Sunday, September 30, 2007

There's a little black cloud

And it's sitting on my shoulder. Husband just told me to stop sighing; I didn't even know I was.

Wales is out of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Our fate was decided this afternoon when we lost to Fiji, 38-34.

To be honest, we probably don't deserve to go through: the boys have had their moments but there've been far too many mistakes.
To cheer me up, here's a photo of Doug Howlett, who scored his sixth try of the World Cup this morning in New Zealand's match against poor little Romania. I would be no good as a referee: if the underdogs were doing really badly I'd be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt in my decision-making if I could.
But Doug Howlett is very lovely and, as Wales are out, it had better be the All Blacks who lift the trophy. They're exciting to watch and deserve to win.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

We need a 6-year-old

As we were out dining last night Husband set up the video recorder to record the England Samoa rugby game.

He set it to record the wrong channel.

The game was being repeated in the early hours of this morning. He set it up again.

He got the date wrong.

That's why we need a 6-year-old.

Now it's about time for the crucial Wales game against Fiji to begin. Everything crossed. I'd better go and get my Welsh shirt on.

Zorba dances on

I still can't find Zorba.

I've searched everywhere (except behind the computer - I wonder if it's slipped down the back).

I gave up, went to the Tesco download site and searched again. I paid my 89p and downloaded it, easy as pie. It went straight to music folder, no problem.

Then I tried to drag it into Movie-maker. Ha! "This move is illegal: this product is protected by digital media rights." What? You mean, even though I've paid my money I can't use it? You ratbags!

So this morning I visited another site, found the track I wanted, and checked carefully to see if it was also protected. From what i could read it wasn't. I paid my 79p this time, downloaded and tried again. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah! "This move is illegal ..."

For goodness sake, I have tried my hardest to be honest; I shall have to resort to asking Younger Son to download it illegally for me.

Family gathering

Every year my uncle hosts a Sunday lunch party to which he invites friends and family from all over the country. He plans it to coincide with the annual gala concert by Dunvant Male Voice Choir; many of his guests attend the concert and eat out afterwards. My uncle, who is nearly 82, has now extended the weekend to include a meal in his favourite restaurant on the Friday night too, and that's where Husband and I went last night.

At some point during the evening, my uncle mentioned that he wasn't fond of whisky - his preferred drink is champagne. I said, in that case, he couldn't really be a member of the family - his mother, my gran, was partial to a wee dram of the hard stuff, as were most of her family. He retorted that I must be even more of an outcast as I don't drink at all. I agreed that I often wonder if I could be a changeling as i certainly don't have the family talking gene.

It was bedlam in the restaurant last night, full as it was of my relatives (all older than me). They were doing that everyone talking, no-one listening thing, that they all enjoy so much.

I really don't know what happened to me.

Out now

I'm delighted to report that Sabine has had a book published. Written in German, it's called 'Living and Working in Malta'.

She writes a lovely blog, with photos, about life in Malta, so why not pop over and say congratulations?

Can you read this?

Is anyone else having trouble getting my blog to load?

I get the sidebar and then it stops. Sometimes it will appear after a few minutes but sometimes it won't. And there doesn't seem to be any logic in its decision.

Saturday Photohunt - Original

Original. I am.
I wanted to take a photo of my finger-print but my camera isn't good enough to do it. So I tried inking my finger-tips and printing them but I just ended up with inky fingers.
But I am an original: there is only of me.
And only one of you too! That makes you pretty special!

Two years - and it don't seem a day too long

Today I'm celebrating my 2nd blogiversary. Yes, it was that long ago that I created this blog (with Harvey's help, of course) - never realising how addictive it would be. Or how many lovely bloggers I would come to think of as friends.

And one of those friends I'm going to meet the week after next!

Yes, Welshcakes is paying a flying visit to Wales and we're getting together. How exciting is that?! The truth will finally be revealed: I am really a 6' homosexual werewolf with dandruff and bad breath.

Don't tell my children I'm picking up Welshcakes in the car! It is absolutely the sort of thing I would yell at them for doing: arranging to meet someone I've only ever spoken to over the internet.

But if I don't look like my photos, then Welshcakes won't get in my car; and if Welshcakes doesn't look like her photos, then I won't pick her up. Unless she's a 30-year-old rugby-playing hunk. If that were the case, I would have to do some interrogation. Strictly for the sake of Blogpower you understand.

Now I tried to find a good image to celebrate with but they were all rubbishy so here's something completely different from (as seen first on Winston's blog).


Is there anybody there?

