Sunday, November 30, 2008
A few years ago I listened regularly to Terry Wogan's morning radio show. For those of you not familiar with Tel, let me say that's it's aimed at TOGs - Terry's Old Geezers - and the humour is appropriate for us.
Wogan's famous and highly-desirable sweatshirts weren't available in the shops; the only way to get one was by amusing Terry enough to get him to send you one. So when, a few days before my birthday, I realised that I was a year younger than I kept thinking I was, I emailed Terry to tell him so.
Hence I can proudly wear a 'Do I come here often?' sweatshirt and be recognised in the street by fellow TOGs.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
He hasn't escaped for ages and I was beginning to think that perhaps his operation was finally taking effect and he'd lost the urge. Then I spotted him on several occasions wandering round all his old escape routes and testing them. He still didn't escape though so I thought we'd finally beaten him.
So, today, I'm working on the computer and he's in the garden. I can see him trying and failing to get out so I get stuck into discovering how champagne is made. A little bit later I become aware that I've not seen for a while. I'm usually vaguely conscious of him from the corner of my eye. I go to the door and call him. No response.
I put on shoes and wander round the garden: no George.
I collect his lead and some luring treats and I'm just going out through the gate when the post van pulls up. The postie leans over, opens the door, and says, 'Get in! I've got him cornered!'
He'd spotted George wandering round the back street and shut him in a garden. The old lady whose garden it was was a little concerned but Postie assured her, 'He'll only lick you to bits.'
I think George will have to get an extra special present for Postie this year!
Now the city of Corinth at the time was a pretty wild place with many temples especially to the goddess Aphrodite, from which thousands of prostitutes worked. The church in Corinth that Paul was writing to, had, in his opinion, let itself go a bit. So much so that one of its members was sleeping with his step-mother and nobody cared.
Paul was cross with the sinner but even crosser with the church for not doing something about it.
It can come over as a strict disciplinary message but I think it's more about community, responsibility and love. And I wonder if it's a message for the church today. Do we stand up and say, 'that's wrong,' or are we too afraid of being called fundamentalists or being politically incorrect?
If we think of the ten commandments, the ones that begin 'Thou shalt not ...' are written not to stop us having fun, but to stop us being hurt or hurting others. They're for our good but these days they're often seen as killjoy commandments.
Sean was having to tread very carefully when he talked about this passage. He definitely didn't want it to make people feel guilty. Many of us in Zac's at an early or precarious stage of faith, and are still in the process of clearing out the rubbish. It will be a lifetime job for all of us: we won't be perfect till we're in heaven (even Mr Practically Perfect Paul admits that). (I've said before that Paul isn't my favourite character; I love Peter who messes things up with remarkable regularity.)
And that's why the message of this chapter to the church is so important. It's about loving and caring enough to support, help, take action, and, yes, reprimand if necessary.
It's not about guilt. It is about changing, turning away from, asking forgiveness, and trying again. And again and again ...
Next week's chapter is all about sex and homosexuality. Tee hee, I can't wait to hear how Sean deals with that one!
Operation Migration has been running for 7 years. It must be expensive and time-consuming and for what? To try and save a species from extinction. It's not even as if, as far as I know, we get any benefit from the cranes: we don't eat them or use their feathers for quill pens. They're just one species out of thousands.
And that makes me happy. That some people care enough to invest time, expertise and money for no financial reward. When we're in such gloomy times and every day it seems we hear of humans doing horrific things to children, it is life-enhancing to remember that the bad guys are in the minority; that the majority of people are good - and some even loopy enough to dress up in sheets with bird-head puppets on their hands.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Report from Radio 4's World on the Move and photos from Operation Migration.
At the weekend I bought Younger Son an advent calendar.
'Didn't you get one?' he asked.
I had to go to Sainsburys today. I bought myself a Cadburys chocolate advent calendar. Roll on 1st December!
I was expecting - and dreading - that the person who's in charge would keep interfering and getting in the way but, on the contrary, he's keeping well out of it. So far out of it that even I am thinking it's about time he took more of an interest. He needs to know timings if nothing else. It's beginning to make me wonder. You see he was railroaded into this and I'm wondering if he's just waiting for us to fall flat on our faces so he can say, Told you so.' Of course if - when - we don't mess up but do brilliantly, he'll take the credit.
