Monday, December 31, 2007

Statistically speaking

I need 119 visitors in the next, um, 14 hours to reach 20,000 by 2008.

On my best days I was getting 70 visitors and that's dropped to 30-something over the Christmas period, so I guess there's not much chance. I know! It can be my first New Year's 'resolution': to reach 20,000 visitors! Yay, that's one resolution I may be able to keep.

(Okay, I know that, strictly speaking, that's not a resolution but this is my blog so it can be if I say so.)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The First Trip to the Beach

Having Holly around for a few days helped George overcome his fear of the great outdoors (to a certain extent), but when we took him to the beach for the first time we expected him to be over-awed by the huge - to him - expanse of nothingness: he was VERY brave.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Liz does a Nigella

Husband had video editing software for Christmas so expect a variety of home-made movies!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

In which George discovers the joy of water and mud

Two tired dogs.

The holiday

Lovely Christmas Day with Husband, Daughter and Son-in-law, Younger Son and uncle.

Spent a chunk of today mashing things - potatoes, swedes, carrots and cabbage - for bubble and squeak, served with cold meat, at Zac's for the homeless. Yesterday the true stalwarts cooked a full Christmas dinner for about 30 homeless men and women.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The inevitability of Christmas summed up in socks.

The diet starts in January.
And pigs will fly.

Quote of the Holiday

Daughter to Younger Son: Why do you support Arsenal when you don't live in Manchester?

(For those who don't know, Arsenal football club is in London.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas!

It's 5.30 pm and I've finished! I'm ready for Santa. Oh, must remember to scatter the magic reindeer food on the lawn to show the reindeer where to land.

Off for a curry tonight then an evening in front of the television, before 'settling our heads for a good winter's nap'. And who'll be first to wake tomorrow morning? Me or Daughter?

Anyway, a very good Christmas to all of you. I hope the day is everything you want it to be ... and more.

God bless us every one.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Have a good Christmas?

In prison yesterday morning. The service was a musical presentation by two women whose uncle was the last person to be executed in Swansea prison. He's buried in the prison and it's only in the last few years that, through the chaplain, their mother has been able to put flowers on her brother's grave. And finally lay him to rest in her mind after fifty years.

I played no role in the meeting; I was just there. But one of the prisoners gave me a Christmas kiss as I shook hands with them as they left. Knowing how strict the rules are about everything, I fully expected to be kept in prison! It's a different world with its own set of regulations. Not that I could have stopped him kissing me! At least we weren't in the segregated unit where the sex offenders are; in the chapel you just get the men who've stabbed their partners.

You know what it's like at this time of year: it's automatic to say, 'Have a good Christmas,' but how can you say that to someone in prison? I stuck to the old favourite, 'God bless you.' It's a pat saying but God's blessing can transform lives.

It was the same in Zac's on Tuesday.

On Thursday evening Zac's is the venue for a coffee bar for the homeless. Tuesday night was very cold and when I arrived there, several homeless men and women were collecting clean clothes or sleeping bags, and a few were tempted by the warmth to stay for the Bible study (and mince pies and hot drinks).

It was an eye-opener. I'd been thinking pretty well of myself for going to Zac's and blending in with those on the edge but I'd been fooling myself. Those who go to the Bible studies are on the edge and include addicts, ex-addicts, bikers, homeless, but fall off their edge and you'll land on a ledge that's a few steps from the sheer drop.

And that's when I was reminded of how meaningless a phrase can be. The homeless men were generous and wished me a good Christmas, and one said, 'May your angel go ahead of you.'
'You too.'

Saturday, December 22, 2007

But look how much I saved

Sorting out the children's presents I realised that child X had more than anyone else. I had two options. I could put some aside for next year or I could buy more for the others.

Last night I went shopping. I love buying presents! And I'm fortunate that we can afford it. Not wildly expensive gifts, you understand, just nice things. Like books.

In Borders I picked up one book I wanted and spotted it had a 'buy one, get one half price' sticker. Well, I couldn't ignore such a bargain so searched for another one to go with it. I found two. That meant, obviously, that I had an odd number so needed another one.

Thus I went in for one book and ended up with four. But one of them would be free. So really it was a good money-saving move on my part. And a book is never a waste of money. Well, almost never.

