Friday, 31 December 2004

clinically speaking

We have just come back from the 'Intermediate Gynaecology Clinic', where I was given a thorough MOT (with pass certificate) and a scary lecture about the possibility of ectopic pregnancy if ones tubes are blocked. I am being referred to the hospital for some further tests, presumably to see whether or not they are. [sigh]. This could apparently take months - which I am not too fussed about really. Although I have to say that post-coital head-stands don't really engender the closeness that one usually likes to experience after a ride on the carnal carousel.



clinically speaking

We have just come back from the 'Intermediate Gynaecology Clinic', where I was given a thorough MOT (with pass certificate) and a scary lecture about the possibility of ectopic pregnancy if ones tubes are blocked. I am being referred to the hospital for some further tests, presumably to see whether or not they are. [sigh]. This could apparently take months - which I am not too fussed about really. Although I have to say that post-coital head-stands don't really engender the closeness that one usually likes to experience after a ride on the carnal carousel.



Thursday, 30 December 2004

nightmare scenario

And a final christmas comedy moment: B becoming un-nerved by being sniffed by both his wife and his mother-in-law simultaenously. I don't see what's so wierd about it, myself.



nightmare scenario

And a final christmas comedy moment: B becoming un-nerved by being sniffed by both his wife and his mother-in-law simultaenously. I don't see what's so wierd about it, myself.



cheers

We've survived. (Which is actually a ridiculous turn of phrase for me to be applying to a family christmas in light of events on the other side of the world. But I'll leave it in).



We had a good time ... Natalie was clearly making an effort, Ma was really happy that we were getting on and Dad was pleased to see us, although covering it up well with a deep layer of grumpyness.



The two new puppies helped:





Nutmeg and Moss



The first thing I had to do when we arrived was apologise to the man who had come to pick up some christmas flowers ... he was admiring the puppies and writing a cheque when one of them wee'd on his foot. Lovely.



Other events of note:

  1. We have come home with two jars of home-made marmalade, and a quarter each of a pig and a lamb to go in the freezer.
  2. I was attacked by Fabian the Salmon Faverolle cockerel. Bin Laden has apparently calmed down and Fabian has accordingly become more aggressive. I couldn't work out whether he thought I was trying to steal his hens or whether he wanted to add me to his harem. I had to hit him with the feed bucket to get him to let go of my arm ... and then he sneaked round behind me and pecked my arse. At that point I took the opportunity to practice my crowing, and he ran away.
  3. Aunt Edith arrived by bus the day after Boxing Day, thankfully sans dogs and entourage, but with a dilemma. Six weeks ago she adopted an eight year old bearded collie, which has stared displaying behavioural problems. It has clearly been badly treated and is very nervous. And it attacks people. And dogs. Randomly. The warden of Edith's sheltered accommodation has had to go in to hospital for stitches, it has gone for several other people on the complex and the residents committee has finally told her that she must get rid of it. She doesn't want to send it back to the kennels. She is talking about moving house, but realistically can't afford it. Aunt Flora rang Ma before Edith arrived to ask her if she could talk some sense in to E, as E has been crying solidly for a fortnight. The dog has to go ... E is eighty three and it is likely to pull her over, apart from anything else. And what if it attacks a child? So the options are rather limited ... find someone to take the dog on, with the understanding that, whatever the cause, it is vicious. Or have it destroyed ... which is possibly kinder than sending it back to the kennels to be passed from pillar to post until it DOES hurt someone badly. I spent the day before we came home looking for Bearded Collie Rescue contacts online and have compiled a list for Ma and E to phone. Haven't heard yet whether they had any success though.
So all in all, a jolly family christmas. We are already mulling over what we want to do next year so that we don't get backed in to a corner by other people's expectations.





cheers

We've survived. (Which is actually a ridiculous turn of phrase for me to be applying to a family christmas in light of events on the other side of the world. But I'll leave it in).



We had a good time ... Natalie was clearly making an effort, Ma was really happy that we were getting on and Dad was pleased to see us, although covering it up well with a deep layer of grumpyness.



The two new puppies helped:





Nutmeg and Moss



The first thing I had to do when we arrived was apologise to the man who had come to pick up some christmas flowers ... he was admiring the puppies and writing a cheque when one of them wee'd on his foot. Lovely.



Other events of note:

  1. We have come home with two jars of home-made marmalade, and a quarter each of a pig and a lamb to go in the freezer.
  2. I was attacked by Fabian the Salmon Faverolle cockerel. Bin Laden has apparently calmed down and Fabian has accordingly become more aggressive. I couldn't work out whether he thought I was trying to steal his hens or whether he wanted to add me to his harem. I had to hit him with the feed bucket to get him to let go of my arm ... and then he sneaked round behind me and pecked my arse. At that point I took the opportunity to practice my crowing, and he ran away.
  3. Aunt Edith arrived by bus the day after Boxing Day, thankfully sans dogs and entourage, but with a dilemma. Six weeks ago she adopted an eight year old bearded collie, which has stared displaying behavioural problems. It has clearly been badly treated and is very nervous. And it attacks people. And dogs. Randomly. The warden of Edith's sheltered accommodation has had to go in to hospital for stitches, it has gone for several other people on the complex and the residents committee has finally told her that she must get rid of it. She doesn't want to send it back to the kennels. She is talking about moving house, but realistically can't afford it. Aunt Flora rang Ma before Edith arrived to ask her if she could talk some sense in to E, as E has been crying solidly for a fortnight. The dog has to go ... E is eighty three and it is likely to pull her over, apart from anything else. And what if it attacks a child? So the options are rather limited ... find someone to take the dog on, with the understanding that, whatever the cause, it is vicious. Or have it destroyed ... which is possibly kinder than sending it back to the kennels to be passed from pillar to post until it DOES hurt someone badly. I spent the day before we came home looking for Bearded Collie Rescue contacts online and have compiled a list for Ma and E to phone. Haven't heard yet whether they had any success though.
So all in all, a jolly family christmas. We are already mulling over what we want to do next year so that we don't get backed in to a corner by other people's expectations.





small pause for thought, please :-(

Re the Indian Ocean tsunami, after you have donated if you are so inclined, read this post from Shot by Both Sides.

small pause for thought, please :-(

Re the Indian Ocean tsunami, after you have donated if you are so inclined, read this post from Shot by Both Sides.

Tuesday, 21 December 2004

hmm ... interesting ...

We have had the results of all our blood-tests and B's other test back. They are all quite normal. No easy solution to our conundrum there then :-(.



I have an appointment with the gynae clinic on the last day of December for some further tests ... I suppose it goes without saying that I'm not thrilled at the prospect. In the meantime we are doing our best to make further tests unnecessary - luckily it is the time of the year for early nights and late mornings :-).



hmm ... interesting ...

