Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Chinese laundry blues

Sniff ... sniff ... what’s that smell? Whatever it is, it’s horrid. Sort of plasticky, smoky, hot electricky ... and why can’t I see across the kitchen?

Erm … Ned? Can we go and buy a new washing machine, please? This one seems to have explodified ...

CNPS: 78

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Come on Eileen!

It being Wimbledon fortnight, and tennis is one of the few sports I even vaguely understand, it seemed only fair that I should abandon the housework for a while (any excuse!) and watch some of it. By chance I turned on when Tim Henman was playing Mark Philippoussis, and it was a less nerve-wracking match than the usual ones by 'our Timmy', in that he wasn't getting a set up and then letting his opponent catch up and beat him as easily as he normally does.

As the match wore on, and the end appeared to be in sight for the fourth time, there were the usual encouraging calls to the players (“Come on, Tim!”. “Come on Mark!”) and then they died away as the server prepared to take his shot. In the silence there came a loud, distinct call of “Come on, Eileen!”.

CNPS: 76

Monday, June 28, 2004

School's out for EVER!

The Boy's first day at school Posted by Hello

Today saw the Boy taking his final A-level paper, and henceforth he has now officially ‘left school’. It’ll be very strange for all of us for a while. He’s taking a gap year* to try to earn some money to help pay for Uni**: I imagine the longer hours and shorter holidays of a working life will come as a bit of a shock to him! To acknowledge this momentous day I have posted a picture of him. He didn’t really want to be recognised, so I’ve only put the one I took on his first day of school. He’s changed a bit since then.

We received our 4th ‘stalker’ postcard today; a picture of Plymouth Hoe and just the message “Hey Hoe!!”. This time the message and the address are written in different hands – and the message of this is by the same person as wrote the one from Edinburgh. Curiouser and curiouser …

*As long as re-sits aren’t called for.
** Unless he changes his mind about going.

CNPS: Still 74. Where are all the 75s?

Sunday, June 27, 2004

I've been losing my head, I've been losing my way

Simon, Henry and Ned Posted by Hello

Wey Tamarisk Posted by Hello

When Ned went over to Napton to deliver some photos to Henry and Simon he was delighted to meet Trouty there too! She had got fed up with being all by herself and just upped sticks and gone to join them. So I'm sure Henry's feeling happier tonight.

In accordance with Kouros’ instructions of the die, I had 5 Things to accomplish this weekend. I started this morning with Marmite on toast, which after the shocking night I’d had (fever, nausea etc) was the only thing that would stay down. Later on I got the lentil splot cooking, and I have to admit it is tasty. I’m not sure it’s a Favourite Thing, but it has certainly been Thung. This afternoon we went geocaching (another Thing) which was somewhat of a disaster. I still wasn’t feeling very well, and I’ve never been good at sums anyway, but really! To fail to add 1+1+1 correctly is really desperate. This slip was only discovered after we’d walked a mile in completely the wrong direction. It was a very pretty walk in lovely weather, but an annoyance when we had limited time. We retraced our steps and, using the correct coordinates apparently got to within 49 feet of the cache. Except that the GPS was insistent that we should be in the middle of a field instead of in a wood. Anyway we searched for about half an hour then called it a day. Our first ‘Could Not Find’. When we got home we checked on the geocaching website and the last three people to report beck had also FTF. It must have gone. All that for nothing!

I’m now looking forward to a having a Big Girly Bath (as long as the Boy has left me some hot water) to ease my aching feet and legs. I’ll have to look at The List for my 5th and final Thing. But it'll have to be something easy. I'm exhausted!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Time keeps on ticking, ticking ...

Unfortunately, tonight I seem to be unable to post the piccy I took of the Wey Tamarisk, and Boaty Simon, Henry and Ned. (I'll try again tomorrow, but there's no promises this time. 'Hello' is ostriching about bigtime.) We took them copies of the photo, and ones from the dressing-up competition, when we met up with them again this evening. So you’ll have to excuse me if my typing is a bit blurred.