Maybe I'm being cynical but I'm not alone in these thoughts.
So, now, if you've read this, it'll be another mysterious post that doesn't make sense. Really it's just for me to empty my head. It's nothing to with blogging and I don't think anyone involved reads my blog but i don't want to be too specific - just in case!
But I mean committed to making Christmas puddings. Yes, I know it's a silly idea. Especially as nobody likes Christmas pudding. Well Husband does and my uncle who'll be having Christmas lunch with us does so that's two.
But I was writing about making Christmas puddings and I got this terrible craving. It's not complicated; it just takes a long time to steam so you have to be about to top up the water all day and make sure it doesn't burn dry and set the house afire. Apart from that ...
So, yes, I've ordered special pudding dishes from - wait for it - Lakeland Plastics! I know, I know: they're the people who make wondrous little things that you see in a catalogue and suddenly wonder how you've lived so long without an egg separator or dustbin cover in the shape of a hedge. No, wait, I'm thinking of Kleeneze! I am absolved. I can buy my little pudding dishes with peaceful heart, knowing I'm not a short trip away from the individual venetian blind wiper.
Anyway, I've ordered large and mini pudding basins as I'm thinking I can make some for Zac's Christmas fair.
The only thing that continues to be a worry is how can they make plastic dishes that can go in a saucepan and be steamed? What secret ingredient do they have that stops them melting? And is it, in the course of a few years, going to be proved to be carcinogenic? Ah, well, most things are for a time until the latest worry takes over.
And is Guinness stout? My recipe called for stout so I had to peer at the labels in Sainsburys today trying to find one that specified stout - a drink I always associate with Ena Sharples. I wasn't convinced about Guinness and eventually found one called Meantime, which claimed to be - and I'm sure is - 'hand-made in Greenwich, the home of stout.'
My gran always made her own Christmas puddings. She had an old boiler (for washing clothes) and she'd heat that up and for the day the house would be filled with steam and the scent of spicy alcoholic puddings cooking slowly.
I always had a stir and made a wish. I don't ever remember my wish coming true though ...
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
And in spite of that, She Loves You, yeah, yeah, yeah!
Continuing with the theme of Beatles' songs for ABC Wednesday Round 3, She Loves You was released in 1963, and was their best-selling UK single.
To take part in ABC Wednesday Round 3, go here.
So then one of the lads went and dragged someone else in to be a stand-in and it turned out that this man is a great mimic and is happy to put on a woman's voice. As a result, the innkeeper's monologue is beginning to sound Pythonesque. (He's not the messiah; he's a very naughty boy.) Don't tell the chaplain that yet though. He's left us to it so we've got a free hand ...
Well, actually that was my friend who wouldn't let me drive home. I'd been visiting her husband when I came over all funny. I said, 'I'm just going to the toilet,' and she, having noticed the colour I'd gone, followed me. I got as far as the toilets then, as the door opened to let someone out, I collapsed at their feet.
When I came to, Jan was leaning over me saying, 'Liz, Liz.'
'Oh no, not again' I groaned, and we both burst out laughing. Of ourse, the nurse didn't think it was so funny when she had all the paperwork to do.
Then I was ready to go home.
'You can't drive yourself,' Jan said.
'Yes, of course, I can. I'm fine. I'm used to fainting.'
But she was adamant. 'I'm going to phone your husband to come and get you.'
'He's watching rugby on the television; he won't come out.'
'Rubbish, of course he will when I tell him you've fainted.'
She insisted so I let her have her way. She came off the phone disgusted, 'He laughed!'
'I told you: he's used to me fainting.'
'He said he wouldn't come until the game had finished.'
I tried again to persuade her to let me drive myself home but to no avail. Fortunately some friends arrived to visit and they said they'd take me home.
When we got to the car park I said, 'Okay, Jan can't see us now. I can drive home on my own.'
'Not likely! She'd never forgive us!'
So really, if you have to faint, don't do it in hospitals or with friends. It just causes too much bother.
Monday, November 24, 2008
No wonder the chippy looked at me peculiarly. He is of eastern European origin so I doubt if the significance would have registered with him.
We had a brill time at the match. Cardiff on match day is always great fun: crowded with a sense of expectation. It's all very jovial and good-natured and on Saturday the atmosphere in the stadium was unbelievable.
