simplest and still struggled. It will come, everyone says. I hope so.

Boyd is dropping off drums and percussion this evening.

I take back what I said about Linden people taking requests without batting an eyelid. I asked Carrie if she could play some improvised music illustrating childhood, childlike qualities; she said yes. I asked Chris if we could sing childlike songs; he stroked his chin and said, 'what exactly do you mean by childlike?' Some people think too much. No wonder he hasn't got any hair.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Welly wet

I have two right wellies and one left one. There is a hole in my left welly. It is annoying that you never discover holes in wellies until you are ankle-deep in mud.

The good thing about Linden people is that you can phone someone up, ask them to do something quite bizarre and they say, 'yes, okay.' Unless it's Alun. He will say, 'yes, okay but that makes it twenty-seven cups of tea you owe me.' He is keeping a record of cups of tea made in the office. He is winning 4-1 (since the New Year). We shared the making twice today. He took over when I was making it so I took over when he was making it. He tried to claim that just pouring the water in the pot didn't count as an equal share but it did.

Now Em and Cath have left the office and Angelo never gets out of bed it's mostly down to us.

I met a man yesterday who said his wife believes there are fairies at the bottom of their garden. Life in the bookshop would be very boring were it not for the visiting loonies. Is that p.c.? Perhaps eccentrics would be a better word.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The West Wing

We've just watched the first four episodes of Season 6 of West Wing. Well, I didn't expect that. Can't say any more but, phew. Momentous.

When we visit the in-laws, mother-i-l has the sheets off our bed and in the washing machine before we leave; January 9th and I am still washing bedclothes from the Christmas hols. I hate ironing; have I mentioned that? The ironing board is never quite the shape you want it to be for any given item. Perhaps we need a shape-changer board, like a chameleon only different. Gosh, the inventive ideas are just flowing this week. Yesterday it was the dying-out of dinosaurs; today it's changing the face of domesticity as we know it.

And why do items that say they are non-iron always need ironing? I was talking to a man who irons his own shirts and he was extolling the virtues of M&S shirts. I grumbled that non-iron still need ironing and he said, 'Oh, yes, they have to be ironed but all they need is a quick press-over.' But surely that's what ironing is? I hate ironing, mutter, mutter.

Spellchecka wanted to change bedclothes to bedazzled. I like its style.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

So, colonic irrigation

Apparently this trend for detox is not a good thing. I don't mean the occasional rest from food but the more extreme forms that people pay for. Our bodies are made to detox naturally and if we chemically or physically interfere with that, we're more likely to do harm than good.

Admittedly our diet these days has changed much from Adam's and it has to work harder to detox itself, but that's what evolution is about. Or supposed to be. But maybe that's what happened to the dinosaurs: their colons couldn't adapt quickly enough to cope with the large quantities of flesh that must have been needed for a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I wonder if that hypothesis has been considered. Maybe I should write a paper about it and submit it to Nature magazine. I could become an honorary professor and have the Hinds Theory of Evolution named after me and appear on Richard & Judy.

Anyway, back to the colon. Did you know that the inside of your colon is as pink and lovely as the inside of your cheek? It's not a horrid sewer overflowing with filth and muck and yucky things. Or so the man in the paper said. And he said he'd seen inside of one. I shall have to ask Mr Brown. He spends a lot of his time with his hands in guts so he should know.

When I was a little girl, my mum saved the wrapping paper to use the following Christmas. I think most not-well-off people did. And Corona, back when it was orange fizzy pop, came in bottles and you got 3d when you returned the bottle. Recycling before it became trendy. And before it became cheaper to make-and-chuck plastic bottles than to recycle glass ones. I must be very old.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Personally I blame Blue Peter

It instilled in me a 'don't throw it out; it might come in useful for something' mentality. It's not as if I ever made the things they demonstrated on the show. That reminds me, Tim O is the only person I know who has a Blue Peter badge. The only one who's owned up to it anyway.

I now have these two lovely boxes that I don't know what to do with. I'll keep something in them I expect. That's the sort of thing they will be handy for. Keeping things in. I just can't think of anything that would fit in them.

Tescos, Boots and Linden Church are recycling Christmas cards. Probably lots of other places too but they spring to mind. Which is useful because cards don't quite fit in with the cardboard pile or the paper pile. I should keep them to cut up for tags next year but I'm too socially-terrorised by my in-laws to not compete with their wonderfully decorated parcels. I can't keep up: if I use matching paper and cards, they add bows; if I add bows, they use ribbons by the yard. And so on. I am the poor relation. I shouldn't care but I do.