We have had the results of all our blood-tests and B's other test back. They are all quite normal. No easy solution to our conundrum there then :-(.



I have an appointment with the gynae clinic on the last day of December for some further tests ... I suppose it goes without saying that I'm not thrilled at the prospect. In the meantime we are doing our best to make further tests unnecessary - luckily it is the time of the year for early nights and late mornings :-).



preparations

I am ready for christmas.



We are spending it with my parents in Somerset.



It's the first time for ten years I have been back ... . The last time, Natalie and I fell out on Christmas Eve, she went off to Terrible Tony's, promised Ma to be home for lunch the next day, didn't arrive, and Ma sobbed all through the meal. The only one who had a good time was my now-deceased 98 year old Granny, who was concentrating on managing her teeth and was therefore oblivious. Dad and I sat there in acute embarrassment and drank far too much cider whilst wishing we were somewhere else.



I swore after that that I would never go back for christmas again.



However ... time is a great healer (they say) and after a decade to let the memories fade, I feel about ready to try again. B is a very calming influence on everyone, and also, Natalie doesn't misbehave in front of him ... so hopefully it will be a pleasant few days. The main reason that we feel that we need to visit is that Pa isn't very well. Every time we go down he is more frail and I would very much like to spend a christmas at home with him.



We are leaving on Friday and have already gathered together the following necessities:

  • Presents
  • Wellington boots
  • Waterproofs
  • Shovel and sleeping bag to go in the car
  • Fleece pyjamas
  • Bed socks
  • Pillows - Ma's are very old feather ones and full of dust
  • Rescue remedy
  • Secret stash of booze - Ma doesn't really drink and Pa is on so many tablets he isn't allowed to.

Wish us luck.





preparations

I am ready for christmas.



We are spending it with my parents in Somerset.



It's the first time for ten years I have been back ... . The last time, Natalie and I fell out on Christmas Eve, she went off to Terrible Tony's, promised Ma to be home for lunch the next day, didn't arrive, and Ma sobbed all through the meal. The only one who had a good time was my now-deceased 98 year old Granny, who was concentrating on managing her teeth and was therefore oblivious. Dad and I sat there in acute embarrassment and drank far too much cider whilst wishing we were somewhere else.



I swore after that that I would never go back for christmas again.



However ... time is a great healer (they say) and after a decade to let the memories fade, I feel about ready to try again. B is a very calming influence on everyone, and also, Natalie doesn't misbehave in front of him ... so hopefully it will be a pleasant few days. The main reason that we feel that we need to visit is that Pa isn't very well. Every time we go down he is more frail and I would very much like to spend a christmas at home with him.



We are leaving on Friday and have already gathered together the following necessities:

  • Presents
  • Wellington boots
  • Waterproofs
  • Shovel and sleeping bag to go in the car
  • Fleece pyjamas
  • Bed socks
  • Pillows - Ma's are very old feather ones and full of dust
  • Rescue remedy
  • Secret stash of booze - Ma doesn't really drink and Pa is on so many tablets he isn't allowed to.

Wish us luck.





Wednesday, 1 December 2004

nothing to see here ...

A couple of years ago we decided that we'd quite like to have a family. So we stopped using contraception, continued doing the wild thing at every available opportunity and waited to see what would happen.



Nothing has, apart from some fantastic hormone-related mood swings, which I can recommend to anyone as a relationship strengthener in the early years of a marriage.



So. We have some choices to make:

  1. We could keep trundling along as we are and see what happens, and face the possibility that nothing might, ever.
  2. We could have some tests to see what, if anything, is wrong, and see if anything can be done to fix it.
  3. We could adopt.
We have decided that although we would like to have a child/children of our own, we are not irrevocably tied in to the idea. Also, I am not in favour of IVF, because I feel that there are enough unwanted children around without the health service spending £3,000 a pop on trying to conceive more. No one has a right to have children at the expense of the rest of society. I don't like the idea of medical intervention as a general rule and we want a FAMILY rather than a baby. We are therefore kicking around the idea of adopting a group of siblings.



Before we do that though, we have decided that we need to get some tests done to see whether there is any chance at all of us conceiving ourselves, and make an informed decision in light of that. We've been putting it off though, partly because of pressure of work and partly because of reluctance to face facts.



We finally went to see our lovely GP on Monday, who has referred us for the first round of tests. These are very straightforward and mostly blood tests. However ... B has to provide a 'sample' to see how enthusiastic his, er, contribution to the process is.



I was expecting a whole 'seedy room with some well-thumbed magazines' scenario at the lab, but apparently one produces the sample at home and then rushes it in for analysis. The sample has to be at the lab at most an hour after it is produced.



The lab is at the local hospital about six miles away. I phoned them to clarify the details and ask for directions and all the receptionist was able to tell me was that it was 'on the right side of the hospital down an access road with no name'. We did consider parking up outside and producing a really fresh specimen for them, however, the possiblity of getting arrested stopped us ... but no wonder the GP's receptionist gave us two bottles:

Me: Er, do we need a container for THIS PARTICULAR TEST (waves sheet filled in by GP to request test at her).

Receptionist: Let me have a look ... oh, yes, you will, won't you. (Rummages under desk in drawers for about five minutes. Queue behind us becomes increasingly restive, whilst B and I stifle giggles.)

Receptionist: (Triumphally waving small jar) Here you are! I knew I had some! (Produces another jar ... and another). Here! Have another one!

Me: What, in case he misses the first one?

B: (Mutters, offended) ... I might make enough to fill two ...

Receptionist: Make sure you keep it warm!

B and I: (In unison, leaving) Thank you very much!

Receptionist: Good luck!
I felt that the entire waiting room was poised to give us a round of applause.



B is characteristically sanguine about the whole thing. I am quite stressed. I have to take my temperature every morning and plot it on a chart to see whether I'm ovulating or not - when the temperature goes up by at least half a degree centigrade and STAYS up, I know I've ovulated.



If these tests find nothing wrong, we get referred on to the fertility clinic and things start to get a bit more invasive if we want to proceed. I don't. I am certain I don't.



We have written away for more information about adopting from the BAAF and subscribed to Be My Parent to get more of a feel for what is going on.



And we have told R that we will be in to work late tomorrow, and why ... we think timing the 'lab dash' just after rush hour will give us as much time as possible to find the lab before the clock counts us out. We should have done a trial run today, but things got in the way ... and B is off on tour again tomorrow night.



Better get an early night I suppose ....



nothing to see here ...

A couple of years ago we decided that we'd quite like to have a family. So we stopped using contraception, continued doing the wild thing at every available opportunity and waited to see what would happen.



Nothing has, apart from some fantastic hormone-related mood swings, which I can recommend to anyone as a relationship strengthener in the early years of a marriage.