I blame Kouros. In his blog he challenged people to roll a die to decide how many Favourite Things they had to do over this weekend. Ned’s roll selected 3, and mine 5. So I had a look at the list, and selected Marmite on toast, a Mars Delight, Geocaching (that’ll be tomorrow), a Big Girly bath, and Lentil Splot. “Aha!” I thought. Now is my chance to get splot tutelage from the Splotmeister himself. Huh! ‘Bung in what you’ve got. The lemon is important, though’ was the summary of the masterclass.

However, the evening was longer, and more emotionally draining, than either Ned or I had anticipated. I bless Henry and Ned for instantly re-settling and starting a conversation about nothing while I held Simon in my arms after he burst into tears, saying how scared he was, and how embarrassed he was, and how sorry he was.

I’ll cook the splot tomorrow. And have a Big Girly Bath, with chocolate, candles, wine and music, and cry my eyes out in sympathy for a man who’s going through hell. And for Henry, who’s keeping him company.

Friday, June 25, 2004

That's what friends are for

Lawks, is that really the time? Late bloggery from Genie Towers tonight! We've just got back from taking a Special Delivery package to Henry and Boaty Simon (Henry was thrilled - 'just like Christmas' was his verdict) who tonight are moored at Cropredy Bridge (site of the famous Civil War battle of 1644, and the almost as famous Fairport Convention annual farewell Folk Festival - held every year since 1978).

Although I can't speak for Henry and Simon, Ned and I had a lovely evening. Simon (who reminds us of someone, but we can't think who) is a thoroughly nice guy, and Henry, who gives the impression through his blogs of having Frippy* tendencies, is an absolute gem - one of the sweetest, gentlest people I have had the pleasure of meeting.

We spent a companionable hour or so at the pub then retired to the Wey Tamarisk for a cup of tea (yes, it really was tea - Ned was driving) and further chattage. When dusk fell, the mosquitoes started biting and the mist began to rise from the canal I suggested that we really ought to be heading home. Much hilarity ensued when it was hinted that clearly I was feeling chilly (note to self - always have baggy, figure-enveloping jumper available). Pictures (not of me, fortunately) will be posted tomorrow, when I've worked out the technermological details.

*Local 'character'.

CNPS: 74

Thursday, June 24, 2004

No milk today ...

What is the correct way to dispose of milk? Last summer our dog-sitter left a full litre carton of UHT milk, plus an opened one, in the fridge when she went home after minding our house and dogs while we were away in Cornwall. I tried finishing off the opened one in coffee, and it was unspeakably vile, so I gave it to the dogs. Who weren’t keen either. So the full carton has sat in the back of the fridge, minding its own business, ever since. Until today, when I decided to evict it. The ‘best before’ date was last October, but I’ve never been one to take much notice of things like that.

But, what to do with it? I’m not using it because it is horrid even when its fresh. I can’t give it to the dogs because they didn’t like it last time. I can’t pour it down the drain because milk is a toxic pollutant, and if it gets into the watercourse it kills fishies and things. I suppose it’ll have to go into the bin, unopened. And if the weather gets hot before next Wednesday, it'll explode ...

CNPS: 71

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

And now, the end is near ...

The Boy had his final maths A-level paper today, which he wasn’t particularly looking forward to. He’s certainly been revising for it, even going in to school when he didn’t have to, to get help and explanations. But 10 minutes into the exam he developed a blinder of a headache, followed by cramp under his left shoulderblade. I’ve assured him that as long as he did his best, under the circumstances, that’s all anyone can ask. But he’s somewhat depressed by it. Still, only one more exam to go - physics, next Monday.

On a brighter note, Beattie’s toe seems better (fingers crossed it lasts) and is now off her antibiotics, and I realised I should have bought some live yoghurt to get her gut flora back to something approaching normal. To that end I waited till the morning’s torrential rain had all but stopped, then walked into the village to get some at the local shop, because I haven’t got enough of a shopping list together yet to make a trip into Banbury, Leamington or Stratford viable. As soon as I came within sight of the shop I realised that I’d left the Council Tax cheque at home, when I should really have paid it in at the Post Office last week. Damn! Anyway, the shop didn’t have any live yoghurt so I bought her some Danone-stuff (hope she likes it) and a Mars Delight to fortify myself for the walk home in the resumed cloudburst. Tomorrow I shall get some proper live yoghurt after I’ve scoured the fabric shops for orange fur-fabric.

