Monday, October 31, 2005

It was a graveyard smash


Sunday, October 30, 2005

I do not like thee ...

I realise one should never look gift horses in their mouths and all that, and this was a prize in a competition, but it's truly horrible. Almost as bad as Montbazillac - one of the few wines we've poured down the sink.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Eye eye eye eye, See see senora ...

We're going to a Hallowe'en party tonight. We won't be dressing up - Ned's already going as 'The Keeper of the Ghastly Eye'. I can't compete with that.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Oh mother dear, please listen

Some people are just so arrogant I could scream. I was walking back through the village with the dogs and saw two young women – fairly recent residents in the village - with a few young children approaching. I (and the dogs) ignored the little girl in front with the scooter who screamed “Aargh! Dogs! I don’t like them!” and fled back to her mother and we kept walking. Our paths converged at a place where the pavement narrows, and out of politeness I stood, with the dogs, in the road just in front of parked cars, expecting a smile of acknowledgement from the women as they sped their children along to clear the pavement so we could all continue on our way. Was I right? No, the women decided that was a good place to stop and discuss the name of someone else’s child. One of them briefly glanced at me, but other than that I was invisible. Until I loudly said “Excuse me, we’re waiting!” whereupon they looked down their noses at me and stalked off. Honestly, they give us incomers (we’ve only lived in the village 16 years so are still ‘new’) a bad name.

And another thing. Why won’t my mother do as I tell her? Last week her ankle started swelling and looking red, so she went to the doctor who muttered something about ‘cellulitis’ and gave her some antibiotics. She phones me up to ask me to look up medical details on the net, then won’t take the advice I report. Despite the ABs making her feel queasy she’s taken the full course, but this morning she tells me the redness is now above her knee and the skin’s starting to peel off like a snake’s. I told her to call the doctor immediately, and she said no, she’s got a hospital appointment tomorrow so she’ll mention it then. When I suggest that it might be better to get it seen to sooner, rather than risk them admit her for IV antibiotics she assured me they wouldn’t do that, they’d give her an injection like they did when she had pneumonia in 1959.

I think I ought to pack a bag for when I have to dash down south after the hospital calls me tomorrow to tell me they’ve got her chained to a bed somewhere.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Take a chance on me

I went for a preliminary interview today. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Why, oh why, oh why

There's often a downside to Simon's Good Ideas, and I've discovered the one intricately entwined with his (on the face of it, brilliant) pumpkin carving competition.


You see I was brought up by a mother (and father too, but this didn't apply to him so much as he was in Forrin Parts [no, not that sort so shuttup at the back] at the time) who coped with wartime rationing, and the concept of throwing away food is just not possible. So having toasted the seeds (probably shelling them first would have been good) the problem arose of what to do with the flesh of two pumpkins.

There's pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, mashed pumpkin, pumpkin souffle, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin chips. Pumpkin - why? No wonder as soon as potatoes were brought back from the New World and people stopped trying to smoke them and ate them instead, this waste-of-space fruit (if it's got seeds it's a fruit not a vegetable) was abandoned with alacrity from the British menu, no doubt with national rejoicing and a public holiday.

Addition: Ooh! I've just discovered another of its vilenesses. If you keep your two-day old carved masterpiece indoors it makes the room stink like a pair of sweaty trainers.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

On the road again?

We saw this mini when we were caching. I suppose it could be described as a ‘restoration project’. Or maybe not.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The man in the mirror

Are we the only people who are finding it slightly scary that SimonG is trying to become leader of the Tories?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thank you for the days

I wrote a nice blog about how lovely today's been, what with us both having a lie-in because I'd switched off the alarm, thinking we were going to be away but we didn't go, and how it has been sunny so we went caching successfully, then how we had a jolly good evening at the cinema seeing Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit and then going to the Indian in Tiddington on the way home and having a fab meal. But when I clicked on Publish Post it vanished. I wonder if it'll magically reappear overnight? It's happened before.

Anyway it's been a lovely day. And I still don't regret marrying him.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

When I'm calling you-oo-oo-oo

It’s just as well that we weren’t able to book dogsitters for this week because we’ve given up all hope of going to visit Mother. Ned’s still not up to a drive of any length, so we’re staying put. Disappointing, but these things happen.