I just got home from work and the house was not as I left it!

I came in through the kitchen door and things had been disturbed in there. Younger Son was in work - and had left before me this morning - and Husband was in Hook. Did I panic?

I did not. I am woman; I am empowered.

I went into the hall and shouted out, 'Okay, burglars, I'm going to close my eyes and count to 10. In that time I expect you to leave. If you do, we will say no more about it.'

I went back into the kitchen, closed my eyes and waited. No sound. They must have already gone. And all that seems to be missing are a few plastic carrier bags. Hm, interesting.

(It wasn't really that brave of me: the alarm was still on in the hall and hadn't been set off so I didn't really think there were any burglars in the house.) (Although I have been known to do the same thing under different conditions.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Best seller - almost but not nearly

The postman was late today. There doesn't seem to be a regular time for him to come. Ah, for the old days when the post arrived before the children left for school.

Anyway, he brought me a letter. A royalty statement from Hodder. It tells me that my book, A Cop for Christ, has sold 10,738 copies since it was published a few years ago. (Actually quite a few years ago.) I am impressed and rather pleased with that. I shall have to remember it when I next receive a rejection.

I've come back from holiday as I always do, full of enthusiasm and plans for my writing. One of my plans is to re-write my novel. I still like the characters and the general idea of the story but have come up with a different way of telling it. I like the way it's done now but quite clearly the agents don't. Lots of other ideas as well. All that it needs now is for me to put them into action.

Oh, I've just discovered dried egg yolk on my chin! I am turning into an old dear.

P.S. Amazon lists the author as Mike Di Sanza, the name on the front. My only credit is in small writing on the back because the publishers felt it would sell better that way. But I did write every word - except the foreword.


There are a few bits and pieces crowding my brain and I need to make room for cocktails.

1. I have trendy new glasses! They're very different from my old ones and rather heavy on my nose, but I expect I will get used to them. They're better than my old ones for three reasons: I can see with them; they have two arms; they're not held on my nose by bits of Blu-tack (Alun, in work, got fed up of me grumbling each time they fell off and he insisted on sticking the Blu-tack on).

2. It's a puzzlement (as the King of Siam said). I have spent most of my life being bemused by it. As a result I have two large furrows just above my nose, between my eyes. They make me look grumpy even though I'm not. But now I've found an answer: polyfilla for faces! It's made by L'Oreal - who I'm fairly sure have dubious ethics but my vanity is greater than my ethical consumer concerns - and I'll let you know if it works ...

3. Estate agents in Crete have made honesty into an art form. In their windows they have advertisements for various 'Old Ruins'. They were too. I tried to take a photo but it didn't come out unlike this one. It seems they have 'Pound' Shops (and Lidl) everywhere these days.


Hello (or possibly goodbye - it appears to be the same word).

If Husband said it once, he said it twice during the last week: it's all Greek to me.

So, back from Crete and a relaxing week's holiday. But, oh, I do love my own bed. Someone sang, 'It's awful nice to go travelling but it's oh so nice to come home.' Or something like that. My sentiments exactly.

Not that we didn't have a lovely time: we did. Weather was half and half. The first two days I was melting. How on earth do you cope for days at a time with weather like that, Welshcakes? We survived by doing lots of sea swimming or, in my case, sea splashing. I must be the only person in the world who can swim on the spot.

Then we had a few cloudy days during which time we hired a car and visited a few sites/sights. Day 1 we went east to Knossos, the palace of the kings of Crete during the Minoan civilisation, which lasted from 2600-1100 B.C. The palace at Knossos was excavated by Englishman, Arthur Evans, at the beginning of the 20th century. He has been criticised for his reconstruction that involves a lot of concrete and imagination, but he is still honoured for his work on the huge palace excavation.

It did seem just a little like Disneyland: it was immaculately tidy. I expected Hercules to pop out from behind a pillar at any point, maybe accompanied by Minnie Mouse. That aside - and the ridiculous prices the guides wanted to charge - it really is a very impressive place. Here are some old ruins.

Day 2, we decided to head south - we were staying about halfway along the top of the island - and armed with the map and me as navigator we set off for the mountains. We ended up in the north-east. I blame Greek road signs - or lack of - and not my lack of map-reading skills. I admit I occasionally get distracted if I see a cute cat (more of that later) and lose my place, but the problem was far deeper than that, based as it was on Crete's poor infrastructure. So there.
Anyway we ended up at Chania, the old capital of Crete, on a very windy and wild day. It seemed to us to be a very badly designed harbour with an entrance that looked far too perilous to brave. The old town itself is largely Venetian and very lovely.

