Monthly Archives: March 2006

9 hours to go, time to pack

Off to Venice tomorrow morning. Just about to pack – I have been obliged to delegate all remaining work as I spent the afternoon and early evening asleep and shivering on the sofa, having come down with a filthy cold. A little better now; at least I am vertical.

I will be fine tomorrow. Isn’t it a pity that cold/flu remedies just don’t work; or at least not as well as the ads say they do.

Have a good week


Anus of Responsibility

I was slightly startled to see, in the newsletter from our dentist (whatever next), that they now offer facial rejevenation. Botox in fact. It’s the Sage’s dentist who is the practitioner so maybe, when he next returns from an appointment his whole face will be strangely smooth and unmoving instead of just his mouth.

But also in the post is a card (which of course I haven’t opened) from lovely daughter for Mothering Sunday. As we’ll be away together over the weekend, Ro is only too aware that the whole Anus of Responsibility (as El has always called it) is upon him for mummy’s Happy Day.

All families have their quirky expressions don’t they. Ro thought for many years that the correct expression was ‘no holes barred’, and why not. He is also responsible for Emergency Russians. We have an elderly, very Norfolk and very dear, friend who is convinced that in an emergency one raises a Human Cry.

Norfolk dialect is in the news at present as it’s going to be taught in one of the county’s schools. I was happy to hear the Divine Postie being played on Radio 4 news yesterday as an intro to the story. I don’t have a Norfolk accent myself (I don’t think) but surely everyone uses some dialect words. I didn’t know that ‘on the huh’ (not straight; e.g. a crookedly hanging picture) wasn’t mainstream English for years and bishybarnaby is an irrisistable name for a ladybird.

I’m never very aware of regional accents, although I remember as a child finding our gardener hard to understand, which I found inexplicable in later years, so it must have been about the time we moved to Suffolk. Accents I particularly like do zing through my consciousness however; West Country – the lovely soft letter R, East Anglia – rare to catch when you are away – and Dutch. We had Dutch au pairs when I was a little girl whom we loved like family and I suppose that’s the reason.

The Sage razored

I think I need a holiday. Fortunate I’m getting one. I snapped at beloved Husband today – apologised moments afterwards – explained why he was wrong (well……..) but it was just the extreme frustration of the morning that make me crack for a moment.

I had an appointment at the university in Norwich this morning. This went well and I trotted off to the car park, where it took me 10 minutes to find my car. You do feel silly, trawling up and down the rows looking for it. I needed to buy numbers to change the lots that our vendor (who is a very nice man of course, I wouldn’t want anyone to think I have a personal vendetta here) had got wrong. I spent an hour and a half and went to 3 large stores, 2 of them stationery & office suppliers. I could have bought white on black, white on blue, black on gold, tiny numbers, huge numbers, any useful size of letters, but basic 1-100 sheets of numbers that can be seen from 10 feet away but are not so huge as to obscure the pattern on a piece of china were nowhere to be seen.

In the end I bought plain white sticky labels and will write the numbers on myself.

But most of the morning and about 15 extra miles were wasted, all for a 99p pack of sticky paper.

I arrived home at 11.40 and went straight out again to deliver Meals on Wheels and when I came back again the Sage said we would leave the photography for the website until after my holiday. I said I’d rather do it now as I will have new stuff to do by then, he, oh poor dear, he didn’t realise I was on the edge and, I can hardly bear to say it. He started to argue.

He stopped arguing pretty soon.

The photos will be taken this afternoon.

I’ve conciliatorarily said that I’ll ask Lynn who does the website not to post the catalogue until the printed ones are ready to be posted too. I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m unreasonable or anything.

The sun is shining and I’ve taken a long lunchtime.

Really Me!

An excellent day, after we had overcome some vissicitudes because some twit forgot to leave a gate unlocked so that a couple of dozen cars were left stranded on Norwich’s scary ring road for half an hour.