*goes to continue search for the Very Important Document that Ned has put in a Safe Place*

CNPS: 70

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

It's raining again ...

No sooner has the summer solstice passed than the temperature plummets, the wind gets up and the rain starts. If the nights are starting to draw in as early as this I suppose I ought to start thinking about putting the brussels sprouts on to boil, ready for Christmas Day.

Ooh! I've just learned we'll be enjoying the pleasures of visitorificationism the night before we GoApe! There's now the possibility that we may be in a slightly fragile state in the treetops ...

CNPS: 69

Monday, June 21, 2004

You say tomato and I say tomato ...

It was a far better day at work than I'd anticipated. We were stunned that our tame freelance American, who has been proof-reading our output for the US disc (disk?) has completed the second-stage work we asked within days and is asking for more. She is very good; bright and on-the-ball, and can grasp what is required at the first explanation. Our problem is the classic one of two nations divided by a common language, and a native US-English speaker was essential.

One American chap at the university who was offered an interview took two days to reach our office - the first day he tried to get to us without first consulting a map. He then emailed to say that he had been searching for our building for two hours, and his mobile had run out of credit so he couldn't call. But he emailed only half an hour after his interview time (why did he start searching so early? Why didn't he ask someone? - and has he not heard of phone boxes? He's been in the country a year!) I'm sure he's intelligent - he's just not very clever.

So now we have to work fast to keep up with the girl, who flies back to the US on Thursday. Hurrah for couriers (I've volunteered to take the demo disc (disk?) if necessary - I have a visa! And California sounds quite nice. It took them quite a while to stop laughing ...)

CNPS: 67

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Please release me

We released our first cache today, and it was approved within a couple of hours! We’d tried to release it yesterday, but just as we were placing it we noticed that the paint wasn’t sticking properly, so we brought it home again, sanded and repainted it and had another go.

It rained quite hard this morning, which got the ground really claggy to walk on. As we walked across the fields to our chosen site we found the soil clinging to the soles of our boots, until I was apparently wearing platform wellies and Ned’s hiking boots had 3-inch heels. We ended up laughing till we cried as suddenly a clod would fall off and we were left walking lopsidedly having nearly broken an ankle plummeting down to our normal altitude. Our giggles startled the local wildlife, and we were thrilled to see both deer and a hare, to the musical accompaniment of a soaring skylark.

I wonder who will be the first to find it? It’s really quite exciting!

Edit: Crumbs! It's been found already!

CNPS: Still 66

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Spirit in the sky

Today’s question for the panel is: Which do you prefer; Plymouth Gin, Beefeater or Bombay Sapphire*?

The debate arose because I decided mackerel and salad would be nice for supper tonight, and everyone knows that lemon is important when eating fish.** And once you’ve opened a lemon you know it won’t keep, and the best way to finish a lemon (if you’re not cooking Sussex Pond Pudding) is to have it with gin. And tonic and ice of course. If not tonic, then Gini is a good alternative, which makes your drink a Gin-gini (that sounds awfully like Jeangenie – hurrah!) instead of a djinnantoniK.

*No contest.

**Except mackerel.

CNPS: 66

Friday, June 18, 2004

Back to life, back to reality

Some days
Are glum days
While others
Have glee.

And high days
Should always
Feel free.

My hopes
Were high hopes.
They’ve crumbled
I fear.

I’m battered
Not shattered.
They’ll not see
One tear.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Never reaching the end ...

After Miss Sixty’s horrible experience this morning with brain-dead morons who were a prime example of the advantages of post-natal abortion, we agreed she required the services of a Knight in Shining Armour. These seem to be few and far between nowadays, and must, if truth be told, be very noisy to have around, what with all that clanking. Plus of course you would need somewhere to stable the vital steed.