Day 3 we finally made it to the south of the island by following the only road we hadn't tried the previous day. We ended up at Matala Gorge (or George as it said on the wall) where Bob Dylan, amongst others, had lived in a cave in the sixties. Allegedly.

Ah, yes, and those cats. The hotel had a resident family of mum, dad (a ginger tom who incidentally had the largest testicles I have ever seen on a cat), and two young kitties. Here mum does what mums the world over do: gives her offspring a quick lick and brush-up as she's passing.

Lots more photos to come in the slide-show I'm preparing. I've downloaded Zorba's Dance to accompany the piccies but do you think I can work out where the puta has downloaded it to?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In Crete now

Back on 26th September. Have a good week!

P.S. To any burglars reading this: the house isn't empty. Younger Son is there and he might be a reader but he's a big lad.

My grammatical revelation

On Sunday morning I was sitting in bed enjoying my second cup of tea (yes, I'm spoiled) when I had a blinding revelation: church is a singular noun.

I consider myself to be reasonably proficient in my grammar and punctuation but I have a few blind spots. One of them is my inability to choose the correct form of the verb to go with collective nouns such as team or church (when it's used in the early Christian way, meaning the people who followed Jesus).

So the revelation/realisation that church is a singular noun - and therefore simple to deal with - is more blinding than it might appear to you.

e.g. The church is meeting to pray on Sunday.

I felt a great weight lifted off my shoulders.

Until I consulted Fowler's English Usage. It says, 'In BrE it is in order to use either a plural verb or a singular verb after most collective nouns ...'

My Good English Guide says the same thing.

So that's my revelation floored. And it's back to what sounds right. The experts do offer some more helpful advice.

It can depend on whether you're thinking of the collective noun as a unit or as individuals within a unit. And if the items that make up the collective noun are inanimate, then the verb is always singular.

It does go on to say that the important thing is to make sure any attendant pronouns follow suit.

e.g. The church is meeting to pray to its God on Sunday OR The church are meeting to pray to their God on Sunday.

So that's clear then. I can go on holiday knowing I'm one step closer to grammatical perfection.

I am remarkably well-organised for this holiday as you can see by the fact that I'm blogging minutes before we leave. I am rather like the Queen in this respect - although I haven't won two bars of soap in a raffle. My holidays are organised for me. Husband is a gem.

Air travel

We're off to Crete this afternoon. (That makes it sound like a Sunday afternoon run in the car to the local DIY store!)

Now I know you're all accustomed travellers and think nothing of hopping on and off planes but, for a day or so before we fly, my mind is kept occupied listing a number of facts:
thousands of planes fly everyday;
everyone - but everyone - uses planes as naturally as I use my toothbrush;
statistically planes are very safe;
there are planes flying to ** insert place name, from all over the world everyday;
it's going to be ALL RIGHT.

Once I'm on the plane I'm not too bad. I don't listen for strange noises all the time. And I watch the stewards: if they look happy, I'm happy.

And I'm probably the only person in the world who looks forward to aeroplane food. It relieves the monotony and it's fun, unwrapping all those little packages. I get my thrills where I can.

The Goons

Neddy Seagoon: You left me in the desert to die!

Milligan: To die? I thought it was yesterday.

Holly and the Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam (according to my Collins Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers)
The sun through the trees

Holly has been down to stay. Only for one night but it gave me the chance to go walkies. I got home from work at lunchtime and Daughter and Son-in-law (who were also down) were out visiting friends. I didn't know if they'd walked Holly but I thought I should take her out, just in case. So we went over the tip, through the woods and back by the river.

It was a beautiful day and I spent most of the walk telling Holly stories about Harvey and how it was one of his favourite walks and how he loved the water too. Not that she was really listening; she just wanted to chase sticks.

I think Jesus must love Holly a lot. The best word to describe my stick-throwing would be erratic. Let's face it, I throw like a girly, and where it will go, nobody knows. But not one stick landed on Holly's head in spite of several coming within an ear's breadth, convincing me that someone was keeping an eye out for her.

Both Husband and I have been finding it more difficult of late. I think initially we felt relief for Harvey's sake - on the final morning he was very distressed - and, I suppose, a sort of relief for us. I often joked about checking that he was still breathing but I think we all were living with a sense of dread.

It's good that we're going on holiday tomorrow. Have I mentioned that we're going to start looking for a puppy when we get back? And I've offered to dogsit a friend's dog in October too. But little extras like walking Holly are a big bonus!

