Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How good a holiday was it?

It was this good: I read three and a half books!

I finished Three Men in a Boat, and read The Time Traveler's Wife, The Beach House and The Observations.

Three Men in a Boat was very funny although the author does have a tendency to wander off into the realms of poetic fantasy now and again. His descriptions of the now mundane-sounding towns along the Thames are a revelation. Definitely a different age but very entertaining.
I finally got through The Time Traveler's Wife. I'm assuming most people have already read it. I still don't get the time travelling thing but overall enjoyed it as a simple love story - except I didn't like Henry and wanted Claire to end up with Gomez - which is actually quite a major distraction.
The Beach House was good in that it made me think, 'My novel is better than this!' and decide to dust it off, revamp and try again with it. I still like my heroine and I think the story is good although I know there are weak points. So back to the drawing-board.
My favourite read was The Observations. Daughter read it and lent it to me ages ago, saying I'd enjoy it but for some reason I'd put off reading it. It's an unusual tale, narrated by a fabulous Irish maid-servant. it reminded me of the Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre type of stories, although I'm ashamed to say I've never read those, only seen adaptations. It's very readable and entertaining with mystery, ghosts and love all thrown in. I really didn't know where it was going but that didn't lessen the pleasure of it. The reviews suggest that Bessy, the narrator, could take her place with the Becky Sharps of the literary world and she certainly has a very distinctive and likeable voice. Yes, a bit out of the ordinary and definitely a good read.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Corsican Hermit

Meet Hermie, the Corsican Hermit. You will have to take my word for it that he lives in that shell as he was most unco-operative.

I was watching him when he popped out and he was huge and orange and beautiful. I ran to fetch the camera and when he saw me coming he went back into his shell.

It is something when a 56-year-old woman sits on the edge of the sea for 30 minutes talking to a shell.

'Come on out, Hermie, please. Come on. I'll take your photo and put it on my blog and you will be famous!'
'You are missing ze point,' he grumbled from inside his shell (in a French accent). 'I am a 'ermeet. I do not wunt to be faymous.'
'Oh come on, I tell you what I'll set up a Facebook page just for you. Like Teacosy Pete, the famous Swansea tramp. People all over the world will report sightings of you!'
'I tell you I do not wunt to be faymous!'

I was telling Husband about this conversation. He remarked that Hermie must be an unusually intelligent crab to be able to converse in English.
'Most hermits are very intellectual,' I said. 'Many are philosophers who spend their days contemplating the meaning of life.'

A thought suddenly struck me and I raced back down to the sea. 'Hermie, Hermie! I know the answer to the meaning of life. If you come out of your shell I will tell you!'
'Pah! If you tell me I will no longer need to be a 'ermeet. I just want to be alone. Go away!'

So I had to be satisfied with the photo of the outside of his shell.

Next time I'll tell you about the fish that bit me.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another reason I am looking forward to grandchildren

I quickly get bored sunbathing ...

The moor's head has been the symbol of Corsica since the 18th century. Originally the bandanna covered the eyes but the great patriot and leader, Pascal Paoli, insisted that it be raised to symbolise Corsica's freedom.

Of midges or men?

Usually on holiday in sunny climes it is Husband the mozzies love; Corsican bugs preferred me.

We left Corsica yesterday morning at 10 and I still have red itchy lumps developing all over. I look as if I have the dreaded lurgy.

The only thing I can think is that our last lying-in-the-sun holiday was taken before menopause: have my hormones changed so much that I am now attractive, not to men, but to midges?

Will it be mice next?

Happy blogiversary to Finding life hard?

I've just realised it's my 4th blogiversary today!

(To be honest I wouldn't have noticed if Blogger hadn't put a slice of celebratory cake on my dashboard for me.)

Four years of ramblings on an almost daily - or sometimes more frequent - basis. Thank you to all who visit regularly or occasionally. I would write even if you didn't but knowing that someone is reading my words makes it much more pleasurable. And thank you to those who comment, again, regularly or occasionally.