So although Knights in Shining Armour sound very romantic they don’t conjure up quite the image I get when I hear that famous song “Knights in White Satin”. Yes, yes I know that’s not the real title, but I was young and innocent when I first heard it, all right? Despite the passing of years and experiences, I still can’t rid myself of the vision of a mediaeval hall, lit by a few guttering rushlights and with a blazing fire on the central hearth and wolfhounds lying quietly in the shadows. Then a clattering of hooves heralds the arrival of the knights, who enter the Hall, removing their helms and shaking off the rain. Their esquires hurry to remove their sodden surcoats and armour, to reveal the padded white satin garments worn beneath. The ladies hasten with food and wine to welcome their lords back to the safety of the castle ...

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

A big question mark

We have almost begun to think we have a stalker. A strange stalker who sends us postcards. The first one was a picture of Hadrian’s Wall, and which arrived a few days before his walk up there, saying “Wish you were here”. I’m fairly sure I recognise the handwriting on that one but the postmark is indecipherable. The second one arrived a month or so ago, this time a picture of Charlecote Park (a National Trust property about 5 miles away), and saying “Hello, Have you been here? We have.” Different handwriting to the first, and all we can read of the postmark is ‘Herts’. The third arrived yesterday, and is a picture of Edinburgh with the message “Hey Jimmy” in a third handwriting, and with the address very slightly wrong. Again, the postmark is no help. All of these are addressed to Ned in his ‘Sunday’ name, not the one his friends use.

We have our suspicions who it is, and if we’re right then it’s just Ned’s brother (who looks even more like Dickie Attenborough than Ned does) playing games. If it isn’t ...

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

In a spot of bother

Clover, Beattie, Piglet and Harry Posted by Hello

Poor Beattie’s got a sore toe. She started favouring a leg on Sunday, so we carefully examined all her feet several times, but could find no sign of anything amiss. On the principle that ‘rest is best’ we didn’t take her out for the remainder of the day, and by the evening she couldn’t put her left fore to the ground. At least that narrowed down which foot was hurting.

Yesterday it was still bad, and today one toe was noticeably swollen, so it was off to the vet. She has either cracked a bone (no graunchy sounds when it is manipulated, so not a proper break) or wrenched it and got it infected. This is bad news. Harry did a similar thing a couple of years ago, and months of antibiotics didn’t help and he ended up having the toe amputated. I really don’t want to go down that path again.

CNPS: 59

Monday, June 14, 2004

We are the Champions!

Big Cache hunter Posted by Hello

Well, I'm not entirely sure what I did, but whatever it was, it worked! Hurrah! (Now I need to work out how to combine the picture with the Blog, and not have it as a separate entity ... well, that seems to have worked too!)

I wished I'd had a camera with me in town today. There was a bloke up a ladder fixing a 'For Sale' board to one of the houses. Well, it was two For Sale boards really, that made two sides of a triangle sticking out from the building. There was a chap on the balcony steadying the boards while the bloke up the ladder was behind them (inside the triangle with his back to the building) fixing them together. The bloke on the ladder was visible from the waist down, and the chap on the balcony was visible from the waist up, but there was about a 3-foot gap between the two waists, and it looked just like one 10-foot tall man. That would have been a terrific picture to post as my first one!

CNPS: 54 (or 56, depending)

Sunday, June 13, 2004

We're on the road to nowhere

Okay. I signed up with 'Hello', which apparently lets you post pictures on your Blogspot. I answer all their questions, and download, and activate, and everything. No instructions. So I go to 'help', and they say email. So I email what they say, and still bugger-all. They say email to confirm password. I email in a complying way, and they welcome me and ask me to email the change of password. But I've just done that! I now have three identically unhelpful emails which send me back to the beginning without passing 'Go' and without collecting £200.

I'm fed up.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

I've been driving in my car

I haven't yet decided whether I like or dislike spending money. Yes, it's great, and it's fun, and you have things afterwards, but on the other hand you haven't got the money any more to buy things with, and what if you've impulse-bought the wrong thing ...