I'm a star!

I am thrilled to have been awarded a Blogging Star by Sabine. It was originally created by Skittles’ Place, to be bestowed on “bloggers who shine their light throughout the Blogosphere. Some do it with humour, others with creativity, and others with their kind and thoughtful natures. We all know more than a few of them so why not give them some recognition?”

Well, isn't that lovely?

I have to nominate five bloggers to pass this on to but I'll need to think about it, so I'll do it when I get back from my hols.

Monday, September 17, 2007

To read or not to read

Younger Son has been teased by his friend who says book-readers are gay. YS has responded by digging out some of his favourite books to try to persuade friend to read them. But he isn't optimistic; he shrugs as he says, 'He has no imagination.'

Thank you again, Mr Dahl, Ms Rowling et al. And thanks to the local library that fed my own habit as child.

Postscript - but of no relevance to the topic. When I read over what I'd written I saw that I'd put 'fed up' when I meant to say 'fed my'. Isn't it peculiar how the brain works? Mine at least.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wales for the cup?

A strange thing has happened.

I was talking to a fellow Welsh rugby fan this morning. We agreed that Wales didn't really do anything very wrong in the game against Australia; it was also the best team that Wales has. The fact was that we just weren't good enough.

Now Welsh supporters never say that. Before any game our blind optimism takes control; after we always have an excuse. It's almost impossible to dowse the flame of hope, even though it's barely a flickering ember. Even if we lose, we're almost immediately upbeat about the next game.

Husband is more realistic. He has never been overly hopeful for England's chances in this World Cup. Me, I could see Wales winning it. If everyone were fit, if things went our way, if we just had that little bit of luck, if each player played to his potential, we could do it. We could beat even the All Blacks. On the right day.

Not this year.

(But talk to me next week, and there might still be a chance ...)

A bloggy mystery

Why is Blogger talking to me in German?

Is it just me? What language is Blogger using to address you?

Wales 20 - 32 Australia

I'm a bit down but not as depressed as Husband is after England's 36-0 defeat by South Africa.

But to show what a good sport I am, here's Australia's George Gregan, the game's most-capped player with, I think, 136 caps. That's fairly amazing in a game like rugby.

I've been spending some time browsing the net for photos of rugby players. (I had to do something to cheer myself up.) I've stored a few good ones - a couple of really good ones - but I'll keep searching. Never say I'm not a martyr to the cause.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday Photohunt - Plastic

Sorry, the only way I could get this photo to load was as a small image.
Please click on it for a better view of recyclable plastic!


Friday, September 14, 2007

Finally! ...

Arriving at Boots opticians for my appointment this afternoon I discovered they were offering free eye tests to the over 50s.

The first - as far as I can recall - time that being over 50 has been of benefit. Getting something free!

Admittedly I have had free mammograms since being 50 but, while they're undoubtedly beneficial, I refuse to think of them as a benefit.

Of course the downside is that the only reason these things are free is that over 50s are more likely to have problems. But my eyes at least are very healthy. I have to have new glasses but I was expecting that, and not only because my current ones are missing an arm. I've noticed their increasing ineffectiveness. I've had them a good few years: they must be getting worn out.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

In memory of Dahl

The books of Roald Dahl played an important - vital - role in my children's growing-up. Charlie, The Twits, Revolting Rhymes (where Little Red Riding Hood 'whips a pistol from her knickers') and, of course, The BFG.

Seeing Google's tribute, I thought I'd like to remember him too. Unfortunately all my children's books are in the attic - awaiting grandchildren - so I looked in the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations. Not a thing! Not a single mention. They had Paul Daniels, for goodness sake, but no Dahl! But I managed to find these on the net.

"The matter with human beans is that they is absolutely refusing to believe in anything unless they is actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles." (The BFG)

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." (Roald Dahl)

Time's up

Husband was watering the path (with weedkiller) when I arrived home from Sainsburys on Saturday. It reminded me that in the past he had to do it last thing at night and we had to keep Harvey in afterwards.

And suddenly I thought, 'Okay, the joke's over now; you can come back, Harvey.'

I just wanted him back.

I don't know if I should tell you this

Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I realised that I hadn't washed all day.

You see, I intended to do some cleaning and then shower. then I thought I'd shower before I went to the theatre in the evening. But then I lost my oomph and didn't go to the theatre so I thought I'd have a bath later. Then I got ready for bed and I realised ...

It's a good job I have to go out sometimes otherwise I would be living quite happily in my own little state of grime.