Husband suggested that, while, I was in the shops, I could look for some presents for myself, as he has only bought me four - and I suspect that includes two pairs of individually-wrapped socks. I did try on some clothes in M&S but the lighting in the changing-room was very bright and shining right on my nose, which was doing a seasonal impression of Rudolf's. It was impossible to look good in anything with that glowing back at me.

* * * * * * * * * *

George refuses to contemplate a world that includes people who don't like dogs. Fortunately our neighbours do. Very fortunately as he managed to get over the adjoining wall this morning and into their garden. Then into their house - where he found - oh, bliss - a pile of washing waiting to be done, and he stole a sock. Husband managed to get it off him before he ate it, as he did one of mine the other day.

As I write Husband is outside erecting a fence.

What I did in work today

Happy Christmas from Barney, Alun and me!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bare-cheeked face

I decided to have a bath when I got home from circuit training and, as George had been on his own for the last hour and a bit, I let him come upstairs with me. And how do you think he repaid me?

He stole my towel!

* * * * * * * * *

Staff lunch went well today. We all brought and shared and had a jolly time. There was some discussion about who was going to run in the Swansea Bay 10K next year. A group from Linden is doing it to raise awareness and money for charity. Chris asked me if I were entering. I pointed out that big-bosomed ladies and running don't go together. Not even in sports bras.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Zero tolerance

Cleaning the toilet while balanced on one leg isn't easy.

The other leg was trying to stop George licking the bleach-tainted water.

By 9.05 he had been shut in the kitchen three times for biting me. I am thinking of adopting a zero-tolerance policy. It seems to be all the rage these days. Would he learn, do you think? One bite and he's in the kitchen? No, I don't think so either.
* * * * * * * * * *
Younger Son brought me a souvenir sticker from Amsterdam.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Haven't I grown?

I'm beginning to think seriously that George is the world's only agoraphobic dog. I had to drag him down the road today. He kept sitting down and whimpering pitifully.
Oh, but he loves people with a passion. I have to explain to him that just because a man is in his garage it doesn't mean that he wants to meet George. He looks at me unbelievingly when I say that.
I'm also trying to impress upon him that it's not polite to eat guests. It's all very well tearing me to shreds - that's part of the deal when you get a puppy - but visitors are a different matter. I'm hoping he will pick this up quickly as we have the staff lunch here tomorrow.

The X-mas factor

If Christmas carols and choirs aren't to your taste, you might prefer The X-mas Factor finalists, Lame Difference singing Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.

Joy to the world

On Sunday evening it was Linden's annual Christmas concert. One of the highlights each year is the choir put together for the occasion. After just three rehearsals, this is what they came up with.

Please excuse the very bad filming. I am learning!

Is Hillary all woman?

Just popped over to Nick's blog to check the url, and found some rather interesting facts about American politicians and aliens. You might like to check it out.

Dear me,

You know what it's like when you start browsing through old photos - as I had to do for Auntie Maud's photo frame - you end up getting distracted.

Over on his blog, Saintly Nick did a meme that involve writing a letter to his 13-year-old self from where he is now. I said I might do it but I'm not going to; it's too much like something my therapist would get me to do.

Do you like that? The way I casually dropped in that I have a therapist? Actually I haven't seen for months as he's always in Cambodia or Russia or somewhere (the places people will go to get away from me) but, for a time, a few years ago, I saw him regularly.

I was very anxious about everything and it was affecting my life generally until the doctor finally gave me my happy pills and I began seeing my therapist. In truth I think the pills do more good but I have learned things about myself through the therapy.

Back to the photos. I grew up alongside my cousin who was six months older than me. Six months older, and a million times prettier and more confident. She was the pretty one; I was the clever one (at least in comparison). And I would have given all my brains to be her then.

If I were to say anything to my 13-year-old self it would be this: you're not fat or ugly; you have a right to be here; don't spend your life hiding; be yourself; you're pretty damn special.


Don't xmas with me!

Last week, I think, I wrote a comment on James's blog and included in it a rather rude rebuff to Crushed for using the term Xmas. I feel I should explain.

I hate the word Xmas. Not because I'm a Christian, not because it takes Christ out of Christmas, but because it's an ugly, harsh word that ill-fits the season.

I have to admit to being a little out of tune at Christmas. I am sort of inclined to the view that taking Christ out of Christmas would be a good thing.

I love the season, the fun, the music, the family time and I adore buying presents for my children and seeing them pleased. But every now and again I start guiltily and think, 'oh, it's Christmas; I should be thinking about Jesus.'

