Friday, 21 December 2007

Catch Up

Isn't the Christmas period absolutely frenetic for Mums?  At long last all my gifts have been wrapped and either delivered or en route via the cross-country family network.  The major gifts for our girls are all home-made but I'll say no more yet because at least one of them has this url in her faves. It's worked out really well tho and I'm already planning something similar for next year. 
The food is prepared and in the freezer for the Boxing Day family feeding of the 5000,  well, 19 actually but they eat like 5000.
 
Today my hub had his check-up appointment with his opthalmic surgeon who was very chuffed with the result of his last operation and arranged to do the other cataract on January 2nd.  Hopefully if the 2nd eye turns out as well as the 1st then it'll be a fantastic beginning to the new year for my hub.
 
I recently rediscovered a school photograph of my class and scanned it.  When I was a small girl I stammered, was so shy I could almost make myself disappear in broad daylight and could have blushed for England.  Can you tell which is me?

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Merry Christmas :O)

Grace and Constance.

Is it just me?

Someone helping to equip a Christmas Refuge for homeless people has asked if I would contribute certain necessities, new underwear, towels, small soaps etc plus 'suitable' Christmas gifts.  The gifts can be anything with just 2 exceptions - cigarettes and alcohol will not be accepted.
 
Now, maybe it's just me but this refusal to allow people to donate cigarettes or alcohol made me quite cross.  I can fully understand that the drinking of alcohol on the premises would not be allowed and that if people are inebriated they wouldn't be allowed to stay.  I also realise, obviously, that smoking is illegal inside enclosed public spaces. 
However, to go so far as to say that people should not even give homeless people a packet of cigarettes or a can of beer, or even give a bottle of spirits to the centre management so that these poor people can have a measured tot at Christmas is an unwarranted imposition of someone else's values on the homeless and on donors.  It reminds me of former times when Christian charities running such relief schemes insisted that recipients of their charity should take part in religious practices and services. 
 
This insistence that people toe the line of someone else's values is symptomatic of the new Puritanism which is pervading society and imo to do it to people who already have far fewer 'rights' than the rest of us stinks.
 
Am I right or am I, as someone has told me, just being difficult?

Monday, 10 December 2007

Stuart said: Some find sheep sexy does that mean we should ban farm animals?

Babies are not sheep Stuart and altho paedophiles are indeed bestial, the occasional shagging of sheep cannot in any way be likened to raping babes in arms.

 

Accessory before and after the fact

A friend of mine who is in the Probation Service once worked at a Category A prison and at one point ran group sessions with convicted serious paedophiles.  As a result she gained more insights into perverted behaviour than she ever wished to have, one being the use put to both still and moving images of tots on TV advertisements.  These images are captured and manipulated by paedophiles to provide sexual excitement and, according to my friend, manufacturers of infant products had been made fully aware of this.
 
Every time I see an advert for baby oils or nappies, or skin creams where babies' naked bottoms are shown, and especially when those adverts show adults kissing babies bottoms it makes me sick to think of these perverts misusing and abusing those images.  That manufacturers approve and pay for the screening of such adverts knowing full well how they'll be used sickens me even further.  The manufacturers and advertising agencies concerned should, imo, be prosecuted in the same way that anyone else providing pictures of adults stroking and kissing the bottoms of infants would be prosecuted.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Not quite the Secret Seven.

 
I've always been in two minds about keeping a journal.  On the one hand, because I keep a copy on my hard drive, it really is the nearest to a diary I've ever managed to maintain for more than the 3 weeks when I got a locked diary for my 8th birthday so in that sense it will I hope be an aide memoire in years to come.  BTW, when I was 8 I tended to say, every day, "went to school, didn't eat my cabbage, it rained" But I also wonder whether having a public journal, even tho I keep fairly quiet about it, isn't actually a bit egocentric.
Lately I've been spending time looking at all the journals on nablopomo and I have read so many entries by the really brave, the really adventurous and the really philosophical that I cannot help but forcefully realise how very dull my blog must be to people who don't know me - and doubtless even more so to those who do! 
I've also read countless entries by people just noting their everyday lives, humdrum domesticity and the doings of families and as their entries mount up I've got a sense of them as personalities.  I've even, in my head, taken sides in their family bickerings tho I have yet to email any of them and put them right  LOL.  
As I read these entries it's occurred to me to give that a try.  So while I have my doubts that any of my select group of regular readers (ie all 5 or 6 of you <g>) will be fascinated to know what I've cooked for dinner, what I've bought in the shops, what my kids have said on the phone, the multifareous ways in which my husband winds me up...  I'm going to give it a go.  But not quite yet.
 
For now I'm going to do what almost everyone in nablopomo is currently doing - giving 7 weird random facts about myself:
 
1. Whenever I see a large weed I am impelled to pull it out.  It doesn't matter where it is, private garden or public planting, or whether people are looking -- if I see a large groundsel or a sycamore seedling or anything else which ought not to be there then out it has to come. 
 
2. I pick the jelly out of pork pies and leave it on my plate.
 
3. My toe nails are always varnished, winter and summer alike.
 
4. My first husband has had a canal barge built and intends to live on it once it's fitted out.
 
5. I can become accustomed to squalor almost at the speed of light.
 
6. My elder brother was killed while riding my new bike.
 
7. I was once engaged to an American.
 
Well, that's it for now.  Tomorrow, or sometime fairly soon, I intend to regale you all with sidesplitting and/or heartrending tales of the daily grind chez nous.  I bet you can't wait! 

Saturday, 17 November 2007

The omnipresent eye

After needing specs for 50 years my husband can now, using only the eye which was operated on yesterday, easily read what I'm typing here in comic sans size 10 from a distance of 6'.  It's a good job I never diss him  ;-)

We went into town today to get one of the lenses in his specs changed to plain glass as an interim measure and it was very reminiscent of going to town with Constance.  He needed his hand held descending stairs and kept reading aloud from street signs and shop windows.  I may apply to Children In Need for a Grant.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Eye aye

 
My husband is home after having his cataract surgery this afternoon and all seems to have gone very well.  He's now sitting in his chair with the dog and cat on his lap, and a clear perspex eye guard taped over his left eye.  Aww, bless.   
He has to keep the eyeguard on until tomorrow morning and then wear it over night for the next week and have eyedrops 4 times a day for the next 4 weeks until he gets the all-clear.  Then he'll be arranging to have the other eye done early in the  New Year.  He's been very matter of fact and stoic in the lead up to this which, given that he's not had any surgery since he was a lad, is brilliant I think.  I'd have wittered and needed regular reassurance I suspect.
 
