Friday, March 30, 2007
A few questions while I'm away: Misskris comments that she gets 500 or so visitors a day. I'm lucky if I get 35. What am I doing wrong?!
How many do you get? Do you care? How many comment? What subjects get the most response? (My answer to that is ladies' underwear.)
Have a good weekend!
P.S. I'll be joining in the Saturday Photohunt on Monday!
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Angie and me looked at each other and she shrugged her shoulders and I said, ‘Please sir, please sir, is that like when yesterday I took my dog for a walk and I was in a great big field and the sun was shining and it was lovely. But the way I was heading the only path out was twisty and narrow and overgrown with brambles and nettles and you couldn’t see the path on the other side because it was dark because of all the trees. So I thought, “shall I turn round and go back?” but then I thought, “Don’t be daft,” so I carried on. But I was wearing shorts so my legs got scratched and stung but when I got through to the other side, the path was quite wide; it was dark but not as dark as it had looked from outside. But as my mam says, “You never know who’s hiding behind the next tree," so I had to be careful. I walked on for a bit then I came to a fork and I had to choose which path to take. I chose the bottom path because I knew it was shorter and I was getting tired. The path got a bit narrower and a bit lighter and then I came to a rickety old bridge. I crossed over and I was back in a field and the sun was shining again. And that’s a bit like life, isn’t it, sir? Is that what you mean?’
And he looked at me and said, ‘Did I say metaphorical? I meant metaphysical.’
I said that to a friend but, after seeing her reaction, I should probably rephrase it.
That was just one of the fascinating things I learned in Zac's last night. I also discovered that Sean's baby has leopard-skin nappies. Sometimes not all conversations make sense.
I love Linden; I am very happy to be part of the church there. But, even with the best intentions in the world, there is a hierarchy in place. Some people are acknowledged pray-ers, others speakers; others have prophetic gifting. Some have great knowledge of the Bible; others are renowned for their hospitality. The rest of us tend to just be there. Part of the church but lacking a tag.
Occasionally we will have a speaker who will, again, make the point that each of us is equally important, all part of the body: that the person who cleans the toilet is as valuable as the person who preaches. We all nod our heads, but I wonder how many of us actually believe it. Deep down.
As far as the body goes, I tend to think of myself as the appendix: it's fine while I'm there - even though I don't do anything except be an occasional pain - but nobody will miss me when I'm gone. (Here I'm separating being part of church from being employed by the same church. Of course the work I do is vital: where would people be without the weekly notices?) (And I'm not feeling sorry for myself! Don't get me wrong.)
But in Zac's the ground is far more level. Each one of us, alcoholic or teetotaller, homeless or home-owning, burly biker or middle-class mum, is equal, not only in words but in truth. Each of us has something to give and to receive.
This must be what heaven is like.
Except we'll have left our scars behind.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I was tempted to ask him if he were involved in sport; it's usually football managers who do that.
It's very hard to concentrate on what is being said when all you can focus on is the slwurchp.
Yes, Sir Alex, that's just how I feel.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Bit of a shame then that it is Younger Son's birthday tomorrow. I asked him what sort of birthday cake he would like and he said date flapjacks. I will NOT eat any. None at all. Just because they are one of my favourite things in the world ...
I have a bunch of narcissi on my desk. I wish Blogger would let me put on smells. The scent they're giving out as they open is terrific.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The dog-lady is serious but nice. She asked if 'that's his normal bark?' Yes, it is: he's always croaky but especially first thing in the morning when he sounds like a habitual smoker. And yes, he pants all the time and he limps; he can't see much or hear much. But apart from that he's fine. Oh, yes, and he needs help in and out of the house and he's lost control of his back end.
She asked if we'd want to be informed in the event of anything happening to Harvey while we were away. How do you answer a question like that? I said we'd definitely want to know if there was a decision to be made; but we're only going from Friday to Sunday. I shall have to talk seriously to Harvey and tell him not to die while we're away.
Monday, March 26, 2007
I'd somehow manged to put myself on the prison rota and, as we were doing the presentation, it meant being there for 8.30 am and doing it three times.
Yesterday was Amazing Grace Sunday (or Freedom Day), the day on which events were taking place all over the country to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the passing of the Act to abolish the slave trade (although slavery itself wasn't completely abolished until 1833), so that was what our meetings were based on.