A while ago I was discussing with Chris the way it is possible in our society to live a virtual life. Chris suggested that in this world where communication has never been easier, we are getting more and more out of touch with each other. 'In a meaningful way,' that is. i disagreed. Many of the friends I've made through blogging are very real to me: I've met people from Sicily and Canada - and even England! - through blogging. Even amongst those I haven't met there are many I consider as real friends. No, I may not be able to give them a real hug but I believe we can through our ways of communicating let others know we care for them.

Blogging or facebooking can't and shouldn't take the place of face-to-face communication but they are both still valid and worthwhile methods. I had loads of lovely messages when Harvey died and, more recently, lots of you sent birthday greetings to George. (I must tell you about my conversation with a hermit too.) We bloggers come to feel a part of each other's lives I do believe.

So here's to the next four years!

The obligatory 'two old ruins' photo

Filitosa is the prehistoric capital of Corsica, with some of the best examples of statue-menhirs to be found anywhere in Europe.

No-one is quite certain of their purpose or significance but tremendous work and craftsmanship went into their creation. The site at Filitosa, even with tourists wandering around, has a peaceful quality about it.

Oh, and the olive tree in the background is 1200 years old and the oldest in France.

Your starter for ten

Did I have a good holiday? Did I just! I love Corsica! Fabulous location, great apartment, French food - lovely, lovely, lovely!

The beach at Campomoro on Saturday morning. Husband enjoys the view from the infinity pool - that we had to ourselves as no-one else used it. (There were 6 apartments on the site and only three were occupied but we didn't see the occupants.)

The view from our 'back yard'.

And again at sunset.

I could get very boring so I'll just gently drip feed the photos in.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Monochrome Maniacs

Coming home.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Official Birthday Photograph

Happy birthday, George! Two years old today! xxxxx

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's goodbye from him

Grabbing my last minutes of blogging time. Husband has taken George to the kennels: I can't bear seeing his little face as we walk away and leave him shut in a cage! So I'm pre-posting his birthday photo ready for tomorrow. But we have celebrated already.

We're off for a week in Corsica. I was meant to be looking at hotels in Sardinia so how we ended up self-catering in Corsica I'm not sure but it looks very charming. I'm just hoping the weather will be fine: this last week, according to the internet, they've had rain and storms most days. It will be better next week.

I've showered and washed hair and removed hair - even in places usually hidden by skirts - and am ready to go now. It's a good job we don't go on holiday everyday: it's such a palaver. I have to resist the urge to pack every item of clothing in my wardrobe - just in case. How likely is it that I will be required to re-clothe a whole village made homeless and clothesless by some terrible disaster in the next week in Corsica? No, that's what I thought too, so I've tried to be sensible.

I was (still am as the suitcase isn't locked closed yet) tempted to take my scruffy sloppy wear-all-the-time-around-the-house cardi because it's comfy and snug, but I mustn't. Tell me I mustn't.

It'll be fine once we're in the car and on the way. I stop caring then about what I may have forgotten. Tra le la.

Younger Son gets back from three months in Ibiza while we're away so he'll collect George. I'm wondering how much mess he can make in the gap between him getting home and us getting home ... ah, well, it'll be good to see the boy again.

Have a good week while I'm away!

P.S. I'm going to try and read The Time Traveler's Wife again on holiday. I mean I started before but couldn't get into it so I'm hoping a more concentrated reading time will be helpful.

P.P.S. Right, must switch off now ...

George enjoys his pre-birthday bone

He spent four hours munching and sucking and chewing it to bits.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

So I'm wondering ...

as I clean the bathroom, why it is that some people are clever, good at sports and play a musical instrument or two, while some others e.g. me, have none of those attributes.

I like to think I'm clever and I sometimes pretend I am but mostly I fool people by being quiet and nodding thoughtfully at appropriate moments. It's only when I open my mouth that my stupidity reveals itself.

I mean, would a clever woman have bleach-cleaned the bathroom tiles without wearing gloves? No, precisely.

I'm not moaning about not being clever, by the way. I have managed just fine in life by scraping through academically and marrying Husband who keeps me in a manner my natural ability would never have allowed me to do.

George's idea of helping to clean

Also known as getting in the way. He didn't blink, not even when I thumped sofa cushions above his head. I checked to make sure he was still breathing. He was.

A pig in a poke

Yesterday on the news a union spokesman said, 'The deal on the table is literally a pig in a poke.'