So. We have some choices to make:

  1. We could keep trundling along as we are and see what happens, and face the possibility that nothing might, ever.
  2. We could have some tests to see what, if anything, is wrong, and see if anything can be done to fix it.
  3. We could adopt.
We have decided that although we would like to have a child/children of our own, we are not irrevocably tied in to the idea. Also, I am not in favour of IVF, because I feel that there are enough unwanted children around without the health service spending £3,000 a pop on trying to conceive more. No one has a right to have children at the expense of the rest of society. I don't like the idea of medical intervention as a general rule and we want a FAMILY rather than a baby. We are therefore kicking around the idea of adopting a group of siblings.



Before we do that though, we have decided that we need to get some tests done to see whether there is any chance at all of us conceiving ourselves, and make an informed decision in light of that. We've been putting it off though, partly because of pressure of work and partly because of reluctance to face facts.



We finally went to see our lovely GP on Monday, who has referred us for the first round of tests. These are very straightforward and mostly blood tests. However ... B has to provide a 'sample' to see how enthusiastic his, er, contribution to the process is.



I was expecting a whole 'seedy room with some well-thumbed magazines' scenario at the lab, but apparently one produces the sample at home and then rushes it in for analysis. The sample has to be at the lab at most an hour after it is produced.



The lab is at the local hospital about six miles away. I phoned them to clarify the details and ask for directions and all the receptionist was able to tell me was that it was 'on the right side of the hospital down an access road with no name'. We did consider parking up outside and producing a really fresh specimen for them, however, the possiblity of getting arrested stopped us ... but no wonder the GP's receptionist gave us two bottles:

Me: Er, do we need a container for THIS PARTICULAR TEST (waves sheet filled in by GP to request test at her).

Receptionist: Let me have a look ... oh, yes, you will, won't you. (Rummages under desk in drawers for about five minutes. Queue behind us becomes increasingly restive, whilst B and I stifle giggles.)

Receptionist: (Triumphally waving small jar) Here you are! I knew I had some! (Produces another jar ... and another). Here! Have another one!

Me: What, in case he misses the first one?

B: (Mutters, offended) ... I might make enough to fill two ...

Receptionist: Make sure you keep it warm!

B and I: (In unison, leaving) Thank you very much!

Receptionist: Good luck!
I felt that the entire waiting room was poised to give us a round of applause.



B is characteristically sanguine about the whole thing. I am quite stressed. I have to take my temperature every morning and plot it on a chart to see whether I'm ovulating or not - when the temperature goes up by at least half a degree centigrade and STAYS up, I know I've ovulated.



If these tests find nothing wrong, we get referred on to the fertility clinic and things start to get a bit more invasive if we want to proceed. I don't. I am certain I don't.



We have written away for more information about adopting from the BAAF and subscribed to Be My Parent to get more of a feel for what is going on.



And we have told R that we will be in to work late tomorrow, and why ... we think timing the 'lab dash' just after rush hour will give us as much time as possible to find the lab before the clock counts us out. We should have done a trial run today, but things got in the way ... and B is off on tour again tomorrow night.



Better get an early night I suppose ....



Wednesday, 24 November 2004

technical interlude

I have swapped browsers, to firefox and I can't recommend it enough.



It's quick, simple to use, secure and it blocks pop-ups. Yay!



technical interlude

I have swapped browsers, to firefox and I can't recommend it enough.



It's quick, simple to use, secure and it blocks pop-ups. Yay!



clone

R and I have concluded that we need to clone B.



We have had so much work recently that it seems like the only way forward. I have taken over diary keeping, since the incident where B booked himself a gig in Birmingham followed by a gig Belfast, which would only have been possible if he had used stepping disks to travel between the two locations.



We are now in the middle of the laborious process of training our clients to ring the office to check staff availablility before speaking to B about how to make the gig look pretty. We are still snowed with work though, which is brilliant. We are seriously considering taking on a fourth technician in the spring if it keeps up, so we can get some sleep.



clone

R and I have concluded that we need to clone B.



We have had so much work recently that it seems like the only way forward. I have taken over diary keeping, since the incident where B booked himself a gig in Birmingham followed by a gig Belfast, which would only have been possible if he had used stepping disks to travel between the two locations.



We are now in the middle of the laborious process of training our clients to ring the office to check staff availablility before speaking to B about how to make the gig look pretty. We are still snowed with work though, which is brilliant. We are seriously considering taking on a fourth technician in the spring if it keeps up, so we can get some sleep.



Wednesday, 17 November 2004

currently reading

I have been doing a lot of re-reading of 'comfort books' recently. Kind of like comfort eating, but it doesn't show on the hips. Over the last fortnight I have worked my way through:



The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch and The Lantern Bearers, all by Rosemary Sutcliff. Strictly speaking these are kids books. However, they are so well written that they are still a fantastic read twenty years after I was first caught by them. They are set in Roman Britain, spread out through the period. The attention to both historical detail and character detail makes them incredibly absorbing. The thread that seems to run through all her books that I have read is one of alienation and then reabsorption, either from/by society or by families ... usually children or young people. Sutcliff is also famous for 'Warrior Scarlet', which is still on my 'to do' list for this week.



The Natural History of Selborne by Gilbert White. An eighteenth century clergyman-naturalist's collected letters to fellow naturalists, observing the flora and fauna of his parish. Rather pretentiously, I always have this by the bed - I often find it soothing to read a few pages about the mating and migratory habits of swallows before I go to sleep.



Lined up next I have all the Dorothy L. Sayers 'Lord Peter Wimsey' mysteries, courtesy of Amazon. I've not read the early ones for a while and I am starting at the beginning of the series and working through in chronological order ... fun, but I am also experiencing elbow-tingling horror at some of the racist attitudes and class stereotyping that it was acceptable to include in popular fiction in the twenties.



currently reading

I have been doing a lot of re-reading of 'comfort books' recently. Kind of like comfort eating, but it doesn't show on the hips. Over the last fortnight I have worked my way through:



The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch and The Lantern Bearers, all by Rosemary Sutcliff. Strictly speaking these are kids books. However, they are so well written that they are still a fantastic read twenty years after I was first caught by them. They are set in Roman Britain, spread out through the period. The attention to both historical detail and character detail makes them incredibly absorbing. The thread that seems to run through all her books that I have read is one of alienation and then reabsorption, either from/by society or by families ... usually children or young people. Sutcliff is also famous for 'Warrior Scarlet', which is still on my 'to do' list for this week.



The Natural History of Selborne by Gilbert White. An eighteenth century clergyman-naturalist's collected letters to fellow naturalists, observing the flora and fauna of his parish. Rather pretentiously, I always have this by the bed - I often find it soothing to read a few pages about the mating and migratory habits of swallows before I go to sleep.