I'm going to have a shower now.


According to the 'puta, last night I had an eyecall error. The add-in had fired an exception.

It must have missed its target - or hit it - because it seems all right this morning. (Famous last words?)

It's a good job I'm going to the optician today.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The lady of the house is out

Next time someone comes to the door I'm going to pretend to be my cleaning lady. Well, it won't really be pretending as I am my cleaning lady, but I'll pretend not to be me as well.

It'll be simpler.

A man just offered to do some tree lopping. Now we have lots of trees that need lopping, quite serious lopping in some cases. Husband wishes he had been a lumberjack and enjoys doing it but we have more trees than he has spare time, and one particular bit, just next to where we sit, is not only overgrown and leaning towards the house, but is brown and ugly at the bottom as well. My man gave me a very good price (he assured me it was) to cut them down completely and remove the rubbish. As long as I had it done today.

I told him I'd ask Husband, and I did try but his mobile went straight to voicemail. I don't think my man believed me but I would have liked him to cut down the trees.

We had a Health & Safety training day in work on Monday. The trainer asked us what hazards we had at home; I said, 'my husband.'

Saying 'I know what I'm doing,' he props his ladder up against a thick conifer hedge, and climbs up it, 10' or more, chain saw in hand.

I would have been very pleased for someone else to risk life and limb but dare not make the decision without consulting Husband. It is 'his' garden.

And my man was Irish. So if he'd brought two mates with him, I'd have been able to tell people we'd had the tree fellers in. (The old ones are the best.)

A hard night's day

Last night was one of those days.

Before Zac's there was a prison planning meeting so I had to rush afterwards - and Betty didn't have any petrol.

The only petrol station selling 'red' petrol is the other side of town so that means calling in to the one en route, filling up with 'green' petrol and using the additive. So far so good.

I reach into Betty, pull out the bottle of additive and ... it's empty. Try again, this time coming up with the full bottle. (Why do I keep an empty bottle in the car?) Peer at instructions. Why do they have to be so small? Rummage in handbag for glasses case. Take out glasses and put on. A car has pulled up behind me and is waiting. It's getting dark. Even with glasses have to screw up eyes to decipher. Finally decide how much I need. Battle to take off lid. It's childproof. Have to put it on the floor before I can win battle. Study measurements on bottle. Hold it this way, then that. Can hear man in car behind drumming his fingers on the steering wheel.

Hold bottle up to light. For goodness sake, have manufacturers no idea about the sort of people who drive old cars that need additive? They tend to be fairly decrepit themselves. Pour in amount. Hope it is right.

Take off glasses, push back in case in bag. Lock petrol cap. Key gets stuck. Fear that driver waiting is going to come and do it for me soon. Tell myself I shouldn't be pressurised. Ignore myself.

Additive has spilled over my hands but don't want to take even longer by going to wash them so just pay and drive off as speedily as possible.

Get to Zac's. They've started bible study. I open bible, get out glasses. Discover glasses are armless. Sit back and breathe deeply.

This morning take photo of self in lopsided glasses. Blinded by flash. Try to download photo; batteries on camera have gone. Replace with a variety of others. All flat.

Could be the longest day.

What a whopper!

Our first (and currently only) raspberry. And delicious it was too!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


A lot of people have been blogging about the financial markets. If you've ever read my blog you'll know that's something I avoid. Not because I know nothing about it (that doesn't stop me blogging on other things) but because I find it boring. Until today.

I was directed to this video by Winston over at Nobody Asked. Enjoy.

Whoops, done it again

The good news though is that my orchid, my mother-of-the-groom's present from April, is flourishing under Husband's tender ministrations. (I have kept well away from it.)

* * * * * * * * *
I woke in the middle of Friday night and thought, 'Oh, fiddle.' Ladies, if I say I've been drinking a lot of cranberry juice since then, you'll know what I'm talking about, won't you?

To stop it getting a hold, I called the out-of-hours service on Saturday morning. I spoke to a lovely nurse who asked me lots of questions and then said, 'Do you have a temperature? Are you hot?'

Well, I'd been roasting in the night, but, quite honestly, at my age, that isn't entirely unusual.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Doing the ironing last week I was listening to The Material World on Radio 4. The first piece was about recycling hazardous household waste. The presenter made a big assumption when he said that people who care about recycling are likely to already be aware of potential dangers. In a battery?

These things shouldn't be taken for granted. Not when I'm out here.