We had seats about 3 rows from the front on the side opposite the players' entrance and just up from the corner. They weren't the best seats for a view of the full pitch but very close to the action. Or would have been if any of the action had taken place in our corner. In the first half it was all Wales and they were playing to the other end; second half they swapped and then it was all New Zealand - at the other end.
Tension, passion and thrills. At the end of the first half I sat down and said, 'I don't think I can cope with another half like that.' And, as it turned out, I didn't have to, but there you go. It was just great to be there. And at least we didn't do as badly as England.
I've never been to a football match but I get the impression that rival fans don't mix much. There's never any trouble at rugby matches. One lad close to us did get a little upset at one point and swore loudly and repeatedly at the referee, and just about everyone sitting nearby turned and gave him a 'this is rugby: we don't do that at rugby matches' look.
It's Australia next week. I'll be home watching it on television - and wishing I were there.
And especially for jmb.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The All Blacks traditionally perform the haka before a rugby game. It's seen as a challenge, a demonstration of what the opposition can expect. "More than any aspect of Maori culture, this complex dance is an expression of the passion, vigour and identity of the race." (from the All Blacks website)
The haka is performed after the anthems and before kick off. Normally once it's completed, both teams move to their positions and the game commences. Yesterday at the Millennium Stadium, Wales took a different approach. Ryan Jones, the Welsh captain, explained it thus: "What we were trying to show was that it was our stadium, our pitch, our fans and we weren't prepared to give up the ground."
The Welsh team did that by lining up to face the haka and then standing their ground. The referee ran from side to side, pleading with the teams to start the game and it was the All Blacks who cracked first.
It must have spooked them and boosted Wales because our first half was great. (We won't talk about the second half.)
So here's the haka - in case you've never seen it - and the response. Followed by the Welsh national anthem (specially for Welshcakes and Damon Lord and any one else who experiences hiraeth.)
And here's me getting my hopes up!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I tut about how I've got my own work to do but wander out only to find him sitting on the floor in the kitchen.
'I've gashed my leg,' he says.
And, sure enough, there's a stream of blood.
'And what exactly do you want me to do?' I ask. Which may sound hard-hearted but I am renowned for my inability to deal with blood. The blood donor organisation has banned me because of my tendency to faint.
'Get me some paper towel to staunch the bleeding.'
I get the towel and even try to dab the wound - while keeping my eyes averted.
'I think it needs stitching,' Husband says.
That involves a trip to the other side of Swansea.
'Well, come on, let's go,' I say.
'Hand me that scarf.'
'What for? It's not cold.'
'To tie round my leg.'
'That's my best scarf! you're not using that!'
I find him another one - with red on so the blood won't show - and I realise I haven't showered. I haven't even washed. 'Could you wait until I've ... no, okay, let's go.'
Waiting to see the triage nurse I take a sudden interest in the footballers on television. I'm not actually interested: I just want to take my mind off the fact that I'm getting hot and bothered. I'm not very good in hospitals either: I've fainted just visiting before now.
Now I'm home and Husband is still in hospital waiting to be stuck together. Apparently they don't stitch now. I've just eaten a bowl of Frosties for lunch and I'm about to shower while Elder Son goes to fetch Husband.
And I can't believe I didn't take a photo!
* * * * * * * * *
It's been 55 years since Wales last beat the All Blacks. In the intervening years they've lost to them 19 times. It must be 20 times lucky. I was one the last time Wales won and this is the first time I've been to an All Blacks game. It is destiny or ... what's the word? There was a film with the name. Serendipity. Or maybe Stupidity.
I was in prison last Sunday and talking to some of the men about the game. They laughed when I said I was going but I really think we can win. I mean if you don't think there's any chance why bother? You've got to go into a game, whether as player or spectator, with hope. There's always hope.
Must go and shower now else I'll never be ready.
Come on, Wales!!!!!!
Friday, November 21, 2008
To take part in Saturday Photohunt, visit tnchick.
Today I think I had a message from one of that sort of person.
A package was left in the Linden kitchen. Written on it were the words: For Liz. Inside were two videos: Carol Vorderman's Detox Diet and Mr Motivator's Exercise Plan.
A pretty clear message I think. The Lord wants me to ... oh, wait, I've got it! He wants me to sell them in Zac's Christmas Fair! Yes! Phew, for a nasty moment there I thought the Lord was telling me to lose weight.
