Monday, August 31, 2009
Top of the list comes Couple A. They are sooo worthy and practically perfect. Next is Woman B. She's told me off and I've seen her tell off others: scary. (And she's not my boss by the way.)
The rest are all on a level: Woman C doesn't like me; Man D is far too certain of himself; Woman E is too changeable and blunt; Woman F shouldn't scare me but still does.
I think that's about it. Not too long a list really. Interesting that the majority are women but women can be pretty terrifying.
Charlie Brown - or it might have been Linus - said that shoes squeak when they're not paid for. But I know I paid Madame Fifi for my bra so that can't be the cause.
'I'll look on ebay for a cot,' I said. (For when Baby comes visiting.)
'Don't you want Baby to sleep in the same cot that Daughter slept in?'
'Not if it's broken.'
'I can fix it.'
There's nothing a determined sentimental old granddad-to-be can't do with a bit of wood and a screwdriver.
We just need a new mattress and we're ready!
We were watching Lewis last night when I said, 'What this needs is some chocolate.'
Husband disappeared for a minute and returned with a festively-wrapped package. 'Happy Christmas,' he said.
I looked at him.
'I found it hidden in my wardrobe a few days ago.'
It was a multi-pack of Maltesers.
Ooh, I do love Malt ... Husband. And now he's cooking ratatouille and pasta for dinner so I can blog to my heart's content.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
And the outfits for Baby were in the sale in M&S so I got two for £7. So he can't possibly grumble about that. It was just unfortunate that our credit card bill arrived yesterday as well and it included the new mattress.
But as I told him the mattress was actually cheaper than most good quality comfortable ones in the shop, and it was in a sale. He just doesn't realise how much things cost. On our way back from ordering our kitchen at B&Q (yes, we've ordered it!) I made him run into Spar to get some basmati rice. (I was driving so it was easier for him to run in while I parked in a no-parking spot.) He came out grumbling about the fact that basmati rice was four times the price of long grain rice and why did we have basmati.
I told him that when he's retired and we're on the breadline (as he assures me we will be) I'll shop at Lidl and buy the cheapest of everything. For now I'm happy to pay for quality. And if he wants it another way he can do the flipping shopping himself!!
But onto nicer things.
Here's an excerpt from Three Men in a Boat that I just chanced upon.
To look at Montmorency you would imagine that he was an angel sent upon the earth, for some reason withheld from mankind, in the shape of a small fox-terrier. There is a sort of Oh-wicked-world-this-is-and-how-I-wish-I-could-do-something-to-make-it-better-and-nobler expression about Montmorency that has been known to bring the tears into the eyes of pious old ladies and gentlemen.
...I used to sit down and look at him ...and think: 'Oh, that dog will never live. He will be snatched up to the bright skies in a chariot ...'
But, when I had paid for about a dozen chickens that he had killed; and had dragged him, growling and kicking, by the scruff of his neck, out of a hundred and fourteen street fights; and had had a dead cat brought round for my inspection by an irate female, who called me a murderer; and had been summoned by the man next door but one for having a ferocious dog at large, that had kept him pinned up in his own tool-shed, afraid to venture his nose outside the door for over two hours on a cold night; and had learned that the gardener, unknown to myself, had won thirty shillings by backing him to kill rats against time, then I began to think that maybe they'd let him remain on earth for a bit longer, after all.
Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Elder Son is a music producer and he's currently involved in a project to release a CD to raise money for The Emmanuel Center in Tanzania.
The Emmanuel Center is a youth haven in the town of Moshi, Tanzania, and is home for a number of boys who are in some way disadvantaged. Some have HIV/AIDS; others are orphans or formerly homeless children. The center works to provide them with a place of safety as well as food, clothes and educational support.
The track, entitled ‘Wasame’, written by Raymond, a 27 year-old mentor to the Emmanuel Center children, has already been recorded, sung by Raymond and boys from the Center. The track , which also features the voice of Revolution, a London-based rapper (seen interviewing and talking in the video), speaks of God's overwhelming forgiveness and is performed entirely in Swahili.