But today was the turn of free money, so it didn't worry me so much. My winnings vouchers aren't accepted at M&S (no new bras then) or Hawkshead (no new other clothes either). They are valid at the Body Shop, but there's only a certain amount of henna a girl can take. So I decided to go technermerlogical. My beloved SLR (lost property from Westminster Abbey in 1976) will never be superceded but it is bulky, so a smaller digital camera is called for. We perused the catalogues, we asked for advice in 'proper' camera shops ("don't do it" was the general consensus), and decided on make and model. So off to Argos, which not only stocked the camera, but they also accept the vouchers.

But why were they charging £50 more than anyone else? Not acceptable. Sulkily we went home, and Ned checked the prices on their website. £50 less than the catalogue - what's going on? So he rang Head Office and was told it was discounted at the checkout. Hurrah! So we went to Leamington to buy it. They were out of stock.

We got them to phone the Banbury store, discovered they had one left, which we reserved, and sped 20 miles south, hoping that we'd get there before they shut. Huzzah and hooray - we got it! A forty-mile round trip.

So far I have managed to charge the battery, insert the card, and successfully turn it on and off again. PIctures may follow within the decade.

Friday, June 11, 2004

And they call it puppy love

My mind was a blank, so I went into the chatroom to ask whoever happened to be in there for a word that might inspire me bloggery-wise. Obviously everyone else has a life at 9.30 on a Friday night (tchah!) and I found myself all alone. So I ran the vacuum over the scraunched-up crisps that had been ground into the hideous carpet, and emptied the ashtrays (these aren’t tobacco cigarette butts are they?) before I turned out the lights (global warming doncherknow).

But before I left I glanced upwards and saw the word ‘Portsmouth’. Now there’s many a tale I could tell about Portsmouth. I lived there from 1969 till 1973, the longest I had ever lived anywhere, and they were very formative years. Ages 11 to 15 is a huge leap in social development, and I look back to those years with very fond memories. I have intermittent contact with friends from those days, and even regularly see one pal presenting the BBC News. I enjoy those broadcasts, no matter what the news involves, because I am instantly transported back to the easy life when the greatest worry was whether or not Mr Xxxxx (not his real name) would breathe over us in double maths, or if there were prunes and semolina for pudding. I go back to the era of first dates, the first boyfriend, the first (squeaks with excitement) … kiss!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

The elf-call

The sun rose, and lit up the waterfall cascading over the rocks, which scoured ever deeper the pool at the bottom where the moss grew in the chill damp areas which were in permanent twilight. The droplets of spray scattered the light and carried fragments of it beyond the direct rays into these hidden shadows. The creature was entranced by the sparkling diamonds and cautiously advanced. He could dimly recall a time long ago when there had been many small beings such as him living near the waterfall but there had been many changings of the moon since he last saw another of his kind. The twinkling lights appeared to dance in front of him, and he chuckled as he twisted and turned, delighting in their company in his lonely existence. Where the droplets landed on his skin he was sure he felt the light enter his body, making it tingle with pleasure, and invigorating him. For the first time since he had been left alone he felt his spirits lift, and his pale face stretched into a tentative smile. The glinting of the light drew him further and further from the shadows towards the dazzling mist of rainbows which surrounded the tumbling water.

He never saw the hand which suddenly reached up from the pool to snatch and drag him beneath the surface.

The spray sparkled on.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

To adorn and perfume those sweet meadows in June

I had a lovely walk with the dogs this afternoon. The sun was shining, there was a pleasant slight breeze, and the birds were singing, even the buzzards circling high aloft were mewing. We walked through the flock of sheep (dogs still on leads of course) to the second field where they could be let loose. The hedges were blooming with flowering elder, honeysuckle and dog-roses, their scent adding to the warm smell of the newly cut hay. If only that combination of aromas could be bottled. Perfect. It is at moments like that when I realise there is no other place I would rather live.

