Sunday, April 30, 2006

Harvey and Holly

A slightly subdued Harvey waits for the yelp as Holly tries to catch a bee.

Harvey barked this afternoon!

I never thought I would be glad to hear Harvey bark. After two days of hardly moving, he's walked around the house a bit today and eaten some food. And barked. Just a woof or two but loud enough.

Doctor Liz thinks he might have had a mini-stroke. His left eyelid is droopy - rather like a bloodhound's - and it wasn't like that before. Also his mouth looks a little different. My mum had a stroke and her eye drooped so that is the basis for my diagnosis.

He's eaten one of Holly's chews and now he's asleep again.

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

Daughter and son-in-law left here about half an hour ago. Daughter just phoned to see if Holly is all right: she's staying with us while they go to London. I was able to report that Holly is playing in the garden and not missing them at all. I think they were pleased to hear that.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Oh dear

Harvey had a funny turn this morning.

We took him to the vet who did blood tests that all came back normal. The only thing she could find was a weak pulse so she's given him pills to improve his circulation.

He is very unconfident now about standing or walking and hasn't moved all afternoon more than a couple of feet when he was persuaded to.

He's thirteen and a half. 'Hmm, a good age,' everyone says when you tell them. What they mean is, 'He's a big dog and he's done well to last this long and will be gone soon.'

But not yet. Please.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bare beds

I should have taken a photo of the raspberry patch before I set to work on it so you could really appreciate what a good job I have done. You'll have to take my word for it.

The photo on the right is the pile of roots that came out of just half of the patch. What puzzles me is that they don't go anywhere: they're just breeding under the soil. They don't appear to be supporting any form of life.

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

Two unappealing thoughts:

John Prescott having an affair;

rice and millet pasta.

My new career

I will have to either grow my hair or cut it. I can't keep stopping, taking my gloves off and putting my hair behind my ears. It's bad enough having to stop, take off my gloves and blow my nose but there's not a lot I can do about that. I bend over; my nose runs. I could put a peg on it, I suppose.

I probably shouldn't take my gloves off to pick things up (as it's easier without gloves) either as I suspect that defeats the object. Although with holes in my gloves where my fingers go, they're not very effective at keeping my hands clean. But they are a bit of a barrier between me and the creepies. Until one gets in. You will hear the scream if that happens.

But there is definitely a market for a garden clearer. Chris's post on yesterday's entry proves that. (See how well I have done my market research?)

I haven't mentioned my plan to husband yet; I haven't even told him that I'm at work in 'his' garden now. But he'll notice when he goes out there and sees the piles of:

dry stuff for burning;
rubbish for the tip;
green/wet stuff for ... doing something with.

He'll be grateful I'm sure.

Unlike the worms. I think I may have broken a few wormy hearts with my clearance but, when they've got over the pain and they think sensibly about it, they'll realise a long-term relationship with a root was never going to be very satisfactory.

(Course I'm speaking from a human perspective. I'm not a worm. Maybe a bit of root is all a worm wants of a cold winter's evening. Maybe it's what we all want.)

Enough philosophy. One more word of advice: don't dust when the sun is shining. The dust motes simply play with you, dancing in the sunshine before landing back exactly where you just dusted them from. It proves what we all know: dusting is a waste of time.

I'm just a girl who can't say no

They get hold of your name from somewhere and phone you.
‘Would you be willing to help (fill in appropriate cause – guide dogs, brain-damaged babies) by ……?’
‘Yes, certainly.’
And it’s forever then. Every year, or more often, you get the letter/phone call, accompanied by appealing pictures.
And you end up sending a cheque.

But this year I’m being cunning: along with my donation I’m enclosing a letter asking them to remove me from their list. That way I don’t have to speak to anyone. Unless they phone me to say thank you for your support and ‘may we ask why you’ve decided to stop helping brain-damaged babies?’

I don’t mind helping guide dogs or brain-damaged babies but there are other causes I choose to support. But oh yes they are good causes … well, yes, okay, I’ll carry on supporting you. Yes, please do send me five extra books of raffle tickets.

See, I don’t even need them to phone me; I can persuade myself.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Happy Professional Administrator Day

Now that being what I am, I made sure to mention it in the church notices on Sunday. Not a lot just saying how hard I have to work and how unappreciated I am and what would they do without me and wouldn't it be nice to show some love.

Now normally no-one pays any attention to what I write in the notices (or say, but that's another story) so I didn't wait in for the cards and flowers to arrive. Imagine my surprise then when I had an email thanking me for my hard work and, left on my desk, chocolate! (Thank you, Dave.)