What Elder Son and Revolution want to do is find funding for the pressing of the track so that all monies raised from the sale of the single CD can go straight back to Emmanuel Center, to help maintain its provision.
Please watch the video. if you'd like to support - or be informed when the CD is available - go to www.gifaents.co.uk/africa
Friday, August 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
So last week in Zac's we painted the corridor and one wall in the Ladies'. Then we got bored.
A bit like Topsy, these flowers 'just growed'. The side wall that you can't see has a damp problem so we wanted to distract attention from it. Bas suggested masking tape and painting lines then Sam said she liked flowers. Then Tony arrived. Or should I say the artist formerly known as Tony. Now known as Hayley.
We're hoping that it will have the effect of a 'bad trip' and act as a deterrent .... (Not really - I love it!)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Anyway here it is: a fairtrade bar of Cadburys Dairy Milk.
I had to buy one, obviously, to show my support for their action. And how much better it will taste knowing I am helping others as I eat.
May I encourage you all to rush out and show your support too?!
Husband came into the kitchen just as I was licking clean the bowl. 'That's something I've never wanted to do,' he said.
'Didn't your mum cook cakes when you were little?'
'Yes, but she told us not to eat the uncooked mixture.'
Therein lies the difference. I was brought up largely by my gran who gave me the bowl and spoon to lick as a treat. (We had simple treats in those days: a bowl to lick, a bar of Five Boys chocolate or sixpennorth of chips from Johnnies.)
Did you - do you still - lick the bowl?
I put my camera in it and was going to take a photo for you to see how ideal a fit it is - but after I'd spent five minutes looking for my camera to take a photo of my camera ... (Seriously, I did. There is no hope.)
If you'd like to order one or see more of Hippy Mama's handmade from recycled materials goodies, go to her blog.
Monday, August 24, 2009
I read lots of books but rarely review them as most as fine but ordinary; this is an exception.
I bought it simply because I saw it in Waterstones just after I had heard an excerpt from it on Pick of the Week on Radio 4. I think it was Woman's Hour Book of the Month or something.
Set in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962 it relates the Civil Rights movement from an unusual angle. It has three different narrators: Miss Skeeter, the young white woman raised by a beloved black maid; Aibileen, who's tending her seventeenth white child; and Minny, maid with attitude.
Skeeter wants to be a writer and finds her first employment writing a household advice column for the local newspaper. As she knows nothing at all about housekeeping she gets her answers from Aibileen, who is maid to one of her friends.
As the Civil Rights movement gains momentum, Skeeter persuades Aibileen to let her write her story, about what it's like to tend white folks. A publisher in New York expresses an interest but says it needs to be an anthology of stories from many maids. At first, for fear of reprisal, in spite of promises of anonymity and confidentiality, none of the other maids will co-operate. It takes a tragedy to get them involved, and finally the book with its tales of good and bad treatment is ready, and sent off to the prospective publisher. And they all sit back and wait for the outcome.
The characters are largely wonderfully drawn and sympathetic although one of the main white women. Miss Hilly, has absolutely nothing in her favour. Most of the others, although bullied by Miss Hilly, retain a measure of decency.
I grew up in the sixties and although I heard about race riots and segregated buses it didn't mean a lot to me. I'm afraid I was more interested in the Beatles and whether I'd get into grammar school so this book was something of a revelation. I am appalled, astounded, that, in my lifetime - and the not-too-distant past - racial segregation was regulated by law. And what laws they had.
But then I remember that in some places in America they still have the death penalty - and I am angry that America dares to criticise the Scottish minister for releasing, on compassionate grounds, the Libyan bomber. (Okay, I know that isn't a strictly logical chain of thought but i don't work on logic; I operate on feelings.) But I'm being distracted.
This is a wonderful book. An easy read and very satisfying. My only advice is not to read the final page just before you plan to go to sleep: I was so cross it kept me awake.
Somewhere between being paid for and the wok the jar of red Thai curry paste disappeared.
I searched the pantry and the fridge. Then I looked in my shopping bags and the car. The pan cupboard was next to be searched followed by the cleaning cupboard. Then I started again. And again.