It's a fascinating operation.  The eye and all nerves around it are numbed by anaesthesia and then the sac, which is within the eye and behind the iris, in which the fluid has become opaque is penetrated on 2 sides by a teensy opthalmic pipette.  The murky contents are then 'vacuumed' out and a clear replacement fluid inserted.  It takes about 20 minutes which is an amazingly short time for such a life-changing outcome.
Mind, it's a good job there's not a big soccer match on TV over the next few days else he'd not be a happy or stoic convalescent bunny.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

It's fun, fun, fun all the way today.

 
Two weeks of workmen in the house ended early Saturday afternoon, thank God.  They were polite, considerate, quiet and did a good job but I really don't like having to get dressed first thing in the morning.  I'm the sort of slobby woman who greets the mid-morning postie in her dressing gown.  So it was great to get the house back except once the workmen had finished the bathroom had to be decorated.  Sizing, caulking, cutting in, 2 coats ceiling, 3 coats walls, inch by inch cleaning.  Having looked in close up detail at that bathroom I shudder to think that children have been bathed in the grunge.  Now they could have an appendectomy there.  Tomorrow my husband fixes the cabinet, towel ring and rail and loo paper holder.  So that would be a diy-aphobe, plus power drill, plus newly plastered walls the day before he has his cataract surgery.  What's the betting I'll have workmen back by next Monday?
 
My other cause for joy is being told by my GP that I need cortisone injections in the ball of my thumb and, gulp, my coccyx.
 
A pic of my eldest granddaughter Thea with Felix. 
 
 

Monday, 12 November 2007

Tits R Us

 
Yes, I know I'm dumber than a dumbbell for even clicking on this, but hey, I'm still not quite as dumb as these dumb boobies.  If you had the squillions of £$ that these woman have firstly would you give a flying fek what anyone thought of your figure and second if you had a boob job which gave you one near your navel and one up by your collarbone wouldn't you go back and smack the plastic (surgeon)?
 
Perhaps they needed a surgical opthalmologist more than they needed breasts like melons.
 

Friday, 9 November 2007

nablopomo rocks

 
I wonder if anyone else has noticed this blogthing which has taken hold of American bloggers?  Every day throughout November everyone taking part tries to make at least one post to their blog each day, and you can read a random selection via this link:
 
 
I've spent a happy hour or two engrossed with these random blogs.  There are blogs on poetry, drawing, cooking, knitting, family life, countryside, politics, home schooling, romance, city life, TV, music and film - you name it sooner or later this link will throw up a blog about it.  I think it's a fantastic idea and wish that AOL Journals did something similar.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

3 cheers for the AOL General Help board posters!

 
I just had an awfully traumatic incident with my PC.  It really threw a wobbly on me and I had to switch it off.  Then when I rebooted I sent an error report to microsoft and they came back with an explanation I didn't understand and advice as to what to do about it.  That involved opening somewhat scarey sounding files in Device Manager.  Anyway, it was like totally freakin me out dood.
 
At a loss and messing my panties I posted on the General AOL Help board which I read quite often in hopes that something will rub off on me - tho it would have to be by osmosis because generally I don't understand much of what they say.  Bless those brilliant helpful members, they came back within minutes and gave me the very best advice I've ever had regarding PCs.  Here it is:
 
>>> The simplest solution: if after restarting the computer it seems to be behaving normally, don't do a thing.  Wobblies happen, and very often just require a restart, and, if the wobbly was very frightening, a stiff drink.

Never start taking anything apart or annoying your software if it only happened the once!  <g>
 
If you ever have a problem with your pc or with aol, then if you have this link to the board in your Faves you'll be okay.  AOL General Questions

Monday, 5 November 2007

Quack quack quack

 
When I was a young woman I developed plantain warts on my chin.  They were virtually flat, small, and the same colour as the rest of my chin but I was very self-conscious about them.  I had pills and creams from my GP and twice had them 'freeze-burned' off in hospital.  I can't tell you how much good it did my self-image to have a bandaged suppurating chin.  Nothing worked.  At my final appointment when I refused to have them 'frozen off' again I was told that the consultant had no doubt that I'd fallen victim to warts due to my resistance being lowered by the stresses of being a working mother of small children.  So nur nur to me.
 
I also suffered from very severe headaches which nothing could touch. When I almost walked under a bus because I'd lost all peripheral vision and hadn't quite twigged that I had I was taken to A&E and seen by an eye consultant as an emergency.  He told me that I had migraines, and that the cause was stress due to my being a working mother of small children.  Stop working, take a holiday and you'll have no more headaches.  I still need to take daily sanomigran two decades later as a prophylactic.
 
One of my children had hearing problems.  Her school denied it and said it was entirely behavioural. I took her to the doctor who said that her hearing was fine but that she was doubtless attention-seeking because she was a small child with a working mother.  [Eventually in despair I took her to a child psychiatrist.  He told me it was a waste of time and to bring her back when she could hear.  When she eventually had her own (peripatetic) teacher for the deaf he told me she was the most intuitive lipreader he'd ever come across.]
 
So when I was a young woman the stock response from frustrated medics was that all women's health issues were due in some part to the inevitable stresses of continuing to work after having children.
 
Now it's smoking and before any of you nod in agreement that smoking is the cause of all human ills just wait - within 5 years the cause of all that's bad will be eating the 'wrong' food. 
 
You may be interested to know that in preparation for the government's case for banning smoking, all health stats where the patient had smoked at some point during their life was designated as 'smoking related'.  So if you smoked for 6 months as an adolescent and broke your leg 30 years later, then you're one of those stats. 
And it'll do you no good leaving out the buns and bacon from now on - they've got your number and they'll be using it against you sometime soon.
 
Doctors?  Bandwagon jumpers the lot of them.

Maybe white men can't dance

But white birds can!

Bird Lovers Only Rescue: May I have this dance?

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Who's that knocking at my door?

 
This morning we were visited by officers from HM Customs & Immigration.  Armed with a survey map they asked whether we owned the paddock and when we confirmed that they asked if we could show them where the runway strips were.  On their map our paddock and the adjoining field constitute an airfield and they needed to ascertain whether it was in use. 
I was very tempted to ask them if they thought I'd be sweeping out my own courtyard if I were making bags of dosh by providing landing facilities for planes full of illegal immigrants but I thought it best not to push it - an orange jumpsuit would ruin my 'hamlet cred' at Evensong.  So off we went, me in wellies, they in smart town shoes, striding through piles of horse manure until they were quite sure that the ponies weren't eating concrete.
 
It makes a change from people knocking at the door and asking for 3lb of Bramleys I suppose.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Still got that old magic

My husband does magic tricks for children.  He's totally crap at it which is why for adults watching him it's absolutely hilarious.  For 8 year old Grace aka Miss Gullibility it's all very 'spooooooky, Granpa!'  This pic was taken when Granpa turned over the last card. 

A sight more valuable than money.