Which makes one wonder what, literally, a pig in a poke is.


I have consulted all of my reference books and not one of them includes the phrase so it's off to the internet I go.

Right, got it. A poke is a small sack or bag and the phrase is roughly the equivalent of caveat emptor - let buyer beware. 'Don't buy a pig until you have seen it.'

In 1530, Richard Hill gave this advice to market traders in his Common-place Book: "When ye proffer the pigge open the poke."

So the union spokesman was probably right to be wary although I doubt if the deal were literally a pig in a poke.

* * * * * * * *

On my reference-book shelf I found the bought-in-a-secondhand-shop-but-never-read-as-I'd-forgotten-I-had-it How to Turn Your Holidays into Popular Fiction. It sounds like a must for my holiday reading: I shall pack it.


Today is cleaning day. Have I mentioned how intensely I dislike cleaning?

And it's sunny so as I dust I will see the dust motes flitter merrily in the air briefly before landing back in exactly the same spots.

But I have to clean as it's my last chance before we go on holiday - did I mention that we're going to Corsica for a week?

Why clean before you go away? In case burglars come of course, that is, so you can tell if they've been. If I didn't tidy it could take months before we noticed that we'd been robbed.

Two hours later
Not started cleaning yet. Have managed to find ways to avoid it largely by trying to take an official birthday photograph of George who's 2 on Sunday - yes, when we're away - again! Last year we were in Canada; this year we'll be on our way to Corsica. But it's all right as we're going to fib to him and celebrate his birthday tomorrow. He won't mind as long as he gets big birthday bones.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Alternatively, a fortune to be had in erotica?

I read my Bathsheba monologues in Zac's last night. On reflection it probably wasn't a good idea although Ric did suggest that I was in the wrong business and that I could make a fortune writing dirty books.

I had a really good chat with Jerry last night (okay, he did most of the talking). We had exchanged greetings on the road on Sunday morning when I was going in to the prison and he was off to the Marina. He said last night that he had recognised me but he couldn't place me. He said, 'Next time I'm in prison, if you're in for the Sunday service, I'll put my name down for it.'
'Why not try not to get into prison again instead?'
Jerry has spent a lifetime in borstals and prison. He shrugged, 'It's all right in there.'

Jerry is an alcoholic who, when he's totally plastered, can be aggressive, changeable and thoroughly unpleasant but when he's the closest he gets to sober he's funny and gentle. Alcohol addiction is an evil that creates monsters.

But he doesn't do drugs. Unlike his friend, who was with him last night. Jerry told me about him. 'He used to have a good job, house, wife and child. He lost them all because of the drugs.' Jerry is regretful at this tragedy. 'Now he's in a wet house but sometimes you'll find him sleeping down by Spar.'

His friend's eyes don't focus or meet mine when I talk briefly later with him but he's listened and seemed to take in what Sean has said as we've continued the study of David. It's been a fantastic story of flawed humanity and God who chooses to use those who aren't perfect. Amazing encouragement for all of us who acknowledge our failings only too well.

This could make my fortune

I've been in the hairdressers' this morning. To while away the time, when not reading - or attempting to read without putting on my glasses - celebrity magazines, I designed a chair.

It's a reclining chair without a head-rest but with some sort of padded metal support for the head that allows the hair to be washed, dried, cut, coloured and highlighted while the client sleeps. It's on wheels obviously to allow progress to and from the sink, oh, and it has a foot-rest built in. Initially I saw it as a hospital trolley bed but the more lavish the salon, the classier the chair would be. It could even have its own thermostatically-controlled heating.

Thinking about it, the cutting may have to be done while the client is awake and sitting upright otherwise she might end up with a skewed cut. But as cutting is done early on in the procedure that's not a problem.

So that every bit of hair can be washed thoroughly the head supports will adjust themselves, working in rotation so that one lot of supports takes over from another. That would have the added benefit of massaging the head and aiding relaxation.

I think this could be a real winner; what do you think?

In which George has a close encounter

Take one very narrow track.
Add an oversized range-rover-type car in a hurry.
Finish off with a dog with a long tail.