Went to see HP and the Goblet of Fire last night. It was better than the others I think. At least I didn't fall asleep during it.

Friday, January 06, 2006

We shall not be moved

Harvey and I were singing a song when we were in the woods yesterday ... okay, Harvs, you weren't singing ... yes, I did not notice that you were trying to distance yourself from me actually ... all I can say to that is 'poo' ... yes, I thought that would shut you up.

Anyway, We shall not, we shall not, we shall not be moved, Like a bridge that's standing by the riverside, we shall not be moved. But is it 'bridge'? I mean a bridge could be moved. It could be swept away by the river or blown up by enemy aircraft. Dag a dagga dagga. But it doesn't really matter in this instance as the reason I was singing was the important thing: I was feeling re-invigorated, re-enthused, and I wanted to express that. The only place I can express myself by singing is in the middle of the lonely woods.

There is a man in my magazine who is a beachcomber. Dr Curtis Ebbesmeyer has found a seaman's heavy rubber glove and explains that it is for the left-hand. That is important because a 'lefty' will drift along ocean currents on a different path to a right-hand glove. He has a website beachcombers.org

This is an extract:

On January 10, 1992, 28,800 plastic turtles, ducks, beavers and frogs - called Floatees by the manufacturer - packed in a cargo container splashed into the mid-Pacific. During August- September, 1992, after 2,200 miles adrift, hundreds beached near Sitka, Alaska. Twelve years later, in 2004, beachcombers were still finding the bath-time critters.

Dr Ebbesmeyer warnthat therere is four times as much plastic in the "rubbish patch" that swirls around the centre of the Pacific as there is plankton. The consequences of this combination of ignorance and degradation will be dire.'

Thursday, January 05, 2006

New Moon Network:For Adults Who Care about Girls

Does that sound to you a dubious sort of magazine to be included in a Christian Writers' Market Guide?

It made me think

I was just reading Jodie's Jon's blog and it reminded me of something that made me think recently. I don't know how well I can explain this.

Dave, a Christian, is doing some work with a group of non-Christians - I am told by Pete that 'Dave is working on them though.' I meet Barry, one of the n-C, and he, knowing I am a Christian, is quick to say that he's not at all interested in that so there's no point me wasting my time trying to convert him. I see this as comment on Dave's behaviour. And am embarrassed/annoyed by it.

Am I at fault? Should we all be in-your-face Paul the apostle type Christians? (Can you tell that Paul is not my favourite Bible character?) Or does that just deter others? But if we're not, are we depriving them of their chance to find God?

No, that's rubbish. Another finding God is not dependent on me but on the Spirit. I can help but I can help by being who I am or rather by being who I'd like to be (i.e. much better than I am!) I am more likely to be a deterrent if I nag or if my lifestyle doesn't live up to what I 'preach'.

So, those are my thoughts. Any to add?

Just a final word: I wonder if Barry 'protesteth too much'?

And another thing

I am planning on petitioning my MP. It's time something was done. If we don't act soon, it will be too late!

All the old people who know how to dance properly will be dead and dance-floors will be filled with ugly jostling gyrating bodies instead of sleek smooth-movers. We did our best at the New Year's Dance but the floor was so crowded with people WHO DIDN'T KNOW THAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO CIRCLE THE ROOM ANTI-CLOCKWISE that we had to give up and jiggle on the spot with the rest.

Ballroom dancing should be part of the National Curriculum. Like English and maths it should be a core subject. How can we expect to produce anything other than a nation of hooligans if we don't teach them the basics of polite society? Latin American should obviously be kept back until the students are mature enough to cope with the sexual aspect, but the quickstep and waltz are perfectly acceptable.

Rant over.

What to do when you're on the loo

That rhymes!

Other people take a book to read; I take a chisel. Actually I don't need a chisel; it's quite easy to pull the tiles off the wall. Just a gentle tug and whoops, there it goes.

Last night I shared a candle-lit purple bath with a tipsy duck in a turban. You would think they had made enough rubber ducks to be able to make one that floated the right way up but no matter what I did, this little one preferred to go face down. Maybe it was the turban.