But now it seems that the much-valued vendor I mentioned the other evening has not quite been finished with. I’m not sure what happened, but having spent a strenuous couple of hours altering the catalogue, somehow I can’t find the changes. I must have saved it as something else. I’m too tired tonight and will sort it tomorrow.

The air has been violently blue here this evening; I don’t often swear in front of (and never, never at) the Sage, whose worst term of annoyance is ‘Really Me’; but I have made exception and he didn’t even look shocked but entirely concurred.

Never again will I rely on anyone else unless I know for sure that he or she is entirely reliable. My own fault, I should have triple checked from the start.

I’m now on draft 6a (version 8) of the parish profile. Which will probably be rejected by the parish reps and I will have to rewrite in in a couple of weeks. That’s fine, they’ve every right and I will hardly grumble at all.

Haven’t heard the news at all today, is there more tax on alcohol? If there is, I WILL PAY IT.


After 10 o’clock news.

No change on tax for spirits, champagne or cider. That’s us sorted then.

What a difference a day makes

Today was good, largely because I was out of the house and out of the office and I arrived home to find a bank statement that says I’ve not overspent on my holiday before I’ve even taken it.

The Sage was glad to see me and offered to help cook dinner, no need as I’d sorted it in advance (hah! after nearly 33 years I am still good for something) so he felt good for offering: and better for grateful reception for no work at all. Of such things are marriage made.

My ears are buzzing, not from tinnitus but from hearing 41 mini lectures in little over an hour and a half; also from long and cheerful chats with my good friend Ab who kept buying me quantities of food and drink and continued to entertain me throughout (and thanks for your advice on a previous post Ab; I’ve taken it and amended accordingly).

I’ve offered him a guest slot – will he take it? I hope so.

Back to London tomorrow morning, commuting is quite exciting to a Norfolk mawther.

– No knickers

The day hasn’t finished with me yet. I found out at half past 9 that I’ve been sent, and duly catalogued, a list of 40 lots, but that they were in the wrong order. So I’ve had to match up photos with descriptions and cut and paste them into the correct order. Then do the same thing with the condition report. Not one piece matched its apparent number.

I phoned the vendor. He was bemused and didn’t know what I meant. Eventually, after much careful explanation, I could hear his brain clear: ‘I know what I did’ he said. ‘I sent you the old list, I’ve updated mine.’

Before I started the work I went to put on the washing machine. It wasn’t working, the previous load had stopped with 35 minutes to go. Fortunately Ro isn’t only good with computers and he discovered that the filter was blocked. And unblocked it for me. A good thing too, as otherwise I’d have had a pile of handwashing to do tonight as well, since I hope to have some clothes to wear tomorrow. The most essential can dry on the Aga overnight, I love my Aga.

I’ve made myself a pot of strong coffee. If it keeps me awake all night, that’ll be useful.

There’s one good thing, if this is to be the most frustrating day of the year, it’s nearly over. But I’m taking no chances, I’ll leave at least an hour for the 25 minute journey to the station tomorrow. The colleague I’m going with (who will have boarded the train at an earlier station) has my ticket, so if I’m late I will have to pay again. And the last time I should have travelled with him there was a road accident which delayed me so that I did miss the train – puffed onto the platform as it glided out.

Fur coat and?

I was talking to a friend on the phone tonight about the perils of AGMs when you are obliged to sit at a table onstage. A couple of years ago I was in that situation and realised that my knee-length, straight skirt had a tendency to ride up and, worse, I was wearing stockings. I skewered myself into the most modest pose possible and stayed there.

My friend had a similar story, but in a slightly shorter skirt and she received a complaint afterwards – ‘ I couldn’t concentrate on the meeting at all, your legs were much too distracting.’ She was mortified and never again sat at a higher level than her audience unless her legs were covered to the ankle.

I admitted that I would have taken it as a compliment.

In 3 months both of us will be on the same platform. Both modestly dressed no doubt. Or maybe I’ll provide an all-enveloping cloth for the table and spare all blushes.

It’s Monday. Again.