Monday, September 14, 2009

It wasn't me

Husband was going through the telephone bill. 'Whose mobile is this? o77....'
'I don't know.'
'You must do: you called it.'
'No, I didn't.'
'Yes, you did. About twelve times during July and August.'
'I rarely call mobiles and if i do i use my mobile.'
'Well, it wasn't me, so it must be you.'
'But I'd remember ...'
'Well, it wasn't me.'

I took down my address book and began going through it. Unlike Husband I never remember numbers. I'm not finding it until ... 'It's Elder Son's number!'
'077... - oh yes, that Elder Son's number.'

I waited.
'Sorry, dear,' said a sheepish Husband.

Elder Son and Daughter-in-law don't have a landline so we call them on his mobile. Or rather Husband calls them as he remembers the number.


I do love it when I am proved to be right. It doesn't happen often enough.

Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me

I had agreed to lead and speak at a service somewhere - I don't want to be specific but regular readers may be able to guess where I was.

The theme of the meeting was that a fresh start was available to everyone, no matter what they'd done, a theme that was particularly applicable to the 'congregation'. At the end the person in charge stood up to thank us for going in and said, 'If there's one word that sprang out to me from this morning's service it is forgiveness.'
(Yes, good.)
'But don't forget: we have to earn our right to forgiveness.'
(NOOOOOOOOO! Followed by sound of head being banged against a wall.)

So the last thing the 'congregation' will have in their minds is that forgiveness has to be earned. No, it's God's gift to us. How can we earn it? What can we do to deserve it?

Nothing. We can't earn it; we can only ask for it and accept it. It is by the grace of God that we are saved. God's grace: giving us what we don't deserve instead of what we do deserve.

Oh phooey.

Wish I was here

It was the church holiday this last weekend. I didn't go.

I saw photos of it today; the weather was lovely and everyone was having a wonderful time. And I'm so glad I didn't go because as I said to someone (from church) who asked if I was going, 'Not likely.'

But I probably shouldn't have added, 'That's my idea of hell.'
It's not the people as such - they are all very lovely - in ones or twos - but to spend a whole weekend in close proximity to that many ... no, thank you.

So I could have legitimately, and without feeling guilty, spent Sunday morning in bed, but I had foolishly agreed to be somewhere else at 8.30 Sunday morning. But that's another story.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Monochrome Maniacs

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Saturday Photohunt - Electric

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who's not going to get my vote?

Whenever I had cause, for whatever reason, to be doing deliveries, I always made sure I closed the gate behind me. Even when it looked as though it hadn't been closed for years I'd force it shut. So I expect people who deliver to me to do the same.

Most people, certainly those who come regularly like the postman, know to close it but some others need reminding. And even then they don't.

A few weeks ago a Lib Dem came round delivering questionnaires. He said he'd be passing again in about 30 minutes and if I'd had time to complete it I could just leave it stuck in the letterbox and he'd pick it up.

He went on his way - and I spent most of the next 30 minutes trying to find and tempt George to come back home.

I hurriedly completed the Any Other Comments section on the questionnaire saying, 'Please close gates behind you!'

Today another Lib Dem came to call. He left the gate open; George escaped.

So who do you think isn't going to get my vote next time around?
Incidentally it is curious that, while George still doesn't like to go out of the front gate when we go for a walk, he doesn't mind going that way on his own ...

Look what came in the post!

A beautiful baby quilt from Katney in Washington state. Thank you so much, Katney. She says it's a gift from granny to granny and I can decide whether to give it to daughter or keep in my house. That was an easy decision: it stays here! For Baby - and any future babies who come to visit.

Isn't it fantastic how blogging brings together people from all over the world and connects us as friends, even though we've never met?

* * * * * * * * *

Daughter says that all baby clothes, be they new or secondhand, must be washed before use and I've been allocated the task. And it's a job I've very happy to do and I am grateful for this 'Indian summer' as it means the clothes can be well aired on the line.

I think this baby has more clothes than Prince William had - or even Prince Harry who would have had all the hand-me-downs as well. (Do princes wear hand-me-downs? I suspect they would have as I believe the Queen is quite careful about economy.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Bad Sex and gardening

I have come to the conclusion - no, I've known for some time - that I am to gardening what McDonald's is to good food. But really that isn't a good comparison as McDonald's could argue that they produce food that is edible and enjoyed by many; my only talent in the garden is destroying it.