It’s given us a chance to sort out our mobile phone credit. At the beginning of the month we noticed it needed topping up (£1.34 was getting a bit on the low side), so Ned got the destruction booklet and his credit card and topped it up. Then got a message saying that the top-up service wasn’t available at that time. Poo. So a couple of days later he tried again, with the same result. Then we took it into the shop in Leamington and a nice young man took our tenner and managed to get the credit accepted. Hurrah! £11.29 (it cost 5p to make the call) will last ages because we hardly ever make calls on it. Apart from texting Mally at Cropredy to find out where he’s camped!)

Imagine our disgruntlement when the credit card bill came through charging us for the times Ned had tried to top it up. He phoned the card company and they said yes, the phone company said it had gone through fine. So then we called the mobile company and asked Nadia what had happened. She promised to look into it and call us back. And so she did – several times. There were glitches with the old system (“It’s a very old phone, sir.”). She was very good and phoned to say she was going home but would keep trying in the morning. This morning she rang to say she was still trying to sort it, and the system was up again. Later her manager rang to say that the credit had been transferred to the mobile but just hadn’t shown up, and he’d sorted it and now it was. This was a bit of a shame, because we didn’t want another £40 of credit on the phone, but apparently they can’t take it off again and refund us. So now we have masses of credit which will take us a few lifetimes to use.

However thank you Nadia at O2 for your help, and for calling to keep us up to speed. It makes a change to know that we hadn’t just been forgotten. I hope your manager gives you a bonus.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Mum to mud to mad to Dad

Last night The Boy was deposited back at Uni with a case of freshly-laundered clothes, a food parcel and a tummy full of roast beef, roast potatoes, carrots, broccoli, parsnips, gravy, apple strudel and ice cream. We promised to give his love to his granny when we went down south this morning to visit her, do some geocaching and a booze cruise, and be home again for his visit next weekend.

We’re still here. Ned’s back isn’t yet up to the journey, nor to lifting supplies of alcohol. Poor soul, he’s having trouble lifting a single pint, let alone a crate. So I rang Mother to tell her that we wouldn’t be down today, which startled her somewhat because she wasn’t expecting us till Friday anyway, even though I’d carefully explained which dates were involved. So, Plan A is discarded. I wonder if we have a Plan B. I hope so, not only because a) I want to see my mum and b) I’ve printed out several cache pages, but also because it's been ages since we last topped up the alcohol supplies and have been reduced to paying UK prices. This can't go on.

And specially for Laura – no, I’ve never been on a train going through Barnsley, and I can’t email you, I’m afraid, because I haven’t a clue who you are. Sorry!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Let's twist again

So, Ned goes away walking for a week, and covers about 110 miles plus a bit more for when they went the pretty way. He comes home, has a good night’s sleep, and puts his back out the very next morning. He’s now creeping around looking like Richard III on a bad day, and has lost his sense of humour. I can’t get further than “Now is the winter of our discon…” before something hits me. Tsk! Some people have no appreciation.

*mutters “the bells, Esmeralda, the bells”*

Saturday, October 15, 2005

And so peaceful until …

Boy came home for part of the weekend! Hurrah! He slept for 11 hours (“I love my own bed, Mum. I can turn over and not fall out”) then went off to Bristol and Ned’s come home, fortunately not too broken. He didn’t see much of the Lakes because they were walking in cloud for the first three days, but they didn’t get lost too many times (six started, three finished. Oops.). Piglet bounced and squeaked with delight at seeing his Daddy home again. Anyway I’ve had a lovely day doing loads and loads of washing, and am about to start the ironing. Back to normal, if only briefly!

Random observation: my left ear (the one I can't wiggle) appears to be allergic to henna. How strange.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Everything I need

I was going to regale my loyal chums with details of the fascinating time I had cleaning the oven with that obscene-sounding product 'Cillit Bang', but instead I've filched a topic from Stu, who in turn shamelessly lifted it from Miss Sixty. Go to Google, type "(Your name) needs" and choose five results at random. I'm not sure what to make of mine ...

JG needs to check the number of wheelchairs allowed at the venue
JG needs to address this ASAP.
JG needs to be a man and make a retraction
JG needs to find her groove again.
JG needs so much more

However, if I use my 'real life' name, it's worse!

Jan needs a Man
Jan needs to attack Basso for a 2nd place finish.
Jan needs a rest
Jan needs to be seen today
Jan needs help

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

You're all alone

Which isn't entirely a bad thing when you're poleaxed by a migraine.

