Monday, July 31, 2006
I've just been to town to buy a bathing-costume.
I admit it's late in the season to be looking for one but I don't think it would have made any difference if I had gone in May.
Just because someone chooses not to wear a bikini why do swimwear designers assume that person is so fat and/or devoid of taste that she will only want black or the most garish pattern the designer can come up with?
I opted for black and grumbling a lot. Such a lot that I forgot to go and pay in cheques at the bank, which was one of my main reasons for going to town. I also forgot to go to the vet's for Harvey's tablets. And it rained on my washing. Again.
Apart from that everything is fine and dandy.
Our teacher - a bonny girl from Cardiff - decided to teach us her signature move. It involves shimmying. She explained this by saying, 'Imagine someone is holding a tray in front of you. Starting with your upper chest, you have to make each part of your body touch it in turn as it travels down and up again.'
Easy peasy. If you're a contortionist. And not an inhibited Britisher.
She told us about her friend, Nigel, a 6'2" black instructor on whom you can watch the muscles ripple one at a time as the shimmy moves down and up.
(Bother, I just had to open the door to the postman in my nightie - he looked very fetching.)
She wouldn't tell us where he taught though.
Salsa is a very sexy dance. Or could be if done properly and not by a crowd of mainly middle-aged overweight women, one of whom asked husband to stop wiggling his bum as it was distracting her. He shimmied with pride (or would have done if he could have) and wiggled it all the more. Men were highly-prized being outnumbered in the class by 10 to 1.
But now the class has finished as has circuit training for the summer so my flabby little muscles will flab even more.
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We went to see Pirates of the Caribbean II on Saturday night; it was sold out. So we came home and watched the last two episodes of Doctor Who that we'd recorded and not had a chance to view. Slightly disappointing I think. Cybermen and daleks? Surely such a talented writer (he's a Swansea boy, y'know) could have created a new threat?
Then yesterday while ironing I watched Last of the Summer Wine Series 1. It is amazing how much it has changed. Compo and Clegg were there, of course, but smoking almost non-stop! And swearing. And Clegg was much less of a mouse. And instead of Howard and Marina there are the librarian and his lovely (married) assistant. And, in one episode it was raining! I was under the impression it was always sunny and bright in the Yorkshire hills. Just like in Derby. My mother-in-law swears it only ever rains when I am there as I take it with me. The sun shines the rest of the time.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
I'll just report what it was advertising and let you add your own punchlines.
1) Super Viagra - lasts for 36 hours
2) Viagra Professional
3) Viagra Soft
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Why did he wait until break of day when that man drove away? Why didn't he step in and stop Delilah's fun earlier? Was he a coward? Too scared to face the other man? And how did he just happen to have a knife in his hand? No, your honour, I put it to you that this was not the spur of the moment action of a heartbroken man; it was pre-meditated murder!
Friday, July 28, 2006
The large pile on the left is my things-I-should-read/do-something-about pile.
If you look closely, you'll also spot: Marley and Me; my orgasmatron; a signed Arsenal shirt; a pot of pens (most not working); a bank statement (not quite in the red yet); a theatre summer rep programme; my glasses case; my mug (empty); and a guide to using a JCB.
What do you have on your desk?
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Husband and I see different things at first glance. He sees what is 'normally' seen by women; I see what is 'normally' seen by men. I don't know what that means.
Again according to research, women ogle men at least as much if not more than men ogle women. However because women have greater peripheral vision, it is less obvious. And why do they have greater peripheral vision? Because as women have always been defenders of the nest they needed to be able to take in as much as they could so as to spot anyone creeping up on their babes.
Men, on the other hand, as hunters, needed to have a small focused vision to zero in on targets for the kill.
Quote: My wife can see a blonde hair on my coat from twenty feet, but she hits the garage door when she parks the car.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
On the left, the house of my birth and my home for 24 years. The wall at the front was recently demolished by a speeding car. The bit of house and garage you can see at the left is now home to Auntie Joan and Uncle Horace. Well, the whole house is their home; what I mean is that you can only see a bit of it.
At the top, my second home, Oystermouth library.
Village legend has it that, on the day war ended, Mr Macari gave every child in the village a free ice cream. Recently someone suggested to me that it couldn't be true as there was no sugar available in the war for ice cream. Huh! Of course it was true. My granny told me so.
Now we have a new camera that doesn't have a view-finder. In the bright sunshine it is absolutely impossible to see anything on the little screen thing. It's a case of pointing the camera in what seems to be the right direction and hoping for the best. Not a lot different from what I normally do but at least I can blame the camera instead of my lack of ability for the poor quality of the photos!