Apparently in May of last year the EU agreed a battery recycling law. So they'll be pleased to hear that, since earlier this year, I have been collecting used batteries in a special little box provided by one of the big DIY stores. When it's full I can take it to the store for safe recycling. (Apparently it's still being trialed so is not available in every part of the country.)
The other item on The Material World was about the search for Homer's island of Ithaca. The latest theory is that it could be that a peninsular on the west of Kefalonia was an island before the channel separating it from the main island was silted up. For the next two years, a huge research project into the geophysics and geology of the area is being undertaken.
Isn't it lovely that money is still being spent and research being done for no practical reason? Simply for academia. To prove that an island written about hundreds (thousands) of years ago really existed. I like that.
(I should add that the machinery that will be used will itself be undergoing trials so there is a practical benefit to the sponsor.)

The myth of self-esteem

I mentioned that John Smith was as controversial as ever. The talk he did was fine; it was one of the asides that I would query. (Although it was just that - an aside - and maybe he meant something entirely different from how I interpreted it.)

He's writing, or has finished writing, a book called The Myth of Self-esteem. He said he's been working on it for years and wants to get it out soon as he fears there could soon be a band-wagon following the publication of some research.

This research showed that children upon whom praise was heaped didn't try as hard, or push themselves as much, as children who were less generously praised but encouraged to do better.

Now I think about it more that seems perfectly reasonable. A lot of us, by nature, are fairly lazy; if you can get by without much effort, why bother to do more than is necessary? But a little encouragemnet also works wonders.

I don't know what John Smith means by the myth of self-esteem but I'm sure he can't mean that good self-esteem is bad. He has spent his life working with bikers and outcasts of society; that in itself shows the value he places on them.

Jesus' ministry was all about showing people they mattered. Zaccheus, after whom Zac's place is named, climbed up a tree to watch Jesus pass by. Jesus spotted him and invited himself to tea with Zac. Jesus also invited himself to tea with Matthew, the despised and crooked tax-collector. I bet they felt good about themselves afterwards.

Jesus sums up the commandments saying, 'Love God and love others as you love yourself.' If we don't love ourselves, the world is going to be pretty screwed.

Okay, I should probably wait for John Smith's book to come out before I start disagreeing with him. I just wanted to get this out of my system. I can go and do some cleaning now.


Daughter has been complaining about photos of nude rugby players on my blog; she wants flowers or dogs instead.

As a gesture to her sensibilities here's a bunny-wabbit. You can't see very well in the photo, but she's absolutely gorgeous. i bought her as a present for Husband's great-niece but on reflection - and realising that she will be 10 - I wonder if she will consider a hand-puppet too childish. I might have to keep bunny myself.

While on the subject of nude rugby players, after the talky bit at Zac's, a friend and I were sitting at the coffee bar, when the conversation turned to girly mags. The President of the UK God's Squad was saying that he'd 'confiscated' some magazines belonging to a biker who turned up at one of their Bible studies (in a place similar to Zac's) explaining that they were degrading to women and demonstrated none of the loving attributes that reflect Christ's teachings.

I thought about my nude rugby players, decided it was altogether different ... and kept quiet.

Monday, September 10, 2007

That well-known musical combo ...

Stillman, Smith & Joseph (l to r: Smith, Stillman and Joseph) On Sunday evening Rev. John Smith, founder of God's Squad, Christian motor-bikers' association, spoke at Zac's Place. He's always controversial and this was no different.
He was looking at the 'beens' (should-have, has etc) but spoke mainly about Samson, a could-have-been. He could have been a great leader of his people but his human frailty let him down. His passion for Delilah was greater than his passion for God.
I can understand that. It's easy - for some of us - for a physical desire to be more real and powerful than a spiritual one.
John Smith also spoke about another John, the Baptist. He was a has-been, the one who proclaimed the coming of the messiah and who was pushed into the background when Jesus, his cousin, came on the scene.
Just before his life would end by beheading, John sent a message asking Jesus if he really was 'the one who was to come'. In spite of having baptised Jesus and hearing God speaking blessing from heaven upon him, and, no doubt, having seen and heard of the miracles (I like to imagine John and Jesus playing together as boys, John breaking his favourite wooden toy boat and being upset and crying, and Jesus repairing it with a word!) that Jesus was performing, in those last moments, John was seized with doubt. Was Jesus really the messiah or had he, John, got it all wrong and wasted his life?
Jesus replied by saying that the blind were receiving sight, the lame walking, the lepers healed, the dead raised. Heaven had come to earth.
Had John wasted his life? I don't think so.
Before John Smith started speaking, Martyn Joseph sang a few songs, including my heart's prayer, Turn Me Tender Again. A lovely man and a great singer.
The only distraction in the evening was sitting across the aisle from us. Judging by the rich aroma, he was a street-dweller - one of the ugly and unloved that Jesus sought out - and out of the corner of my eye, I could see him scratching. Now, do you know how hard it is not to start scratching when you see someone else doing it? I'm scratching now just thinking about it!
Don't scratch. You don't really need to. No, don't scratch. Listen to what John Smith is saying. Concentrate. No, don't scratch. You're not itching. John the Baptist, yes. No, no, don't scratch. Aaaaaah scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch ...