The day is not going too well. I’ve got a list (a mental list) of things to do before I go away on Saturday and extras keep adding themselves while obstructions occur to blight my chances of achieving anything at all.

For example, I tried to book a Venice card this morning and all went swimmingly until the time came for me to pay, when up popped a page of unusable javascript instead of the form that should be there. I did the whole thing again with the same result. Now, if the problem had occurred at the start, at least I wouldn’t have wasted time filling in the rest of the forms.

And the Aga was serviced this morning; no problem there except that meant that after a weekend’s hard cooking I had to clean the kitchen first thing instead of after the office work was done. The floor was in no condition to be knelt on, poor chap would still be stuck to it. There is, of course, a good side to that: I’ve done it and won’t have to later.

Even the printer wouldn’t work this morning. Up came one of those annoying unhelpful comments telling me the number of the problem, which gives no indication of what to do about it. Fortunately I have been well advised by IT Son Ro and so tried turning the printer off and on. No success so I went in with all guns blazing, turned it back off and Restarted The Computer. This, thank goodness, did the trick so I hastily printed off everything I might conceivably want in case it is just a foretaste of a dire future blockage.
The only thing stopping me from replacing my ancient printer is that I bought, accidentally, an awful lot of ink cartridges a few months ago (got trigger happy online at Viking) and it’ll take me several more months to use them up. It is about 8 years old though and prints blue lines across the first page each time you use it, but that was my fault for carelessly dropping a pin in its innards a couple of years ago.

No one is in whom I have rung so now I am wondering whether to go shopping now or later, because assuredly they will ring back when I am out.

I’m away on Tuesday and Wednesday, two separate trips to London and so this restricts my useful working time to three days? Can it all be done? Probably not. But anything I drop, I’ll regret later.

And a nail just broke. I wasn’t doing anything at all and I feel aggrieved.

I’ll have an early lunch, do the shopping and return to my desk at 2, calm and serene.

Party time, with balloons

Although Grandbaby’s birthday isn’t until Monday, she threw a party today for all her little friends; that is, two other small children and fifteen assorted adults. And very enjoyable it all was, to the extent that Granny had a little nap around 6 o’clock. After the other guests had departed of course, I wasn’t the decrepit old dear comatose in the corner while everyone else frolicked.

Baby’s 2-year-old cousin enjoyed playing with the balloons. “Look” he declared, holding up a long thin yellow one. “Penis.”

And baby walked unaided for the first time yesterday. Properly, several steps, but she wouldn’t repeat the trick today and her daddy hasn’t seen it yet and nor have I.

It feels quite unnatural, using assumed names for my children. Now they all know I’m writing I feel I’m not being impolite to refer to them properly. So they will be El, Al and Ro, which is what I often call them anyway (being extremely lazy and reluctant to use whole lots of syllables when one will suffice). I like the Sage though, so that’s what my husband will remain. I’ll tell him some time, but he is, endearingly, totally computer illiterate so won’t know what I’m talking about. “Will you Google someone for me please”, he’ll ask, meaning, please look up their phone number. And when there’s a business email from a stranger, “Where does he live?” I explain each time that the email address gives very little away, not always even the country, but I think he has the feeling that it isn’t quite correct not to head a letter with your address, even in an email. I write a journal for his website, as him – the main benefit from that is that everyone (except my website doer) thinks it’s his fault that one hasn’t been posted for several months.

Our oldest hen died yesterday. She belonged to the son of friends, who kept hens as a hobby when he was a boy (well, this is Norfolk). Once he started to work full time on the family farm, he hadn’t time to spend with them and his mother took over their care. Eventually, when there were only two left, they came to live with us. One died a year ago; well, we were visited by a fox and lost nearly half our flock; but the other lived out her proper lifespan of 15 years. She didn’t lay any eggs in the 3 years we looked after her, but she was a sweet, cheerful fowl and when she took to a nestbox a couple of days ago and didn’t stir again, we let her doze her life away gently.