The Christmas spirit does infiltrate the secular world, even during the busyness. There is a feeling of goodwill that isn't there at other times. I do believe this. I am all in favour of the holiday.

But for Christians, everyday should be a celebration of Christ's birth and a remembrance of his death. The actual date and time isn't known anyway. So maybe we should change the name of the holiday while still celebrating.

And daily live more Christ-infused lives.

But then again, who knows how many hearts are touched by something that is seen or heard over the Christmas period. It's an opportunity - through concerts or carol services - that Christians don't get very often to talk freely and openly about God to people who aren't there to listen for most of the year. And while the majority of those people will leave with nothing, maybe one or two will grasp at the outstretched hand.

Oh, I love Christmas!


A few years ago a friend and I used to meet regularly to pray. We became renowned for it. If someone in church had a cold, we'd offer to pray and the snuffler would say, 'Please ... DON'T! I'll have pneumonia by next week if you pray.'

Ah, yes, we were good!

I have no idea why some prayers are answered as we want while some - many - aren't. I don't understand God. If I did, I would be God and I wouldn't want that. I'd much rather be his dependent child.

My cousin had ovarian cancer. As I've said before, she was convinced until her last breath that God was going to heal her. It was hard for the rest of us who could see her steadily weakening. Although we knew God could work a miracle, it didn't look likely.

One day she phoned me and said she'd been asking God for forgiveness. Now my cousin was the sweetest, most innocent, loving and trusting person you could have met so I was puzzled as to what needed such particular forgiveness. She explained, 'I haven't had enough faith in God; that's why he's not healing me.'

I was cross with her for believing such rot. Healing doesn't depend on us. If it did, we wouldn't need God. And I wouldn't think much of a god who said, 'Your prayers don't come up to my standard so I'm not answering them.' A god who thought I wasn't good enough.

No, of course I'm not good enough. That's why Jesus was born - and died.

God does want us to ask him for things. Why he doesn't always give them to us is a mystery. But I do know that someone's healing won't depend on how much or how hard I pray. How much guilt could we inflict upon ourselves if that were the case?

The days numbered for me are already written in a book. Can God be persuaded to change his mind? Now that's the question.

forgetting things

It's all very well taking a list with you when you go shopping but if you don't look at it then you're going to forget things. Similarly if you don't look at the 'things we need' list stuck on the fridge before you go, then you're going to forget things.

Plus I was pretty fed up to discover that Homebase had finished selling Christmas decorations. So, like, everyone's got their decorations up already then?

So not an altogether successful shopping trip but I have made a decision and that's given me a bit more time. My life - probably like yours - is concertina-ed at the moment: lots and lots in a small space. It's the last Zac's before Christmas tonight; it's also the prison carol service beforehand so I've decided to skip the prison. It would mean leaving George alone for a long time otherwise. And that gives me a bit more time to ... get the tree decorated.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The world of wuffles

We're trying to take George a bit further each time we go out. Today we walked alongside the river a little. George quite enjoyed it except when I stop unexpectedly and he walks into the back of my legs. If he could walk any closer he would. In fact he'd really rather be inside my wellie.

He hasn't quite got the idea of 'fetch' yet. I throw the stick, he sits down and looks at me.
I run and fetch the stick, and he follows me.
I throw the stick; he sits down and looks at me.
I give up after five attempts.

On the way back I tell him about the wuffles who live down drains and eat yucky things. 'Puppies who eat horsey poo become wuffles and live down drains.'
'I don't want to live down a drain.'
'Don't eat any more horsey poo then!'

Monday, December 17, 2007

Is this a record?

Changing Younger Son's bed this afternoon I happened to look under it. Not a sensible thing to do. I found thirty-five socks. Yes, that's 35.

Thirty-five socks. Can you believe it?!

Younger Son is in Amsterdam for a long weekend; Elder Son and Daughter-in-law are in Berlin. How the young live.

* * * * * * * * * * *

We usually have two Christmas trees: one in the lounge and one in the hall. This morning, after some careful consideration, we decided we'd just get one for the lounge. George is only allowed in there when we're there with him so we can prevent too much damage being done. The hall, however, is in the centre of the house and George has free run there. Also Holly is here for Christmas and when they start hareing around like lunatics, a tree in the hall is likely to be an easy target.