But I am very good at that.

I wonder if this is my big opportunity.

They have house clearers so why not have garden clearers? If you want to sell your great-aunt's house now that you've put her in a home for the mentally decrepit and you are planning what you're going to do with all the money, then wouldn't it be worth so much more with a tidy garden? A cleared garden would make the space seem bigger and it would be a selling point: a garden ready for you to design to suit yourselves.

And George would be an asset to me. He is excellent at digging up plants, eating bulbs and chewing bushes.

Yes, I think this is definitely the way to go. Except when it rains.

P.S. I just thought: I am to gardening what Alan Titchmarsh is to steamy sex scene writing.

P.P.S. Mr Titchmarsh is a television gardener who has taken up writing novels in his spare time (pah!) and he won the Bad Sex award for one of his books.

P.P.P.S. The question remains: how am I at steamy sex scene writing? The answer is that you'll never know.

On The Edge

Sean chatted with The Edge at the U2 gig in Cardiff recently. That set me thinking which famous people I had met. The only one that sprang to mind was Boyd Clack. (Yes, I know you've never heard of him but he wrote and appeared in Satellite City, a much under-rated Welsh sitcom.)

Although I did queue to get rugby hero Barry John's autograph for my cousin and I served tea to the Welsh international football team of 1971.

No, you're right; it doesn't really compare to a conversation with Edge.

Bathsheba: harlot or innocent?

Soon my brain will be empty. Once I have poured out everything that crowded it at 4 o'clock this morning I can do something useful.

Zac's Bible studies resumed after the summer break. Some of us gathered last week to enjoy food together but the serious stuff waited until last night. And what a crowd of old and familiar faces was there! I said to Sean, 'Everyone has come creeping out of the ... bin.' (It should have been woodwork but I couldn't remember the phrase.)

We picked up where we left off with our study of the life of David and we looked at the story of David and Bathsheba.

(Quick summary - ignore this if you are familiar with the story: King David is outside one evening when he sees a beautiful woman. He asks who she is and is told she is Bathsheba, wife of Uriah. Uriah is away fighting with David’s army. David sends for her and they commit adultery. Soon after that Bathsheba sends a message to David that she is pregnant. Now the law says that they should both be executed so David sends for Uriah under the pretence of finding out how the battle is going. After they’ve spoken David tells Uriah to go home for the night but Uriah being a jolly soldier type refuses to sleep in a comfortable bed with his wife while his men are still on the battle grounds. The next night David tries getting Uriah drunk but he still doesn’t go back and sleep with his wife so in the end David has to arrange for him to be killed.)

I've been thinking about Bathsheba. We don't really get a lot of information about her so I made some up! I couldn't decide what sort of woman she would have been so I wrote two monologues suggesting different motives and reactions. I'll post them in full on my bits that are too long blog but here are two short tasters.

You look surprised. Surely you do not believe – as I feel sure the king does – that this story is of his making? As if a mere man can outwit or stand against the plans of woman. Was it coincidence did you think that the King should chance to see me bathing? Did you imagine that I had not watched him for long nights until I was sure that he would be on the roof when I took my bath?

But he seemed to understand my yearning for a touch, to feel another’s skin upon my own. He who had brought a giant to his feet now knelt at my feet and stroked them, his fingers long and tender. He whispered and smiled at my shyness, bringing his hand up to raise my chin so that I was looking into his eyes, and seeing in them my own longing reflected back at me.

Breaking barriers

Steve was rude to me last night in Zac's.

I take this as a good sign.

Like little boys push over little girls in the playground as a sign of affection, so big boys stop being polite and are abusive. It's a sign I am no longer that strange woman who has to be treated with respect (hah!) but that I am accepted.

I approve.

A doodling fortune

Don't worry, I'll soon get fed up of doing my doodles! But my plan, you see, is that they will be my pension. I only work a few hours a week and only took out a pension recently so when I retire I'll be getting about fourpence happenny a week. Hence the need for an alternative source.

Like Baldrick, I have a cunning plan. My thinking is that when I am famous my doodles will be worth millions - like John Lennon's or Spike Milligan's. The only flaw in this scheme is that involves me becoming very famous very quickly, and I haven't worked out how to achieve that yet.