Lined up next I have all the Dorothy L. Sayers 'Lord Peter Wimsey' mysteries, courtesy of Amazon. I've not read the early ones for a while and I am starting at the beginning of the series and working through in chronological order ... fun, but I am also experiencing elbow-tingling horror at some of the racist attitudes and class stereotyping that it was acceptable to include in popular fiction in the twenties.



Tuesday, 16 November 2004

a40 madness

During one of the more volatile periods of my relationship with Crazy Tom, we decided that a short spring break in West Wales was just what we needed to chill out and sort ourselves out. So we rented a romantic cottage for two on the cliffs and off we went.



Gosh, the mistakes you make in your twenties.



It was a terrible, terrible week. We argued constantly, about what to do, where to go, whether we wanted to be together. And once, about me being unsupportive of his weight-loss programme by eating a small piece of chocolate.



We argued about something on the way home in the car, and Tom's driving became really erratic. He used to use the car to scare me - it took ages after I left to lose the scars on the palms of my hands caused by my nails as I sat on my clenched fists as he threw the car around corners.



We pulled in to a car-park in Haverfordwest and I said that unless he calmed down, I was getting the train home.



He promised to calm down.



We started off again.



We started arguing again.



He started slewing the car all over the road and lashing out at me again.



Eventually I yelled at him to pull over again.



I got out of the car, got my bag out of the boot and legged it back towards Haverfordwest, along the grass verge on the side of the A40, sobbing.



He leapt out of the car and followed me.



I turned round, legged it back to the car, got in, locked all the doors and drove off.



After a couple of miles it became obvious to me that it wasn't really safe for me to be driving and having hysterics at the same time, so I stopped in a layby and had a cup of tea out of my thermos. About half an hour later I saw Tom's hat, bobbing over the crest of the hill, in the driving rain. He walked down the hill and stood by the passenger door of the car.



I leant over and opened it.



He got in and said "Shall we go home?"



I said "Yes, okay." and started the engine.



And we never referred to it again.





a40 madness

During one of the more volatile periods of my relationship with Crazy Tom, we decided that a short spring break in West Wales was just what we needed to chill out and sort ourselves out. So we rented a romantic cottage for two on the cliffs and off we went.



Gosh, the mistakes you make in your twenties.



It was a terrible, terrible week. We argued constantly, about what to do, where to go, whether we wanted to be together. And once, about me being unsupportive of his weight-loss programme by eating a small piece of chocolate.



We argued about something on the way home in the car, and Tom's driving became really erratic. He used to use the car to scare me - it took ages after I left to lose the scars on the palms of my hands caused by my nails as I sat on my clenched fists as he threw the car around corners.



We pulled in to a car-park in Haverfordwest and I said that unless he calmed down, I was getting the train home.



He promised to calm down.



We started off again.



We started arguing again.



He started slewing the car all over the road and lashing out at me again.



Eventually I yelled at him to pull over again.



I got out of the car, got my bag out of the boot and legged it back towards Haverfordwest, along the grass verge on the side of the A40, sobbing.



He leapt out of the car and followed me.



I turned round, legged it back to the car, got in, locked all the doors and drove off.



After a couple of miles it became obvious to me that it wasn't really safe for me to be driving and having hysterics at the same time, so I stopped in a layby and had a cup of tea out of my thermos. About half an hour later I saw Tom's hat, bobbing over the crest of the hill, in the driving rain. He walked down the hill and stood by the passenger door of the car.



I leant over and opened it.



He got in and said "Shall we go home?"



I said "Yes, okay." and started the engine.



And we never referred to it again.





Monday, 15 November 2004

new-to-me

I have taken my own John Peel meme advice and listened to a lot of wild and wacky new-to-me music over the last couple of weeks, some of it actually from Peel Sessions. However, since I am terrible at actually remembering any names of either tracks or bands, I am going to have trouble passing the results of my research on - the exception in this case being The Mountain Goats 'Palmcorder Yajna', which I think is fantastic.



new-to-me

I have taken my own John Peel meme advice and listened to a lot of wild and wacky new-to-me music over the last couple of weeks, some of it actually from Peel Sessions. However, since I am terrible at actually remembering any names of either tracks or bands, I am going to have trouble passing the results of my research on - the exception in this case being The Mountain Goats 'Palmcorder Yajna', which I think is fantastic.



jam

I haven't blogged for the last couple of weeks because I have spent the time doing various things of a bizarre / boring nature.



a) Removing a thin film of jam from the inside of B's car, and the set and slide projectors belonging to the theatre company B is working with at the moment that were in the car when the Jam Event took place.

Cause:

Inadequate pot lids on eight jars during journey home from Somerset.

Types of jam:

plum, rasperry, blackcurrent.

Removal difficulty on scale of 1 - 10:

Plum - 6, Rasperry - 8, Blackcurrent - 11.

Mental notes to self for future whilst travelling with jam:

1 Place jam in upright position.

2 Pack jam well in upright position.

3 Do not place badly packed jam next to expensive technical equipment.

4 Travel with babywipes.

b) Getting the windscreen wipers on B's car fixed. You wouldn't think this was complicated, would you? Take car to garage. Get them to fix wipers. Collect car when completed. It has taken them three days and numerous apologetic phone calls, partly because they broke another bit whilst replacing the bit that was already broken. I have decided that I would almost prefer to stop the car every hundred yards and scoop the rain off with a tea-spoon than go through the process again.



c) Trying to co-ordinate and book a christmas outing for the small number of people who have worked for us this year. I am not going to bore you with this one.



d) Obsessively bidding for wool on ebay. Everyone I know is going to get a matching tea-cosy, hat, scarf, mitten and egg-cosy set for christmas. However, I now have so much wool that I can't pick a colour to start knitting with. [sigh]. I thought I'd bid for something small to try to overcome my Range Cooker Obsession - however, I probably have enough yarn to knit my own range now, so not sure if this strategy has worked.



e) Travelling around the country after B like a lost puppy. He has been on tour with a contemporary theatre company, which has involved small arts-centre-type venues such as Portsmouth, Coventry and Uley. The (brill) Prema Arts Centre in Uley is in an old church in a small village in Gloucestershire and is allegedly run by vampires ... at least, that is what one of the actors I spoke to last week had concluded. She searched the whole venue without finding a mirror in which to check her costume.



Anyway, we are now home.



Good things about this include:

Sleeping in ones own bed

There was only one pile of cat-sick to clear up

The house is warm



Bad things:

Postman had left ebay parcel of Dorothy L Sayers novels on the step in the rain. Luckily they were already slightly foxed.



B has gone off again today for a couple of days and I am looking forward to a few evenings alone with Lord Peter Wimsey.

jam

I haven't blogged for the last couple of weeks because I have spent the time doing various things of a bizarre / boring nature.



a) Removing a thin film of jam from the inside of B's car, and the set and slide projectors belonging to the theatre company B is working with at the moment that were in the car when the Jam Event took place.