But that meant we would have a very drab, half-decorated hall. (You remember, Husband began decorating it back in February?) But then I had my brilliant idea. Really I should be employed as 'someone who has brilliant ideas'. It would be a bit like being a philosopher but more fun. I wonder if they advertise vacancies in the Jobcentre.

Anyway my brilliant idea. Husband always cringes when I tell him I have a brilliant idea. Mostly they're about as good as Baldrick's cunning plans (for those of you who've seen Blackadder). But this one really was brilliant. And here it is:

On the bit of wall that will be covered by wallpaper - come the revolution or completion, whichever is first - I've painted holly! And Husband stuck up the lights and I wound tinsel round. Now, isn't that just brilliant? Don't you wish you had a half-decorated hall on which you could something similar? I thought so.

I have 98% of a 1 litre tin of specially-mixed, bright green paint if you need some ...


Sunday, December 16, 2007

In the media

At the end of last night's Neighbours, Toady had just proposed to Steph and Susan was having a heart attack or some other life-threatening attack. Inevitably the end credits came up and the voice-over said, 'No more Neighbours now until after Christmas.' What?! You can't do that!

On a more cheerful point, in the Archers, Linda Snell is organising the Ambridge Christmas concert and Eddie Grundy is plucking turkeys so I know it must definitely be nearly Christmas.

And I caught on Oneword Radio an episode of Cold Comfort Farm, read by Eileen Atkins. I had forgotten just how funny it is. It must go on my re-read list.

There are two more things I want to write about but I've run out of time. Back tomorrow.

For the sake of a hook

Big clean-up operation today ready for getting Christmas trees tomorrow. We're getting there but my head has been buzzing with blog posts all day so I'm grabbing this chance before showering to go out to a friend's for a meal this evening to spill my brain.

Part of the clean-up involved hanging photos. Husband drills holes in the wall and I take on the role of lovely assistant holding the hoover attachment nozzle underneath the drill to catch the dust. I took up position today and he started drilling. I have done this many times so am quite expert at it, thus it was that I was puzzled as the dust seemed to be flying everywhere except into the hoover. I jiggled it around a bit and then Husband said, 'It might work better if you switched it on.'

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Deck the halls

At the vets this morning to collect some worming tablets and I spotted they were selling magic reindeer food.

It sparkles so you put it out on Christmas Eve to lead the reindeer to your house.

Another lady there was buying some. She said, 'It's for my daughter. She's only three; she loves things like that.'

I was going to say I was buying it for the dogs but thought they might think I was a bit silly so I said, 'I'm buying it for my daughter too; she's 27.'

At which point the receptionist joined in. 'My daughter's 27 too and she still loves things like that. I still have to do a Christmas stocking for her.'

Well, of course. It's part of tradition.

It starts off with children being too excited to sleep and parents having to stay up till late on Christmas Eve to creep in with their stockings. Then it gets to the point that the children go out on Christmas Eve, don't get in until late so parents have to stay up late to creep in. Then it reaches the point Daughter is at where she goes to bed early but is too excited to sleep ... and so on. Parents are destined for a lifetime of late Christmas Eves. It's in the contract.

* * * * * * * * *

Cleaning today and getting ready for picking up trees tomorrow. The bad news is that George has discovered that if he takes a running leap he can get onto the sofas. Then he prances triumphantly from end to end before burying his nose down behind the cushion so you can't see him. Is it wise to have one Christmas tree, let alone two, when you have a puppy? Of course, it's not. But as a puppy concession we won't have any chocolate on them this year. Or broccoli. George would climb a mountain for broccoli. (As long as it didn't involve any big open spaces. I'm hoping he's not slightly agoraphobic: he likes cupboards but not fields.)

Friday, December 14, 2007

What was my mother thinking of?

Would you let your daughter sit on this Santa's knee?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I shouldn't have mentioned the dragons

Although I think it was the pirates that did it.

We've just been for a nice meander around the old adventure playground that isn't there any more. With George sticking to my heels closer than ... um ... I'll come back to that when I've thought of an appropriate simile (simile?)... I told him about the real adventures we would have.

'We'll fight pirates!'
'Okay, we'll sail the nine seas (there are more continents than I thought so there must be more seas) with pirates and visit treasure islands and play in the sand. We'll have tea and cake with hobbits. We'll meet dragons ...'
'... and have deep philosophical discussions. We'll drink blackberry wine and dance with fairies.'
'That sounds a bit girly.'
'Okay, we'll swim down the Amazon.'
'What about the crocodiles?'
'They don't have crocodiles in our Amazon; that's only in the real Amazon. We'll ... well, tell me what would you like to do?'
'Have a treat?'