I am suitably embarrassed. But not too embarrassed to eat the chocolate.

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

I am now receiving rejections for things I had forgotten submitting, so I have decided it's time for a career change and I know just what I'm going to do.

We used to have a fruitful and flourishing raspberry patch but it's has been sadly neglected and is overgrown and no more. It's low on husband's list of things to do so I tackled it myself this afternoon. I am an expert when it comes to destructive gardening. I am to gardening what arsenic is to old ladies. Give me a healthy young plant and I can kill it in five days, but put me in a jungle and I'm in my element.

I'm sure there must be lots of people out there who just want their gardens cleared; they're happy to do the planting but don't want to tackle the mess beforehand. This is where Destructibility Brown & Son (I will recruit younger son for heavy work) come in. The owner will have to sign a contract giving us free hand as I'm not too hot on what's weeds and what's not, oh, and younger son says the contract will have to include giving us rights of ownership over any broken plates we dig up (bits of a plate were found recently and were valued at £7,000). I think this is a really good idea. It's outdoor and manual so must be good for me. As long as there are no snakes or too many creepy crawlies. Younger son came home when I was mid-dig. He said, 'Watch out for the snake.'
'What snake?'
'The one living in the compost heap.'
'Oh, that one.'
I'm hoping we can have a mutual respect going. I will leave him alone as long as he stays away from me.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Swansea was in Wales last time I checked

So who on earth would send me a letter with the Three Lions badge on it?

Ah, yes, MNBA offering me the Official ENGLAND Credit Card that helps me and ENGLISH football. And if I sign up quickly I get a free ENGLAND football shirt.

If I wasn't speechless, I'd say something! Probably rude.

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

Betty's fuel gauge reads 1/1, 1/2 and R. The only thing I can think is that it stands for, 'Really you should get some petrol now.'

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

Once again I am convinced that there is a special unpleasantness training school specially for doctors' receptionists. Is there any need to sound so bad-tempered on a message?

Monday, April 24, 2006

The fairies have been at work

Summer's coming and with it the butterflies. Today we saw a painted lady and a peacock but
terfly. At least those are the ones in the Common British Butterflies website that look most similar to the ones we saw. The yellow and white ones we saw could have been anything.

Those aren't my photos by the way, but these are and here is a log that a butterfly was sitting on until it got bored of waiting for my camera to be ready.

And this is the mystery. A pink-painted root of an up-ended tree. Fairy work?

The woman with one brain

I woke up this morning with a brain!

The ideas came flooding in! (Well, one and a half sort of trickled in.) I'm on fire!

If you don't know what I'm talking about, give it a few years and you'll find out. Unfortunately my brain didn't help me in my attempt to get toothpaste on my gum. I have a sensitive tooth and the dentist suggested rubbing a blob of toothpaste directly on the exposed bit at the bottom - yes, I am getting long in the tooth. I think dentists should be made to practise anything they recommend; perhaps then they would be less free with their silly advice.

My blob of Sensodyne ended up on the newly-painted bathroom wall.

And my tooth still twinges.

P.S. Did you know that St. George is the patron saint of syphilis?

P.P.S. Is there anyone better than Cream for air guitar?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A lovely weekend

In Devon with daughter, son-in-law and grand-pets.

We - Holly most of all I think - enjoyed a lovely walk on Dartmoor. She went for her first swim and is a natural. Very appropriately, she swims like a girl, carefully keeping her head out of the water and flapping her paws. Very lovely and entertaining.

Husband and I enjoyed a Devon cream tea too. And on Friday night we went out for what was probably the best meal we've had out for years. If you are in the north Exeter region, make sure you visit Jack in the Green. Everything about the meal was absolutely superb. We all agreed including veggie daughter.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

His secret obsession

Husband is on holiday at the moment. Or rather on leave to do stuff around the house, garden. cars.

He got up first this morning (to be fair, he gets up first most mornings) leaving me in bed waiting for my cup of tea. Time passed and I began to wonder if he'd forgotten about me. At last he came back up with my tea and looking sheepish.
'I've just bought a video,' he says.
'Oh, yes?'
'Six of the Best.'
'Oh, yes?'
'The Glory Years of England Rugby.'

Some husbands have a secret obsession with porn; mine's is Martin Johnson.

I can live with that. I have no objection to watching videos of rugby players in action. Especially in the showers.

My new wellies!

A (belated) Mother's Day present from daughter and son-in-law!

Harvey can't wait to be seen out with me in them.

I did it again

I went to Borders with the intention of buying a book and a card; I came out with two books, a double CD and four cards. Including one for daughter's cat and dog. I should not be allowed in.