I come back, download them and am reasonably pleased with them in that I didn't miss the subject altogether (no, it's not impossible to miss a house.) Then what happens? I upload them successfully - it says - onto Blogger but do they appear in my blog? No, they don't. And I tried three times. Which probably means that, tomorrow, when blogger gets over its hangover, duplicate photos of Oystermouth Library will appear all over the place. If they turn up in your blog, just delete them. Don't worry about all the effort I put into getting them for you.
Back to the camera - has anyone else had this problem? And come up with a resolution to it?
Libraries are wonderful places. I stopped going because I was always running up overdue debts but after reading on Shirleen's blog that books can now be renewed (and ordered) via the web (yes, I know you've probably been able to do that for years, but, as I said, it's been a long time) I was tempted to return. And I'm glad I did.
There are just so many books! All waiting to be read - and all for free! Doesn't it just amaze you? This wealth of free love, murder, adultery, in exotic locations and Merthyr Tydfil.
And now they have videos and DVDs too. And talking books and computers. And music CDs. So much!
But I was sensible. My to-read pile is enormous so I just borrowed one book: Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps. Working with Alun I am only too aware that men don't listen and I certainly can't read a map - why they can't paint roads the same colour as on the map I don't know. It wouldn't have to be the whole road; just a coloured strip down each side would help.
But really, who wants to be looking at a map when they could be looking at the countryside?
I tied my visit to the library in with a visit to my great-uncle who is 91 today. He and his wife live in the cottage next door to the house his wife, my great-aunt, was born in. It's also the house I was born in. In fact, members of our family occupied it for best part of the twentieth century.
For the last twenty years it's been lived in by others, but it still retains a great attraction. My uncle thought about buying it when he was returning home; various cousins have considered it; the latest is my cousin's son-in-law, who has never been in the house and certainly has no memories of it, other than what he has been told.
It was a good house. Double-fronted, terraced, in the heart of the village, the walls were three feet thick. We had an outside toilet and bath in the kitchen until I was in my teens. The scene of more family parties than rows, it was home.
And the library, down the road, the same one I visited today, was my second home. A lot has changed since then ... but one of the librarians is still there!
I am fantastically grateful to be living in such beautiful surroundings - and I expect others to feel similarly. We had visitors recently and took them around to see the sights. The most enthusiastic comment we had was that it was 'very nice'.
Very nice? My hummus and spinach sandwich was very nice; the scenery was awesome.
I mentioned this to husband; he thinks I am in the 10% minority who would feel like this. I find that hard to believe as I know lots who would agree with me. But now I think of it, they are all christians with an awareness of the maker.
Do you need that awareness to see beauty in the environment? Or a creative/artistic sense? Or an appreciation of nature and its cycles and inter-dependency?
I can drive down a lane or walk along a woodland path, and the way the sun shines through the trees can make me smile. So blessed in so many ways.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Holly has been to stay. She is a nine-month-old Springador (cross Springer/Labrador), belonging to daughter and son-in-law; she loves to walk and play and swim.
Harvey is our thirteen-and-three-quarter-year-old Golden Retriever, who loves to walk and play and swim - but whose old body stops him most of the time. But he does like to try. Especially when Holly is around!
They get on very well, sharing food and beds, although most mornings we find Holly stretched out across both beds while Harvey is sleeping on the floor. Husband says he understands Harvey's reluctance to share a sleeping space with a wriggly female.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
"Thirty-nine people fainted at a garden party in Buckingham Palace yesterday. In a break with tradition, the Queen, who is renowned for her ability to cope with extreme conditions, wore a pale pink strappy t-shirt with co-ordinating magenta shorts. The Duke of Edinburgh is reported as saying, 'I had forgotten HM had such a good pair of pins.'"
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
I laughed and said, 'That's silly! Don't you think, Harvey?'
Harvey lifted his paw and said, 'Why have you stopped scratching my head?'
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Our sun umbrella is older than Younger Son (21). We are that sort of family: make do and mend. Or rather, make do.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today I accidentally found out something that happens in West Wing Series 7 (we have watched them all on DVD and were still watching series 6 when series 7 started on television so now have to wait until that is out on DVD) and I am so pleased about it! It has been my dearest wish. And it has nothing to do with the next president.
This course, apparently, is quite famous and well-respected. Part of it involves - I can't remember what they called it, something to do with mirror or glass - a critique system that fitted in with my own thoughts completely.