He is only little. He will be a hero when he grows up. We will have adventures.
While in the store yesterday - the same store in which I bought the mug (more of that later) and the hat - I saw a photo frame. Written around the edge it said, 'Family Memories', and it had spaces for four photos. 'That would make a good present for Auntie Maud,' says I to myself. 'I can put old photos in it; she'll like that.' So I bought it.

Now all I have to do is:
go up to the attic;
find the box of old photos;
rummage through to find suitable snaps;
scan snaps;
adjust size and shape to fit holes;
print photos;
frame photos;
wrap present.

Note to self.
Next year either:
a) start shopping in August;
or b) buy chocolates or plants or anything that doesn't take three hours of my valuable time. When I could be blogging.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Now that singing mug. How does it work? There is no obvious sign of anything mechanical or electrical, and surely you couldn't wash it if it were sensitive? It must be magic; that's the only logical answer.

Ah, bless

I couldn't resist this pudding hat. I've no idea who's going to be the lucky recipient but I had to buy it. Just like I had to buy the singing mug. Yes, singing. And it was only £1! How could I

not purchase it? Although when it sang all the way to the car I began to understand why there were so many left on the shelf.

People we saw

Driving through town I saw a man crossing the road. He was wearing a pale turquoise-blue shell suit: I was sure it was Mutley. I waved to him but he showed no sign of recognising me so maybe it wasn't. Or maybe he didn't want to damage his image by waving to me.

Then I saw a young woman in white hipster jeans and an orange t-shirt that ended at her navel. I became my granny. 'You will so get a cold in your kidleys, my girl.'

Finally, when Betty and I were sitting at traffic lights a porsche pulled up behind us. 'Don't worry, Betty,' I said, 'he's a very much younger cousin of yours. Just because he's driven by Mr Cool, with shades on and the roof down doesn't mean anything. I'm cool the instant I sit in you.' I didn't add that might have something to do with the gap around the door frame; like all women, she's very sensitive about her condition.

Yay, we made it!

We made it to the field behind our house. With some perseverance ... and bribery.

When we got there I told George we would have adventures the like of which he had never even dreamed. He said that a field with no end and full of strange smells was quite enough adventure for one day, thank you, mummy.

And on the way back we met Marty, an eleven-month-old Scottie, and two people who thought George was gorgeous.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I probably shouldn't use this socket again.

It's in the genes

George definitely has Harvey blood in him. there was nothing Harvey liked more (well, there probably was but he did like it a lot) than a basket of dirty clothes waiting to be washed.

Especially if he could steal some.


My evening

I decided not to go to Zac's but to try and catch up with myself this evening. I planned to do card-writing, and some present wrapping if I had any time left. The best laid plans ...

Husband has moved my card list. I have searched everywhere; I can only assume he has taken it away with him. He will be the least popular person in Hook when he phones me tonight.

Okay, let's not waste time, thinks I, having taken both dining-room and study to bits in my fruitless search; let's wrap presents.

Now this is undeniably pretty but there should be a limit to the amount of stress any one present is allowed to be responsible for. Things weren't helped by George lying on the floor by my feet chewing a stick and occasionally my foot. I ended up sitting at right-angles to the table with my feet up on the chair next to me.

And I'm having a hot flush.

But apart from that, Mrs Lincoln ...

Oh, yes, and after I'd finished using the silver paper, I found the matching tags I'd bought. And I remembered that my card list is on the computer and I could have printed another one off ...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I took George out for his first walk on his lead this afternoon! It took us half an hour and we got about 200 yards (actually I have no idea how far that is but it wasn't far) along the quiet residential road behind our house. Then he stopped and sat down. He said, 'The world is a big scary place when you're new.'
I said, 'But mum's here with you; I won't let anything happen to you.'

But he just sat and looked at me and refused to go any further. So we turned round and came back.

We'll try again tomorrow.

"Why would I want to play with my chewy toy when I could eat your slipper instead?"

I was tagged

By mdm and I've only just found out as I'm all behind. (Note to self: must start to diet seriously.)

1. Do you put up a real tree or artificial? Real. Two of them. One in the lounge and one in the hall.
2. When do you put up your tree? A week or so before Christmas. Usually in time for Elder Son’s birthday on 18th, so this coming weekend.
3. When do you take down the tree? Twelfth Night of course!