Naturally I would like it to be as a writer, however, even the most accomplished writers achieve only limited fame - unless they have a fatwa issued against them. And I'm too much of a coward to risk having to live my life looking behind lamp-posts and under cars. At least any more than I do already.

So any suggestions anyone has would be gratefully received.

As I have mentioned many times on this blog, the one thing I am good at is sleeping but currently even that gift appears to be failing. Last night I woke at 4 and could not get back to sleep. The more I tossed and turned, the more I stressed and my brain woke up. Eventually I went and made myself a cup of tea and tried to practise some relaxation techniques. When I had a counsellor - before she gave me up as a hopeless case - she provided me with a cassette tape that she had recorded talking me through the relaxing each bit of your body thing. The problem there is that, when I used to do it, I always fell asleep by the time I was halfway through so I don't know how it ends.

I finally drifted off and dreamt that I was in a fiercely bad mood, so bad that someone decided I should see a doctor but to get into his surgery I had climb over the railings ...

Incidentally is there anything more annoying, when you can't sleep, than the sound of your partner snor - sorry, breathing heavily next to you?

Actually, yes, there is. When he stops breathing heavily and, in fact, seems to stop breathing altogether.

Redcoat's return

There was a visitor in Zac's last night, a man who was very different in appearance from another time. Mark has been in rehab in Edinburgh for the last 16 months and now he's clean, he's been given some basic accommodation in a church where he does some work and he's about to start at bible college. He shared a little with us last night about how things have come about and how he hit the very bottom before he was ready to surrender. He admitted honestly that each day is still a struggle but that his life has been turned around.

Back in November 2006 I wrote about Mark here on my blog only then I called him Redcoat. He taught me a very valuable lesson about judging people by appearance - a lesson I need continually to be reminded of.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

When you've gotta go ...

The last couple of times that daughter and Son-in-law have come to visit, it's taken a lot of persuading to get Holly Dog to go back home with them. She reluctantly comes outside to 'wave them off' but when they call her, she rolls over on her back.

Son-in-law tried dragging her: that didn't work. In the end he had to carry her.
George, meanwhile, was quite happy to get in the car and go home with them. I did suggest swapping but Daughter and Son-in-law weren't too keen on that idea. I don't know why.
They think it's because Holly doesn't like the long car journey but we know it's really because she doesn't want to leave George whom she loves (even though she pretends to merely tolerate the young rascal).

A certain age

You know you've reached that age when you start getting letters: your smear test is due; your eye test is due; your kennel cough is ... oh, sorry, that's George.

Had my smear test this morning. It was remarkably unremarkable except for the fact that, as I'm lying there knees akimbo, the nurse says, 'Now give me a nice big cough.'

Excuse me? Isn't that what men do?

Monday, September 07, 2009

If E H Shepherd could do it

I decided that what this blog needs is some original artwork. Just as Winnie the Pooh stories were brought alive by the E H Shepherd illustrations - long before Disney got hold of them - so original artwork will do the same for my blog! And when I say original I mean, obviously, by me, artist extraordinaire.
A Soft Landing
Meeting Halfway
Why is it that what ends up on paper looks not a jot like what I see in my head?
And why has my text been underlined and how do I get rid of the underlining?

The day of machines misbehaving

Driving to work this morning I couldn't get the car to go into third gear, but, hey, how many gears can you need? I managed.

Slightly more irksome was the misbehaviour of the keyboard. If I didn't watch the screen as I was typing - and I don't as I have to look at the keyboard - it left out letters. So I'd try to type 'This keyboard is not working properly', and I'd get 'Ths ybswo gpl'.

Of course it wasn't actually looking at the screen that solved the problem but the fact that it made me type more slowly. Not that I'm a fast typist anyway. And when I say 'solved', what I mean is that I suspect I have a dodgy keyboard.

Or perhaps the moon was in capricorn.

Getting fit again

Thank you for your good wishes. I'm feeling much better now.

Yesterday I had a yogurt, grapes, bananas and strawberries; today I've had two bowls of Special K. Which might be a good way to kick-start my diet but isn't good preparation for circuit training that restarts tonight. I shall have to tell Jules that I've been poorly and that I'm taking it easy ...