 
For some time my husband has been developing cataracts and at his most recent eye exam was told that he was on the cusp of it being time for surgery.  While having a GP check up  this morning he mentioned it and his GP tested his sight and told him that the impairment to his vision would now make it illegal for him to drive.  As his work takes him a couple of hundred miles from home and other forms of transport aren't an option this presented a quandary regarding his two contracts for November.  We decided he would cancel them.
 
Then it was a case of doing some research about the surgery - the 'best' NHS hospitals for cataracts, their waiting times, their surgeons etc.  The very quickest NHS provision would mean 22 weeks without working and that with a Trust which has a less than excellent record on MRSA infection.  No NHS Trusts appears to list information on their surgeons, not even their names.  Where's that famous 'choice' there?
 
He cannot stop working for 22 weeks, so we have no choice but to self-fund.  The most experienced and best qualified opthalmic surgeon we found gave him a consultation appointment for this Friday (NHS initial consultation target is 6 months) and can do the surgery within the next 2 weeks. (NHS target 13 weeks after consultation)
 
The total cost to have both cataracts done including lost income will be in the region of £9000.  We're lucky that we can afford it - altho given that he has to drive to his work then we have to afford it - and after all what good are savings for if not health.  But it really shouldn't be like this should it?

Monday, 29 October 2007

I've discovered how to load an album!!! :O)

I'm not too sure about how well this Add an Album thing works out.  You have to click the pics to see them larger and then they're huge.  Huge but fab <g>  I think the background that You've Got Pictures adds is a bit of a distraction too.  What do you think?

My heart leapt too!

 
As the weather today was so lovely, and as I'm to be tied to the house for the next 10 days with workmen here, my hub and I went out to Bettws Y Coed for lunch today and to see the autumn colour in Snowdonia.  We had a bit of a walk in some woods by Penmachno and the trees were enchanting as you'll see in the photos below and then we went for lunch and a wander around Bettws itself. 
 
 
 
 
It was there as we stood on a bridge watching the foaming crashing water rushing downwards through gaps in the massive rocks that we saw, for the very first time in our lives, salmon leaping the falls.  We've been to Bettws and walked various stretches of that river times without number but never even knew that salmon were in the river let alone that they leapt the falls.  It was absolutely fantastic watching fish of 24-30" in size leaping three or four foot out of the water and then falling in twisting turns back into the torrent, often crashing into rocks en route.  Sadly as this particular stretch of water is all very commonplace to us I'd left my camera in the car but it's a sight I'll never forget.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Remedy to hurt feelings

In an answer to my earlier blog whinge Dear Agony Aunt, Stuart said:
you do it because it is the right thing to do
why should expect antything in return?
high moral ground
 
This set me thinking about how we decide an action is 'right'.  'Right' and 'Wrong' in this particular context carries a moral weighting - as Stuart implied in his reference to the high moral ground.  Is it then morally wrong to cease doing something which is normally reciprocal even in circumstances where there's no reciprocation or acknowledgement? 
I'm polite to strangers (unless they cut me up on the road) even tho I know for a fact that they'll never reciprocate because I wish strangers were more polite to me and because for all I know they may be a reincarnated Mother Theresa and I'll go to hell if I flick them off.  But mainly I'm polite to strangers because to be so is imo part of maintaining a sense of self-respect.  Whether they acknowledge my politeness or not doesn't affect my behaviour the next time because I don't want to be the sort of person who flicks stangers off for no reason.
But that's different to two-way personal relationships.  Aren't all two way relationships reciprocal, or if they aren't, are they actually two-way relationships at all?  Hmmm.
 
Stuart also said
nah don't like that
kneecap the bitch
 
That made me smile but I can't of course because I love her, and her father loves her.  And I love him more than I want to kneecap his eldest.   And at the end of the day that's why I'll keep on sending cards and gifts because her father's a typical man and if I left it to him she'd be the one ending up with hurt feelings.
 
I do of course know the answer to my dilemma.  I'm going to knit her a nice jumper in puce for her next birthday.  Size 20 <weg>

Dear Agony Aunt

 
I've been stepmother to 2 of our girls for 27 years.  Several years ago the elder one was involved with a sort of personal development 'commercial cult' type programme during which she had to reconsider her relationships with her family.  This lead to a very large number of rather odd telephone calls to her father and to me over several months where her reason for calling was to say that she loved both of us and that we meant the world to her.  It really was a series of I Just Called To Say I Love You phone calls. <g>  Prior to that of course we'd assumed that she loved us but there you go, now we'd been told.  Repeatedly. 
 
Now, it's only a little thing I know but for every single one of those 27 years I've bought and sent her birthday cards and gifts.  In all those years I've never received even one card in return, not birthdays, anniversaries, get well cards, nothing, zilch, nada.  
Today is her birthday again and I txted her first thing to wish her a very happy day and it struck me to wonder why I keep on doing it when she doesn't even acknowledge receiving the cards and gifts let alone reciprocate.
 
How do people learn how they hurt others if no-one tells them?
 
Should I say something - and if so what? - or just keep shtum (and cut her out of my will <g>) ?
Finally, am I a dreadful self-centred woman to even think this way?

Saturday, 27 October 2007

A woman of courage

 
A few days ago I wrote a whinge about whingers, about X Factor competitors who cried all the time.  I guess it's part of my make up to wish that folks could be more reserved with their emotions and save their tearful outbursts for when no-one can see or hear them. 
I know that to some people it will make me sound cold and heartless but I think that much of the public crying we see these days is either an attempt at manipulation or is a sign of a weak character who is dependant on the empathy of others. 
Having said that, I have to admit that sometimes I've cried in front of my husband but, except when I've been crying over someone else's illness or death, my tears have always made me feel angry at myself for acting in a pathetic way, mortified with embarassment and ashamed of my lack of self control.
 
Well that's me, it's how I am.  I admire stoics and hope one day to become one myself.
 
So now here is someone I consider a real stoic.  This woman has my complete admiration.  Read her Journal from the beginning.  It's not long and I think, like me, you'll be stunned by her courage.
 

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Cheat!

Some children just like to play a fair game of Hide and Seek in the woods, others will go to extraordinary lengths to win.  Even when they can't climb down from their perch.  Some children have evil Grannies who hear them sniff, suss where they are and then quickly walk off out of sight, leaving them stuck.

I don't know where some children get their competitive streak from. <g>

Monday, 15 October 2007

Autumn garden

Spot the dog

 

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Trivial rant about trivia.

I wonder if other people sit cursing at the twaddle on their TVs as I so often do? 
 