That is the message I shall take from the package anyway.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
It was the sort of walk that reminds me how incredibly fortunate I am.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
In the Comments, people often say, 'I've got that song in my head now and I'll be singing it all day.' I consider myself a true Beatles fan but I can't even put a tune to this one! Let me know if you can.
To take part in ABC Wednesday, go to its home here.
Having decided to take Alfie Porsche instead of Betty Beetle, I unlocked the garage, opened the door (a feat in itself), got in Alfie and put the key in the ignition. Brrr ... brr ... br ... r. Phooey.
Oh well, I'll risk taking Betty; she's probably fine. Back in the house to get Betty's keys. Ten minutes later, having tried all the usual places, I work out where Betty's keys might be. I get in the car, put the key in the ignition. Nothing. Not so much as a r, let alone a brrm brrm.
So I'm here, sulking. Wanting chocolate.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Photo from The Mixture by Harry Libby, published about 1963.
I've realised on looking closer that this is a French postcard and, indeed, in the corner I can just make out the name Guillemmot, something & Co, Paris, and I assume that would have been the photo studio. Does that make sense? Would our soldiers have had access to a French photography studio? Or maybe the photographer went out and set up a tent in amongst the soldiers?
My grandfather was shot in the first world war when a bullet went straight through him. His chest I think but he also had a scar on his leg. He lived to his seventies in spite of that - and smoking all his life.
Okay, you had to be there. He'd been talking about bacteria and germs and how we over-protect our children and the advertising nonsense we believe. It was funny at the time. He said when he wrote that joke he was so pleased with it that he took the rest of the afternoon off.
It was funny but I preferred the one about the stealth kettle. Husband suggested that we have stealth tin openers, and that would explain a lot.
Now as I'm typing this about Dara O'Briain I'm saying it to myself in an Irish accent. Which is okay while I'm in southern Ireland but then I go north of the border and turn into IAN PAISLEY WHO SAYS EVERYTHING IN CATIPULS. (Catipuls?)
Yes, I had been that stupid. The good - and unusual - news is that it wasn't my fault! Admittedly I had to empty the almost-full paper recycling bin onto the floor in order to find the bit of paper that was my hard evidence but I found the proof that I was just doing as I was told.
And admittedly maybe an administrator with a bit of sense would have used that sense and checked the date and realised it was wrong but ... but ... well, I didn't.
So I've come home and left a note for Alun asking him to clear up the mistake - that wasn't my fault. So all's well!
Actually it was 1 year yesterday evening but we went to the theatre to see Dara O'Briain (who was excellent) so I couldn't post these photos then. In the second photo he looks a bit strange under his chin because he's still wet after his walk.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
'Fighting tigers in your dream, were you?' he asked.
'Worse than that: I was on holiday with your family!'
And there was a fancy dress ball but I couldn't find a costume to fit me and mother-in-law said, 'she's just saying that because she doesn't want to go,' and it was true that I didn't want to go but I couldn't find a costume either and we were being given live worms and tiny baby turtles to eat and George was going to eat one and I said, 'no, George, don't eat that,' and then I caught the lift back up to our room but instead it took me on trip around China and I lost Rhys who was in school with Younger Son and I knew his mum would be cross if I lost him even though he was only little. So really I was quite glad that George barked.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
First, the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Six things about me
1. I very rarely cry.
2. I can add up better if I don't think.
3. I was in make-up at BBC Television Centre with Matthew Pinsett.
4. I am very shy.
5. I like to pretend I'm a horse and gallop around the house.
6. I dislike intensely the number 7 - which makes doing suburbia's meme - 7 things - rather difficult. Not to worry; I'll just changes the rules so it's 5.
5 Things I plan to do before I die:
go to Venice;
start dancing lessons again;
become a famous author.
5 Things I do now:
tell off George;
write about George.
5 Things I can't do (only 5?!):
eat one Malteser.
5 Things that attract me in the opposite sex: (in no particular order)
looking like Johnny Depp;
looking like George Clooney;
having a voice like whathisname - he played Snape in Harry Potter;
dancing but not looking like Fred Astaire;
playing rugby and looking like Johnny Wilkinson.
5 Things I say most often:
Come back, George!
Don't do that, George!