I feared I wasn't going to be allowed out when an alarm went off as I left - after paying, I should add. I was waiting for the hand on my shoulder but it never came so I carried on walking. An alarm went off again as I walked into Tesco's and again when I walked out. I can only assume it was my natural magnetism that was setting it off.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I've been banned!

Doing it once you can away with; do it twice and they ban you.

I was doing fine, and had given about 95% of a bagful of blood when suddenly, whoosh, I was out of it.

They do make an awful lot of fuss about someone fainting. I told them I was used to it - and they did admit that it made their day more exciting - but they said they don't want people to feel worse leaving than when they arrived. But I didn't! By the time they had cooled me down and made a fuss of me and given me drinks and biscuits, I felt hunky dory.

Anyway, the sister said I can't give again. And I have to take it easy this afternoon.

I can do that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Good news for visitors to our home

For a number of years - ten or more - now, the lock on our downstairs toilet has been acting up. If it is locked from the inside, which, of course, is the only time you would want to lock it, it can't be unlocked again. Not from the inside.

Whoever is in there has to shout and attract the attention of someone else in the house; the locked-in then has to pass the key out through the window to the free-man, who, if the locked-in is lucky, will unlock the door from the outside.

This has caused some embarrassment as well as much amusement to visitors and residents over the years. Regular visitors know not to lock it. Which is fine unless an irregular visitor walks in on you when you're mid-flow.

One friend asked why we didn't simply take the key away so that lock-ins couldn't happen. Pah, that's far too simple an answer.

When faced with the party for my uncle before Christmas, when I knew a lot of elderly strangers would be in attendance, I decided to do something about it, so I bought a very quaint American-Quakerish sign for the door. I was planning to suggest that people should hang this on the outside of the door while they're in there. Unfortunately I forgot to mention it. But, hey, I'm never going to see most of them again.

Today I came home from work to find husband in the process of changing the lock. 'What are you doing?' I yelled. 'That lock is one of the quirks of this house.'

It turns out that, a few weeks ago, while in the house on his own, he got himself locked in the toilet, and after battling for some time to get free (it would occasionally unlock from the inside), resolved that it was dangerous and that he should 'do something about it'.

For years I have been alone in the house with this dangerous toilet and he hasn't done anything. Even after I'd had to call the gasman to let me out. But now his dignity had been endangered ...

I feel quite sad for the demise of the unlockable lock.

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

A few posts ago I said a silly thing. (Hands up who said, 'which one?') This particular silly thing involved me looking out for the next blood donor session and being brave enough to go again. Well, there's one in Mumbles tomorrow. Dare I go?

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

Modern architecture, on the whole, has a very transient air, I think. Some of it is mostly well designed but it inevitably seems to be let down by the cheap factor. I'm not talking about museums or civic buildings but town developments generally.

There are loads of old buildings in Swansea (at least those that weren't destroyed in the three day blitz - our fifteen minutes - or three days - of fame) and they stand tall and elegant or small and neatly terraced but permanent. Built to last. Decorative features, interesting stonework. One of the new developments in Swansea has a lovely dome but come down to ground level and it has ugly aluminium windows and great swathes of blank concrete (or some sort of plain finish).

I assume it's partly cost but also it suggests that it's not there for good; it can change when times/trends change. Which is a good thing I suppose. Except for the people who have to live with it and look at it in the meantime.

Monday, April 17, 2006

George's position is safe

... unless a majority of women like over-cooked turkey.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Ben Brown was brilliant

But more of that later.

First, Doctor Who. It didn't take long; halfway through the first episode and Billie Piper gets to snog the Doctor. In her altered state as Cassandra but nonetheless. Is this the way it's going to be? While David Tennant is very kissable, the Doctor just doesn't do that! William Hartnell would be turning in his grave - if he wasn't a Time Lord and therefore not dead.

That rant out of the way, happy Easter!

Husband saw me off for the morning service/concert with the words, 'It beats me that someone like you, with no co-ordination, should get involved in two things (drumming and puppetry) that involve a deal of hand co-ordination.' With that behind me, it's no wonder I got to the drumming rehearsal late and then realised that I had forgotten the words I was supposed to be reading.

I sped home (praying that the speed cameras would be switched off for Easter?), dashed into the house and upstairs to find the words by the bed. Except they weren't. A quick replay of the morning and I found the words on the microwave.

Back to Linden, to find Alun waiting to haul me behind the screen to practise the puppets. 'But I've got to ...'
'You've got to practise the puppets!'
'Oh, oh, okay.'

Rest of the morning a bit of a blur but I am assured it all went well.