In the segregated unit, I sat next to the man I mentioned a few weeks ago. Then he had been cheerful and confident, yesterday he was subdued. He goes into the witness box today to begin to tell his side of the story. He has been painted very black in the local newspaper; I hope his words get unbiased and fair reporting, and that the truth will be uncovered and justice done.
Another man in the seg unit had had to give permission for his brother's life support machine to be switched off. I don't know what he's in prison for but that is an awful decision to have to take when you can be there to say goodbye; how much worse when you don't even get to see the man whose life you're effectively ending?
So how did I manage to have to be out of the house at 7.15 on Saturday and Sunday just gone?
Saturday was my trip to Exeter to go outfit shopping with Daughter. She and Son-in-law picked me up from the station and we were on our way into the city centre when I spotted, in the window of a wedding shop, the eveningy-type dress I'd liked from my Cardiff trip. I took this to be a sign that it was meant to be.
I tried it on for Daughter's approval. She loved it but, like me, was uncertain if it would be suitable for a wedding. 'Oh, yes,' the Maltese shop-lady said. 'The mother of the groom is important. In my country - it's not like here - they make a special effort. I am going to when my son marries.'
We thought, as it was just the start of our day, we should make the effort and look elsewhere before deciding. But, as you've probably guessed, once I'd seen what I really wanted, nothing else came very close. I did try, and there were one or two not-bad outfits, but not as stunning as this one. And it came with a free handbag. Although for the price I paid, there should have been free money inside it too. Oh-oh, probably shouldn't say that: Husband reads my blog.
Hey ho, it's only money, and I've only got one son. Well, two but each one is an individual so as good as two ones.
I got a feather for my hair too.
We discarded the black and white feather as looking too much a like a large spider sat on my head, and the white one, well - 'You don't want the white one. You can try it on if you want but you don't want white one.' The Maltese lady was right.
So now it's just shoes. The story is a bit more complicated than that, but it would only confuse and bore you.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The journey home was an entertainment in itself. The train was quiet until Cardiff when Ospreys fans, jubilant after a semi-final victory against Cardiff, got on the train. Three middle-aged male fans joined me at my table. They introduced themselves as Flash, Gladys and Blind John. They thought the Ospreys had won but weren't sure of the score.
One was a lighthouse-maintenance man who spent months at a time on lighthouses: that might have explained him.
Now if they'd been football fans I would have been wary; I'd have avoided eye contact. As it was, I was quite happy to be entertained, oh, yes, and told how stunning, divine, beautiful, gorgeous I was. And that I had a sexy face. It's wonderful what 10 hours of drinking can do for a man, and a girl's ego.
But more about my weekend later ...
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
Marilyn, a big busty blonde, ordered me into a cubicle and told me she’d come in with the tape when I was ready. I decided if she brought a whip as well I was off.
I pulled the curtain behind me and took off my jacket. I wasn't sure of the etiquette for bra measuring so was dithering over whether to remove my blouse when Marilyn appeared. ‘I can’t measure you through your blouse, madam,’ she sighed.
‘Sorry.’ I took it off.
Marilyn wielded her tape expertly. ‘What size bra are you wearing at the moment?’
‘I’m not exactly sure.’
‘You’re not sure?’
‘No, it’s my best one and I haven’t worn it for a while. I think it’s 36 or, maybe, 38 B.’
‘When will women ever learn?’ she sighed again. ‘The way they treat their most precious assets is nothing short of scandalous.’
She disappeared and returned a few moments later with a cream lace contraption with more metal supports than the Severn bridge.
‘Try this one on.’
I expected her to leave the cubicle but she stood behind me as I removed my bra to reveal dangling blotchy mammaries. I would not have been surprised if her drawn-on eyebrows had flown off her forehead. I tried to tell myself she had probably seen worse - on aged matrons. I turned the bra inside out and back to front to do up around my waist.
‘What are you doing?!’ she practically screeched.
‘I’m sorry,’ I said, quickly undoing the bra and giving it back to her. ‘I thought I was meant to put it on. I’m very sorry.’
‘That’s not the way to put on a bra. Really, do mothers teach their daughters nothing these days? Lean forward.’
I did so.
‘Now let your breasts fall into the cups.’
No problem there, falling breasts I can do. I waited for the next instruction. At last the words, ‘Are you going to put your arms through?’ were exhaled through smoking nostrils.
I was beginning to sweat. She grabbed the back of the bra, yanking me up to a standing position, and fastened it.
I began to breathe again, then, ‘Eek!’