And thanks are due to the Blogring’s Foreign Correspondent, ScottJ, who was enormously helpful to me in the chatroom, pointing me towards a much more useful online American dictionary than the one we’ve been using at work, and also proving that he wasn’t cutting leather* when he should have been attending history classes at school. He’s saved me quite a few hours of work, so a big cyber-hug is winging its way across the Pond. Thanks, Scott!

*He and I were both startled to discover the original meaning of 'skiving'. He was also surprised to discover it meant 'goldbrick'. I was surprised to learn that 'goldbrick' meant 'bunk off'.

Random observation: the peel I’ve just removed from a Clementine smells just like gin. *goes to fetch glass of tonic to soak it in.*

CNPS: 48

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

It was a hot afternoon

Crumbs, look at the time! Nearly bedtime and I haven't thought of anything to blog about. At least it's cooler now than it was during the day, which makes thinking more of a possiblity. It was absolutely steaming at work - the poor lads upstairs were dripping with sweat - even having the windows open and a fan blowing couldn't counteract the heat generated by all the computers. Every so often they'd come downstairs with the latest Blue Peter 'Watch Venus traverse the Sun without destroying your retinas' gadget, involving a lavatory roll, masking tape and magnifying glass. It worked reasonably well, and we saw the planet, but staring at magnified light on clean white paper meant that everyone had a large black spot blanking out their vision for some minutes afterwards.

They're enormously thrilled because their game has passed all its final checks and is now in production, to be launched on June 18th. So the bosses are treating everyone to lunch (probably at the new Thai restaurant) and the rest of that day off. Our games have also been taken, and all the content must be completed by the end of July. So we're busy busy busy!

CNPS: 43 at last! Hurrah!

Monday, June 07, 2004

swodniW gninaelc m'I nehW

I do apologise to anyone who may have caught a brief glimpse of the #1 version of tonight's blog. It was a very amusing (yes it was, don't argue) story about how the bright sunshine of the past few days had revealed exactly how dirty my windows are, and how, being a person who's careful with her money, I haven't employed a window-cleaner for nearly 20 years, preferring to risk life and limb hanging precariously out of upstairs windows, lathery shammy in hand, all to save a couple of quid.

This led on to the rumour that that there is a magnetic gadget (probably most recently available from the Innovations catalogue) that will clean both sides of your windows at once. Exactly how the water, and the final polish with a scrunched-up newspaper to remove smears, is applied has always eluded me, but I'm sure there's a method.

And that led on to the known fact that computer screens need the same treatment. It's all very well removing the greasy fingermarks and the yoghurt splashes, but what about the internal grime. At this point I published a link to a very clever site that performs this function for you, because when I saw it the first time (work's computer, oh dear!) I only saw part of it, and was somewhat amused. When, checking the published blog, I saw the complete image I realised that I had linked my dear chummingtons to a Dutch p*rn site.

As I said at the beginning, I do apologise!

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Woo-ee-oo-ee-oooo ..... wah wah wah

You can cut the tension in the village with a courgette. The scene is set for an almighty feud. For months, nay years, this has been 'Captain Pugwash' territory, where everyone paid up and nobody got hurt. Tonight there's a new kid on the block, a Johnny-come-lately, an interloper, a challenger for the throne, who goes by the tune of 'Teddy-bears' Picnic'. It'll be 99s at dawn, fully complemented with choco flakes, chopped nuts and lashings of raspberry sauce, with Calippos as backup firepower.

There are two icecream vans vying for supremacy.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Ain't gonna need this house no longer

Our main task for today was to scrub out the now-vacant hutches and take them over to Rugby to donate them to Guinea-pig Rescue. With the hutches gone I won't be tempted to find new occupants for them, because of all the 'small animals' (veterinary term) other than dogs and cats, piggies have to be my favourite. They're usually very gentle (Pandora's daughter Sharon, who died in February, was an exception - she had the temper of a harridan, a bite like a ferret and the tenacity of a bulldog), they're a handy size, diurnal, sociable and responsive. They will come when they're called and have an amazing vocal range. They chatter and chirrup, and if they hear the distant sound of vegetables being chopped the decibel level of the demanding Clanger-like whistle is astonishing from so small an animal. And when you cuddle them they snuggle into you just like a puppy.