Ah, yes, the brilliant Ben Brown. He was to perform a monologue I had written. Up to and including the final minutes before 'curtain up', he kept telling me he hadn't managed to learn it. The little s.o.b. He performed it brilliantly. He was taking the part of the boy, who had given Jesus his loaves and fishes, after hearing that Jesus had risen. He did it with a Welsh accent and leapt around the stage, the perfect performer.

And talking about perfect performers, Tim Oakes was also rather impressive as Linden's own magician. I don't know how he did the tricks but even if it was magic, we all think it was a set-up anyway!

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

I'm now near the end of About a Boy and it is definitely different from the film. I am enjoying it though and it gives an interesting insight into the mind of a male, albeit a thirty-something single serial womaniser.

Apparently an ancient Greek philosopher said the best thing about getting old was losing the obsession with sex. 'Now I can think uninterrupted about the greater issues of life,' he said.

It's a curious thing. I suppose at its extreme, a man and woman could be discussing what to have for dinner while he's thinking about sex, or they could be having sex while she's thinking about what to have for dinner.

I think I shall have to study the male of the species more carefully.

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

It was the male of the species (husband) who, having read that the shops were selling out, suggested that we should have turkey for dinner today. He then did the man thing of battling an old lady for the best of the three remaining ones on the shelf (he returned triumphant).

I was preparing it for the oven just now when, on taking it out of its wrapper, I discovered a red button on its chest. I was about to yank it out when something whirred deep in my brain - yes, it was a pop-up timer! It guarantees perfectly cooked and safe-to-eat chicken every time (although you must still do the skewer check and if you don't follow their instructions correctly, they will not be held responsible).

Now if this works, it could overtake George Clooney as the most popular response to the question, 'What is the answer to a girl's prayer?'

Spellchecka just asked me if I meant 'home-maker' where I'd written 'womaniser'.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Doctor Who?

The new series of Doctor Who starts tonight, yippee! David Tennant was sexy in Blackpool and funny in Casanova; I am sure he will be brilliant as the transmogrified Time Lord. As long as he doesn't have any of that silly dubious relationship nonsense with Billie Piper; Doctor Who doesn't do that sort of thing, for goodness' sake.

But before that I have to get through the rehearsal. This is all most unlike Linden but after the minor fiasco that was the Christmas concert - that resulted in our techies threatening to walk out - it was deemed wise. So we've had a few planning meetings culminating in a technical/dress rehearsal this evening.

Puppeteering isn't as easy as it looks. Because I speak without thinking (only too often, I'm afraid) I'm not much aware of the subtle mouth shaping involved and when that has to be translated into hand manipulation, it all gets rather confusing. Particularly when one's co-ordination lacks a little something.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A question of perspective

Son number two came home yesterday at just the right moment. I was standing outside the front door with one hand up Little Bird and with a camera in the other trying to take a photo of LB.

When he'd shaken his head in disbelief and I'd explained that I'd had to go outside to take the photo because the flash wasn't working and that, no, I hadn't thought of going round the back of the house where I couldn't be seen, he agreed to hold Little Bird for me.

Little Bird isn't really as big as she appears in the first photo.

Brother-in-law has started calling me Doolally Queen. I have no idea why.

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

We sat in the garden in the sun properly this afternoon for the first time this year. Husband removed his shirt; I kept mine on but rolled up my trousers and sleeves - I know how to look alluring. It was warm and peaceful and very soporific.

My Hot Imaginary-Cross Buns

If you ignore the fact that they don't have crosses, my hot cross buns are quite respectable. Tasty and light. Probably could have done with a bit more spice and a few more sultanas - the trouble with poking them in the dough, after it had risen, was that they tended to pop out again - a bit misshapen and flat, but, apart from that, pretty yummy.

The Easter Bunny must have been a good sign.

A poem by John Hegley

A weekend diary

Stretched out on a hilltop all afternoon
Wondering am I in wrong job?
Bloody Judas.

Stayed in.

Woke up feeling brilliant.
Visited friends – surprised to see me.

A good Friday

The Easter Bunny came to our house today!

It was hopping across the back of our garden, cheeky as you like. We ran out to see it but it ran away, back through the hole in the fence.

It didn't leave any eggs either. But it made my day.

Now I am making some Hot Cross Buns. Ideally I would have got up early and had them ready for breakfast for everyone - actually I can set my breadmaker to come on by itself but I'm happy for that little wonder of science to remain a mystery to me until I really have no choice but to work it out - but I didn't think about buns until lunchtime.