Marilyn had thrust her hand inside the right cup and was fiddling with my boob.
‘You have to get it into the right position,’ she said, before repeating the procedure with the left one.
‘There,’ she said, when she was satisfied, ‘see what a difference it makes.’
She ran her hand up from my ribcage to my nipple, ‘See how it lifts,’ and from nipple to cleavage to nipple, ‘and separates.’
I was beginning to suspect she enjoyed her job too much.
He's named James after Mr Hook who was so vital in ... oh, no, I can't say it; I promised Ageis I wouldn't mention it again.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
On Monday and Thursday we have patchwork classes in the building; on Wednesday and Friday we have quilting. (No, don't ask me: I thought they were the same thing too.)
Now the quilters are complaining that the patchworkers leave needles and pins on the floor. I ignored their complaints the first three times but, because we also find pins in circuits and getting a pin in your elbow when you're already in agony doing the plank isn't nice, I finally wrote to the patchwork teacher asking her to make sure she clears up afterwards.
She responded by accusing the quilters of leaving pins on the floor too. She proved this by collecting them up and leaving them on my desk with a curt little note. Quilters are now going out of their way not to be helpful to the art class that is also run by the patchwork teacher.
I am sitting back and laughing. Though why I don't know; I suspect it will all land on my desk in the end.
"It was only one game," said the presenter. "Don’t get carried away."
"But we’re Welsh," they retorted. "It’s what we do."
Four games lost, one game won -- albeit the one really counts. "As long as we beat the English . . . " It’s a strange phenomenon, this passion and determination to beat the old enemy. It’s what binds us to the other Celtic nations: Italy have yet to learn that they can beat the Scots and the Welsh but it counts for nothing compared to a victory over the men in white.
Read the rest of this article here on the Sportingo site.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
So yesterday evening, getting ready for Zac's, I went to clean my teeth and ... I couldn't remember which toothbrush was mine. There were three in the cupboard and I stood and stared at them. Oooh.
Usually I reach in, grab and it's fine.
It's the same if I'm getting money out of the hole in the wall. If I walk up to it, carelessly, I can simply enter all my details, no problem; if I try and think of my PIN number as I'm approaching the machine, I might as well accept there and then that I'm not going to be able to get any money out until the next day.
And now I'm off to the big city of Cardiff. I think. Unless I change my mind on the way. I feel I should start looking for an outfit as the wedding's a month away. Oh, looking at the calendar I see that Spring begins today. Goody.
Oh, yes, and on Nourishing Obscurity, James says he thinks he'll start up the Mindless Bloggers Club. Now that's the one for me! I can do mindless par excellence.
Lenny's friend is fighting his own battle against alcoholism. It's a hard fight and, though he seems to be winning, he is hard on himself. His guilt won't allow him forgiveness. Yet he gives - of himself - to support others.
The community spirit within Zac's is so strong, bringing together people from different ends of the spectrum, linked by - I was going to say 'love of God', but not all are Christians, so what is it that links us?
Wounds, scars, needs. I've said before that I went hoping to be able to give but I receive far more. I love it.
Blossom was also in Zac's. I haven't seen him for a while and he greeted me saying, 'Hello, PoshBird.'
'PoshBird?''Well, yew talk proper, dun yew?'
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
1) I can't read a map and look out for turnings;
2) Roads aren't coloured the same as they are in maps;
3) Signposts point to places I've never heard of and not the place I want to go to;
4) Signposts tell me the place I want to go to is down the road I don't think it's down;
5) There are folds in maps - I can't be expected to know that the road I'm following on one side isn't the same road I am following on the other side.
Why I'm a good navigator:
1) We get there eventually;
2) We see more of the countryside;
3) We can better appreciate the art of the roundabout-maker when we've been round it a few times;
4) My joy when a roundabout or a railway line is where it should be is unparalleled;
5) I make a journey fun.
They are an environmentally-friendly florist sourcing all their flowers from England, including many from the florist's own farmhouse garden. And naturally seasonal.
They don't supply the little packet of plant food that comes with many bouquets these days but, instead, recommend adding a small glass of fizzy lemonade to the water. (Diet Lemonade doesn't do the trick as it doesn't have sugar in it.) If you don't have lemonade to hand they suggest adding 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon bleach to the vase of water.
Now I didn't have any lemonade so I - hesitantly - followed their instructions. It seems to be working. Well, I haven't killed them yet. And once the smell of the vinegar disappeared, it was fine.