Cause:

Inadequate pot lids on eight jars during journey home from Somerset.

Types of jam:

plum, rasperry, blackcurrent.

Removal difficulty on scale of 1 - 10:

Plum - 6, Rasperry - 8, Blackcurrent - 11.

Mental notes to self for future whilst travelling with jam:

1 Place jam in upright position.

2 Pack jam well in upright position.

3 Do not place badly packed jam next to expensive technical equipment.

4 Travel with babywipes.

b) Getting the windscreen wipers on B's car fixed. You wouldn't think this was complicated, would you? Take car to garage. Get them to fix wipers. Collect car when completed. It has taken them three days and numerous apologetic phone calls, partly because they broke another bit whilst replacing the bit that was already broken. I have decided that I would almost prefer to stop the car every hundred yards and scoop the rain off with a tea-spoon than go through the process again.



c) Trying to co-ordinate and book a christmas outing for the small number of people who have worked for us this year. I am not going to bore you with this one.



d) Obsessively bidding for wool on ebay. Everyone I know is going to get a matching tea-cosy, hat, scarf, mitten and egg-cosy set for christmas. However, I now have so much wool that I can't pick a colour to start knitting with. [sigh]. I thought I'd bid for something small to try to overcome my Range Cooker Obsession - however, I probably have enough yarn to knit my own range now, so not sure if this strategy has worked.



e) Travelling around the country after B like a lost puppy. He has been on tour with a contemporary theatre company, which has involved small arts-centre-type venues such as Portsmouth, Coventry and Uley. The (brill) Prema Arts Centre in Uley is in an old church in a small village in Gloucestershire and is allegedly run by vampires ... at least, that is what one of the actors I spoke to last week had concluded. She searched the whole venue without finding a mirror in which to check her costume.



Anyway, we are now home.



Good things about this include:

Sleeping in ones own bed

There was only one pile of cat-sick to clear up

The house is warm



Bad things:

Postman had left ebay parcel of Dorothy L Sayers novels on the step in the rain. Luckily they were already slightly foxed.



B has gone off again today for a couple of days and I am looking forward to a few evenings alone with Lord Peter Wimsey.

Friday, 29 October 2004

john peel meme

I have just been visiting my Blogging Brits neighbour, Fridgemagnet, and have been taken by his idea of a John Peel Meme:



1. Get at least five songs that you've never heard before;

2. listen to them;

3. write about them in your blog, and link people to them if possible.



I think it should be a rule that at least one of them is under 30 seconds and/or some sort of unlistenable noisecore, people shouting Japanese over jackhammers, or similar.
I am off to do this over the weekend and will post the results next week. Go on! You know you want to!



john peel meme

I have just been visiting my Blogging Brits neighbour, Fridgemagnet, and have been taken by his idea of a John Peel Meme:



1. Get at least five songs that you've never heard before;

2. listen to them;

3. write about them in your blog, and link people to them if possible.



I think it should be a rule that at least one of them is under 30 seconds and/or some sort of unlistenable noisecore, people shouting Japanese over jackhammers, or similar.
I am off to do this over the weekend and will post the results next week. Go on! You know you want to!



Thursday, 28 October 2004

run rabbit run, for your life

Noteable characteristics of my mother's family include an unbreakable addiction to tea and a love of music. These were always demonstrated at family gatherings when Aunt Edith came to visit when we were kids.

Aunt E never travels alone. At it's most bloated, her entourage used to consist of:

  • her mother
  • three female friends - 'Aunts' Clarissa, Flora and Nina
  • Flora and Nina's husbands
  • the couple who fostered Flora as an evacuee during the war
  • three dogs

Team this with the resident branch of the family - Ma, Pa (who generally used to hide, gibbering, during the visit), my grandmother and grandfather, Ma's Uncle John (who had been in the Indian Army during the 1920's), my sister and myself, and our dog - and you had a ready-made three-ring circus.

During the morning of the visit, my mother and grandmother would frenziedly prepare provisions, slicing cucumber in to sandwiches, baking cakes and scones. The visitors would arrive between 2pm and 3pm in the afternoon and divide in to different platoons. One would head for the house, to sit and chat. One would find Ma, wherever she was on the farm, and join her in whatever job she was doing. And one party would take the dogs for a walk around the fields.

At around 5pm everyone would gather in the house for tea, sitting around a dining table that normally took six in comfort. The enormous plates of bread and butter, sandwiches and cake would be laid out and we would fill and refill three tea-pots about a million times.

After the meal was over, we would remove to the living room and the ladies would get out their knitting. They could knit for Britain - indeed, between 1939 and 1945 they probably had. Their fingers moved so fast that you couldn't keep track of them.

As the evening went on, we would persuade Aunt Edith to play the piano ... ("play some of the old songs ..." :-)). We'd run through all the oldies-but-goodies - "Run rabbit, run"; "In the stores"; "Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do" and then move on to hymns. It would go on for hours. And then, about ten o'clock, the tea would come round again, and afterwards, the party would gather up it's knitting and leave for another six months.

Looking back, I suppose it was a relic from a bygone age even then. Now, it conjours up Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian evenings around the 'instrument', with everyone taking a turn. But it was also a characteristic of a family who seemed to have music at the heart of everything and although I poke fun, I do regret it's passing.

Tuesday, 26 October 2004

searching for a bedpan in the attic

Ma recounted a story while we were staying with her that I would like to share:



Before Dad went in to hospital for his angioplasty, he was in considerable pain, particularly at night. This meant that he had great difficulty getting out of bed should he need to. And it also meant that he was on a large number of painkillers, which, apparently (I can find no euphemistic way to put this) have a variety of different effects on ones bowel. (I had a brief look for an informative link for this and decided that it was too depressing).



So at about midnight one night, Ma decided that he would be more comfortable if she could find him a bedpan.



She looked all over the house and couldn't find the bedpan she was certain she possessed. The only place left to look was
the attic.



So, at about 1am, she found the loft-ladder, which was originally purchased in order to climb on the roof of my great-grandmother's East-End home and put out fires from incendiary bombs during the
Blitz.



At roughly 1.05am, she ascended to the loft.



At approximately 1.06am, the loft ladder became dislodged and fell down the stairs.



By this time, my father had fallen back to sleep.



He is very deaf.



My mother was stranded in the loft for three hours, during which time she had plenty of time to look for the bedpan.



Eventually her shouting woke the dogs up, who then began barking loudly enough to wake up my sister next door, who after a while heard Ma shouting for help and came and rescued her.