So we thought the best thing would be to give all the equipment to a deserving cause.

After all, I can easily make a nice new hutch ... ;)

Friday, June 04, 2004 the key of Life

My plans of seeming efficient, capable and all-round great at work took a bit of a nose-dive today. The other two women I work with were both off, so I was going to be running ‘downstairs’ all by myself – manning (girling?) the phones, dealing with visitors, organising the website (which seems to have been delegated to me in its entirety), going to the post office and all the rest of the it. So I made a point of getting in nice and early, which was, in some ways, made easier by the fact that its halfterm so there’s less traffic on the road and more parking places in town. However, more choice means more indecision – would that be a better space than this? Will I be able to cut into the flow of traffic at home-time from here or will I be stuck for ages? Etc etc.

Anyway, I let myself in through the main door and headed for the first of the offices I would be running. Locked. My usual office? Locked. Okay, up the stairs I trot to Big Boss – can I have the keys to downstairs please? Clutching the ring of keys in my hot little hand I trotted down again … could I unlock the first door? Could I ‘eckaslike. After several minutes struggling I turned to the other door – no problems there (why is it always the fourth of four keys that is the right one? Why not the second or – perish the thought – the first?). I struggled for another few minutes with the first door, where one key nearly worked before I shamefacedly slunk upstairs to ask for help.

I’m not very good with technology.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Wombling free

Today, because Pandora was still refusing to eat or drink, I held her while Uncle Geoff the vet gave her an injection, and stroked her till her eyes glazed and her breathing stopped.

She is buried beside the other guinea-pigs, and has daffodils planted above her.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

It ain't what you do

It’s a really cruel joke to give a person high aspirations but only average ability.

There are so many things I’d like to be able to do really well, but in honesty I can never aspire to being anything more than mediocre in them. I love music and singing, for example, but never got beyond Grade 1 in my piano exams (although it was with Merit), but I can play the Captain Pugwash theme quite acceptably on the recorder. For years singing was the only way I could vocalise to anyone outside my immediate family without stammering horribly and having everyone laugh at me. Fortunately I was pretty good at carrying a tune but was far too shy to put myself forward for solos just in case my throat locked. I’d also love to be good at painting, whether oils, acrylics or watercolours, I’m not bothered. All of them would be lovely. I can visualise the most beautiful images but despite years of training I still don’t have the technical ability to transfer them into two dimensions.

But what I can do really well is care, both in the physical feeding and nurturing, and also the mental shaping and encouragement whilst still allowing independence. To see the Boy tall and strong and intelligent (so why doesn't he do his revision?) and handsome (yes I know that’s down to lucky genes, but some of them are mine!) and nearly ready to face the world as a kind, gentle, thoughtful man, I think we're entitled (because Ned's input has been vital!) to feel an element of pride in a Job Well Done.

PS. I found the cake!

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Only shades of grey

Take Two.

I’m afraid you missed your chance to read the stunningest blog in history, cos I had it mostly written and the computer crashed and I lost it all. So I’ll just have a bit of a whinge about how flat I feel. No, I haven’t been going around feeling apartments, nor have I miraculously lost several stone and suddenly have the sylph-like figure I always craved. No, I just feel a little deflated and anti-climactic. And Ned’s hidden the cake.

It could be lack of decent sleep. I think I got overtired yesterday, though my feet have returned and I no longer have blisters with shoes on. My back was aching all night though, and I opened the window because it was too hot, then woke at 4 am to close it because of the rain coming in. I know why it rained – it’s because I got the hose out yesterday evening and gave everything a thorough watering and topped up the ponds. Then I woke up at 6 am and worried until I got bored and got up instead.

I think I’ll have to take Pandora to the vet. She isn’t at all well. :( She was fine until her daughter died. I think she’s moping. She takes food from my fingers willingly, but won’t eat it. She used to be a fat little piggy, but not any more.