Earlier this evening I was almost driven to distraction by the endless synthetic pleas for sympathy from the current crop of X Factor hopefuls.  The father of one of the older ones died sometime last year - " I never thought it would happen" - FFS I think, so you actually thought your parents likely to outlive you???; one of them is a single father " He brought light into my life and I'm doing it all for him" - yes well I daresay being a Sundays only parent can make you feel that it's all sunshine and light tho I doubt if you make it into the bigtime you'll still 'be there' for him;  another couple of them are simply immature 14/15 year old crybabies - "I've never had a chance before" - so you expected to be famous before you reached 15 FFS??  All in all there was at least double the footage of snotty noses and tearstained cheeks than there was of them actually sodding singing!
I think they should make a rule that at the first sign of attempted manipulation they should be given their marching orders.  And some of them should be booted out loooooooong before that, wretchedly dull chirpsters that they are!
 
I wonder if you've seen the same DFS sofa advertisement that I have, and whether you too thought (or in my case said) 'Good God above, do people actually pay for THAT horror'?
 
When I was a kid I used often to ask my Dad if there was any actor or singer, or indeed anyone on TV or in film or theatre that he DID like.  Now all I need to do is start wearing my old work suit trousers for gardening and I'll actually BE my Dad.  Maybe that's a notion to cheer up that weepy woman on X Factor.

Garden update

The beginning of October is the start of my autumn.  In my flower garden many of the late flowering plants are well into it, purples and pinks and burnt oranges abound and the grasses are a beautiful oaty colour.  Even so I have to ruin the display by cutting and splitting and chucking and moving, and it has to be done before the unworkable weather comes in.
 
In the orchard I'm waiting for the last pear tree to ripen up while I wander about picking up fallen Bramleys from the dewy grass and sorting them out - nice and clean and unholed to the kitchen, bashed and holed over the fence to the ponies.  The ponies are feeling their oats again and spend much of the day 'bulling' in anticipation of a visit from the stallion.
 
The late vegetable harvest is well underway with about 50lbs of humungous onions doing their final drying off on the empty staging in the polytunnel where the last dozen or so pounds of tomatoes are hanging around in the last of the heat.  My pumpkins are fantastic, purple skinned and orange fleshed 'Crown Prince', and they're lurking amongst the huge yellowing leaves.  Gallons of fantastic soup stored in their skins for the winter, replacing the tomato soup lost to the blight.  My bell pepper plant from last year is still doing well with about 8 green peppers slowly turning garnet coloured.
 
In the kitchen it's been all go with bottling fruit and mixing mincemeat but today was my husband's fave of the season - I've drained off the plums in brandy, the plums have gone into a) my husband and b) the Christmas puddings now simmering on the stove and the brandy is filtering ready for my store cupboards.  Best of all, England have just beaten the Ozzie Rugby team to a frazzle so some of that Plum Brandy will be going awol as part of his celebrations  :O))

Friday, 28 September 2007

Best use both fingers and toes

Psychologists have found a justification for the male strangehold on Nobel prizes – there are twice as many men as women in the brightest 2% of the population.

But although men may win the top prizes, they cannot claim a clear-cut victory in an intellectual battle of the sexes. The study shows that men also cluster at the opposite extreme, with twice as many men as women stuck in the least intelligent 2%.
Ah, yes, the old 'men are both smarter and dumber argument.'  Not like that's been advanced before.

So now let's ask a question: what percentage of Nobel winners are female?
There was no significant difference in the average intelligence of men and women, when all the test results were taken together. However, the analysis showed that men were far more likely to be be found at extremes of the intelligence scale. At the time of the study, men had been awarded 545 out of the 557 Nobel prizes for science. [Emphasis mine]
Now, since I'm a woman, my female brain doesn't allow me to do maths.  Okay, actually, I can use a calculator.  And my calculator tells me that twelve Nobel laureates out of a pool of 557 is equal to... <carry the two> ... 2.2 percent.

So great! That's solved the reason that women don't win Nobel Prizes.  Well, except for this dratted sentence from the article I'm quoting:
[T]here are twice as many men as women in the brightest 2% of the population.
Now, let's accept that argument.  Even if one assumes that the tests measured had no intrinsic gender bias in the way they were formatted, and even if one assumes that the tests measure innate intelligence and not "book-learning," and even if one assumes that brothers and sisters have the exact same parenting from their parents, and even if one assumes that all Nobel laureates would test above the 98th percentile (a questionable proposition at best), and even if one believes that this observed gender difference is the overwhelming reason that women do not achieve at the same levels as men, even if you accept all of that, you still reach the conclusion that women make up fully one-third of the most intelligent people.  And given that, one would expect there to have been... <carry the four> ... 186 female Nobel winners.

There have been twelve.

So what does one make of such disparity? Well, I'll tell you what: I'm going to suggest that this study proves, once and for all, that sexism is the overwhelming reason that women do not achieve at the same level as men. After all, this study argues that women should only account for one-third of Nobel Prizes rather than one-half -- a difference of about 93 winners. My theory accounts for the other 174 women who didn't win the prize, but would have in a truly egalitarian society.

When women are winning the Nobel prize at least a third of the time, come back, and we'll talk about whether there are differences in the raw intelligence of women and men.  It will still be a stupid and wrongheaded argument, but at least we can pretend at that point that gender is a meaningful factor. Until we get a lot closer to equality, though, I think it's doubtful that we're going to get the right answers anyhow.
 
So in the interim will the inadequate Neanderthals please STFU  :O)

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Ahmadinejad huh

Sensible people everywhere were pleased that NYC didn't allow Iranian President Ahmadinejad to place a wreath at the WTC site and that Columbia University rescinded the offer to let him speak.  If you let a foreign idiot like that express his  views, before long the entire world will want freedom of speech.

I hate Ahmadinejad for all the same reasons you do. For one thing, he said he wants to "wipe Israel off the map."  Scholars tell us the correct translation is more along the lines of wanting a change in Israel's government toward something more democratic, with less gerrymandering.  Huh, only brown-nosing-to-terrorist crinoids listen to scholars when the tabloids offer their own helpful monosyllabic interpretations.

Ahmadinejad also called the holocaust a "myth."  Well he can go stick his head up a dead bear's bum!  A myth is something a society uses to frame their understanding of their world, and act accordingly.  It's not as if the world created a whole new  country because of holocaust guilt and gives it a free pass no matter what it does.
That's Iranian crazy talk.

Those Iranians need to learn from the American example.  In the USA if the clear majority of the public opposes the continuation of a war, their leaders will say they're terrorist-loving traitors and they'll do whatever they damn well please. They might even increase taxes expressly in order to do it. That's called leadership.

If Ahmadinejad thinks he can be our friend by honouring the victims of terrorism and opening a dialogue with the West, he underestimates our ability to misinterpret him. Anyone would think that Americans weren't the only nationality killed at the WTC.  What a twat.

