Monthly Archives: April 2006

If I don’t do it, who will?

I’ve just been writing a note to a friend, V, sympathising on the death of her mother. She (mother, not my friend) celebrated her hundredth birthday on 15th April and died on 21st April. Ill though she had been, she managed to hang on for her big day and, considerate in the way we mums are, had no intention of either missing or spoiling the party.

I hope V will, now, be able to learn to relax again. She is always so busy, practically runs her village church single-handed and has been coping by taking on more and more, unable to delegate or accept help, efficiently dealing with all crises and believing that if she takes any time at all off, all those spinning plates will just crash to the ground and with them will go her ability to cope.

Does that sound a bit heart-felt? It’s okay, I got over it.


By the way, forgot to mention that I heard the cuckoo on Friday. And again today. The chap who was talking at the time looked a little startled when I exclaimed “cuckoo!” and I had to explain that I was not expressing an opinion about his state of mind.

I asked the Sage what he would like for dinner and gave him a choice of three dishes which I prepared earlier. “They all sound good” he said hopefully. I assured him he will eat them all in due course and he has selected the minestrone soup and cheese scones.

That’s what I’d have chosen too.

Young Daniel is coming to help in the garden tomorrow. Thank goodness. He did sterling work for us last summer when he was supposed to be studying for his GCSEs.

Post in haste …….

There are some people who hone their writing to perfection. There are others who type rapidly and merrily post an entry that makes it look as if they behaved like drunken loons all evening.

I’d like to make it clear that I was not a drunken loon last night. Didn’t even behave like one. I sat on the floor, drank whisky and chuckled, it’s true, but it was much more restrained than it sounds. My floor-squatting habit dates from childhood, when the chairs were mostly full of dogs, which conveniently left the floor clear for people to sit on, I didn’t drink much and only chortled at amusing moments of the film.

Glad to have set the record straight.

Even gladder, this morning, to discover seven bottles of white wine in the fridge that I’d forgotten about. I haven’t room in the kitchen for a large enough fridge, so I have a second one in the back lobby where I keep milk, champagne and anything else there isn’t room for in Fridge 1. I also, for the last few months, have been housing a third fridge in the porch, little used but in need of a good home. This morning I discovered that Fridge 2 was no longer working. So it will be (safely and legally of course) disposed of and Fridge 3 is happily settling down in its place. But I put bottles of wine in every chilly place at the time of the Rector’s leaving party. We mostly drank red on that occasion and I forgot just how much was stashed.


I’ve spent the last couple of hours being entertained by a film on BBC4 called ‘Le Goût Des Autres’. I always have a slight difficulty watching foreign films on television because I habitually read as I half-watch, when it needs all my concentration either to understand the language (if spoken s-l-o-w-l-y and clearly and French) and/or to read the subtitles. So it takes me a while to get into it. However, this one was worth it. Not the most subtle humour; fairly easy targets were chosen, but done gently and good-humouredly.

I might not have noticed it was on, but a friend, who also likes foreign films (I do, but I concentrate better at the cinema), recommended it. But now I’ve just found an email – it was not the one he thought it was. Well, thanks anyway, Ab, I sat on the floor drinking whisky and chuckling and it was a good way to finish the evening.

The programme has arrived for the Snape Proms in August. It comes hard for an impetuous and disorganised person like me to have to book for concerts over three months ahead. I was busy when the Aldeburgh Festival programme (same venue, same organisation but the Festival in June is the upmarket event – came in February and didn’t get around to booking anything. I’ll have to look it out and ring to see what’s available.

For a long time it was not possible to go away on holiday because of commitments at home and so I regarded the Festival and the Proms as my holiday substitutes and cheerily booked all the concerts I fancied. Now I can go away if I wish, I still enjoy them but don’t, as it were, ‘need’ them and find the 45 minute drive there more offputting than I used to. Well, no, it’s not the drive there that is the problem, it’s the return journey that can seem an effort.

I usually go on my own, but I don’t mind that, nor the cinema. I am less willing to go to the theatre alone, though I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it’s a little more formal? And that it’s a more sociable occasion? Maybe I should take a book to read in the interval?

No, maybe not.

A moment of modest drama

Not a particularly good photo and his distinctive colour doesn’t show too well, but it’s the best I can do for now.

As I’ve said, there are pheasants in the fields round the house and the gorgeous golden pheasant is a regular visitor (his colour is a variation on the usual cock pheasant’s, he’s not a different species). We see four or five cock birds, but never more than one hen.

When I drove home at lunchtime, Golden Pheasant was being followed across the field by the hen bird. And just now, I saw Golden Pheasant and Common or Garden Cock Pheasant looking really cross. I suspect that CoGPh had been making overtures to GoPh’s girlfriend. I thought there was going to be a fight and almost stood up (well, don’t want to overreact). However, after a minute CogPh capitulated and drooped away, followed by the golden boy looking triumphant.