The writer reads his short story/poem and then sits back and listens to what the fellow course members have to say in a constructive criticism way. The writer is not allowed to speak, not even to respond. Instead he is encouraged to go away, put the writing aside for a day or so, then look at it again and reflect on whether the comments are valid or total rubbish.
All too often, writers rush to defend their work. 'Let me explain: I wrote that because ...'
No. You shouldn't have to explain to me why you wrote that; if you have to, then surely the writing isn't working. Or is that too harsh?
P.S. Harvey is still contemplating. He is currently torn between dog co-habitee and friend of a dog.
He happened to notice that I had a new signature for my emails: I call myself 'Writer and dog-owner.'
Now I thought he'd be glad to get the recognition but nothing of the sort. He is quibbling over semantics.
Yes, you are, Harvey.
He says that I do not own him; we simply share a home. I pointed out that money was exchanged in order for him to share OUR home, but he claims that doesn't make any difference.
He says he is an individual, a dog in his own right, and that the United Nations Charter says that no one shall be owned by another.
I pointed out that we provide him with food and a place to sleep at night, as well as pandering to his every whim. He referred me again to the United Nations Charter of Human Rights.
Ah ha, I had him there! 'HUMAN rights!'
He looked at me, 'There's no need to shout! Your point being?'
'You're not hu...' I stopped. I couldn't disillusion him. I sighed. 'Okay, I'll change it. What would you like me to put?'
He had a think. 'I don't know. I'll need to think some more about it.'
He's going to tell me later.
Monday, July 17, 2006
It's something that has happened to me on about a twice-yearly basis for the last 18 years. I'm told it's a migraine-type thing, although it's only sometimes followed by a headache. Visual disturbance I believe it's called. Like lots of little prisms forming an arc across my line of vision.
It starts small, gradually grows and works it way out in about 15-20 minutes. I can't do anything that involves reading/writing while it's happening as I just can't see enough.
The first time it happened I was down at the doctor's before you could say hot diggetty dogs; I'm used to it now and just wait for it to pass.
And while I'm waiting I go through the 'what if it doesn't go ...?' nightmare. What if I'll never be able to see again? What if it's a symptom of a fatal monkey brain disease? What if a meteor lands on me when I'm walking Harvey? ... Yes, or lands on you indeed, Harvey.
Sight is something I take for granted - and grumble about it failing as I get older - and it takes something like a funny eye to make me appreciate just how much I should value it.
But, hey, I'm fine now. So no excuse for not getting on with rewriting my script.
I'd forgotten all about it but it had been hand-delivered with a personal invite. Unfortunately I'd been on the phone at the time and hadn't paid due attention to the lady at the door. And now I found I've missed the event.
So my apologies to the lady who gave me such a kind invitation: I regret not being able to attend "Deliverance at Hand!", the district convention of Jehovah's Witnesses held in the Millennium Stadium earlier this month.
I'm sorry I missed hearing how to attain a happy family life and, perhaps more relevantly, how young people can resist the temptations of immoral conduct. I'm sure it would have applied equally to old people and I might have learned something that I could have passed on to one of the Linden trustees who, on Saturday night, was inviting the ladies to enjoy a Slow Comfortable Screw.
Although he was particular about the ladies he approached; he offered me a Tropical Sunset.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
So I did, even though it meant staying up till past midnight and getting up again at 7. Then when I got to my playwriting class, I found that I was the only person who had a completely prepared type-written manuscript. Class swot or what?
Of the three of us in our group, Ron had written a beginning and and ending and knew what he wanted in the middle; Chris, who said his brain was full of wool, hadn't been able to prepare anything; and I had mine. The trouble was that I had gone walkabout from what we originally planned as the way the story would go. So, in effect, we had two completely different scripts.
We talked about it for a while then we agreed that we'd stick to the original plan and work on Ron's. That was when the trouble started. Chris and I didn't like the ending. Ron called in the Big Gun, Binda, and he suggested that we did two scripts.
As mine was already done, I was marched off to meet the actors who spent most of the afternoon going through my play - yes, I saw my play performed, just like a proper playwright!
I came away with some suggestions for improvement, a sex change for three of the major characters, and a gran who wants to stand up and shout, 'Shut up!'
But apart from that I'm almost there!
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
There was enough heat being generated by my face to melt the polar ice cap single-facedly. No, both polar ice caps.
Simon, our stand-in trainer, is on holiday next week. He is going to Torremolinos. The only thing I know about Torremolinos is that Meg Richardson and half of the Crossroads Motel staff went there on holiday. It sounded tremendously exciting and foreign back in the sixties. Apparently now it's very good for children.