And hope that I'm not paired with Ffion for the boxing as gentle isn't in Ffion's vocabulary.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The good, the bad and the yucky

First the good.

Daughter and Son-in-law came up for the weekend. It was lovely to see them and be able to put my hand on Daughter's tummy and feel Baby moving. Then Elder Son turned up as well. He'd dropped his wife off in Somerset for a hen do so came and spent the night with us. All very lovely.

The Bad.

I've had a dodgy tummy and have spent the day watching Carry On films, reading How to Be a Good Granny, and lying on the sofa feeling sorry for myself.

Feeling better now but very hungry and I'm wondering what I can eat that won't make me sick in the night.

Monochrome Maniacs

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Saturday Photohunt - Orange

From the first set of ten paperbacks, which included A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, published by Penguin in 1935, its fiction could be easily identified by its orange spine and bird logo. These days just the penguin remains.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Crazy as a dog

We thought this was an unusual plant to find growing wild around the cliffs so I investigated: it was plastic. It looked very pretty though.

* * * * * * *

George gets very excited when he meets other dogs when we're out. Not always but usually he'll run around like a crazy dog. Today we met two dogs as we were on our way down a narrow, muddy hill path. George proceeded to show us up and go temporarily deaf. He also becomes oblivious to all that's around him. So when he charged towards me, he wasn't 'seeing' me.

That's the excuse I'm giving him for taking my legs from under me and sending me sprawling. The other dog owner was most concerned. 'Oh dear, are you all right?' she said.
'I'm absolutely fine: I had a soft landing.'
Yes, I landed on George - and serve him right too!

And what was Husband doing? Was he rushing to my aid, to help me up?
Was he heckaslike. He was laughing so hard it's a wonder he didn't fall off the edge of the cliffs. (Or get pushed later on.)

Of course with my old bones I'll probably have seized up by tomorrow. That's the excuse I'm preparing anyway for sitting with my feet up all day.

A shed with a view

Shed - or bungalow as the estate agent calls it - for sale by public auction. Estimated price range £20,000 - £30,000. View from shed.

Happy Birthday to Heather

Chocolate ganache cake

But then Husband takes it to extremes

And comes down from the attic with an old plastic bed sheet.

'You can throw that away,' I said.
'It just needs a wash.'
'It's 28 years old!'
'So? There's nothing wrong with it.'

I gave him a look. 'All right,' he said. 'I'll use it in the garage. But it's a waste ... mutter, mutter mutter.'

And we even found this in the attic!

Daughter and friend share a special moment about 27 years ago. (She will shoot me for this!)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

As good as new

Or at least as good as it was when it went into the attic 22 years ago. Not even a squeaky wheel! I will look like the nanny of a posh person's baby when I am pushing Baby along the prom in this.
And when Daughter and Elder Son were born we lived up a very long and steep hill. I must have been fit to push this up that hill with a baby inside and a toddler on the pram seat on top.
I am wondering if I could do that thing people do when they want to sneak out at night, and wrap up a cushion in a blanket and take 'baby' for a walk in the pram. Not that I'm desperate or anything ...

The cheating Quins

I've had a new article published on the Sportingo website about Harlequins, rugby, joke blood and cheating.

If you haven't heard about the affair it concerns one Harlequins rugby player who was told to feign a blood injury to allow a substitution. When the trick was in danger of being exposed, a cover-up, involving the team doctor cutting the player's mouth with a scalpel, was mounted. It has been a few weeks of shocking revelations that have damaged the good name of rugby.

When Husband played played rugby you only went off if you'd broken your leg and they could see the bone sticking out. Otherwise you were told to get on with it and not let the team down. Since the discovery of AIDS, players are bundled off at the first sign of a bit of blood for staunching. Ee, things aren't what they used to be.

Photo Meme

I've been tagged by Lia over at Life with Lia to take part in this simple meme and here's my photo.
This is E taking a photo of me taking a photo of her. We were at a wedding in Cheshire at the time. In fact this is an opportune moment as the couple whose wedding we were attending have just had their first child: a baby girl, named Amelie! So big congratulations and lots of love to Fi and Angelo!
I'm going to tag 4 bloggers and I'll do that in a moment but first i'll tell you what you have to do. It's very simple.
1. Open the fourth file where you store your photos.
2. Pick the 4th photo.
3 . Explain the photo.
4. Pass challenge onto 4 other bloggers.
And the four taggees are: Cherrypie, Leslie, Robyn and Jay.