By now it was 6.30 and curtain up at the theatre was 7.30. I didn't have time to:
a) search again;
b) go out and buy a replacement jar.
So we had pork korma with asparagus, which was nice in a 'I don't like pork' sort of way. A bit bland but would probably have been much better with red Thai curry paste. I hope whoever found it made good use of it and that it didn't just end up back on Tesco's shelves.
I found a marvellous shop specialising in range cookers: I have serious cooker lust. There was one make - Britannia I think - that allowed you to choose the colour of your cooker. Any colour I mean. It could be painted to match your favourite lime green shoes or pink coffee maker. At a price naturally.
But I think I have settled on a Rangemaster 90 in black. I'll just have to hope that we move before I can no longer bend down to get at the oven. Or die.
And then there are kitchen units. We had another man come to measure up this afternoon and a lady's coming tomorrow. None of which is really helping. It's only adding to the confusion.
But you want to know about the mattress. Well, I stopped at Simply Food (an M&S outlet - incidentally have you noticed that M&S parking spaces are wider than normal, presumably to cater for the menopausal shoppers who frequent their stores?) on the way home and it happens to be next to a bed shop. So I bought a mattress. Just as I was leaving, the very good (i.e. at sales) shop assistant said, 'Would you like us to recycle your old mattress? For £30.'
(For £30?!!!) 'No, that's all right. We'll probably use it ... we'll probably get rid of it ourselves.'
I was about to say 'in the garage as protection for when I forget where reverse is.'
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The weather through July and August has been truly appalling. The only thing that can be said in its favour is that it has diminished the need for leg shaving.
This is my one truly successful zinnia. The others were eaten or developed a strange leaf disease or simply fell over and died of desperation. I don't know what this is but, bless it, it grows every year. It must have weed genes.
(U2 is or U2 are? Are sounds better but if you say, 'the band U2' it must be is.)
Unlike just about everyone I know I'm not going to see them. Saw them once and it was fine. But loads of multimedia and images and stuff. Not like Springsteen who is raw rock'n'roll. I'd go and see him any time.
* * * * * * * *
I have a head full of posts I want to get written. So I don't forget what they're about:
red Thai curry paste;
I think that's all.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The sticky devilled drumsticks (or in this case, thighs) were good but the prawn and couscous peppers were, well, okay. A bit boring. The stuffing was fally-aparty and it needed more flavouring. It was labelled as Very Low Fat so tonight I'll remove the prawns and add onion and mushrooms to the leftovers. Oh, and lots of cheese. Then put the prawns back on when it's reheated.
Next on my to-try list is Thai pork and asparagus. The recipe said to use low-fat coconut milk but I bought creamy. Is it any wonder my diet is such a failure?
Especially when I lack all self-control and buy a box of Maltesers because 'it's only £1'.
Oh yes, Husband and I were discussing couscous last night over dinner. He asked what it is; I said semolina.
'Isn't that a flour?'
'I think it's a grain like rice.'
But I'm not entirely sure so I'll google it now. Hang on ...
Couscous is a small granular type of pasta which is made by sprinkling durum or hard wheat semolina grains with cold salted water and rolling and coating them in fine wheat flour. (From the BBC who also tell us that:)
Semolina is a coarse pale-yellow flour ground from hard durum wheat used to make traditional pasta.
Clear as couscous.
Big big sigh.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I am more convinced than ever that he was right. I have been known to take incredibly complex and long routes to get from A to B simply to avoid ladies with clipboards, Big Issue sellers (I have already bought a copy but will feel guilty just walking past and will buy another one), men with shaven heads and beatific smiles, smelling of incense, and young people in brightly-coloured t-shirts with a name badge.
I was too slow today and got caught by one of the latter.
'Do you know how old the youngest carer in Britain is?'
'Um, no, six maybe?'
'No, three and she cleared up her father's vomit every day until he died when she tucked him in bed and sat with him for three days.'
I should have stopped her before she got started. Having listened to her very intent and committed spiel I felt even more guilty at saying no because I'd wasted her time.