I am currently reading The Flanders Panel by Arturo Perez-something. It's translated from the Spanish and involves an art restorer who finds a hidden inscription on an old painting that involves murder and leads to modern-day murder. It is incredibly detailed and being totally ignorant of all things historic I don't know how much is true. I think, on the whole, that it is imaginary but it is very convincing. Late last year I read The Shadow of the Wind, another novel set in Spain but about a writer. That was a very good book too. A bit of literary reading in between my usual trash is good.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I just fell off my chair!

I was about to post a comment on a blog when I fell off my chair! I was leaning forward and the chair slid backwards.

It took me five minutes to get up again as I was laughing too much. Though I don't know why I was laughing: my bottom hurts. Still it could have been worse; the chair could then have tumbled on top of me when I was on the floor.

It's weird that sensation when you're falling and there's nothing you can do about it. You know it's happening but you're helpless to stop it. And it feels as if it's happening in slow motion, just like in the movies.

Nearly time for Betty Tucker's funeral in the Archers. Honestly it's getting as bad as Eastenders.

Watched Three Men in a Boat last night. Not as good as the man in the paper suggested it was. I felt rather sorry for Griff Rhys Jones; I would feel sorry for anyone who was stuck on a boat with hideous Rory Mcgrath.

It was a mystery but now it is solved

We were woken in the night by a crash. Husband got up to investigate while I went back to sleep. He woke me to say he couldn't find anything. But this morning we found the cause: a tile had fallen off the wall in the toilet. It must have had a premonition that its time was nigh. If they all fell off like that it would be helpful.

I fear I could turn into a bathroom bore very shortly. We made the mistake of using more than one brochure; how is anyone supposed to be choose when there is so much choice?

Betty has gone to the garage to have her brakes sorted. She is very beautiful. I was smiling watching her drive along. Hard to associate beetles with Nazis.

I wrote 'predicament' instead of 'premonition' originally; I thought it wasn't right but couldn't work out why. I looked it up in the dictionary and was certain then that I had the wrong word but, when you don't know a word, it's not possible to look it up. Fortunately the right word came to me. In a flash and a puff of smoke.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The smallest room but two

I now know more than the average person needs to know about bathroom suites. I know about wings, close-coupling, pedestals, recesses and pop-up waste but I still can't fathom why a bath should have no taphole.

We're having a new bathroom fitted, you see. We've been planning it and thinking about it for well over a year but now it's finally coming to fruition. Sort of. We've spent two afternoons in bath showrooms. Best bit of all was this amazing mirror that gave the looker the illusion of peering into a lit tunnel. Absolutely useless for seeing the hairs that need plucking from one's chin but terribly good fun.

In fact most of the mirrors were pretty useless as they were lit from above and simply cast shadows over one's face. And even though I look best in a dim light it's not awfully helpful if I want to get eye liner anywhere near my eyes as opposed to my cheek or forehead.

Back to work this morning before our bathpedition. In-house IT expert, Tim, confirmed what I suspected: printer that was bought six months ago to print magazine is knackered. Should I mention here slightly doubtful scam that co-worker is encouraging me in? Probably best not to; in fact, best not to participate at all. Will argue against it on Friday.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A new year

2006 began for us at an over-sixties wife-swapping party. That's what it seemed like anyway. Not on our table of course. We were much too young. If you've seen Phoenix Nights you'll be able to picture the scene. The shiny silver strands hanging from the walls, the slightly-overweight, slightly-too-long-haired lead singer strutting his stuff. But star turn was the grey-haired granny on the piano giving her all to 'Simply the best'.

Anyway, church this morning. Our great and worthy leader was in sombre mood, anticipating the coming year from behind his hands. Yes, it could bring bad things but it's also full of hoe and promise. And garden shovels and pickaxes. And maybe even hope.

Our resident seer shared his weekly picture. Without fail he manages to give commonplace events (insofar as a sheep stuck in a hedge is commonplace) a spiritual slant. Now is it just me? Could we not all do that and say that God had spoken to us? We've all done it surely? Seen something that's reinforced a truth but is that always worthy of being given the title 'Word from the Lord'?

So that's a fairly downbeat and negative way to view our first church gathering of 2006. Hey ho. But we did sing the wonderful hymn the title of which I can't remember. (Have just searched on the net, Before the throne of God) And it has this incredible second verse:

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.