I haven't made buns in my breadmaker before so I was waiting for the ping to tell me it's time to put the sultanas (they should be raisins but sultanas are fatter and juicier, I think) in and it didn't come. That's okay. I expect it will be fine for me to push them in - one by one - when I'm shaping the buns. I had to cobble a variety of recipes together as it was so I'm not expecting these to be the best Hot Cross Buns ever.

But then again I wasn't expecting to see an Easter Bunny.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

At last

Meet Little Bird

Little Bird is my new alter alias. Together we have the starring role in the Hallelujah Chorus in the Easter Sunday service. That is to say, Alun told me we have the starring role but he probably says that to everyone he's conned into being a puppeteer for a day.

Doesn't it make you wish you could be with us on Sunday?

Okay, so it won't let me upload the photo yet. Don't go away; it will be worth the wait.

At last, someone who knows the real me

I received a letter this morning telling me I 'have been identified as someone who appreciates the finer things in life.' Ah, yes, so true. Very few people realise this about me though. They see me in my scruffy trainers, holey jumpers and charity-shop trousers and fail to see through the illusion I've created, of someone who doesn't care, to the real me hidden deep, deep inside.

I'm almost in tears here I'm so moved by the discovery that someone does know the real me. So moved I am tempted to take up their offer of membership of the Esporta Health Club.

Well, their offer of a complimentary three-day membership anyway. But does that mean I qualify for a free massage? I'll let you know.

Wives and boys

The Time Traveler's wife is looking at me reproachfully.

I'm sorry but I can't seem to settle to it. I make excuses for not reading it; the latest is that I am reading About a Boy. It was on my pile. I bought it in a charity shop with no real enthusiasm. I enjoyed Fever Pitch but haven't been keen on Nick Hornby's novels so I picked it up half-heartedly. But I'm enjoying it - maybe it is because I can see and hear Hugh Grant. I'm halfway through and the film is remarkably faithful to the book so far.

But I must get back to Mrs Who soon as we are to discuss it in Book Group some time after Easter.

Not that I have much time to do anything, being, as I am, at Harvey's beck and call. When anyone else is in the house with him, he curls up and sleeps happily; when he's here with me he barks. As soon as I get up, he barks; as soon as I get home from work, he barks. I am the signal to bark. If there was something obvious that he wanted then I would - to a certain extent - not mind; as it is he is treading on dangerous ground.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Harvey just did a very stupid thing

He tried to eat a piece of foil. Then he choked on it. I had visions of me having to give him an emergency tracheotomy. I know vaguely what to do but when I say vaguely, I actually mean, I don't have a clue. I think it must be more than just cutting his throat open. That sounds way too bloody. And if there's blood then the next thing that will happen is me fainting. So all round that wouldn't be very helpful.

Anyway he coughed it up. Then tried to eat it again until I prised his mouth open and removed the offending item.

I'm not very good with blood. I have been known to faint while visiting a patient in hospital. And there wasn't even any blood then. In fact I once fainted in a first aid class at the mere mention of the red liquid. Which makes what I am going to say next pretty amazing I think!

I am going to go and give blood. It took me years to pluck up my courage to do it the first time and then I managed successfully for a couple of years. But then, about five years ago, I nearly fainted on the bed. I was fine about it - I'm used to it - but the nurses and doctor got upset. They suggested I should think carefully before giving blood again. So I've been thinking carefully ever since. But today brother-in-law went to donate and it made me think again that I really should. I am a fit and healthy woman and it's my duty to help others. And you get a lie-down and a biscuit afterwards. So I shall keep a lookout for the next session. And try not to make an excuse.

It was a Rottweiler

After trawling through pages of dog photos I can say I was kissed by a Rottweiler.

We've been on a frog hunt

Frog spawn actually. We didn't find any. After the dry weather we've had, we didn't even find many pools. Not that Harvey helped much. He was too busy doing his cow impersonation and grazing on grass. ... Yes, it is true. While I was getting attacked by trees, where were you? ... Precisely ... I know it was my own fault but that's not the point ... and don't look at me like that!

I did get kissed by a strange dog though (that's probably what has put Harvey in a bad mood). His name was Jasper and he was a ?? puppy. I should know the breed; he's solid-built and will be quite tall, mostly black with brown round the face. And very gorgeous. I am a sucker for big eyes and sloppy kisses.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

80 - the same age as my uncle

Husband just told me that the Queen has given away 78,000 Christmas puddings during her life. That is just one - and the only one he could remember - of the 80 facts about the Queen listed on the Buckingham Palace website (or as it is called, The Official Website of the British Monarchy)

It also says that she's entertained 1.1 million people at garden parties - and I'm one of those! Yay, I've been to tea with the Queen. We did have cucumber sandwiches and all sorts of yummy food but we were kept away from the VIPs, who were herded into a roped-off area, for our safety I expect.