4. Do you like eggnog? No, no, no, yucky!
5. Favourite gift received as a child? Transistor radio so I could listen to radio Luxembourg in bed!
6. Worst Christmas gift ever received? Men’s hair-cutting kit.
7. Favourite Christmas movie? White Christmas.
8. Have you ever recycled a present? Oh yes, but I’m not saying what!
9. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas? Chocolate!
10. Favourite Christmas song? A Winter’s Tale sung by the gorgeous David Essex. Sad of course.
11. Most annoying thing about this time of year? I can’t think of anything! There must be something; can I come back to this?
12. What you love most about the holiday? Watching the children’s excitement. Doctor Who.

13. How many reindeer did Santa have? Nine including Rudolph.
14. Best Christmas memory? I forget.
15. If you could have one Christmas wish what would it be? Is this for myself or for mankind?

And I tag Furtheron.

The Snowman

Listen here to a song about an heroic little snowman - but be prepared to cry!

An eventful morning

Driving to work this morning, with the blower on full blast to clear the windscreen, I realised again that when there's a lot of noise, I can't see properly. It was the same when the children were younger and played loud raucous music in the car.

At work, I found three emails waiting for me from my boss (who's been on holiday for a week). In each email she asked me if I'd done something she'd asked me to; my answer in each case was 'no'. Did I mention that it's my job that's vital, not me?

Then later, on my own in the office, I heard someone come in downstairs. I was expecting that someone to come upstairs but no-one did and it all went quiet. I decided I should check it out, just in case someone was raiding the tuck shop and stealing all the chocolate.

I stomped down the stairs, banging a lot and singing loudly (which in itself is enough to frighten the bravest man). I wanted to give the intruder plenty of opportunity to escape; I didn't want to have to inflict my famous karate kick on anyone.

And it worked. For when I crept into the kitchen, it was empty. As was the rest of the building.

A little while later I again heard someone come in. This time there were footsteps and they were coming up the stairs. I took up my leg-raised karate-kick-prepared pose inside the office and waited.

It was Alun. His ribs are now bruised - from laughing so much.

I might not be much good at admin but I make a great security guard.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A depressing post

Finally caught up with last week's episode of Cranford. At one point, Miss Maddy (Judi Dench) rolls a ball underneath the bed to check for men. She explains to her young companion that she has always done, since a child, for she has always 'had a horror of hands under the bed'. I know just what she means.

* * * * * * * * *

Writing Christmas cards this afternoon I was overtaken by a sense of maudlin.

When I was a child, my great-grandmother lived with us. Hers was a large family and they all gathered at our house for Christmas parties. We children came in varying ages and the group I belonged to consisted, in descending age order, of Sue, Spencer, Howard, Lynne, me and John. Sue, Spencer and and Howard all died of cancer before they reached fifty.

When Howard died, Lynne phoned me (we hadn't been in touch with each other for some time for no particular reason). Neither of us said it but I think she just wanted reassurance that I was still alive. Obviously she knew that I was but she - and I - both needed some sort of normality in the face of such awfulness. If that makes any sense.

And it hit me again when looking at my Christmas card list, probably partly because we've had a card from the parents of my friend who died on Christmas Eve about 10 years ago. She was 39. Cancer again.

I knew I shouldn't have written this post.

I need a cuddle from George.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Saturday Photohunt - Long

Rhossilli, on the Gower Peninsula, is a very long beach.

We're off on pre-Christmas visiting this weekend so I won't be able to do any Photohunt visiting until Sunday: see you then!

Deck the hall

Work today included buying and decorating the Christmas tree. It looks lovely. It would look lovelier if our lights hadn't gone missing. That's the thing about Linden: stuff disappears. Sometimes it mysteriously re-appears; sometimes stuff we've never seen before appears. Like the Santa outfit. That turned up on my desk without so much as a by-your-leave. So now we have two santa suits and no lights.

Two folding tables have gone missing as well.

Life. as the king of Siam might have said, is a puzzlement.

P.S. We do have lights on the tree. Chris went out and bought some. Blow the expense; if someone has to be made redundant to pay for it, so be it. I can safely say that: my job has been classified as vital. (Note it's the job that's vital not me.)

P.P.S. The good news is that the free packet of clotted cream shortbread that came with our Viking order wasn't in the box I droppped down the stairs.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

It never rains in the Midlands

It is absolutely pouring down. Someone has taken his finger out of the cloud-dam and there's no stopping it now.

