Monthly Archives: August 2008

Lazy Sunday

Oh, I am not a friend to myself. If I were, I’d have done a bit of work today. As it is, I took the day off and therefore will have to do whole lots tomorrow evening when I’m tired. Stoopid, terribly terribly stoopid, but on the other hand I’ve taken a day off, so will say ‘yay!’ and, well, maybe I’ll do a bit tonight. I have, at least, printed out the address labels from the mailing list and phoned in the orders for tomorrow’s deliveries.

I was in bed before 10 o’clock last night and went straight to sleep. I was awake again at 3.30. I mused, in the next wakeful hour or so, that the old saying goes that an hour’s sleep before midnight is worth two after. The saying doesn’t say that it replaces that two hours. I was just too damn tired to get up though, and finally slept, if fitfully, until 8; and then had to belt about like nobody’s business. Still, I took the papers out onto the lawn and slept this afternoon, which was rather enjoyable. It was very warm but the sun was mostly hidden behind hazy clouds so I don’t seem to have been sunburnt…

Nor have I watered the greenhouses. I seem to be just opting out, and have done for a few weeks. No explanation, no excuse, just don’t seem to care that much. There is a splendid crop of blackberries growing on the brambles at the end of the drive, which is quite enough reason not to cut them back for another few weeks. And to think that only a year ago I was working so hard with my pruning saw. Maybe not an exact year, really, we’re not checking back are we? that’s the trouble with a blog, we can check these things and it doesn’t give me scope for broad and sweeping statements that may be not quite accurate.

Roast chicken for dinner tonight. And afterwards I had a chat with my girlie. The baby is fine and slept from 1 am until 5.30 and then again until a reasonable time and has been feeding well all day, so they feel they don’t have to set an alarm to get up and wake her at night, which will make life easier. They’re very lucky, I never had a baby sleep more than a couple of hours at a time, day or night, for the first several weeks.

Z mustn’t sit down for long or she will fall asleep

I would like to put my feet up and have a little sleep. I didn’t, much, last night for some reason – probably because I knew I was getting up early. I went up to wake the Sage just before 7 o’clock, but he didn’t feel like rounding up a cattle at that time, so I went and read yesterday’s paper for a while before going to the shop at 8.

Alice did well in her GCSEs, with A*s, As and Bs. So did her twin sister. I asked about the other twins, she said she knew one was pleased but hadn’t seen the other (honestly, people can be a bit funny, if it were me I’d tell a friend how my sister had done – she must take after her father).

The day went fine, not wildly busy but we got a lot sold and I was glad, at 4 o’clock, to start to pack up after 8 hours on my feet – no coffee or lunch breaks, I eat and drink in between customers. Then, of course, a steady stream of people came in over the next 20 minutes, their requirements ranging from 1 banana to nearly £10-worth of fruit and veg. The Sage kindly came in to help me put away the shelving and after he’d gone I cashed up the takings. Usually we’re open from 8.30 to 5.30 (though I get in early as I’m slower than Al at setting up) but we stay open until 7 of Fridays, closing early on Saturday to compensate.

My calves are tingling with achiness. I cycled home very slowly and plodded hobblingly into the house and drank a pint of water. I added ice cubes. I am a girl who knows how to have a good time. There had been a stall under the Buttercross (an ancient market place, it still has a market on Thursdays but the dome of the Buttercross itself houses a charity stall on Saturdays). I bought 4 children’ books (the number refers to the volumes not the young people), two jigsaws and a fruit cake, for £4.90 and told them to keep the change. The lady’s pleasure was way out of proportion to my gesture.

There were 3 punnets of raspberries left at the end of the day, so I have brought them home. Probably, we’ll eat one today, one tomorrow and freeze one. I shall give some to the Sage with a piece of cake. He will be happy. He likes cake. I might eat some too. Or not. I’ll have raspberries.

I will fall asleep if i sit here. I think I shall go and very slowly start to prepare dinner. Maybe a nice cup of tea while I’m doing so. After all, it’s too early for wine.

10 again

Are comments appearing in tiny print for everyone else, or is it just me? Not just on this blog, others too.