But there was remarkably little security apart from men in big bushy hats on the gate - or perhaps it just wasn't obvious.

The interesting thing was that, at the end the band played God save the Queen, and that was, apparently, the signal for the waiters to stop serving. I asked for a glass of barley water just as they started playing and the tea-lady looked around anxiously as she slid a glass across the table to me. 'We're not supposed to serve you once the Queen has left,' she whispered. I was expecting a man with a grey mac to come and take my drink and me off to the tower.

Why a grey mac, I wonder? A sort of faceless bureaucrat I suppose.

Another interesting fact - but about my family not hers - is that my uncle and my great-aunt have also been to garden parties at the palace. But not all at the same time. In fact, great-auntie Vi went twice.

My purple dress

Well, purplish anyway. Sort of shabby violet. Not the rich sultry purple I had hoped for but better than grey. So as Tel would say, mustn't grumble. It has sort of lost its shape though.

A bit like my hands. They've gone all crinkly since I've washed up. I now have a draining-board full of glasses, most of which I retrieved from son number 2's bedroom. Stained with the remains of beer, milk or orange juice.

With son number 1 and his lovely girlfriend here too I had to cook a proper dinner tonight. Also had to go to Sainsburys again as sons were complaining that there was no food in the fridge. No, correction, no food in the house. Some things don't change. It's just like being a proper mummy again. It's what I was created for, my role in life. And probably what I was best at. (Although my children might argue with that.)

Now shall I go and watch Dalziel and Pascoe part 2? I missed part 1 last night but as I very rarely know what's going on anyway that won't matter much.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Up, up and away

A number of people from Linden Church are doing a sponsored parachute jump next Monday (Easter) to raise money for Mutende Children's Village in Zambia. Children left orphaned by AIDS are looked after there and employment is provided for widows. For more information on Mutende, visit

If it sounds like the sort of thing you would like to support in any way, please go to this site Tim is one of those doing the jump - against his better judgement.

My toeses are roses too

Driving in Betty this morning I started to sing. Fair enough. It was a beautiful morning; the sort of morning that makes you want to sing. And the song: Moses supposes his toeses are roses but Moses supposes erroneously, for Moses he knowses his toeses aren't roses as Moses supposes his toeses to be.

I was going to town to look for a saucepan big enough to dye my dress in. I ended up buying a garden tub. It will come in useful. I expect. Even if I burn a hole in the bottom. So that's all right. I currently have a purple worksurface, a purple washing machine and purple hands; I have yet to find out if I have a purple dress. But I'm hopeful. My only other concern is that it will have shrunk in the process.

Singing in the Rain is a wonderful film.

Dyeing to be different

I probably should have read the information leaflets before I tried dyeing my dress. My assumption that, 'oh, well I can try a different method,' might prove to be a tad difficult. Other methods involve simmering saucepans and I don't have a saucepan big enough to simmer and agitate a long and heavy dress. I am the one who could be agitated by the end of the day.

Or it could be son number one who, with his lovely girlfriend, is coming down to stay this week ... some time ... when they have reached a decision. The bathroom is nearly finished but lacks a door. As does the upstairs toilet. Husband is a perfectionist regarding decorating. Where I would just slap it on, he takes the door off, scrubs it, rubs it down and paints it flat. We end up with a well-painted door. Eventually.

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

Walked into church yesterday with B. Our conversation was stilted. I cannot think of anything I have done to cause upset but maybe I'm not trying hard enough. Alternatively it could be that B is, as some suggest, inclined to be on and off.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Where before my dress was an okay sort of colour, it is now grey. Time for plan B, which is ...?

Matt Dawson is to retire - yippee!

It's the first time I've seen a rugby referee go off injured in the middle of a game. He didn't come back on at half time. He looked all right so I suspect it was a stress-related condition: the first half was rather trying for everyone.

I think some of the Llanelli Scarlets were also suffering with stress. It's the only thing that can explain their poor second half performance. Giving Wasps, led by Lawrence Dallaglio (ppppttthhh), the Powergen Anglo-Welsh Cup. The only good news of the afternoon was that Matt Dawson has announced his retirement (he actually announced it on Friday but I only just heard about it). Martin Johnson was so ugly you couldn't help liking him but Dallaglio and Dawson just added arrogance to bad looks.

But what has become of lovely Jonny Wilkinson? And how come Gary Lineker, a footballer, gets to go out to Augusta - at the licence-payers' expense - to present the Masters golf?