My eyes (which have lost the ability to focus) feel as though they want to roll up and round to look at my skull, my scalp feels too small and there's pain all down the back of my head, my neck and my shoulders.

I hope it's got nothing to do with Sweavo's Plank of Excitement. I need that like a pain in the ... oh.

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's oh, so still

I'm bored.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

It’s oh, so quiet

Ned’s alarm went off at 4am for him to go off with his gang (think ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ but with more beer and fewer baths on wheels) to the Lakes. They plan to do the first half of the Coast-to-Coast path, which starts at St Bee’s in the west and ends at Robin Hood’s Bay on the east. (I'm not sure exactly how far they plan to walk this week, but it's beyond Kirkby Stephen anyway. The second half is planned for April.) In the past when they’ve gone off to play together, whether it involves canoeing trips or other long-distance walks, I’ve had The Boy coming home occasionally, so there’s been human company. This is the first time I’ve been left with only the dogs for company. It’s awfully quiet. And cold.

The rain steadily falls, trapping me indoors. This is it, I suppose. I’m going to have to do some housework.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I was once like you are now

It was good to be reassured that buffalos haven’t been genetically modified to fly (good grief, can you imagine the damage caused by cowpats falling from 5,000 feet as a herd passed overhead?); neither are ‘buffalo wings’ anything to do with extra-large sanitary protection. But we didn’t go into that bar for lunch anyway – we found somewhere that did two reasonable meals and two fair pints for under a tenner, which was the price range we were after.

I’d met up with The Boy in Smiths, and was so engrossed in reading the magazines ('My Body Was Eating Itself' and suchlike intellectual matter) that I didn’t notice him standing beside me until my mobile rang and I heard his voice in the other ear as well (“Look behind you, mum”). It was lovely to chat with him over lunch and find out that it’s only the weekends he finds dull. Weekdays are fine, with plenty to do, but they don’t have a common room as such, or a TV room, so the only place where you can ‘really chill’ is your own room (not even the Union bar, apparently), and after a while you go barking within the same four walls. Anyway, this weekend he’s off to London, then next weekend he’s combining a home visit with a friend’s party in Bristol (he can buy his own petrol) – she doesn’t actually live in Bristol but several of his gang are at Uni there so they decided that was the best place to have her party!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The cow jumped over the moon

I'm meeting The Boy for lunch tomorrow, and then we're going to have a lovely time in Sainsbo's. But I've been wondering where to go to eat, because ideally I'd like him to have some Real Food, and not have to go to BK, or KFC, or PH or anywhere that can be initialized. To that end I've been racking my brain to locate 'proper' restaurants in Leamington. Some I've discarded as being overrated and overexpensive, but the yellow pages lists one with a website, so I've just had a look. I don't think we'll be going there because I need both my arms and legs, but one item on the menu intrigues me. Has anyone ever tried 'buffalo wings'?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I miss you

My Boy's discovered homesickness.

My brothers and I discovered this when we went to boarding school, so by the time we went to uni we were over it and it seemed perfectly normal. I know it's something that needs to be worked though, and it's easier to work through when there's no alternative, but at uni there's always the possibility of leaving if it seems overwhelming. Boy's been away from home before, but only on holidays when you know you're coming home soon, not when end of term's 10 weeks away.

I was going to visit him next weekend, but he says he's going to London to visit his girlfriend and his mate, so I'm going to fetch him home for the weekend in a fortnight.

I miss him too.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Walk this way

A fab day group-caching with Paul g0tlg, Jenny and Chris, and Stu and Sarah in Leicesesesestershire. A prompt meeting was followed by an hour or so’s rambling (and performing strange ritual dances)

in pursuit of the various stages of this particular multi, which was supposed to take about 1½ hours – which would have been accurate if we hadn’t managed to get horrendously offtrack on the final stage before the cache, ending up at the spot we should have been looking at from across the other side of the river; Ned sulked because he didn’t get to use his binoculars. I successfully avoided taking out anyone’s eye (though Stu came close) with the useful garden cane (required) sticking from my backpack, like the aerial on a dodgem car, and nobody fell in the river even a bit.

By now it was time to adjourn to a local hostelry for lunch (to which we really must return sometime because we were a teensy bit felonious). By the time we were ready to attempt another local cache we found it was past 4pm and we really had to get home. Now we’re finding all the places we ache – legs, feet, back, shoulders … time now for a curry, a pint, a hot bath and an early night. A good day in excellent company.