Monthly Archives: October 2007

Please write anything else

I’m still being rather thoroughly spammed, but I’ve decided to live with it. After all, the comments are always polite and complimentary, except the one that pleads “Please write anything else”. If, on the other hand, you prefer word verification or comment moderation, do let me know and I will take a majority verdict.

My daughter is marvellous. She has come up with the most interesting and, it seems, illegal suggestion yet, which could combine my desire for a cheap thrill with the purchase of a new bicycle. I have the Daily Telegraph to thank for this (although the headline is somewhat misleading), for I would never have thought of it. I still haven’t quite worked out the logistics, even for the gentleman’s use, but it has potential.

The most exciting thing that happened yesterday was that, while I was working for Al in the shop in the morning, the Sage swept the chimney. Soot had gradually solidified around the top of the chimney pot and it had no longer been possible to get the brush through the remaining aperture, but a friend had a suitable tool that would grind it away and he did a sterling job. No soot at all in the drawing room (nor even a whiff of it – he could certainly make a sound living as a chimney sweep) and a lovely fire in the grate last night. As a result, I didn’t get my written work of the evening done. But I did read the papers all through.

There is new advice that one should stay thin all one’s life and not gain weight after the age of 21. I have two alarmingly thin sons – I rather hope they will be a little more solid by the time they are 40 although, of course, by no means fat. A woman should drink no more than one glass of wine per day, or possibly night. Arses. I’ve re-upped my consumption. And I don’t want to be a size 8 again, it’s too thin for me now and it wouldn’t be healthy.

Z is open-mouthed and chortling, which is not an attractive sight

Did you see this on Channel Four news?

You only need to watch the start to see what I mean – whoever authorised that music? Was that Jaqui Smith, the Home Secretary, looking so totally po-faced and ‘what the hell?’

Will there be hell to pay, or will it be brushed under the carpet? I watched both the 10 o’clock news on the BBC and the 10.30 news on ITV, but neither of them showed it. A bit of censorship, maybe.

Well, what helpful angels you all are

I had a multitude of helpful suggestions. A few of them were a little tongue-in-cheek, I suspect, though some of those did not specify whose tongue in whose cheek. The first appeals to me, but is in the realms of fantasy, I’m afraid. I’m hastily bypassing 2, for obvious reasons. I like the thought of 6, but I remember how bruised my mother was and it’s a little off-putting. 7 was taking the piss. I am strictly non-combative, so 8 is out, and I’d spend my time in 15 negotiating between the two sides. Several of them I already do, but maybe not with quite enough ‘attitude’. I note that no one suggested I might reconsider on this illicit sex thing and look further afield. Probably wise.

More ideas would be appreciatively received, but I think my way forward has been shown. Thank you.

Here is the list, in no particular order.

1 Drive-by shootings

2 Gorge on rich sauces and delicious cheese

3 Hard drugs

4 Cycling

5 Rock’n’Roll

6 Archery

7 Bungee-jumping

8 Boxing

9 Grand theft auto

10 Quad-biking

11 Skate-boarding

12 Wake-boarding

13 Free-running

14 Tank-balling

15 Battle-re-enactment

16 Trampolining

17 Vicious flower arranging

18 Vicious cake decorating

19 Illicit sex with my husband

20 Blogging as a vice

21 Peeing with the door open

22 Drinking milk straight from the carton

23 Rock and roll

24 Let my hair down at gigs, but go straight home afterwards

25 Rock and roll

26 Become a fag hag, but not necessarily use the term

27 Enhance my minor vices

28 Take up woodwork

29 Illicit sex with my husband

And a late entry at number 30 – Pole dancing!

Crunch, crunch

Crunch. Crunch, crunch, crunch. The Sage and I are having tea*. He is eating a chocolate biscuit. I am eating celery and carrots.

Tilly covers her ears with her paws. She has had her dinner and her hide chew and she has nothing to crunch.

Catherine came in the shop today. Before we knew her name, she was the Hat Lady, as she always wears one. A few years ago, she developed an allergic reaction to sunlight and now she has to stay covered up. She is cheerful and enthusiastic and loves vegetables, especially our home-grown ones. She uses encouraging words – “super” and “marvellous” a good deal. She asked for some celeriac, and I fetched the newly-delivered bag from the back. I looked through them to find just the one she wanted. “That’s really groovy,” she said.