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

In church this morning we had an open meeting. This means there isn't a designated speaker but those people who, given the slightest opportunity, will say something, can all stand up and say their pieces. We are supposed to be a very free church, easy-going and relaxed, where the people who come are all part of 'us' and encouraged to share thoughts and ideas. But very few do. Not out the front anyway. Or anywhere else that I know of. I've come to dread open meetings because you know who will stand up and you can predict the lines along which they will speak.

That's very strange: I hadn't realised I felt like that until I wrote it. I am becoming (have become?) very cynical.

One of the girls who often speaks - and whom I like very much and enjoy what she has to say as a rule - this morning - I nearly wrote shared before I stopped myself using the word in such a 'Christian' way - said that God had told her to fast. 'Just as I was about to get milk out of the fridge to put on my cereal, a little voice told me to fast,' she said.

I'm afraid I would have gone temporarily deaf if God had told me to fast BEFORE I'd had my cereal. I love my bran flakes and milk too much. Perhaps that's why I think God doesn't speak to me: I'm too busy crunching my cereal to hear him.

Never mind, it's the Easter special next week. On Good Friday we're having an 'installation' (one of Chris's words), whatever that may be, in the main hall, which will be open all day for people to call in and meditate, pray, read, write, whatever.

Then on Sunday we're having the Christmas concert replayed with an Easter theme. Alun has roped me in to be a puppeteer - the puppets are singing the Hallelujah Chorus. I have been rehearsing with a naked hand and I find I have a problem. Just like Gavin Henson, I forget to close my mouth when I've finished. But, unlike Gavin, at least I am aware that this is a problem.

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My dress is dyeing as I type.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I don't believe it!

They've cut down my tree!

I went to the village this morning and the shop I buy my olives in is opposite the house I was born in and grew up in. At the bottom of the garden was a huge tree. It was huge when I was little so it must have been old then.

And now they've cut it down. I said as much to the girl in the shop and she said, 'yes, they did it yesterday. It was very noisy.'

I wasn't interested in the noise; I was too concerned with the fact that a tree - my tree - was no more.

It might have been dangerous. It looked dangerous when it swayed in the wind but it had looked precarious for the last fifty years. As a child I used to imagine it falling down across the road and onto the shop opposite. But it didn't.

On the other side of the garden when I was a child there was a huge grassy bank. It covered an old air raid shelter. It was my look-out place, my upstairs, my hideout. They took that away too.

When we sold the house I think it was probably the first thing the new owners did. Bulldoze it to make a space for parking. That was bad enough but I could see the purpose behind it.

What purpose can anyone have for getting rid of a tree?

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

Before going to the village we went to the car boot sale. It's the first time I've been to one for, probably, years. We were on the lookout for accessories for the up-and-coming fancy dress party. I managed to get some half-tarty shoes and a pile of bangles for £4 altogether. Husband was more fussy: he turned up his nose at a white scarf as it wasn't silk.

My dress arrived from ebay but the colour is a bit ropey so I'm having a go at dyeing it. I'll let you know how that turns out ...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Now is the time to say goodbye

It was Angelo's farewell lunch today. He's been with us (as part of a team and the volunteering with Alun) for nearly three years. Alun made a (very) short but surprisingly serious speech and Angelo did the same. Aah, bless. We shall miss him.

For the last two years, while Angelo has been working with Alun in our office, the phrase most often on my lips has been 'Pull your trousers up, Angelo!' Today in his honour we - although I noticed it was only the women who put the effort in - wore big exposed pants. Yes, we shall miss him.

Very diet-conscientiously I had a BLT baguette for lunch. Tim T was sitting opposite me and Tim O was sitting next to me. Both had chips. Tim T generously allowed me to steal one of his chips; Tim O was prepared to stab me with his fork rather than let me have one of his. And this from the boy to whom, earlier this week, I gave some ice cream pie (which incidentally he accused me of spiking with alcohol). I don't think I need to say any more.

One of the missing mysteries was solved; my *********** **** *** ***** **.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I persuaded the camera to hand over its photos to the computer and here are some of them. Bear in mind that I am a bad photographer and that no photo can ever capture the peace and space and joy of beauteous creation. From the bottom up: Blue Pool, followed by the mudflats of North Gower and the cliffs of South Gower.

A strange thing happened on my way

We were just coming back from the woods, across a small piece of open land at the edge of the tip, when we met a man and his dog. He (the man) said. 'In the last five days my dog has found 20 golf balls here.'

This is very odd as: a) we were nowhere near a golf course; and b) I have never ever seen anyone practising hitting little white balls in the limited space not covered by trees. The dog-owner suddenly just coming out with that comment wasn't at all strange. Dog owners are like that.