My brain has stopped working.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I know because McAfee tells me so. It also tells me that it cannot be cleaned, quarantined or deleted. So what am I supposed to do?
This must be a case for ITMan (otherwise known as husband). Although he is not awfully fond of computers at the moment having spent all of yesterday trying to set up an encrypted wireless network. I don't know whether he succeeded in the end; I gave up asking. His replies were getting too predictable.
So my playwriting course. Great fun. And it seems that we will be having our plays performed in November the Dylan Thomas Centre.
There are seven of us writers and we've been split into two groups, each group working on a ten-minute complete play, with a beginning, a middle and an end.
I am not used to collaborative writing and not very good at it, being too quiet to make my point or to argue someone else's. But fortunately I am in the smaller less vocal group and we're getting on okey dokily.
We are working alongside the actors who will perform our plays. One of them was in salsa class last Friday. I commented on this to him and he grabbed me and started salsa-ing. Which would have been fine if I could have remembered how to do it.
Bindi Singh, who is leading the course, is very direct - no waffling here I'm pleased to say. He also has a friend who not only funds various playwriting projects but is setting up a television company for him www.swanseabaytv.com
That is the sort of friend I would like.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Daughter is a very good cook who enjoys experimenting. I seem to remember being like that b.c. (before children).
Any number of years of 'urgh, what's that?' and 'is this a mushroom?' can wear down all but the most determined.
And I was determined. I really intended to bring up my children properly - not like some I knew who were bribed with biscuits and propped in front of the television. Such good intentions. Lasted all of 18 months.
Still they, the children that is, survived. And are a credit to someone (can't be me I'm sure!). Now do I put a full stop after that bracket? Or should I not have used brackets? Maybe dashes would have worked better and would have taken away the need for a full stop - if there is a need.
Such are the brain-worrying matters that crowd my mind normally - but not during shiatsu. Today, while being gently manipulated, I was more concerned with altogether more mundane questions, like where is my life going? I came to the conclusion that I have two main problems (for problems read faults) that I need to sort out if I am to move on.
When I got home I told husband this and that I was set on changing. He laughed. But I don't think I'm too old to change. I admit it will be difficult but necessary. He didn't disagree, you notice, with the fact that I need to change, just the unlikelihood of me achieving such a transformation.
And a transformation is what is needed.
I forgot to mention the salsa class that we went to last Friday. The first of four, it was taken by a jolly Cardiff girl, who pointed out that she isn't a lesbian just in case we thought she was.
Tomorrow I am attending a scriptwriting class; I'll let you know if the tutor is gay. If he tells us, that is.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
But I can't be the only one with this problem.
How do you clean the shower without getting yourself and the bathroom floor soaked?
Two hours ago I cleaned the lounge. Harvey came and joined me, lying in the middle of the carpet. Not wanting to disturb him I put off hoovering.
I'm still waiting for him to move.
Haven't had much time to learn typing today but I have found another typing tutor so I will try that one instead. (If at first you don't succeed, blame the teacher.)
But I have had my first video conference! Daughter and Holly on one end, me and younger son on this end. All waving and blowing kisses to each other. Okay, that was mostly me, but it was great fun.
The only trouble with a webcam is forgetting that it is on and doing something embarrassing. Not that I ever do anything embarrassing.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
As it was I had to run from tree to tree pretending the baddies were trying to shoot me. I tried to tell Harvey about the danger from the bullets but he said, 'Pah, I woof at danger,' and continued to meander.
We did manage to have a good chat though. Harvey gave me some very good advice; he is a wise dog. Will I have the wisdom to take his advice though?
It was only specking when I left the house and I was confident that it would stop; it didn't.
And, of course, there had to be one. We met ours on the way home when the wet was dripping from my nose. He said, 'Lovely refreshing rain, isn't it?'
If it's meant to be built around your most used letters, why do your main fingers rest on j and f? And why is Enter so far away? And what do you do if you have bent fingers (like me)?
I'm good at spaces though.
So I've found a typing tutor on the net and I'm starting today. In fact I've had my first go.
Letters typed: 12
I can only improve. But I might lower the speed.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
The show was just as the review said it would be. The crowd was as varied a group as you could find anywhere. I could have worn a twin-set and pearls or my granny's parlour curtains and no-one would have noticed or cared; it was a great inclusive atmosphere - the punks, the goths, the little old lady and her toy boy, the students, the hobo in the corner and us.