I know it's a worthwhile cause but so are they all. But:
a) we each have favourite charities that we support and we can't all support every one;
b) Husband would kill me if I signed up to give to anyone else.
'No, he wouldn't! He married you because you're a charitable person. I could see that; that's why I chose you to stop and ask.'
You've got to hand it to the charities: they train their marketeers well.
I didn't like to tell her he married me because of my sexy bottom.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Before I quoted from your blog comments I explained what a blog was. I said, 'It's like an online diary, somewhere I can empty my head.'
To which Chris quipped, 'Well that can't take long.'
Honestly, why do I put up with this abuse?!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Thanks for your prayers and good wishes: my talk went fine. Well, I think it did; at least I didn't make a mess of it! Several people afterwards did compliment me (about my talk not just my boobs) and one man even took notes! (Probably on how not to do it but hey.)
As you'll see from the previous post our surprise was to get people stripping the willow in the middle of the service. It was meant to demonstrate the idea of the Trinity and the fact that we can't 'find ourselves' in isolation; we need other people and God to support and help us.
This afternoon I'm suffering with nervous exhaustion ...
Saturday, August 15, 2009
It's the first time I've spoken properly in church. I've read stuff I've written and said odd little bits before but nothing like this.
Thanks to those who left thoughts on my post about self-control: I'll be quoting them. And we have a surprise for the middle of the talk. It's not something that's usually done in a Sunday service not even in Linden - and we consider ourselves fairly fearless and experimental. But Chris and I both had the same idea (although I didn't mention it until Chris had for fear he'd think I had totally lost the plot).
So, me anxious? Pah, not at all. (Can you tell I'm lying?)
All I have to do now is work out what size font I can read without using my glasses and see if we have enough paper for that many pages.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
So I sent two separate packages.
I explained to the PO lady and asked if the skittles would cause a problem. 'No, they don't even need a customs declaration,' she said. Then she asked, 'How old is your son?'
She laughed then said, 'I don't know why I'm laughing; I'd be doing exactly the same.'
'Oh.' He looked and sounded surprised.
'Shouldn't I have said that?'
'Most people don't.'
When I told Husband he said, 'You plonker!'
But we're not.
We went looking at cookers again this evening. I can't believe that buying a new kitchen should be so stressful. We're back on our original choice of cooker - at the moment. Last time we'd almost decided on it, Husband pointed out that oven was very low. 'In ten years time you'll be 66; will you be able to bend down that far?'
Tonight we decided that the other choice was no better in that I'd have to crouch down for that too. My head aches with oven information overload.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
But that doesn't mean I shan't miss him. We've worked together for six years and he's been great company, boosting me when I've been down as well as roundly abusing me especially when in Chris's company! On Friday the three of us went to the pub for lunch. I took my camera but forgot about it until we got back so couldn't get a shot of us all together.
Alun gave me lessons in self-assertiveness - and then complained that he'd created a monster! So to my Dr Frankenstein I say, 'Goodbye and thanks for all the fun.'
The reason for this change is not a democratisation of protocol (what a meaningless phrase I just made up!) but health and safety. No doubt hundreds have been hurt over the years tripping over footmen as they bowed their way obsequiously out of the throne room.
I have no particular feelings about the monarchy and I would, of course, curtsey, walk backwards, do anything else required if I were summoned into the presence, out of sheer nerves and awe, but when I'm thinking rationally - okay, which isn't very often admittedly - I don't understand why we should. Or why royalty should expect us to.
Maybe things will change when Charles - or William - takes over. I hope so.
I know it's about showing respect but for what? The tradition or the woman? I have nothing against the Queen and I'm sure she works hard - but so does my dustman. I just get the impression that HM is rather keen on protocol and scathing about those who slip up.
But there are many more people who deserve my respect and to whom I'm happy to give it. Everyday people, who, during the course of their ordinary lives, impact others simply by treating them with respect, by helping them when they need it, by taking time to care, listen and value. These are people who don't demand it but are so worthy of respect.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Friday, August 07, 2009
Have a good weekend y'all.