Now I've going to have beans on toast for my Mother's Day tea.
And me a tee-totaller too. The things I'll do for my blog.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
Access to it is blocked in China, although the Linden website is allowed in.
I feel foolishly pleased that the blog is considered subversive enough. It must mean they haven't read it though ...
* * * * * * * * * * *
I tried to text Younger Son to ask him to get some tortillas and creme fraiche on the way home. My phone has predictive texting and after I ended up with brendcreme and no way I could find of amending it, I gave up and wrote: get some of the white stuff.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The nurse didn't help by saying things like, 'Oh, it's stuttering. Come on, flow.' And so on. But it was fine.
I've rewarded myself with a hot cross bun and a cup of tea.
Furtheron says I'm courageous. I like to think so.
Having blood taken is an extreme sport. I only did it because my sister-in-law said something about getting free chocolate. I can't find any mention of that in the small print though...
My friend's husband had had a burst appendix followed by septicaemia. He'd been in Intensive Care for 3 months and High Dependency for another 2. During that time I'd been in to see him at least twice a week, so I don't know what happened on this occasion but I started getting hot and queasy. I told my friend, Jan, that I needed some air; she could see me going white so she came with me.
I'd just reached the Ladies' when the door opened ... and I fainted.
I came to a few minutes later with Jan leaning over me saying my name. I said, 'Oh, no, not again,' and we both burst out laughing.
Because it had happened on hospital premises the nurse insisted on putting me in the Incident Book. I kept saying, 'I'm fine,' but nobody was listening to me.
Then Jan said I couldn't drive home. I said, 'I'm fine,' but she said she'd phone my husband to come and fetch me. I said, 'No! Don't phone him! He won't come.'
'He'll be watching the England rugby game on television.'
'When I tell him, he'll want to come and fetch you.'
'No, he'll laugh!'
Jan went off to phone him. She came back. 'He laughed!'
I'm used to this: I come over funny; I faint; I come to; I'm fine. End of story. I don't know why people make a fuss!
So far today I am doing all right.
I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or self-indulgent. I have not whined, complained, cursed or eaten any chocolate. I have charged nothing on my credit card.
But I will be getting out of bed in a minute and I think that I will really need your help then.
Why did I volunteer for this survey? I'll have to ask the nurse if I can lie down before she starts. Have I mentioned that I'm not very good with blood?
I've been banned from giving blood because I kept fainting. Last time, one minute I was chatting merrily to the vampire about old sinks in the Scottish Isles, and next minute it was, 'Oh, dear, oh....' whoomph. Me gone.
The point is that I wasn't even thinking about the blood oozing slowly out of my arm - I'd given about three-quarters or more - and it just crept up on me.
Trying to make me feel less stupid they said, 'Some people's bodies react badly; it's a chemical thing. You're not really a big sissy.'
I fainted in a first aid class once when they were talking about cutting arteries; another time I fainted when visiting a friend in hospital.
So tell me again: why am I doing this survey?
Now I have to say some of the men in the seg unit are ... just a little strange. However last time one of them was very 'normal' looking. He was articulate, smart (as smart as you can be in t-shirt and jeans), well-spoken, smiling and talking about a few weeks' time when it would all be sorted and he'd be out.
Naturally the chaplaincy can't talk about the prisoners but on the front page of tonight's local paper is a picture of my 'normal' man, under the headline, 'He asked me to lick blood.'
He and his lover are charged with the murder of his wife.
What's that about books and covers?
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Gosh, that's not long. Perhaps I'd better start looking for an outfit.
We've 'loaned' Younger Son the money to buy a car - primarily so I can have my car back. Now Betty Beetle is an old-fashioned sort of a girl, running on 4 star petrol. You can't buy that in many places so we have to carry a bottle of additive with us.
After work I decided I'd pop into town and checkout the posh frocks. Fine and dandy except Betty needed petrol.
No problem; we stopped at the garage on the way. First things first, I had to find my glasses so I could read how much and what to do with the additive. Meanwhile a car pulled up behind me at the pump.
It's an ingenious little bottle with a special measuring bit at the top that stops too much additive going in. You have to squeeze the bottom and the additive climbs up the tube at the side and into the top bit. And stays there. Very clever.
At least that's what it's supposed to do. I squeezed and squeezed and it wouldn't move. There was some left in the bottle; it just wouldn't come up. I assumed there wasn't enough there for the pressure to make it climb up. Or something scientific like that.