They never found the bedpan.




searching for a bedpan in the attic

Ma recounted a story while we were staying with her that I would like to share:



Before Dad went in to hospital for his angioplasty, he was in considerable pain, particularly at night. This meant that he had great difficulty getting out of bed should he need to. And it also meant that he was on a large number of painkillers, which, apparently (I can find no euphemistic way to put this) have a variety of different effects on ones bowel. (I had a brief look for an informative link for this and decided that it was too depressing).



So at about midnight one night, Ma decided that he would be more comfortable if she could find him a bedpan.



She looked all over the house and couldn't find the bedpan she was certain she possessed. The only place left to look was
the attic.



So, at about 1am, she found the loft-ladder, which was originally purchased in order to climb on the roof of my great-grandmother's East-End home and put out fires from incendiary bombs during the
Blitz.



At roughly 1.05am, she ascended to the loft.



At approximately 1.06am, the loft ladder became dislodged and fell down the stairs.



By this time, my father had fallen back to sleep.



He is very deaf.



My mother was stranded in the loft for three hours, during which time she had plenty of time to look for the bedpan.



Eventually her shouting woke the dogs up, who then began barking loudly enough to wake up my sister next door, who after a while heard Ma shouting for help and came and rescued her.



They never found the bedpan.




Monday, 25 October 2004

another ten(ish) facts

  1. I am a science-fiction fan. I did some of the SF bits of this course for fun a few years ago.
  2. I find statistics interesting.
  3. My first boyfriend was a transvestite, which wigged me out much less that I expected it to.
  4. Websites where the form is clearly more important than the content really piss me off.
  5. I am violently allergic to kiwi fruit.
  6. I can make bobbin-lace.
  7. We would quite like to have a family, but it doesn't look like it's happening.
  8. I think wasting healthcare resources on IVF is morally wrong - better to use them to help people who already exist.
  9. I used to service my own car, but then I got bored.
  10. I make wine. Some of it is actually drinkable.
  11. I ended up doing an archaeology degree partly because I got confused when I was filling out my UCCA form. I meant to put down anthropology. I enjoyed it though.
  12. I would like to sail around the pacific rim in a tall ship. I need to find out whether I get sea-sick first.
  13. I can type seventy words a minute, but only if no-one is watching.



another ten(ish) facts

  1. I am a science-fiction fan. I did some of the SF bits of this course for fun a few years ago.
  2. I find statistics interesting.
  3. My first boyfriend was a transvestite, which wigged me out much less that I expected it to.
  4. Websites where the form is clearly more important than the content really piss me off.
  5. I am violently allergic to kiwi fruit.
  6. I can make bobbin-lace.
  7. We would quite like to have a family, but it doesn't look like it's happening.
  8. I think wasting healthcare resources on IVF is morally wrong - better to use them to help people who already exist.
  9. I used to service my own car, but then I got bored.
  10. I make wine. Some of it is actually drinkable.
  11. I ended up doing an archaeology degree partly because I got confused when I was filling out my UCCA form. I meant to put down anthropology. I enjoyed it though.
  12. I would like to sail around the pacific rim in a tall ship. I need to find out whether I get sea-sick first.
  13. I can type seventy words a minute, but only if no-one is watching.



Friday, 22 October 2004

family visit

We are going to visit my family for a few days this week. We've been planning it for a while and they have known about it for a while. However, a slight hitch has arisen at their end. Previously mentioned Aunt Edith and her friend 'Aunt' Flora are coming to visit during the same period. Aunt Flora is also an ex-teacher, a primary head-mistress. She also has a beard, but as far as I am aware she plays no musical instrument of any kind. They are both in their eighties.



This has meant that B and I will be sleeping in the single bedroom, as on both a 'first come, first served' and a 'seniority' basis Edith and Flora have bagged the spare double room. This is not an issue, as we can take the inflatable mattress.



Ma has an issue though ... the single bedroom could also be described as 'The Room of Doom'. A large selection of the miscellaneous crap that has accrued in the house since 1956 is piled in there. Ma appears to be congenitally unable to throw ANYTHING away. Up to and including the early 1960's Vauxhaull Cresta in the top shed. Which is underneath the two bedframes, the four moth-eaten canvas deckchairs, the three broken spin dryers, the two washing machines, the rolls of rusting chicken wire, the two aquariums and three hamster cages, the broken fridge, the crates and crates of jars for pickles and jams, and, for some reason, a dove-cote.



So no room to move the stuff in to there then.



When I telephoned her yesterday, she was coming to the end of sorting the stuff out, with the help of
Edwin. I think that this probably consisted of shoving most of it up in to the attic, which already contains the accrued Furniture of Ages Past, all our baby toys (please note that I am 34 and my sister is 32) and a Silver Cross pram. Oh, and squirrels, who wait until everyone goes to bed and then don hobnail boots and run round and round and round*. I am hoping against hope that she then let Edwin burn everything that was left over.



I realise that I am a selfish and unpleasant daughter; but it is becoming increasingly clear to me that when my parents finally give up their mortal coil and move on to The Great Smallholding In The Sky, I am going to be the one who has to sort through the two big sheds (and we are, really, talking BARNS here - think
nissen-hut-type WW2 sleeping accommodation) and the four smaller sheds and the attic, and winnow everything out.



Questions: If a box hasn't been opened since 1956, can you morally chuck it out without opening it, on the grounds that if no-one has needed the contents for sixty years I am unlikely to find them useful? What is the correct method of disposal for rusty chicken wire?






*Please note that I do realise that squirrels are not nocturnal. However, I REALLY don't wish to think about the other options. Don't get me wrong, I LIKE rats, they are intelligent, loyal, etc. etc. I would love to keep one as a pet. But the idea of a surprised rat in hobnail boots falling through the ceiling over my bed as I am sleeping worries me ALOT. I am working quite hard at not thinking about it.





family visit

We are going to visit my family for a few days this week. We've been planning it for a while and they have known about it for a while. However, a slight hitch has arisen at their end. Previously mentioned Aunt Edith and her friend 'Aunt' Flora are coming to visit during the same period. Aunt Flora is also an ex-teacher, a primary head-mistress. She also has a beard, but as far as I am aware she plays no musical instrument of any kind. They are both in their eighties.



This has meant that B and I will be sleeping in the single bedroom, as on both a 'first come, first served' and a 'seniority' basis Edith and Flora have bagged the spare double room. This is not an issue, as we can take the inflatable mattress.



Ma has an issue though ... the single bedroom could also be described as 'The Room of Doom'. A large selection of the miscellaneous crap that has accrued in the house since 1956 is piled in there. Ma appears to be congenitally unable to throw ANYTHING away. Up to and including the early 1960's Vauxhaull Cresta in the top shed. Which is underneath the two bedframes, the four moth-eaten canvas deckchairs, the three broken spin dryers, the two washing machines, the rolls of rusting chicken wire, the two aquariums and three hamster cages, the broken fridge, the crates and crates of jars for pickles and jams, and, for some reason, a dove-cote.