It makes me wish I lived in the Midlands. According to my mother-in-law, it never rains there. Our telephone conversations go something like this.
M-i-l: The weather's been atrocious, hasn't it?
Me: No, it's been fine here.
M-i-l: Well, yes, it hasn't been that bad here either. Just the occasional little shower.

When we visit - as we're doing this weekend - if it's raining, it's my fault. 'You must have brought it with you because it was lovely before you arrived.'

(I'm not serious about living in the Midlands. How do people survive when they haven't got the sea on their doorsteps?)

In which something frightens George

Yesterday evening I was in here - the study - working when George came scurrying in and hid under the desk. Before he disappeared I spotted that his face was filthy.

He'd been playing in the garden so I went to find out what had scared him so.

It appeared to be a daffodil bulb.

The path was covered with earth and there was a big hole in the flower-bed. Peeking out of the hole, uncovered by frantic digging, was a large daffodil bulb. Husband will not be amused. We had better cover it up before he comes home tonight.
I have my own WMD.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Christmas spirit

Oh, I'm so much in the Christmas spirit!

Once Husband's birthday has gone, we're allowed to concentrate on Christmas, so out come the mugs and the music.
Christmas candle, £2.50 Tesco!


According to Chris Evans (or was it Steve Wright?), the three phrases most searched on Google last year were:
1. I hate Ronaldo;
2. I hate men;
3. Beer.

The dress

Zac's was great last night. Lots of people expressed some very wise things from a variety of perspectives but I don't want to talk about that; I want to talk about the dress.

On my way to Zac's I pass a posh frock shop and the dress is currently in its window.

It's strapless and full, in a deep shade of wine red. It's a princess dress, a dress of a little girl's dream. (Or maybe a slightly bigger girl.) It's beautiful and I want it. For no reason other than to be a princess and to dance at a ball. And to run away when the clock strikes midnight.

The closest I ever came to wearing a ball gown was to an event with Husband's work a few years ago. (And incidentally, Husband laughed when he saw my fluffy thing.)
It's nice to go glam every once in a while.

But how can I stay cross?

The ongoing saga

I tried tipping water on him and saying, 'NO!' and all I got was a wet floor.

So now I've covered the bottom of the chair with parcel tape and pepper. I'll let you know if that works.

I like to make things difficult for myself

I've always refused to use ribbons for wrapping Christmas presents on the 'life's too short to stuff a mushroom' principle but it's very difficult these days to buy the little stick-on ribbony-bow things without buying rolls of ribbon as well. So when I saw a pack that included bows and ribbon but cheaper than the bows I had already bought, I thought to myself, 'How hard can it be to tie a ribbon?'

The answer to that question, when you're more ham-fisted than a bacon pig, is 'very hard'.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas spirit

£35?! For a candle and a bit of holly?!

I am in the wrong business.

Strictly Dancing

We attended Alun's 50th birthday party a week or two ago (we didn't stay long as George was on his own). During the evening I tried to persuade one young man to learn to dance.

I told him, 'You could be a short, fat, cross-eyed Greek* but if you can lead a woman around the dance floor, you'll be in demand.'

Dance classes should be part of the national curriculum. Not an optional extra but as compulsory as Maths and English. Even with the current interest in Strictly Come Dancing, dance classes are still depressingly bereft of young people. It's only old people, like me, who have suddenly realised what they're missing.

Husband and I started going for dance lessons (*with a short, fat, cross-eyed Greek teacher) before Daughter's wedding as she wanted a swing band at the reception. We haven't been able to continue as Husband works away so much - and we've probably forgotten most of what we learned - but we would love to take it up again.

Even though we attended for quite a while, we're still very much beginners - how the amateurs on SCD manage to pick it up so quickly and so well is amazing - and have to stop and start again. Even counting ourselves in can be fraught as Husband takes so long and I just want to get going. Oh, yes, I should say, if you're married or a couple and thinking of learning to dance, make sure your relationship is VERY strong before you begin. The number of evenings we came home from dance class arguing ...

But the pleasure of the rhythm and the movement and occasionally getting it right: mmm, yes. And I have to say, as woman, that being led around a dance floor by a man who knows what he is doing and who is holding you tight and almost carrying you, is just wonderful; you can imagine you're Rogers with Astaire, or Fonteyn with Nureyev - or Morecambe with Wise (when it's me and Husband).