Second only to Osama

In 2003, Welsh rugby player, Colin Charvis was voted second most unpopular man in Wales. He came in between first-placed Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
You're wondering what on earth he did to merit such hatred?
He refused to cancel a pre-arranged holiday to go training with the Welsh squad and, under his captaincy, Wales did very badly in the Six Nations tournament, losing their first game to Italy, who were very much the underdogs.
We take rugby seriously in Wales.
Anyway he's getting on a bit (for a rugby player) and most people thought that 2003 would be his last World Cup. Not so. He's there again this year. And how. Suddenly he's our hero. He fought back from the position of hate he was held in, is in the peak of fitness and playing as well as ever he's done. Fitting then this afternoon that he should be one of Wales's try scorers in our victory over Canada.
He might be the man most people want to see score, but I appreciate that he's not quite in the Remy Martin field when it comes to looks (although I'm sure his wife loves him).
So in tribute to yesterday's valiant effort by the US team of semi-professionals, here's one of their stars, Chris Wyles of Stamford, Connecticut.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The world cup begins

Well, the rugby World Cup 2007 kicked off last night in Paris with the hosts taking on Argentina.

France is one of the favourites, so the result - a win for Argentina - shook everyone, especially Monsieur Laporte the Spock-like French coach. I wouldn't have liked to been on the receiving end of his after-match talk.

More games like last night's will make this a fantastic tournament.

There are teams in the competition that expect to do well: New Zealand, Australia, S. Africa and France. Then there are teams like England, reigning champions, Ireland and Argentina that have a good chance. At the other end we have Namibia and the US who are only there to make up the numbers. Somewhere in between comes Wales.

The Welsh have a great rugby history, but that's what it is: history. Although the Welsh nation hasn't accepted it yet and still hopes and believes in the team. Which is both depressing and heartening.

We SHOULD do well but we probably won't.

Having said that I'm still cheering us on, hoping that we'll get to beat England in the quarter-finals at the very least. Yes, I know! It's not much of a hope but without hope, why go on?

If Wales can't will, I hope it will be the All Blacks because they play exciting rugby.

Meanwhile, as I could get a bit boring blogging about rugby for the next month, I'm planning on including photies for the girls. First up, the cover of a book that has proved very popular with gay men in America. According to the Amazon synopsis, this book 'will appeal to anyone fascinated by the male form'. Husband tells me this is Remy Martin. What is it about rugby players? We have Austin Healey named after a car and now this man named after a brandy.

Saturday Photohunt - Music

Music as it used to be ... and still is. This record is part of Elder Son's huge collection (or his pension fund as he calls it).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I have a secret phobia

And I'm going to share it with you on the premise that talking about your phobia/fear combats it.

So, during the summer, I've been going to the gym. While there I use the treadmill. You'll have seen people on the treadmill (or on the treadmill on television) jogging away like mad, the perspiration dripping from their brows, their breaths coming in short pants. Now picture this: me walking - quickly admittedly - but barely raising a glow let alone sweat, and - and this is the crunch - clinging onto the hand-bars for dear life.

I have this fear you see, doctor, that if I let go, I'll lose concentration and next thing I'll go shooting off the end. You see it's a very logical fear: all my fears are.

{Siadwel, a Welsh comedian tells of his auntie and her fear of the ground. "She says, 'It's not the jumping off a skyscraper that will kill you; it's the ground.'"}

And I'm scared to try running in case the same thing happens and I won't be able to reach the controls and slow down and the machine will go faster and faster and ... I'll sssccchhhhhwump - be off the end.

Last night I very bravely let go for a few minutes. Even in that time I was drifting all over the place. Imagine if I got carried away. And if I was wearing my headphones and watching, say, rugby, at the time, I could be strangled by my leads!

I thought talking about it might help, but it's just made me think of more dangers.