So no room to move the stuff in to there then.



When I telephoned her yesterday, she was coming to the end of sorting the stuff out, with the help of
Edwin. I think that this probably consisted of shoving most of it up in to the attic, which already contains the accrued Furniture of Ages Past, all our baby toys (please note that I am 34 and my sister is 32) and a Silver Cross pram. Oh, and squirrels, who wait until everyone goes to bed and then don hobnail boots and run round and round and round*. I am hoping against hope that she then let Edwin burn everything that was left over.



I realise that I am a selfish and unpleasant daughter; but it is becoming increasingly clear to me that when my parents finally give up their mortal coil and move on to The Great Smallholding In The Sky, I am going to be the one who has to sort through the two big sheds (and we are, really, talking BARNS here - think
nissen-hut-type WW2 sleeping accommodation) and the four smaller sheds and the attic, and winnow everything out.



Questions: If a box hasn't been opened since 1956, can you morally chuck it out without opening it, on the grounds that if no-one has needed the contents for sixty years I am unlikely to find them useful? What is the correct method of disposal for rusty chicken wire?






*Please note that I do realise that squirrels are not nocturnal. However, I REALLY don't wish to think about the other options. Don't get me wrong, I LIKE rats, they are intelligent, loyal, etc. etc. I would love to keep one as a pet. But the idea of a surprised rat in hobnail boots falling through the ceiling over my bed as I am sleeping worries me ALOT. I am working quite hard at not thinking about it.





Wednesday, 20 October 2004

aga saga

I have become obsessed with range cookers. When we bought our house, the builders pulled down a partition wall in the kitchen kind-of-by-mistake (err, I told them to do it whilst B was out) and found a huge fireplace (so a good decision after all, thankfully).



It was immediately obvious that an aga or raeburn-type range cooker would fit in the space beautifully, but equally obvious that we couldn't afford one yet ... which is where we still are at the moment. However ... as the mornings are getting colder I am spending more and more time on ebay looking for the ideal range.



Pros: They keep the house lovely and warm; they become the heart of the home; you can cook brilliant toast on them; you can cook for a family of twenty easily; it will heat water for you and some of them will run central heating; you can put sick baby animals in the bottom oven (REMEMBERING TO LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN) and they get nice and warm and well again; your tortoise can get warm in the same way when it wakes up in the spring; you always have dry tea-towels; the kettle doesn't take very long to boil as it is always warming; and finally, they evoke childhood memories for me, as I grew up with a solid-fuel aga.



Cons: Even if we bought one on ebay for bobbins we would still have to pay out to have it fitted - this would involve putting a flue up through the floor of the bathroom and out of the roof and would probably cost more that we would pay for a second-hand range; it is environmentally unfriendly and expensive as it would be on all the time; we don't have a family of twenty, any sick baby animals or a tortoise; we already have a perfectly adequate combi-boiler and central heating system.



I am not letting any of this get in the way of a good bout of obsessive behaviour though.




aga saga

I have become obsessed with range cookers. When we bought our house, the builders pulled down a partition wall in the kitchen kind-of-by-mistake (err, I told them to do it whilst B was out) and found a huge fireplace (so a good decision after all, thankfully).



It was immediately obvious that an aga or raeburn-type range cooker would fit in the space beautifully, but equally obvious that we couldn't afford one yet ... which is where we still are at the moment. However ... as the mornings are getting colder I am spending more and more time on ebay looking for the ideal range.



Pros: They keep the house lovely and warm; they become the heart of the home; you can cook brilliant toast on them; you can cook for a family of twenty easily; it will heat water for you and some of them will run central heating; you can put sick baby animals in the bottom oven (REMEMBERING TO LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN) and they get nice and warm and well again; your tortoise can get warm in the same way when it wakes up in the spring; you always have dry tea-towels; the kettle doesn't take very long to boil as it is always warming; and finally, they evoke childhood memories for me, as I grew up with a solid-fuel aga.



Cons: Even if we bought one on ebay for bobbins we would still have to pay out to have it fitted - this would involve putting a flue up through the floor of the bathroom and out of the roof and would probably cost more that we would pay for a second-hand range; it is environmentally unfriendly and expensive as it would be on all the time; we don't have a family of twenty, any sick baby animals or a tortoise; we already have a perfectly adequate combi-boiler and central heating system.



I am not letting any of this get in the way of a good bout of obsessive behaviour though.




Tuesday, 19 October 2004

wherever you hang your violin case

When I left college, I couldn't make up my mind whether or not I wanted to move in with my boyfriend or not, so I went back to my parents' for a while. Then it became clear that I *did* want to move in with him, so I joined him in the dingy nurses home he was staying in in North London. We took turn-and-turn about sleeping on the tortuously uncomfortable cast-iron single bedstead and the incredibly uncomfortable parquet floor and we started looking for somewhere to live.



Our finances were slightly hampered by him working only eighteen hours a week and me not working at all; but eventually we found a quite cheap, quite large room in a shared house close to his work.

The house had three bedrooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs. The upstairs rooms were rented out to a group of friends who spent their spare time making replica chain mail and slaughtering orcs in the grounds of the local psychiatric hospital.




The two rooms downstairs were separated only by some glass french doors. We had one and Tony, the acting landlord, had the other, with his girlfriend Sharon. Rent was paid weekly on a cash-only basis - I made a tentative query about rent books on the day we moved in which nearly caused us to be asked to leave. Also on the day we moved in, we noticed that the double-glazing pane in the bottom of the front door was badly cracked. 'Smashed' would be another word you could use to describe it. It was still broken on the day we moved out, nearly a year later.



Tony was the son of the actual owner of the house. His family were from Naples and his real name was Antonio. The family had lots of connections in the local Italian community and Tony therefore had a problem ... Sharon was *not* italian. She was a dyed in the wool Londoner and his family didn't really approve. Despite this they'd been together for years - they had a volatile relationship which we experienced quite a lot at second hand through the glass doors, until we jury-rigged a wardrobe-and-blanket modesty-barrier and bought a TV. Sharon once tried to push Tony out of the car on the M25 at eighty miles per hour. He was driving.



Tony did building work on houses his father had bought and was doing up to sell on, but he also worked for other construction companies. During those periods, friends used to deliver building materials at odd hours of the night that would disappear in to the garage and then be gone in a day or two.



Every so often, beautifully manicured italian gentlemen wearing camel-hair overcoats and carrying expensive leather briefcases would visit Tony, and Sharon would go out to visit friends. However hard we tried not to, we could still overhear some of the conversation in the next room through the doors, the wardrobe, the blankets and the noise of the television. One day the visitor said:



"Antonio ... Uncle is NOT VERY HAPPY with you".