Showing off

My granddaughter Grace has today got her swimming cert for 1000 metres - 40 lengths.  Good eh? 

Sunday, 16 September 2007

St Martin

Walking up 8th Avenue we came across a street barred off from traffic by no less than 9 baton twirling and very insouciant New York cops and so naturally we turned into the street to see what was going off.  Luckily for us it wasn't a riot, but a very local celebration of St Martin's Day -  St Martin apparently being a great fave with people from South America.  An image of the saint had been brought from the neighbourhood church and was being carried a short way up and then down the narrow street by a strange and very slow sideways shuffle.  Most of the people carrying the image were no spring chickens and one poor chap looked fit to drop with the strain.  When the image had to be turned around to parade up and down the street a supervisory type man struck a huge gong to direct the movements of the bearers.  Frankly the sudden loud clash seemed more likely to give them a heart attack.

The image was followed on it's several trips up and down by a small and somewhat discordant  band and by several people wearing the ethnic clothing of their region of origin.  People threw flowers and everyone appeared to enjoy themselves hugely in the great friendly atmosphere.

Speaking of local neighbourhood things, we were astonished to hear, and see for ourselves, that what famously used to be a significant feature of Manhattan, Little Italy, has now reduced to one street, Mulberry St, which is really little but a fairly short row of restaurants.  The remainder has been taken over by their ever-expanding neighbours, the Chinese.  China Town is huge and still growing.  Away from the tourist area of Canal St where all the knicknack shops and eating houses are located we saw considerable poverty.  One good thing was that all of the little 'parks' and squares were taken over by old Chinese people playing MahJong and cards and a very obscure Chinese game that we just couldn't puzzle out.   A park full of gambling pensioners makes a nice change to yobs loitering round the kiddie swings tho  :O)

Fashion Rocks!

The week of our holiday was NYC's Fashion Week and we had the good fortune to come across a 'Fashion Rocks'  TV filming while we were looking for something to eat on Central Park South.  We were given wristbands to come back after lunch to be part of the selected audience for a public performance by Martina MacBride in Grand Army Plaza.  Martina has been an icon of the country music scene for quite some time and is a fave of ours so we were thrilled to be there to see and hear her at such very close quarters.  She sang 3 songs, one of them 3 times for the sound recordist, but all beautiful.  She's a Christian and writes her own lyrics which reflect aspects of her belief.  If you've never heard of her, then go Google and catch a listen.
 

Saturday, 15 September 2007

More pics

These are two of my favourite photographs from NYC.  I shall make an attempt to paint this one as I think it's a simply fabulous building.  I have no choice than to be an impressionistic painter   :

 

Times Square of course needs no introduction.  It's a much 'cleaner' location since Guilliani's crackdown on filf but just as busy.

 

Friday, 14 September 2007

No Sale

During our week in NYC we took the ferry to Staten Island to visit a shop famous among acoustic musicians the world over, Mandolin Brothers: MANDOLIN BROTHERS LTD Center of the Acoustic Universe!  The 30 minute ferry ride is absolutely free btw, so if you're ever in Manhattan, don't forget to get this view for no charge:  

Staten Island was a complete surprise, it was so suburban and leafy - hard to believe that it's one of the 5 New York boroughs.  Sadly as my hub had very specific requirements, ie for a (really) Vintage Vega open-backed 5 string banjo, he ended up buying nothing.  All in all it was a very inexpensive morning but he had a great time anyway, playing some of the world's most rare and expensive guitars and doing his nerdy music talk and jamming with the even nerdier but very friendly and welcoming staff. 

That evening I had a similar hugely enjoyable but abortive experience in Bergdorf Goodman's Fur department where, in absolute desperation, the suave gentleman hoping to sell me the latest fur trimmed mohair 'drape' ( Yankee for poncho type thing) said that in fact, if Madam decided to purchase, he would like my contact details in order to invite me back at Bergdorf Goodman's expense to model it at their pre-Christmas show as it suited me so well LOLOL.  If I could have afforded their fur I wouldn't have been interested in a free weekend trip!  As it was I got neither.  They really had nothing I could garden in anyways <gg>

 

Thursday, 13 September 2007

New York

I thought that the very first photograph of New York might appropriately be one of the AOL/Time Warner Tower.  4 Floors comprise a hotel which costs from $1200 to $23,500 per person per night.  The hotel has a Sushi bar which caters for only 9 customers a time.  Seats are $500 per head.  Goodness knows what they'd charge if they were expected to actually cook the fish!

This 2nd photograph is of Central Park, imho the very best bit of Manhattan.  We spent almost a whole day there watching baseball, at the zoo, the model boat pond, the various gardens and at the castle.  It's a beautiful park with numerous lakes and wooded hilly areas and New Yorkers use it in their masses, running, roller blading, cycling and riding on the pedestrian-only cross-park roads, and there are charming horse drawn carriages or bicycle rickshaws for those who don't want to walk. There are enclosed areas for dancing, musicians scattered across the whole park, and childrens' entertainers abound - really good ones too with storytelling, group singing, juggling and magic tricks.  During the whole day we saw no bad behaviour whatsoever, no shouting, no booze, no trouble at all. Just people enjoying themselves.  Fantastic.

Friday, 31 August 2007

Much better!!!!

I was up with Gyp until 4am, and then came downstairs again at 7am. She was vomiting watery froth, actually peed on the kitchen floor which she's not done since she was 10 weeks old and she was in an unmoving trance-like state. This morning we genuinely thought she was dying. 

We took her to the Vet and had to carry her to and from the car as she wouldn't/couldn't walk and he gave her more antibiotics and another anti-emetic and kept her in for observation.  We came home to the house bereft and not knowing whether we were coming or going.

We rang at midday to see how she was, fully expecting to hear bad news and, well, isn't it brilliant, but she was on the mend!  The vet said he'd keep her over the weekend if it would help but he thought she would be fine to travel to my daughter's today.  Come and have a look, he said.  He's concluded that she has a nasty case of gastro-enteritis.  She was so glad to see us, wriggling her little body and wagging her stumpy tail.  When we got her home she gave Dennis a quick lick hello and went to look in her <empty> food bowl.

So now she's in Lutterworth with her special convalescent food and 5 days worth of antibiotic pills and she's fine and getting just the right mix of attention and peace and quiet, thanks to my brilliant daughter.  Not many  mums of 14 month old toddlers would take on a dog for convalescent care with gastroenteritis.  I must have done something good sometime to have a kid like her.

Meantime hub and I are knackered - no sleep and we didn't start packing or sorting out holiday measures for my polytunnel and the 40 baskets and pots in the courtyard until 7pm this evening.  Every container we own is outside, full to the gunnels with water and plants and 2 cases are also packed to the gunnels with hair straighteners <g>

Early bed tonight and thank goodness we can sleep without worrying until up at 5.30am to set off for Manchester and NYC.