Everyone was happy today. The sun was shining and people were bustling about doing their shopping. If you have time for it, the social intercourse of traditional shopping holds great charm. Friends meet and chat for a few minutes, go their separate ways and then laugh when they meet again ten minutes later in the next shop. “We’ve got good taste,” they agree. “We meet in all the best shops.” There were lots of mums of young children and they looked happy too. The children helped count out the oranges and admired the purple cauliflowers, and the mums chatted and agreed to meet at Mums and Tods the next day. We’re always being told how boring it is, to bring up young children, and I was glad to see that some people know it’s only lonely if you don’t have the opportunity to talk to other people. As some don’t, of course. We’re lucky, living here.

Although I had lunch late (corn on the cob, a small baked potato and some yoghurt), I was hungry by four o’clock and rang Al. “Dad’s calling in soon” I said, “Can you send him back with some celery and carrots, please?” The Sage was home within ten minutes. Apparently, Al had made it clear that it was an emergency.

I’m being teased rotten about my intention to ride to Yagnub every day.

*this is afternoon tea, of course, not our evening meal.

Z looked through all seven deadly sins and doesn’t do any of them – Help!!(!)

As my youngest child progressed through his teens, I became quite excited. I reckoned that, once he reached his 18th birthday, I had fulfilled my contract. Anything after that was overtime. I could be irresponsible, decadent – hell, I could even die if it came to it, because I’d done the job I started 28 years before.

When he reached his birthday, I was too busy to be frivolous, so I set my sights on my own 50th. I spent some time considering a fresh vice to take up. I considered smoking – I had never been a smoker. Then I got a nasty chest infection and actually felt so ill that I went to the doctor about it. He thought I was developing asthma at first, as I was wheezing so much. It put me right off the Evil Weed.

I’ve never been interested in illegal weeds either. And I already drank quite as much as was good for me. Furthermore, I was a respectable married woman in a small town, with a husband I still actually rather fancied.

I’m not much of a gambler. I don’t see the point. I do take a keen pleasure in poker, as a matter of fact, and the boys and I often used to play, but we had a pot of small change and, at the end of the evening, all the coins were swept back in, because we didn’t care who won, except in the confines of the game itself. And I haven’t had anyone to play with for a long time – I’ve no interest in the online stuff.

So I swore quite a lot, in a decorous manner, and listened to loud music, though at quite a low volume of course, as one wouldn’t want to be inconsiderate, or injure the old eardrums. Vice lite, you might say.

And now I have gone from sedate to so dull I’m even boring myself. So I need a vice. Please come up with an idea or two.

Z buys a bike!!(!)

I do not hang about, once a decision is made. Having broken the news of my intentions to Ro and the Sage last night, I went and accosted Matthew in his shop this morning. He started asking me helpful questions to narrow down the sort of machine I wanted, and I had to explain that I didn’t care much, my main requirements being something that could carry shopping as I don’t intend to go for bike rides for fun. “I hate cycling,” I explained, helpfully.

He found one serviceable-looking machine for me, but noticed that it only comes in a 20″ frame (whatever that means). He showed me a similarly-sized bike in the stock. We agreed that I would not be able to ride it. He had a second suggestion, but it cost rather a lot more. So, of course, I ordered it at once. Here it is. It should be in by about Thursday.

I do not intend to look up online prices as that’s not relevant to me and I’d rather not know. I may want after-sales service and I’m willing to pay to keep local shops going. And I won’t ask for a discount either – his in-laws are friends of mine! His pricing is pretty keen anyway and he usually offers a discount if he’s able.

My reasoning is that this is the only bike I’ll ever buy, so it has to be good enough. And having spent actual Hard Cash (for I will, so no credit card charges for him), I will want to get my money’s worth, which will be an incentive to actually use the bloody thing. Honestly, I hate cycling.

Z is drinking water

Yes, it’s worthy of remark. It’s seven minutes past seven in the evening, and I have a pint glass in front of me, half full of water. I have drunk the other half already. Oh Lord, it’s dull, being a Reformed Character.