Cars were queuing behind me now.
I moved Betty, went into the garage and bought more additive.
I was taking the top off the new bottle when it hit me: I hadn't taken the top off the old bottle. That was why it wouldn't work.
Sometimes I am so stupid it scares me.
I finally made it into town. Three quarters of an hour later and I'd had enough. It's not a good idea going clothes browsing when you hate every bit of your body.
The assistant had to unlock a changing room for me and she stood outside the cubicle, talking to me, while I was trying things on. 'Which one are you trying first? How does it look? Would you like a bigger size? etc' Urgh. She wasn't really hassling me but I hate pressure. I didn't bother trying them all on.
But I did buy some farm bacon and Penclawdd cockles from the market for tea. I'll take a photo and show you later.
And I really need to lose about 1 pound a day for the next 8 days. What are my chances do you think? Given I've just had two hot cross buns for lunch. (Well, they'll only go to waste if I don't eat them.)
Monday, March 12, 2007
This first advert for Fry's appeared in 1885 and featured Lindsay Poulton. A fee of £200 - a huge amount then - was paid for the right to use the photos.
The image, only slightly updated, was used until Five Boys chocolate was discontinued in 1976.
Lindsay was five when the pictures were taken and in 1962, recalling the photo session, he said, "I think they must have found it hard to make me cry (for Desperation). In the end, my grandfather induced a sufficient degree of desperation by soaking a cloth in ammonia and placing it around my neck."
I hope the poor boy got to eat the chocolate at the end of that.
Joseph Fry, a Quaker, made his own chocolate which he was advertising as early as 1756. It was his grandsons who set up J. S. Fry and Sons. Frys is now part of the Cadbury Schweppes corporation.
An hour later
I was thinking about this and it's not true. That's the big difference between rugby and football. Rugby fans get their legalised violence on the pitch!
Although I would advise English refs to stay away a bit longer!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
At the front of the table from left:
prawn croustades, potatoes with lavender, meatballs, gravadlax.
There were also chocolate balls, melon, muddy pie and saffron rolls.
Mm, it was a yummy evening.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Every time I write a blog post or comment, I have to sign in. I have asked Blogger numerous times to remember me and it won't.
Does anyone else have this problem? Or did you? Is there a solution?
Or is it just me that Blogger hates?
Now why does that make me chuckle?
'Kiss a kidney today.'
'Be nice to your kidneys.'
'Have you cuddled your kidney recently?'
I don't have a particular interest in kidneys you understand: it came to my attention by accident. It's not one of the better-known Days; maybe they need to rethink their marketing.
They could sell those ubiquitous ribbons, only when you've finished wearing it, you dip it in your pee and if it comes out purple, you'll know it's time you a) gave up drinking, b) visited your doctor, c) planned your funeral (depending on the shade).
I should look at the website
Oh, I shouldn't have done that. I am an accredited hypochondriac.
"Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a “silent” disease and often goes unnoticed because it may not be “felt”. Yet it affects many more people than we would ever imagine: 1 in 10 people has damaged kidneys."
Doctor, I've been getting this pain in my back.
Remember I told you about the stupid taxman telling me I was being penalised for not submitting my tax return on time? And how I wrote a bolshy letter to him telling him that it had been submitted online in time and he had already cashed my cheque so he should know that?
Well, I had another letter from him on Saturday, again saying I hadn't submitted my tax return. I read it and flounced into the study where Husband was looking at cars on the internet (other men peruse sexy young women; mine loves old land rovers). 'Look!' I said. 'They are so stupid; they've written to me again. Will you please find all the details of my submission so I can write to them again with proof?'
Husband reluctantly dragged himself away from dreams of romping in the mud in a four-wheel drive, and set about the search while I was out.
On my return I asked, 'Well, did you find it? What does it say?'
His reply was sort of vague. I listened and then said, 'So my tax return did go in on time?'
'Well, I did it.'
'So it went in on time?'
'Well, it seems I didn't actually submit it.'
I've written to the tax man again - a slightly more apologetic letter this time - and now I have to wait and see if they'll accept my excuses.
In the letter that arrived this morning they suggest that while I'm waiting to hear if my appeal is successful I might want to pay the penalty anyway because it will incur interest if my appeal fails and I haven't paid it. Yes, right.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
He also believes our bedroom is painted red and grey.