Thanks so much for your kind words, I really appreciate it.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Not good.

My little dog's no better.  I made an emergency appointment and took her to the Vet at 9pm and when he took her temperature the thermometer came out with blood on it. He wondered if she'd eaten any poison or perhaps carrion but she has no access to poison and never pays any attention to Dennis's leavings. He gave her antibiotocs and an anti-emetic and told me to bring her back at 8.45am tomorrow.  Once she was back at home she went into the garden and poo'd a small pool of bloody flux.  She's in a sort of trance, as if she's suffering from petit mal.  We're worried sick about her.

Duhhh dood!!!

From time to time when I have a glut of produce from my garden I sell off at my garden gate that which I can't eat or freeze.  In past years I've used for a Sale sign a metal tripod thing abandoned on my front drive by road-hole-menders, and very handy it's been.  Sadly however earlier this summer it was either nicked by some miscreant or retrieved by the council and so I had to think of something else to fulfil the same function. 
I tried a sign hanging from a branch that hangs outward over the hedge but a van knocked that for six.  I tried a post to hold one of my grandchildrens' blackboards but again, some beggar who can't steer straight gave it a whack. 
Eventually I hit on the notion of taping signs to my wheelie bin and siting it in the middle of where my drive meets the road.  Fine, very visible and very stable so no-one cared to risk hitting it with their wing mirrors and everyone could see it as they approached my drive.  So there it's stood for the past fortnight bearing large sheets of lining wallpaper daubed with huge letters advertising Victoria Plums, Swiss Chard, Courgettes etc.
 
So far 4 customers, all barely 5' tall, have told me that before coming up the drive they stopped and looked in the wheelie bin expecting the fruit and veg to be inside.  I asked each of them how edible they thought any plums at the bottom of a wheelie bin would look, and how they'd thought they might actually be able to reach down and get them out.  All 4 said, Oh, I didn't think of that.  Sometimes Shropshire folk can seem really really dumb. 
 
I'm supposedly off to NYC first thing Saturday morning and my pooch has chosen now to be poorly.  She's not eaten, didn't want to go for a walk, keeps womiting frothy watery stuff, is shaking, and looks extremely sorry for her self.  If she's no better tomorrow we've to whip her round to the Vet before taking her to my daughter for a week with my grandchildren.  It's not looking good for NYC, is it?  Sad

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Visitors

This week we've had the pleasure of Constance's company.  Connie is 5, and the sort of easy-going and happy nipper who would make anyone wish they could start another family.  We were really sorry to have to take her home.  Especially as she never finished clearing up the hawthorn hedge cuttings.  We'll save the remainder for the autumn half-term <evil laugh>

This is a Long Eared Owl who's visited our garden before but never stayed long enough for me to get the camera out. This morning he was more relaxed and sat while I fetched the camera and opened the window - and then sat through 2 flashes.  According to our book Long Eared Ows aren't at all common and, so the book says, are only out and about during the hours of darkness. So much for bird books, but he's a cracker, isn't he?

Just after he'd flown off into the orchard I saw a sparrow hawk do a stuka swoop onto an area of lawn at the back of the house.  My hub rushed out and got within 6' before the hawk flew off with a vole in his claws - too quickly for a photograph but boy, what a flier.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Browned off

Am I pissed off?  Just a little.  I found tomato blight on my vegetable patch which is where all my crop for freezing was planted out and starting to crop well.  Blight begins with browning of leaves and then patches of the stalk followed by the tomatoes getting brown patches on their skin and the whole plant eventually dying. Even if the tomatoes are taken off and brought inside, they'll go brown in the bowl so they can't be saved.  I've just put about 60lbs of actual and potential tomatoes in the dustbin.  That's our winter tomato soup and sauce for the kids gone.  I could spit.

And now, to make my day perfect, my hub has decided to strip the paint from the fancy portico which surrounds our front door.   I can't let him just get on with it, husbands being the half-assed botchers that husbands are, or mine in any case, but common sense demands I supervise and advise and my conscience demands I do my share of the graft.  He was seized by this fantabulous idea at midday in full sun.  I may give him a slap before the day is out.

Finally, and best of all, I've put on 2lbs and, as I never actually reached my target weight before I started celebrating losing 1.5 stone, I can't afford to pile up anymore.  So just when I should be living on salads and tomatoes............... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

 

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

The Road

If you like reading stuff which gives you plenty to mull over then the next time you log on to Amazon or wander by a bookshop then take a tip and buy The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  One of the best of the current crop of American fiction writers McCarthy writes dark tales, and The Road is the blackest yet - tho not his bloodiest. 

The common theme in his stories is of very ordinary people struggling to survive in extremely bleak environments and The Road tells of a journey undertaken by a man and his small son after a devastating catastrophe has killed off all living things.  It's thought-provoking, scarey yet ultimately hopeful and the language is of real quality.

The Road: Cormac McCarthy

 

Thursday, 2 August 2007

In my garden

This has been a very trying year in the garden but as always it's come up trumps.  Even so, every time I'm outside and looking at my planting beds I'm constantly thinking that this was a mistake, that should be moved, this has to hit the compost and that should have been divided last autumn. 

Here's a few pics taken in my largest bed, created 4/5 years ago on the base of an old cowshed:

   

And just to show how decorative vegetables can be, here's some 'rainbow' Swiss chard fronting up a bed of Bulgarian leeks and backed up by tomato plants grown from the leaf axil sideshoots of my polytunnel plants:


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Monday, 23 July 2007

Rubbish man

Today's gripe is about people who constantly bemoan the impingements of what they(mistakenly) think is Political Correctness on their daily lives yet who cravenly kowtow to it if they ever come across it in real life (as opposed to on the Daily Mail front page).
 
Take as an example this recent instance of the black Refuse Collector who was instructed by a no-neurone plank to remove his England Flag bandanna in case it was perceived as racist by the public.  Ok, it was a plank giving out with twattish instructions but excuse me, the black guy was if anything even more of a plank for taking his bandanna off.
Anyone with even one active synapse surely to goodness knows without having to think about it that had the black guy stuck to his perfectly legitimate and legal right to wear that bandanna and if he'd been reprimanded or even sacked as a result then he'd have had a good case to take to an Industrial Tribunal, a good case for a Compensation claim, a possible case of racism in the workplace and he'd have been hailed as a National Hero of ThisOnceGreatNation by the Mail.
 
But no.  He took it off.  If I saw him tomorrow I'd slap him. I really don't know quite what it is that ails British people that they no longer know their rights or seemingly know a twat when they see and hear one.  What wimps they are.  No wonder we have a craven government - after all,  what better does a craven populace deserve?
 