One of the hymns I played this morning was dull, too. I’ve forgotten its name, but it was one of those modern ones that is mostly sung on one note. One holds it for five or six beats, then repeats it once or twice more before venturing slightly up or down. I said to Jo “That’s a bit of a dirge, isn’t it?”. She was shocked and assured me that the words are beautiful. That might well be true, I hadn’t looked at them, but the tune was dreary.

I went for lunch with a friend, who took me completely off guard. He asked me if I’d consider taking over from him as Lay Vice-chairman (the Rector is, automatically, the Chairman, but with six PCCs to consider, rarely takes the chair) of the PCC.

Now, I’d not be entirely surprised if, at some time in the future, someone else suggested it, but I hadn’t expected this at all from him. However, you may remember that I took the minutes at the meeting last week, and also had several reports to give, both from me and on behalf of absentees. I took the opportunity of explaining the workings of the church Trust, because I had realised that most people were a bit hazy on it and I wanted (devious bastard that I am) to have an excuse to put a couple of things in writing. With all this talking, and sitting at the table next to the chairman, I confess I almost forgot I wasn’t taking the meeting and had to pull myself up when I realised that.

The dear chap not only didn’t resent that, but also sent me an email saying he thought I’d managed things well. And then, as I said, followed up by asking me to stand in his place when elections take place next spring.

I was, genuinely, charmed by the compliment. I know that, as matters stand, he wouldn’t suggest it to anyone else and would rather stay on than risk anything going awry. Yet he also knows that I wouldn’t be his ‘voice’. A while ago, he wanted to change the wording, rather too much, of some minutes I had written and I gave him a full and frank opinion of quite a lot of what he said – although accepting the rest, for I am not at all pig-headed*. I also know that there is a slight feeling among some other people that it is about time for a change, and that in many ways I am an obvious choice.

So, in Jane Austenish fashion, I said that I was most sensible of the honour he did me, and asked for time to think about it. Which I’m doing now. And which will probably keep me awake tonight, because it doesn’t take much, does it? One can go blithely to bed and to sleep and then, come three ay em, one is wide awake bothering one’s pretty little head about things that will simply sort themselves out and are not that important anyway.

I haven’t said anything to the Sage yet. He’ll think I’m barking even to consider it. I have told him that I’m going to buy a bicycle though. I hate cycling. But the doctor is right and I am at all times a model patient.

*Oi! Shuddup, I’m not.

Z is wasting time

The Sage has gone to get new tyres for his car. How sensible he is. I am pretending to work, as I have minutes of one meeting to write (largely from memory as I was talking too) and the agenda of another meeting to plan (which I do in some detail, for I am Efficient). However, I’m not getting much done. I write a few sentences, then read a blog or two, make another cup of tea, look at the paper, write a bit more…I’m wasting a sunny morning, to tell the truth.

This afternoon, I’m going to venture up the ladder to pick more apples, but I’ll wait for someone to be here, just in case I plummet dismally to the ground. The forecast is none too splendid for tomorrow, with a high wind expected and, just in case it’s accurate, I don’t want all the apples to fall and be too bruised to keep.

Yesterday was Ro’s last day in his job and he starts a new one in Norwich on Monday. There was the usual collection followed by a little gift-giving goodbye ceremony. The IT department is very small, just him and his immediate boss, but of course Ro has contact with all the office staff. His boss asked him, a couple of weeks ago, to choose a couple of possible presents and suggested a choice of values. Last Monday, he asked him to choose another. More than double the cost of the more expensive one had been given. Ro was very touched indeed. A couple of years in that job was enough, not because it wasn’t a good place to work but because there wasn’t any room for promotion or growth in it. He’s going to have a much earlier start and finish, as he plans to take the bus and will have to walk or cycle to Yagnub, which is a little more than a mile (2 km) away and then have nearly an hour’s journey to follow. At least he can relax and read on the way. And it will be cheaper than driving, quite apart from the parking fees.

The sun shining through the windows reminds me that they need to be washed. What a pity that this is no one’s designated area of responsibility. Let’s hope for some good driving rain to make them clean again.

Z apologises

To you, darlings. I’ve had to turn on word verification because I’ve received rather a lot of spam today after several trouble-free months. I’ll turn it back off in a day or two. No one, I assure you, hates wv more than I do.