This never happened to Indy

The main path through Clyne woods follows the route of the old mid-Wales train line. It's paved and is part of the national cycle trail. We very rarely walk any distance along it preferring the muddier wilder tracks frequented by few except the most hardy of dog-walkers. But recently George and I have donned our Indiana Jones hats and walked where no man has trod before.

Actually that's not true as we've followed paths but paths off the even-less beaten tracks. We found a good route up the hill last week and today we decided to tackle it backwards and walk down.

Near the bottom (and the cycle trail) there was a turning off to the left. 'Come on, George,' I said. 'Let's go exploring.'

It was a reasonable path in most places - by our standards - so we carried on for about 10 minutes before we slipped through a portal into another world, that of a tropical swamp. Complete with vines, high reeds and mist rising. But no way through.

As George and I made our way back along the path we'd come we pondered on why there would be a path if it didn't lead anywhere. 'Surely a path is a path because it goes somewhere,' I said.
'That's probably what everyone else who followed this path thought before they had to turn back too.'
'But no-one ever walks here!'
'Then how is there a path?' George asked before humming the theme tune to the X-Files. (Which is quite remarkable in itself as that was on television before he was born.)

We took the next path down. It was very well-marked. 'This'll take us to the cycle path all right,' I said.

It didn't. It led us to the river, the high, fast-flowing river.

'How can that be here?' I was amazed. 'The river's on the other side of the path.'
'Not if you go far enough up it it's not,' George said. 'But come on, we can swim across.'
'Oh very funny,' I muttered as I fought my way through brambles, under holly branches and along muddy precipices until we reached a tree trunk that had fallen across the river.

'There we are,' I said. 'I can cross here.'
George looked at me doubtfully.
'I can! I've seen Indy do it loads of times.' I put a tentative foot on the trunk: it slipped straight off. I ran my hand over it. 'It's very slippery.' I had a little think. 'Okay, I'll just have to slide along it.'

So there I was gradually bum-bumping along it, and hoping nobody passed by with a camera, when the inevitable happened. In fact two inevitables.

I'd reached the middle when it begins to pour with rain again. And George decided this trunk-balancing looked fun and came out to join me. We were nose to nose and I said, 'Good boy, very clever. Go back now.'
George continued to stand peering into my eyes.
'Go on, George, turn round.'
'Uh uh.'
'What do you mean uh uh?'
'Can't turn round.'
'Why not?'
'Well, back up then.'
'Uh uh.'
'Why not?'
'For goodness sake, jump in the river then!'
'Uh uh.'
'Why not? Oh, don't tell me: scary.'

Eventually by inching persistently closer and sticking out my leg behind his back legs to give him support we managed to get him turned round. 'Go on then, George.' He stood stock still, trembling.

Somehow we got to the other side, where George ran along the bank before happily leaping in the river again. The good thing was that by the time we got home the rain had washed the mud off. The bad thing was that there wasn't anywhere on either of us that wasn't wet through.

What I want to know is: why do these things never happen to Indiana Jones?
Oh, I know. It's because he doesn't have a stupid dog but he does have a sense of direction.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I'm having a rant

What do you say to someone who says, 'I feel really bad about letting you down'?

I say, 'It's okay; don't worry about it.'

What I want to say is, 'So you flipping should.'

I'm not perfect (no, honestly, I'm not - I know I may give that impression sometimes ...) but I do try not to let people down if I can avoid it. When I have done it's been for very good reasons. Not because 'I think God is trying to tell me something.'
He might well be but I'm pretty certain it's not that you should let me down.

The person who's caused this rant is actually usually very dependable. I think that's why I'm so annoyed. There are so few people I can rely on to have to cross another off the list is depressing.

A very wise woman once told me: don't depend on anybody and then you won't be let down. At the time I thought it was a very disappointed view of humanity; now I know what she means.

P.S. I realised this must sound very selfish but it's not me that's being let down but something I organise so a whole group of people.