The absolute pits tho is that it's the very same type of no-brain who impotently witter about how PC is ruining British life but who don't take a stand themselves who then have the absolute bare-faced gall to complain that ordinary everyday Muslim wives and Mums aren't demonstrating with placards in the street decrying and naming would-be terrorists from their faith communities.
Well forgive me for saying so, but being beheaded is a tad more scarey than having someone give you a disdainful look - which is the worst that PC types dish out - and I know because I'm one of them.
 
 

Monday, 16 July 2007

Cross words

Yesterday evening I watched a South Bank Show programme about the Barnsley poet, Ian McMillan and you'll like as not think I'm weird, but it really made me cross.  McMillan was shown in a variety of situations where he was being paid, as a poet, to help develop speech and literacy skills. 
 
A prime example of his style was seen in his work with a group of immigrants learning English.  He asked them to say where they'd come from and he wrote their answers on a blackboard thus:
Pakistan
Slovakia
Afghanistan
Germany
 
then he paused and said, "these are great words, but to get a rhythm we need to use 'and', then we have:
Pakistan
Slovakia
Afghanistan and
Germany
 
There, it now has great words and rhythm,  Good work!"
 
Quite how this helped people who need functional language to better their chances in this country goodness only knows altho I daresay they found a few more words to describe the waste of their time once he'd left the building. 
 
He then was shown in a primary school where he said his aim was to 'loosen up' the children's language. 
Now I always thought that children were famed for having a distinctively 'loose' way with language.  So much so in fact that they frequently either make their own words up or use words to mean the exact opposite of their dictionary definition. 
Nevertheless, these children called out various commonplace words which McMillan received with cries of fantastic!' and 'brilliant!', as he listed them and then asked for conjunctives.  Having stuck several 'and's and 'but's into the list he told the children that this demonstrated that anyone can be creative and anyone can write poetry.
 
Well, I have news
for the Barnsley rhymster,
prose cut up
into brief phrases or
single
words
is not poetry.  Even tho
to the unthinking
eye
it may appear
similar and is often
touted as
such by those
who should, and often do,
know better.
 
Poetry requires precise language specifically selected to convey the content in a closely focused and economical way which presents recognisable truths or insights which strike home at both the heart and the intellect.  Form and structure, metre and rhythm are essential not only to the writing of good poetry but to the reading of it too. 
 
Form and
Structure and
Metre and
Rhythm
And CONTENT!
 
I loathe and abhor the way so-called poets and teachers of literacy skills like McMillan patronise people by presenting them with banal rubbish and demean their intelligence by crying 'fantastic', 'brilliant' and 'great!!' when they suggest commonplace words like 'and'.
 
Barnsley poet?  The man is a cheap shyster; an intellectual pygmy populist of the type which is set to ruin English language poetry. 
 
I'd shoot
the fraudulent
bugger myself
given half
a chance.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

It's just the Gypsy in my soul

My paternal grandfather's mother was a Gypsy and my husband's maternal grandmother was too.  My lot were china riveters, chair caners and catchers and sellers of wild songbirds and my husband's were much posher with china shops in the Cotswolds.  
It's not something which often arises in conversation but when it does there seems to be a more than 50% chance that whoever I tell also has some Gypsy forebears, for example one of my sons in law I recently discovered and a neighbour at our old house.  I wondered if anyone reading this shared a Gypsy inheritance too - I wouldn't be at all surprised. 
C'mon, fess up and then we can swap curses :O)

Monday, 9 July 2007

Dear God..

Letters written to God in Sunday School. (allegedly)

Dear GOD,
Are you really invisible or is that just a trick? -Lucy

Dear GOD,
Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident?
-Norma

Dear GOD,
Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don't You just keep the ones You have now? -Jane

Dear GOD,
What does it mean You are a Jealous God? I thought You had everything.
-Jane

Dear GOD,
I think the stapler is one of your greatest inventions. -Ruth M.

Dear GOD,

Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before, You can look it up. -Bruce

Dear GOD,
We read Thomas Edison made light. But in school they said You did it. So I bet he stoled your idea. Sincerely, Donna

And my own fave:

Dear GOD,
If You watch me in church Sunday, I'll show You my new shoes.
-Mickey D.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Here's lookin at you kid.

I take back everything I said about my husband and his red eyeball a couple of months ago.  Poppy seed heads on stiff stalks are vicious buggers.

Mind, it'll make my 'looks' and whispered threats much more effective this weekend.  And my son in law already thinks I'm the scariest woman he's ever met!  <g>

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

A plea from the heart.

I have a mix of visitors, 4 adults and 4 children, coming to stay from Thursday evening until Monday late afternoon.  In the party is one person who has a very serious allergy to egg and cannot under any circumstances have even a trace of egg without needing to go to hospital, one who has an intolerance to all dairy which causes vomiting and a rash, and 4 who are very very strict vegetarians.  3 of the children are forbidden all nuts and all 4 are forbidden sugar and salt.
I'm thanking my lucky stars that the one with dairy intolerance has grown out of her wheat intolerance, else it would all be totally intolerable.
So, any ideas for 4 lunch and 4 dinner menus for that lot?
 
No?  You don't know how lucky you are that you needn't give a damn <g>

Monday, 2 July 2007

He speaks the language too!!

On Saturday while carrying his bottle of juice Felix had his 900th tumble of the day.  The rim of the teat holder caught him between the eyebrows causing a very nasty bruise and a pigeon's egg sized lump.  His Mum called me this morning to say that the blue and purple bruise had extended downwards over the bridge of his nose (if you could call it a bridge) and that the space between the bruise and his hairline had turned red and the lump not diminished at all. 
Poor little soul, tho he stopped shrieking and was fine and dandy within 3 minutes.  She then told me that she had taken him to the library dressed in his sister's pink fringed poncho as both of his coats had gone awol, probably appropriated for teddy bears.
 
So, I said, do people at the library think you've given birth to a transvestite Klingon?  She put the phone down on me!  Now I ask you, who was in the right???

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Thursday, 21 June 2007

yes yes yes yes YESSSSSSS :O)

I fell down the stairs this morning, but I'm still jumping for joy this afternoon.  Good news for me today - my biopsy result was clear of anything worrying. 

     Way Too Happy                 Way Too Happy                   Way Too Happy                       Way Too Happy                Way Too Happy   

My consultant yet again shoved his horrid nasty camera thing up my nose and down my throat to have a looksee, lucky man, and he tells me that tho my incision has healed well I have severe laryngitis.  This is in addition to the bronchitis my GP diagnosed last week and which is still with me, the antibiotics having done little but given me the usual female side-effects.  Bronchitis, laryngitis and thrush - but all of those are temporary and I'm not actually ill, which is a fantastic relief.

