Saturday, 31 July 2004

caterpillers and camping

I have just spent a couple of hours playing 'field the toddlers' in our back yard. Amazing how children have no inhibitions about eating stuff. Ragwort for example. Or caterpillers. In this case, those black and yellow caterpillers that live on ragwort and turn in to cinnibar moths. I actually think they are quite pretty and I don't mind them eating the ragwort as I am going to pull it all up shortly anyway in my quest to turn the bombsite that is our yard in to a garden. And they do look quite fat and tasty.



I like to think that I have a 'live and let live' relationship with most garden pests. I am happy to contribute to the ecology of the garden by allowing slugs, snails and assorted aphids and caterpillars eat some of my plants, so long as they don't actually start killing things. At that point I adopt a more extreme policy - last night I was out at midnight with a torch picking small green caterpillers off the geraniums in my window box. Middle age is clearly approaching - ten years ago I would have been vomiting in someone else's window box at midnight on a Friday night, which I suppose is a method of caterpiller control to bear in mind.



We are off camping in the Wild Country for a few days, with friends and aforementioned toddlers. Bad time to start a blog as I am not anticipating having phone coverage, let alone an internet connection. Us females have managed to score on the creating a campsite front however, by sending the Ray Mears devotees on ahead with tents and children and following them a bit later with the rest of the kit. With any luck by the time we arrive the pavilions will be up, the mammoths will be caught and the firepits will be dug. Thank you Ray!





caterpillers and camping

I have just spent a couple of hours playing 'field the toddlers' in our back yard. Amazing how children have no inhibitions about eating stuff. Ragwort for example. Or caterpillers. In this case, those black and yellow caterpillers that live on ragwort and turn in to cinnibar moths. I actually think they are quite pretty and I don't mind them eating the ragwort as I am going to pull it all up shortly anyway in my quest to turn the bombsite that is our yard in to a garden. And they do look quite fat and tasty.



I like to think that I have a 'live and let live' relationship with most garden pests. I am happy to contribute to the ecology of the garden by allowing slugs, snails and assorted aphids and caterpillars eat some of my plants, so long as they don't actually start killing things. At that point I adopt a more extreme policy - last night I was out at midnight with a torch picking small green caterpillers off the geraniums in my window box. Middle age is clearly approaching - ten years ago I would have been vomiting in someone else's window box at midnight on a Friday night, which I suppose is a method of caterpiller control to bear in mind.



We are off camping in the Wild Country for a few days, with friends and aforementioned toddlers. Bad time to start a blog as I am not anticipating having phone coverage, let alone an internet connection. Us females have managed to score on the creating a campsite front however, by sending the Ray Mears devotees on ahead with tents and children and following them a bit later with the rest of the kit. With any luck by the time we arrive the pavilions will be up, the mammoths will be caught and the firepits will be dug. Thank you Ray!





Thursday, 29 July 2004

small beginnings

"Never mind", he said, "it won't help with me looking over your shoulder". And he went away. So here I am, cut loose with the whole world potentially at my fingertips and a severe case of writer's block.



Expect drama. Expect ramblings and ranting. Expect tales of otters and the SAS. Expect lots of tea.



small beginnings

"Never mind", he said, "it won't help with me looking over your shoulder". And he went away. So here I am, cut loose with the whole world potentially at my fingertips and a severe case of writer's block.



Expect drama. Expect ramblings and ranting. Expect tales of otters and the SAS. Expect lots of tea.



Wednesday, 28 July 2004

crew list

Some people who may, or may not, feature. Is not yet alphabetical, but I will organise it properly one day:



Ally
Blog owner. Ex software engineer and archaeologist. Self-employed IT consultant. Sometime spiritual healer and reiki practitioner. Grew up on small-holding in Somerset. Married, mid-30's, no children.
Likes: food; sleeping; tea; poultry.
Dislikes: lying; fizzy drinks; nylon sheets.
B
Ally's husband. Lighting designer and AV technician. Creative, tolerant and all round nice chap. Slightly dreamy.
Likes: camping; dungeons and dragons; cheese.
Dislikes: being shouted at for being slightly dreamy.
R
Friend, colleague. Ex cinema manager.
Likes: climbing; his family; being cynical.
Dislikes: stupidity.
Ma
Ally's Mum. Sixty-something small-holder. English eccentric.
Likes: growing things; animals; pottery.
Dislikes: selling the stuff she grows; paying for parking; towns.
Pa
Ally's Dad. Eighty-something small-holder. Quite infirm.
Likes: cactus; speculating about space travel; a good argument.
Dislikes: people; travelling further than twenty minutes in the car; anything, temporarily, for the sake of a good argument.
Kate
B's Mum. Dynamic. Sometimes works with Ally. Takes on too much and then gets stressed. Likes to think the best of people.
Likes: Greece; wine; helping people.
Dislikes: working; not living in Greece; having to do all the stuff she's said she will.
Vic
B's Dad. Retired communications engineer. Artist. Mr Darcy.
Likes: painting; Greece; DIY.
Dislikes: Not much, but his good opinion once lost is lost for ever.
Aunty Kate
B's Great Aunt. Recently deceased at age of 86. Lived with Kate and Vic for a few months before her death. Pragmatic, practical and genuine.
Likes: naughty humour, whisky and lemon, her grandchildren, laughing.
Dislikes: I really can't think of any.
Natalie
Ally's younger sister. Medical rep.. Lives next door to parents.
Likes: living on small-holding; her job; Terrible Tony.
Dislikes: Ally's sense of humour.
Terrible Tony
Natalie's on-off boyfriend. Has hair gathered in small pony-tail in mistaken impression this it makes him look cool. Is health and safety consultant.
Likes: scuba-diving; head-games; spending money.
Dislikes: commitment; saying 'thank you'.
Uncle Horace
B's uncle.
Likes: betting on the horses; The Antiques Roadshow; Australia.
Dislikes: none.
Crazy Tom
Ex boyfriend of Ally's. Bonkers. Possibly manic-depressive.
Likes: tanks; explosives; knives; role-playing; his mother.
Dislikes: washing; not having his own way.
Teresa
R's Mum-in-law. Has got involved doing some typing with Ally for Harry-the-illuminated-one. Also teaching Ally and B french.
Likes: France; Egyptology
Dislikes: Too polite to say.
PL - Polish Lodger
Final year student who rented room from Ally and B during summer 2005. Hard working skater dude.
Likes: Liverpool FC, computers, his girlfriend.
Dislikes: cleaning jobs, but he does them anyway, because in Poland you only make 50p an hour at that kind of thing and here it's a fiver.
PLG - Polish Lodger's (Ex) Girlfriend
Late teens, slightly dappy (now ex) girlfriend of PL.
Likes: PL, lots. Toilet roll. Giggling.
Dislikes: not having enough personal space whilst sharing our house.
PLGC - Polish Lodger's Ex- Girlfriend's Cousin
Stayed in England for a while late 2005/early 2006 to earn some money whilst sorted out life. Cheerful, friendly, nice to live with. Is cousin of Polish Lodger's Ex- Girlfriend's cousin
Likes: chocolate; gossiping; running.
Dislikes: eating too much chocolate; getting up early to go to work.
Edwin
'The boy' who does the heavy work on Ally's Ma's farm. Is in his mid-seventies, with two artificial hips and a hernia.
Likes: salvaging things from the tip; slightly blue jokes; people.
Dislikes: driving too fast; city people.
Invisible Lodger
Pays Ally and B a monthly retainer to use as a postal address and accommodation on occasional visits to the area.
Likes: Don't know, never speak to him.
Dislikes: Ditto.
New Polish Lodger
Current lodger. Young Polish chap who has just split up with his girlfriend and come to England for a change of scene and to look for a job.
Likes: Not yet known
Dislikes: Not yet know
Semi-Invisble Lodger
Rented room during week for a couple of months early 2006 while working in area. Appeared to have done a flit and defaulted on rent but eventually paid.
Likes: Skiing; Crap DVDs; Hiding girlie mags inside his Snowboarding magazines.
Dislikes: Commuting around the country with work; not being able to afford enough skiing holidays.

Friday, 2 July 2004

the WI

Dani

Or 'Mrs R'. Works p/t at M&S. Deadpan, clever, under-achiever. Two pre-school children, slightly harrassed by both them and R. Has hollow legs when chooses, but also a sense of maternal responsiblity. Married to R.



Nina

Lecturer at local teacher-training college. Competent, witty, archetypal teaching professional. Dislikes swearing, unless it is the phrase 'cunt-twat', used whilst driving. Married to Tom, rock-and-roll sound-engineer, wants to start family.



Rachael

Paediatric nurse. Talkative, cheerful, rants when drunk. Astronomer. Lives with Nick, computer game graphic designer.



Tessa

Assistant psychologist, in to film and cult tv. Good at Russell Crowe impressions. Scarily sarcastic. Going out with Nathan, Sys Admin.



We meet on an irregular but frequent basis to eat, watch crappy eighties movies, drink too much wine and of course, talk. Normally we are home in bed by 9.30 after an evening's 'meeting'.



Our respective partners think this is funny.

the WI

Dani

Or 'Mrs R'. Works p/t at M&S. Deadpan, clever, under-achiever. Two pre-school children, slightly harrassed by both them and R. Has hollow legs when chooses, but also a sense of maternal responsiblity. Married to R.



Nina

Lecturer at local teacher-training college. Competent, witty, archetypal teaching professional. Dislikes swearing, unless it is the phrase 'cunt-twat', used whilst driving. Married to Tom, rock-and-roll sound-engineer, wants to start family.



Rachael

Paediatric nurse. Talkative, cheerful, rants when drunk. Astronomer. Lives with Nick, computer game graphic designer.



Tessa

Assistant psychologist, in to film and cult tv. Good at Russell Crowe impressions. Scarily sarcastic. Going out with Nathan, Sys Admin.



We meet on an irregular but frequent basis to eat, watch crappy eighties movies, drink too much wine and of course, talk. Normally we are home in bed by 9.30 after an evening's 'meeting'.



Our respective partners think this is funny.

Thursday, 1 July 2004

European English Book Exchange

Here's my list of books for trade as of 23rd March 05. When I have some time, I will put in a mini-description of each one:

  • Golden Witchbreed - Mary Gentle
  • Kingdom of Shadows - Barbara Erskine
  • Death Dream - Ben Bova
  • Shadow Hunter - Will Baker
  • Good News From Outer Space - John Kessel
  • Bookends - Jane Green
  • Strong Poison - Dorothy L Sayers
  • Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L Sayers
  • Busman's Honeymoon - Dorothy L Sayers
  • The Seal Wife - Kathryn Harrison
  • Rumpole Rests His Case - John Mortimer
  • Downbelow Station - C J Cherryh
  • The Chymical Wedding - Lindsay Clarke
  • Baudolino - Umberto Eco
Coming soon - once I've finished reading them!
  • The Road to Nab End - William Woodruff
  • Beyond Nab End - William Woodruff
  • Burning Bright - Helen Dunmore
  • Love of Fat Men - Helen Dunmore
  • Are You Experienced - William Sutcliffe
  • Seal Morning - Rowena Farre
  • What The Body Remembers - Shauna Singh Baldwin

The European English Book Exchange is by invitation only - if you are interested in participating, please email!