Assuming there would be lots of people who feel the same, I googled for a cartoon of someone flying off the end of a treadmill: there weren't any.

Must just be me then.

Got any spare change, guv'nor?

I was just reading Russian Wolfhound's blog when I remembered Elder Son's cunning plan.

Apparently Amy Winehouse's family has been asking the public not to buy her CDs so as not to fund her habit. (It's like those people who say you shouldn't give money to beggars as they'll only spend it on drink.)

Elder Son decided that he would go to HMV, take a Winehouse CD to the counter and ask if he can pay for it with luncheon vouchers. She looks as if she could do with a good meal inside her.

I think he could be onto something. It's a win win situation.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Well, it amused me

"During World War II German aeroplanes flew over London dropping language pamphlets containing common German phrases; it was the start of the Berlitz."

From 1966 and All That on Radio 4 this evening.
I keep chuckling to myself.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

In the beginning ...

was the blog, and the blog was made word. And I blogged and the world was good.

On the next day they created MySpace, and everyone said, 'This is the future,' and I became part of the future. But I continued to blog.

On the next day they created Facebook, and everyone said, 'Be my friend,' and I was their friend. But I continued to blog.

On the next day, they created Twitter, and everyone twittered - and I said, 'Enough.' And I continued to blog.

Which is just a silly way of saying, 'AAaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! I can't keep up!'

Slug ahoy!

We have a mat behind our kitchen door. For several months, each morning, we've got up to a slug trail around the mat. It never seemed to go beyond that and, of late, since Harvey's demise, we've hardly noticed it at all. I concluded that Sluggy had only been coming to visit his buddy and could imagine them -Sluggy, sitting on the edge of the rug, and Harvs lying, on his bed -putting the world to rights and wondering why humans were in charge when they were obviously making a mess of it.

Then the other night Elder Son and Daughter-in-law, who were staying, were getting ready for bed and about to turn off the kitchen light when they spotted a head slipping in under the back door.

Knowing my fondness for quirky photos to place on my blog, Elder Son rushed to get my camera and this is what he caught. Our late night visitor hasn't stopped calling at all. Maybe he just pops in occasionally to see if his buddy's returned yet.

Wot no MOT?

Younger Son's car is due for an MOT. It was booked in for Saturday but he didn't get there on time so they couldn't do it. He booked it in again for today. Younger Son is in work so guess who had to take it? Yip, that's right, me.

I got ready and was just about to leave when Husband says, 'You'd better pump up the tyres first.'

I grind my teeth and head off to the petrol station. I have never driven YS's car before and when I stop I can't work out how to get the key out of the ignition. I leave the driver door open - in case it locks me out - while I pump up the tyres. I do three but the fourth will only let air out not in. I give up and drive, with one slightly deflated tyre, across town in a rush to get to the garage in time for the appointment.

As I drive I notice a little orange light on the dashboard. I don't know what it means but I am fairly sure it is not a good sign. Although not as bad as a red light.

YS is already in my bad books. He drank all the milk meaning I had to go out BEFORE breakfast to buy some in order to have my cereal. He is 22; he should know by now that making me wait for my breakfast is not likely to get me on his side.

His car fails but not for either the tyre or the orange light. The mechanic tells me what the problem is but he is underneath the car while he is talking. I'm not sure but I think it is something to do with the sea.

in between garage visiting I have been writing about cocktail party themes. Now I can't decide whether to opt for the sophisticated black tie affair or the gaudy fake-palm-tree beach do. Both have their good points.

Monday, September 03, 2007

So long and thanks for all the ... love

We gathered yesterday to drink a champagne toast to Harvey, in gratitude for the love and happiness he brought into our lives for the nearly 15 years he was part of our family. Of course he'll always be part of our family but you know what I mean.

We recalled his penchant for knickers, his tendency to walk into doors, and the elbow nudging when he thought you should be tickling his head instead of typing/eating/drinking/doing anything else.

We're laughing a lot in the photo because a) they're happy memories; and b) the camera was set on auto and balanced precariously on top of the champagne bottle on top of Harvey's casket. We like to think he would have approved.

Then Husband buried the casket just next to the ramp we built specially for Harvey, and we all laid stones on it.

P.S. The title of the post is from a Douglas Adams book called So long and thanks for all the fish.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Saturday Photohunt - Dirty


What Women Want

Waiting at the traffic lights today I spotted an advert, tied to the post, for "What Women Want, a one day event dedicated to meeting your every desire."

What? Chocolate AND Johnny Depp?!

Be still my beating heart.