 Doctor

I do tho still have a problem with speaking and am to have speech therapy to help recover some strength in my voice.  This too will necessitate not only having the camera thing shoved up my nose repeatedly, but I'll have to watch the resultant movie on screen and speak - while it's still there!!!! - so as to learn how to manage my vocal chords again.

Doctor

Ah well, mustn't whinge too much today after my good news.    Bounce

 

 

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

6.5% Current Account!

The current account war is now white hot.   Alliance & Leicester's* added to its market leading one year 0% overdraft (it's still cheapest after a year too) by now paying the highest in-credit interest at 6.5%.   This is the absolute best interest rate offered anywhere by any bank or building society in the UK.

Plus its 'refer a friend' offer's been improved to £40, so for every pal you recommended you get £40 and so do they.

Info courtesy of MoneyExpert.com - if you aren't yet signed up for their weekly email then go sign right now!

Planning to smack the plastic soon?

If so, then don't spend a penny until you've got your new Capital One Platinum Cashback Card. 

4%, yep 4% cash back on every £1 you spend for the first 3 months, so, if you're planning to buy something major, put it on your Capital One Platinum - in fact put every penny you spend on the card to get the maximum return - food, clothing, petrol, utility payments, put it all on plastic instead of using your debit card or cash.

After 3 months the cashback drops to a still market leading 1%.  Do this right and you can make (ie save) £100s a year.  First set up a Direct Debit to pay it off in full each month, so there's no interest charged; then use it for all spending.

Go on, give it a go and for once get something back from a credit card company!

Capital One Platinum card - for applicants with an excellent credit history and a balance to transfer


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Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Titchmarsh huh.

Far be it from me to show off, but we've been eating strawberries from the garden for pudding for the past 10 days and have a further 7lb already in the deep freeze for summer pudding in the winter - and yesterday I cut my very first cucumber and red pepper!  All from plants I propagated myself <bows>

Goodness knows why tho because I can't stand cucumber!

I'm seeing the consultant to hear the biopsy result from my recent vocal chord surgery next Thursday.  Hopefully the time it's taken means everything's hunkydory.


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Friday, 8 June 2007

Gentleman of the road.

 
On Tuesday evening while walking the dog we came across an old green lane, never tarmaced and with no tractor ruts and so we took an inquisitive detour along it.  For the first mile or so it was normally wide for green lanes, but then diminished to little more than a cart track altho footing remained solid and even.  We passed parcels of ancient broadleaf woodland and several hidden ponds among the fields alongside the lane and the huge trees edging the roadway were all very old coppice.  Rabbits scuttling everywhere and a wide range of birdsong and hedgrow flowers made it a very 'Disney' experience. 
 
Then as we rounded a bend we saw in the distance what looked like a blue tarpaulin covering something butted up against the hedgerow and getting nearer we could see a heat haze and wisps of smoke rising up.  It was a bender, made from branches bent over and covered to provide a shelter - a sort of homemade tent, with a small fire in front of the opening.  There sat a much bewhiskered old fashioned tramp-by-choice having a cup of tea and reading a book. 
My dog ran over to him and as so often with dogs and strangers, she broke the ice and we exchanged a few words.  This tramp told us he'd lived in the lane all last summer and planned to stay all this summer too.  We were the first people he'd seen on the path.  He said he spent his days walking in quiet places and watching wildlife, reading and thinking and was absolutely content with his chosen life.  He ate very little, cheap tinned fish, a baked potato from his fire, the occasional rabbit and wanted for nothing more.
 
He's the first real tramp of the old fashioned sort that I've seen for many a long year, altho when I was a child most people seemed to know at least one.  I wish now that I'd asked him why he thinks that is.

Friday, 1 June 2007

Whispered threats cut no ice, apparently.

For the past few days I've had Grace staying with me over half-term.  She's loved the fact that I can't raise my voice and has made the most of it, disappearing into the garden at key times, such as when I've wanted her to help with some little task, or when bedtime is looming.  Then she's been laughing at me around corners while I've been at the bottom of the rope ladder to the (empty) treehouse, telling her as sternly as possible given that I've had to be all sotto voce that it's well past time for her bath.  At one point she repeated what I tell her when she says some cheek under her breath and she brazenly told me that people who mutter aren't saying anything worth hearing.  I don't know where she gets her propensity for sarcasm from but I'm not looking forward to her adolescence.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Silenced at last, a husband's dream come true.

 
I had my surgery early yesterday morning as a day patient.  My throat is really quite sore and my bp is causing one or two problems with movement but otherwise I'm hunkydory. 
I'm strictly forbidden to speak at all for 2 days, and then may speak for not more than 5 minutes per hour and must be close enough to put my hand on the shoulder of the person I'm speaking to.  After 5 days of that I may speak more often but never over the TV or radio or machinery, or when in the car.  The aftercare notes repeatedly say in bold font that whispering is strictly out of bounds.  My husband says if more husbands knew about this aftercare regimen they'd be queueing up to get their wives in for the op.
 
My surgeon thought that things looked okay and there's every reason to think that the biopsy will be clear of anything worrying.  I'll know in 2/3 weeks.  Fingers crossed.
 
One irritating side-effect is that I'm finding that killer rejoinders lack impact when written, especially if too-clever-for-their-own-good husbands then pretend not to be able to read the sarky scrawl  :O)))

Monday, 14 May 2007

Weeding my worries away, somewhat <g>

I've been outside working hard, trying to calm down and get rid of my angst about this hospital thing and thought I'd share a few more garden pics with you. 

 I hope you like them.  I usually find that being busy, especially outside, helps me towards gaining a little balance.  This bed above is mainly a grass garden altho it doesn't look much like it at the moment.   I made this bed 4 years ago on the site of a former cowshed and it's where I've put my new cannas which will look great I hope once they come into bloom among the tall grasses.

Altho it's not visible in this pic of the ceanothus 'Blue Skies', one of those bay windows is crazy paved since the petrol strimmer caught a stone thrown up by a blasted mole. The man's coming to fix it on Wednesday, unless it rains again like on the last time he came.  I hope he's more successful than the ruddy useless molecatcher man.

White lilacs are my fave and this is a highly scented double.  I once was asked by a passing stranger if I would cut some so that they could be incorporated into a wedding bouquet for the next day.  They dropped in a pic of the bouquet a few weeks later.  It looked fab.

Altho the deep purple isn't to be sneezed at either. 

I have two laburnum, one each side of our lane gate.  They get bashed by binmen and agricultural machinery who pull into our gateway to squeeze past other traffic but every year they come up smiling.  Much under-rated trees imo.  The whole of the lawn (and pond) beneath these blossom trees looks as if there's been a wedding with blossom littering the ground after last evenings high winds. 

The absolute last of my tulips, almost gone over but still beautiful.


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