And, after all, the rumba - the 'come on' - and the tango - climatic - originated in South America, developed by a hot-blooded, passionate people. There's nothing tame about these dances: they stir the emotions to become a potent simmering brew of sex on the dance floor - when done properly.

When done by Husband and me, it's a different story.

It's hard to look seductive when your lips are moving - 1-2-3-pause, 1-2-3-pause - and your own eyes are crossed with the effort of concentration.

We've been up half an hour

In that time, George has continued to eat my chair.

I've applied a protective coating.

George has removed the protective coating.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I forgot to say ...

a) We took George to the vet on Saturday for his second injection. While I was there, I bought the DVD of Meet the Fockers. A very funny film.

b) Browsing through the Makro catalogue, Husband surmised that he probably wouldn't be very popular if he bought me a laser hair-removal kit for Christmas. I told him he was quite correct.

c) On reflection, I can forget about work even when I am in the office.

Spielberg needn't worry yet

It was a very special night at Zac's yesterday: it was the first baptism to be held in the building since it's been Zac's. (It used to be an old mission hall that had become vacant.) Sean has baptised people in the sea before but this one was extra-special.

The lady who was baptised has had a rotten life. She grew up being told she was bad, and when bad things happened, she was told it was her fault because she was bad. How can people destroy others in that way? What makes them say such things?

Anyway, she's become a Christian and her life is showing a great change. She's not 'there' yet - which one of us is? - but she is well on her way and the change is visible in her face, in her very skin.

Husband very kindly allowed me to take the camcorder along. he showed me how to do the basics so I sat and filmed all the talky bit fine and dandy. Then it was time for the baptism and I got up and walked round to the end of the pool to get a better angle. And at some point in that process, I stopped recording. And forgot to start again. So I missed the actual dunking.

Sometimes I think I shouldn't be let out without a minder.


Elsie asks if George and Holly made friends. That's an interesting question. I don't know if you can tell from the photo in the previous post but both dogs are being held in position for the photo.

George loved Holly. He especially loved biting her ears, her ankles, her tail, her tummy ...

Holly was very patient but they had a few good 'fights', tumbling over and over each other. I think I shall have to adopt Holly's technique of flattening George and pinning him down when he gets too bitey.

Husband had a new digital camcorder for his birthday. (I suggested he might like one so we could film George.) We have one of their 'fights' on record. If I can work out how to edit and upload it, I'll put some up here.

Holidays and hobbies

My boss is on holiday. This morning she phoned me in work to ask me to do things and to give me her phone number - in case.

I forget about work when I am on holiday. Heck, I forget about work when I leave the office. Even if I'm only going to make a cup of tea.

* * * * * * * * * *

Alun had to go to a meeting today. As he was leaving the office he tried to lock me in, condemning me to a fate worse than death: two hours without chocolate. (We have those locks that can only be opened from the outside.) When that failed, he turned off the light on the stairs, obviously hoping I'd fall down them. I don't know why he did this to me; I am sure I have not been rude to him recently. No more than usual anyway.

* * * * * * * * *

I stopped on the way home at a postbox. As I pulled in, a man walked into the middle of the road and took a photo of the white lines. 'Unusual hobby you have,' I said.
'I collect toothpaste lids too,' he said.

Little and large (and even larger)

As I said, Daughter and Son-in-law were down for the weekend for Husband's birthday. They brought with them Holly Dog and Charlie Cat.

We used to think that Holly was small!

Birthday dinner

I had already started eating dinner last night when I remembered I was supposed to be taking a photo of it.
Daughter prepared Beef Wellington, layering fillet steak with spinach and mushroom mixtures, with a madeira sauce. To acompany we had Potato (and swede and leek) Anna and broccoli (George's favourite). It was very delicious and especially noble of her to cook it as she is vegetarian. In fact, everything was ready to go in the oven when she said, 'Oh, what am I going to have for dinner?!'
Husband says thank you for all the birthday greetings!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A quite interesting coincidence

It's Husband's birthday today. We are now both the same ages as our heights.

Husband is 5'8" and I am 5'5". (May I add that it was Husband who pointed this out: I am not in the habit of comparing heights and ages.)

And this is Husband's birthday cheesecake.

Daughter is cooking dinner for us tonight; I shall post photos of that later.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Saturday Photohunt - Red

The badge of Younger Son's favourite team, Arsenal, the Gunners.