But what is even odder is that I had no sooner walked far enough to mutter to myself, 'I've never seen a golf ball here; he must be imagining it,' when what do I see but a golf ball. Spooky or what?

Oh what a beautiful morning

Betty and I have had a lovely morning tootling about Gower. Once Betty had settled down that is.

Ever since I told her that the team van got a ticket for speeding she has wanted one too. She says it would do her street cred no end of good. I pointed out that it wouldn't do my record any good but she didn't care.

I managed to restrain her until we got to the common and then we let rip. Unfortunately we only managed 43 mph as we were stuck behind a horse box and overtaking is not our forte. But coming back down from Cefn Bryn we got to 45 mph. Betty insisted that her needle must be stuck; I don't think it is but we all need to maintain our little illusions. Anyway 45 in Betty feels fast as your teeth rattle.

The numberplate of the horse box was SAR, which reminded me of SARS. Wasn't that supposed to be the next great epidemic? Or is that pandemic? Which is bigger, I wonder. Are we all so disaster-happy these days that they had to invent a new word to make us take note. (According to Chambers, an epidemic is a widespread outbreak and a pandemic is a widespread epidemic.)

On the way back I bought a Roget's Thesaurus in a charity shop for 80p. I know I just paid a lot of money for a brand new Chambers thesaurus but this is Roget's and there's no-one quite like Roget.

Also on my way home I stopped at a roadside letterbox to drop off a letter but it was a dog-pooh bin.

I took some photos when I was out and intended to post them here so you can see how beautiful Gower is, but, unfortunately the camera has decided that its battery has run out. This despite the fact that I have it plugged into the mains.

Still you can't beat a Beetle for tootling.

Step 1 - start with 3%

Aim high but plan to get there in small steps.

If I say, 'Today my aim is to be a best-selling writer,' I will be disappointed. However if I say, 'Today I will do research for my book,' I will be successful. And I will be a step closer to my aim.

I like the idea of reaching for the stars. Even if you miss the one you're reaching for, chances are you'll find another.

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

I think there is a mischievous elf at work. Things keep going missing from my desk. Normally I would blame (correctly) Alun but the last couple of times the things that have disappeared would be of no use to him, so, unless he is doing it to convince me I am going insane, it's probably not him. Although now I come to consider that possibility it seems strangely likely. Our beloved Chris could be in on it as well - he did write in my diary and then tried to make me think I had done it myself.

Paranoia thy name is Daphne. (Name your fears they say, don't they? To make them less fearful?)

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

It is absolutely gorgeous here today. It has been since Saturday. Everything that has been hiding is daring to peek out, ready to burst open. It is extra-specially-good-to-be-alive weather. Now must be very housewifely and mention that it is also good drying weather! So must do some washing.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I really must have something better to do with my time

I always thought gaffer tape was a made-up secret that DIYers and builders used when talking to impress listeners. 'A bit of gaffer tape will do the trick.' 'What you need there is a bit of gaffer tape.' But it seems I was wrong: it actually exists. I found this evidence lying around.

Course I didn't actually see any tape so it could still all be a plot.

I wonder if you can buy a Gaffer's Best Boy too.

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

We went to see Martyn Joseph and Stewart Henderson last night. An excellent and very entertaining show but one thing that was just dropped into the conversation disturbed me. Martyn said he'd read in the paper that, because of the fear of bird flu, people are stopping putting food on their bird-tables and experts fear that, as a result, some native birds could become endangered. I don't think it was an April fool's joke: no-one would joke about something as serious as that, would they? So, as Mary Poppins would say, 'Feed the birds!'

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Sales strategy

How is it that I go out to buy 3 birthday cards and I come back with 8? I say, 'Well, they'll come in handy,' but actually they'll join the fifty-six other cards that I bought because I liked them and then couldn't bear to part with them.

And I'm standing in the queue at Waterstone's and glance down at the display near the pay-desk where they have a selection of Quick Reads. Priced at £2.99, they must be a bargain, I think. (The sales exec who came up with this marketing ploy is onto a winner.) So I buy the one that promises to tell me 'How to change your life in 7 steps.'

I feel this can only be a good investment. I'm currently failing as a writer and dieter so I need to effect change somewhere. The last few months - most of this year, in fact - I've been living in a parallel universe. I've only just come back to the this one and it's time to wake up and smell the daffs.

I am not looking to be another Alan Sugar (heaven forbid). He was on with Jonathan Ross last night and gives the impression of a man lacking in humour. Life wouldn't be worth living if you couldn't have a good laugh.

I laughed when the first aid box fell on my foot in work. It could only happen in Linden; it could only happen to me.