And the energy of the show - fast, hectic, crazy, appearing totally spontaneous but all completely together.
The only sad thing is that I was with slightly boring people who wanted to watch from the balcony and not go down and jump around in the crowd. So I had to hop on my own where I was. But that was fine too.
So there was this girl banging an enormous drum: I want to be her now. She was singing too but it was more screaming than singing so I could do that. I think. Although I could not even shout loud enough to make myself heard so I might have to practise that a bit.
That's Eugene Hutz, the main singer and crazy man, on the drum supported by the crowds.But really what I want to say is that if you get the chance, go and see Gogol Bordello, or at the very least, start wearing purple.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Here's how a normal band plays a show: Usually it's a four- or five-piece: guitars, drums, bass, singer. They stand in place, look forlornly at their shoes, sing earnest songs about their woes to an audience that looks bored, sad, or both. They play an encore, and if they're lucky, a girl throws a bra onstage. Usually, they are not lucky.
Here's a Gogol Bordello show: The place is packed to the rafters with kids of all ages—girls with mohawks, goth chicks with platinum-blond hair and black eyeliner, guys drunk with anticipation and beer. They are already pushing and shoving and crushed against the barricade separating the crowd from the band. This tells you its gonna be that kind of show. The band starts, and there are so many people onstage dressed in colorful Gypsy-esque outfits, you can't keep track. There's an older dude, Sergey Rjabtzev, wearing a Slayer shirt and playing the violin so hard that he breaks a string, and almost pokes your eye out with his stick (not that stick—his bow). There is a moshpit that you are scared to even be near, with brave girls and boys floating on top. During the encore, Pamela Jintana Racine, one of the singer-drummers, passes her drum into the crowd, which dutifully holds it aloft while she climbs on top of it and bangs it. Then Hütz joins her and she jumps back onstage.There's a woman hovering on top of the crowd, being passed along limb by limb. She's on her back, her legs splayed wide. She lands on the drum. She fights to join Hütz, and wiggles her way underneath him. She wraps her legs around him, arches her neck, and thrusts her fists out, victorious. She's been cured.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
So, the Portugese are wrong then John?
After Rooney was sent off everyone said the best thing now would be to just hold on and play for penalties. So the best thing wouldn't have been to score a goal before the end of full/extra time and win the game outright?
The first English player to take a penalty was Lampard. As the commentators kept telling us, he had had more shots at goal than anyone in the tournament; and how many of those resulted in a goal?
It's all very well playing with grit and determination when you're down to 10 men but it's not much use if you've been playing like nincompoops throughout the rest of the tournament.
But I could have hugged Beckham or Ferdinand, bless 'em.
Hey ho, rugby world cup next year. Come on, Wales!
Saturday, July 01, 2006
On Monday we're going to see Gogol Bordello in Nottingham. It's not a concert as I thought but a nightclub-type gig, starting late. The tickets don't say a lot but do specify that crowd surfing is strictly prohibited. Husband wonders what I have let us in for.
We are going with husband's sister and her husband - he is the biggest liability I feel being inclined to insanity and wild gestures.
The big dilemma is what to wear. Jodie said her sister wore indie clothes. I know that doesn't mean a sari but what it does mean is no clearer. I have chosen my outfit anyway. I am going to wear the belly-dancing skirt I wore for Mata Hari - this sounds familiar - have I written it before?
On a different note, my new computer has arrived! It is super whizzo with an extra-large screen for short-sighted old people. (I do hope we are not the oldest people, or at least, the only old people, at Gogol's gig.) And a quiet clicky keyboard. And a specified legal version of Office so I can phone Microsoft without fear of recrimination.
On another different note, I was reading some of my earliest posts yesterday - the things you do when you have a new computer to play with - and I remembered my intention to become a philosopher.
That has gone rather by the wayside since Harvey's illness. His walks were ideal times for philosophising and having long discussions with him and myself; now we barely have time to pass the time of day before we 're back. And when we are out he is trailing behind me (as opposed to the good old days when he was a mile in front).
So not a lot of pondering gets pondered these days. Although I was listening to 40 Non-stop Soul Songs when I was ironing and I noticed that the Ben E. King version of Stand By Me includes a comb and a bicycle bell.
I am never sure of the difference between long-sightedness and short-sightedness. I can see things at a distance; it's things at closer than arm's-length that I have trouble with. (Although I can't see small writing at a long distance.) Does that make me short- or long- sighted?
Oh, yes, and good luck to England this afternoon. (Now that's something you won't often hear me say.)