He’s discovered we keep chicken food in the porch so has taken to coming in and helping himself, so now he’s been given his own dish.

We spoil that bird? Well yes, but that’s good isn’t it? You’d do it too, wouldn’t you.

Seventh in the queen dorgies stakes

I was told the other day, so of course checked it for myself, that if you enter queen dorgies into Yahoo Search, my comments on designer cross-breeds comes up 7th. This is hardly fame, but I was surprised nevertheless.

It may have been superseded by now by much more important articles on our monarch, in view of this being her Happy Day. I’m not going to check as I’ve a feeling I would be slightly disappointed if I’d been dropped to the second page. It would be very uncool to be disappointed by something that I’m already embarrassed by feeling a bit gratified about, so it’s better not to know.

I was nowhere to be found on Google. Unless you know different.

I’m supposed to be cooking and gardening today; so far I’ve been shopping, blogging and eating chocolate. My self-motivational skills are slipping.

I bought a new watering can (and other, more fun things, of course). I have plenty of them already, but I don’t know what has happened to their roses (the end bit that sprinkles the water gently rather than all 2 gallons deluging the seedlings in one go). I went to the garden centre to buy a new rose and found a whole range. Unfortunately, they all had similar fittings, which said ‘fit most watering cans’ and I knew, because I’d been caught this way before, that it really meant ‘fit most watering cans, except the ones that we actually sell, so if you lose the rose of a watering can that you have bought from us, no good looking here as you have to buy another watering can. From us.’

I suppose they couldn’t fit all that on the label.

Wheel they or won’t they?

There are plans afoot to have a Big Wheel in Norwich. Like the London Eye, but much smaller, and instead of panoramic views of the Thames and our capital city’s great buildings from above, the sightlines will be blocked by the Forum (the grandiose name for the library), St Peter Mancroft Church and City Hall. All fine buildings of course, but you can see them from the ground. It would only be for a few minutes halfway through the ride that you could actually see the view. And the tops of the aforementioned fine buildings.

There are so many flaws in the plan that it surely will not go ahead. It’s a busy area already and a popular meeting place. Once most of it is taken up by a wheel, it’s not easy to see where the queues of happy holidaymakers, who don’t yet know they are in for an anticlimax, will wait.

One wonders why it was even suggested. It so often seems to be the way. Instead of looking for flaws in an idea, amending plans and coming up with a coherent strategy to put forward, councils (and the government, come to that) rush forward with the first half-baked plan that has been suggested and wait for the general public to point out that it won’t work.

In fact, the idea of a wheel has gone down quite well, if it were put in a suitable location. What the locals do is go to the top of a multi-storey car park and gaze out admiringly at the array of churches scattered across the city, but you can hardly expect that to be advertised in the tourist brochures. It would seem unsophisticated and disorganised, and we already have Norfolk’s ‘system’ of main roads to display those qualities.

What the baby said

In response to requests. Well, request, but you all want to know don’t you.

The usual: mama, dada, animal noises (my daughter was big on animal noises too, she could say moo and baa long before she could enunciate actual words), yes (the s is usually silent), no. Useful phrases are ‘oh dear’, ‘oh no’ and ‘wow!’ Shoes is a new word, because she hasn’t had them long and is very proud of them. Milk (silent k) is also new; now she is over a year old she has it (cows’ milk, that is), from a cup, night and morning and loves it. She asks for more occasionally in the daytime, usually if she is tired. She also says ‘bye’ and waves – there may be more words but I’d have to ask her parents. She understands a good many more and replies to questions if you have the good sense to ask in a form she can say yes, no, shoes, whatever, to. When I suggested we visit Daddy, the reply was ‘yeh, yeh, dadada’, which to my fond ear almost qualifies as a SENTENCE (except it doesn’t have a verb).

She was very good all day, but when Mummy arrived home at 5.30 her face lit up, she kissed her over and over and then smiled at me, waved and said ‘bye’ – well that’s all right, I know my limits and my limitations.

Typing with all fingers

Back in business, the new keyboard has arrived. I have rather a quantity of work to catch up on: it was not impossible to send emails, double-clicking painstakingly on each letter, but not having a working space bar made them almost as hard to read as they were to write and business letters were out of the question.

Babysitting today, Grandbaby is having a nap at present. She was tucking enthusiastically into lunch when I realised I hadn’t put a bib on her. I took her into the shop to visit her father, who said, “Ah, egg for lunch I see.”

He minded her while I went across the road to buy a bib. She sorted out the onions and then put the apples into variety packs. A pity really as he prefers to sell each sort separately, but he can amuse himself this afternoon sorting out the Granny Smiths from the Pink Ladies.

I’m feeling a little distracted at present as I may not have long before I’m back on grandmotherly duties, so I will add more later. Luckily, Gb can say quite a few words now and understand more, so I don’t have to guess what I’m expected to do. I can ask and she tells me.

So we’re both happy.