What are you eating, George?
What day is it?
5 Celebrities ( or people that should be famous) that I admire:
my great-auntie Joan who has seen her husband, her two sons and a grandson die and is still positive about life;
Welshcakes Limoncello who upped and went and strarted a new life in Sicily;
Sean who runs Zac's Place.
5 Favourite foods:
5 Bloggers who need to do this:
Please help yourself if you haven't yet done one of these. I'll name Damon Lord as he said he likes doing these things.
Friday, November 14, 2008
P.S. Since having a new puta I haven't been able to use the scanner so I had to take a photo of this.
P.P.S. I promise (to try) not to mention my birthday again. Until next year.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
It wasn't cold though. In fact George needed to cool down when we got onto the beach.Do you remember the Osborne Hotel at Rotherslade, aileni? These are the apartments that have replaced it. It was the last of the local beach hotels to go. The Caswell and Langland Bay hotels were both demolished ages ago. Popular wedding reception venues now are the Oxwich Bay and King Arthur Hotels. Or, if you're wealthy beyond your dreams, Fairyhill.
By the way, I bought another new tin opener this morning and I've put it straight into the cutlery drawer. So when I say, 'Where is the tin opener?' please remind me.
Anyway, my birthday, yes. Thank you all for your greetings, and thank you, Amanda, for the special birthday candle post, and Furtheron and Leslie for my e-cards. I had a lovely day. I intended to work hard and catch up on the backlog of articles I have to write but somehow I kept getting distracted ...
Husband arrived home last night with his suitcase in one hand, his laptop and flowers in the other, and a fun-size pack of Maltesers between his teeth. I opened the door for him - and grabbed the Maltesers!
When we arrived at the restaurant the waitress brought out a bottle of champagne. 'It's from your uncle.' He'd phoned me earlier in the afternoon to apologise for missing my birthday and I'd mentioned that we were eating at PA's. It was a lovely gesture - but I don't drink! Husband enjoyed himself though.
And I still have Husband's present to come. He blames Amazon; I blame him for being a cheapskate and not ordering it for next-day delivery!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Younger Son is still in bed so it's just me and George. I keep prodding him and saying, 'It's my birthday today!'
He looks at me and says, 'Yeah, so? You were away for mine if you recall.' Then he goes back to sleep.
I get over-excited about birthdays. I usually start getting excited weeks ahead but this year I was surprisingly unbothered. I said to Husband, 'Do you think that after 55 you stop getting excited?'
He said, 'Most people stop after 25.'
But I'm pleased to tell him that I have my excityness back. I'll be able to tell him when he comes home this evening. He changed his going-away routine so he can be back tonight to take me out. Yay!
Have I mentioned I'm excited?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Last week on my blog, I asked for help with finding a punning title. People were great and came up with all sorts of suggestions for which I thank you. Some of my favourites:
aileni suggested photographing all my Beatles LPs and captioning it 'Queued, cued and seguéd';
stu came up with 'Queer Prudence';
from Runee, 'Quiet days a week;
dragonstar pointed out that the Beatles were a quadrumvirate;
suburbia offered a Beatles quiz;
deejay wondered if the Ballad of John and Yoko was sung in a Queen-sized bed;
and Gary and Jams both mentioned the Quarrymen, the 'original' Beatles.
Bear with me, this explanation will take some telling.
I did some research on the Quarrymen and discovered that, while a member of that band, John wrote a song, which was much later recorded by the Beatles. Its title was 'One after 909'. Kapow! Lightbulb flashes above head! I'll go and take a photo of a door numbered 910.
We have two very long roads in Swansea - but wouldn't you know it? On both of them, the section in which 910 should be is devoid of houses. Lightbulb goes out.
But hyde dp reminded me that some of the song titles were Questions. And this is where I went. Thank you for your patience in sticking with me. Although even now you may struggle to see the link ...)
From A Hard Day's Night (1964)
If I fell in love with you would you promise to be true,
And help me understand?
Monday, November 10, 2008
Okay, let's see if it works doing it through youtube instead of Blogger.
Thank you for your concern about George but he seems fine. Just don't stand behind him. If anything he seems rather puzzled by it all. He went out this evening, coopied down, farted explosively and jumped out of his skin. He ran to the other side of the garden and started trying to look at his bottom in a most 'what was that?' way.