I started to worry about coming home one evening and finding a horse's head in the bed, so we began to look for alternative accommodation.





wherever you hang your violin case

When I left college, I couldn't make up my mind whether or not I wanted to move in with my boyfriend or not, so I went back to my parents' for a while. Then it became clear that I *did* want to move in with him, so I joined him in the dingy nurses home he was staying in in North London. We took turn-and-turn about sleeping on the tortuously uncomfortable cast-iron single bedstead and the incredibly uncomfortable parquet floor and we started looking for somewhere to live.



Our finances were slightly hampered by him working only eighteen hours a week and me not working at all; but eventually we found a quite cheap, quite large room in a shared house close to his work.

The house had three bedrooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs. The upstairs rooms were rented out to a group of friends who spent their spare time making replica chain mail and slaughtering orcs in the grounds of the local psychiatric hospital.




The two rooms downstairs were separated only by some glass french doors. We had one and Tony, the acting landlord, had the other, with his girlfriend Sharon. Rent was paid weekly on a cash-only basis - I made a tentative query about rent books on the day we moved in which nearly caused us to be asked to leave. Also on the day we moved in, we noticed that the double-glazing pane in the bottom of the front door was badly cracked. 'Smashed' would be another word you could use to describe it. It was still broken on the day we moved out, nearly a year later.



Tony was the son of the actual owner of the house. His family were from Naples and his real name was Antonio. The family had lots of connections in the local Italian community and Tony therefore had a problem ... Sharon was *not* italian. She was a dyed in the wool Londoner and his family didn't really approve. Despite this they'd been together for years - they had a volatile relationship which we experienced quite a lot at second hand through the glass doors, until we jury-rigged a wardrobe-and-blanket modesty-barrier and bought a TV. Sharon once tried to push Tony out of the car on the M25 at eighty miles per hour. He was driving.



Tony did building work on houses his father had bought and was doing up to sell on, but he also worked for other construction companies. During those periods, friends used to deliver building materials at odd hours of the night that would disappear in to the garage and then be gone in a day or two.



Every so often, beautifully manicured italian gentlemen wearing camel-hair overcoats and carrying expensive leather briefcases would visit Tony, and Sharon would go out to visit friends. However hard we tried not to, we could still overhear some of the conversation in the next room through the doors, the wardrobe, the blankets and the noise of the television. One day the visitor said:



"Antonio ... Uncle is NOT VERY HAPPY with you".



I started to worry about coming home one evening and finding a horse's head in the bed, so we began to look for alternative accommodation.





Sunday, 17 October 2004

b-world



B's inner world contains:



  • Postcards, but no stamps to send them with (sic).


  • Blue-lit walk-way tubes a la Manchester airport, with beltways that people ride round and round on gently, thinking pleasant thoughts and waving gracefully as they pass each other. (Think the robot from the scene in the ice-cave in 'Logan's Run' - "Fish, plankton, seagreens ... protein from the sea!").


  • Probably Jenny Agutter as well.


  • Model trains to ride on.


  • No clocks. Or, indeed, time.


  • Instantaneous transport from one place to another.


  • Cheese.




b-world



B's inner world contains:



  • Postcards, but no stamps to send them with (sic).


  • Blue-lit walk-way tubes a la Manchester airport, with beltways that people ride round and round on gently, thinking pleasant thoughts and waving gracefully as they pass each other. (Think the robot from the scene in the ice-cave in 'Logan's Run' - "Fish, plankton, seagreens ... protein from the sea!").


  • Probably Jenny Agutter as well.


  • Model trains to ride on.


  • No clocks. Or, indeed, time.


  • Instantaneous transport from one place to another.


  • Cheese.




Friday, 15 October 2004

scaring the postman

I got woken up by the postman this morning, trying to deliver my finally-located purple polyfiles.



I pounded down the stairs, fumbled with the keys, opened the door, took the parcel, signed the bit of paper on his clipboard, said thank-you-and-goodbye, went in, locked the door, thought to myself "it's lovely that our postman is so cheerful and friendly", put the parcel down and realised that my pyjamas were open and I was flashing not just a nipple, but a WHOLE BREAST.



Thought "Shit. No wonder he was grinning like the
Cheshire Cat" and went back to bed to start the day again.

scaring the postman

I got woken up by the postman this morning, trying to deliver my finally-located purple polyfiles.



I pounded down the stairs, fumbled with the keys, opened the door, took the parcel, signed the bit of paper on his clipboard, said thank-you-and-goodbye, went in, locked the door, thought to myself "it's lovely that our postman is so cheerful and friendly", put the parcel down and realised that my pyjamas were open and I was flashing not just a nipple, but a WHOLE BREAST.



Thought "Shit. No wonder he was grinning like the
Cheshire Cat" and went back to bed to start the day again.

Thursday, 14 October 2004

wants v. needs

I was having a conversation about happiness with someone the other day - specifically relationship-type happiness.

They were arguing that doing things to make yourself happy to the detriment of your family and friends was a Bad Thing and should be avoided.

I was arguing that making oneself happy is ones primary responsibility, and if it makes other people incidentally unhappy then that is, as Mistress Matisse has eloquently put it in a recent post, "not your dog".

I've been mulling it all over over the last few days and I've come to the conclusion that we are both right. The trick is in making a distinction between what you need to make you happy and what you simply want.

Examples of stuff I want: a bigger bath, B to somehow not be away quite so many nights in the busy season, the entire collection of SF Masterworks and my mother to be less mad.



I don't actually need any of these things for my long lasting happiness.



What I actually need for my long-term happiness is emotional support and security, laughter, a basic level of material security, and intellectual stimulation. I would be prepared to alter my life and the lives of those around me if I felt that these needs weren't being met on a long-term basis. I wouldn't for the wants.



And that's the difference. The trick though is identifying the two categories and being rigourously honest with yourself about what goes in which.

wants v. needs

I was having a conversation about happiness with someone the other day - specifically relationship-type happiness.

They were arguing that doing things to make yourself happy to the detriment of your family and friends was a Bad Thing and should be avoided.

I was arguing that making oneself happy is ones primary responsibility, and if it makes other people incidentally unhappy then that is, as Mistress Matisse has eloquently put it in a recent post, "not your dog".

I've been mulling it all over over the last few days and I've come to the conclusion that we are both right. The trick is in making a distinction between what you need to make you happy and what you simply want.

Examples of stuff I want: a bigger bath, B to somehow not be away quite so many nights in the busy season, the entire collection of SF Masterworks and my mother to be less mad.



I don't actually need any of these things for my long lasting happiness.



What I actually need for my long-term happiness is emotional support and security, laughter, a basic level of material security, and intellectual stimulation. I would be prepared to alter my life and the lives of those around me if I felt that these needs weren't being met on a long-term basis. I wouldn't for the wants.



And that's the difference. The trick though is identifying the two categories and being rigourously honest with yourself about what goes in which.