We’re thinking that we’ll bring Pinkie part of the way on the footpath. I said we had better go out at 6 or 6.30 – oh all right, but no later than 7 o’clock. The Sage still looked a bit glum. “I want to be in the shop working by 8” I explained. He suggested we could do it on Sunday, or another day. “It still has to be that early though, before people are driving past.” Anyway, I’m setting the alarm for 6.

Tonight marked Progress in Z’s diet, which has been ongoing for nearly 10 months now. I shall go back a bit and explain the whole thing.

Some 8 or 10 years before she died, when we were both staying with my sister for a week, we all went shopping and my mother bought a skirt. I liked it very much, but she saw it first and I encouraged her to buy it – but she never once wore it. I don’t know why not; it was evidently one of those things one buys because it’ s a bargain but turns out to be a false one. In those days, I could easily have fitted into it.

After she died, my sister and I sorted out her clothes and gave most of them to the charity shop, though we kept a few coats which had hardly been worn and other things – we were always cheerfully swapping clothes, so it didn’t feel weird. Anyway, I kept this skirt, even though I couldn’t wear it. I thought that one day I might slim down enough – pathetic, isn’t it? That was more than 5 years ago.

So, a few weeks ago I tried it on and I could not only do the zip up but fasten the waistband too. And tonight I wore it. I’m vastly pleased, to wear a size 10 (that’s a 6 to you Transatlanticians) again.

I went to my last concert of the summer at Snape tonight and I met 5 friends, unexpectedly. That is, a couple and another couple with her brother. Very nice.

I’ve come home, drunk a cup of tea and a glass of whisky (no wine tonight, but can’t let the blood override the alcohol in the veins, isn’t healthy) and now I’m off to bed. Goodnight, darlings.

Hell Bent for Leather

Move ’em on, head ’em up,
Head ’em up, move ’em out,
Move ’em on, head ’em out Rawhide!

Big Pinkie has gone visiting. She has called on some friends in a field half a mile away. She crossed fields, footpaths and the river, but the Sage and I are going to bring her back by road.

This will be interesting. Quite fun, I hope, as long as she doesn’t mind cars. If she does, we’ll just have to see what happens.

Update – not at this time of day, too much traffic. It’ll have to be done at larkfart in the morning instead. Hm. A pleasant stroll before I set off for a long day’s work in the shop. We’d planned to put a rope round her neck but she didn’t care for it, so it would have to be done simply by calling her – she follows nicely.

Z dithers

A friend has just come online. I emailed him last week to ask how his twin 16-year-old daughters did in their GCSEs. He hasn’t replied. Now, he isn’t big on emailing. On the other hand, he’s online and he can see I’m online (and this has happened 3 times this week). Doesn’t look as if they did as well as hoped.

So, is it tactful or uncaring of me not to say ‘hello’? I’m still going with tactful; hell, I emailed and it’s sort of up to him. But blokes are a bit retarded that way (not you of course, dear heart, I’m talking about other men) and he might be waiting for me to say something.

Sheesh. I’ll see the kids sooner or later and ask them.

Shellfish as ever

Oh, I forget what I was going to say. Hang on, I’ll go and make some coffee, that might remind me.

Nope, it’s gone. Gosh, I wish I had some sweets. There’s chocolate, but Reformed Characters such as what I am don’t eat chocolate without better reason than simply wanting it. Black coffee isn’t quite cutting the mustard. Never mind. Dinner was nice though.

Did you know that kippers cost more than scallops nowadays? I asked Matt (I’m quite sure his name is not Gary, Badgerdaddy, he has it painted on his van – Matt, that is) for three kippers, and mused that in my young day one would have eaten a pair of kippers. I wouldn’t, as I was a child, but my parents would, sometimes for breakfast. Kippers were not a dinnertime (that is, evening dinner) meal. One might eat kippers for tea if one ate tea, but we just drank tea. I’m quite glad that we now eat our evening meal at any time, call it whatever we fancy and eat what we like.

Anyhoo, he weighed the kippers and apologised that they cost 9 quid. He suggested that the kippers of my youth were local kippers for local people, whereas these were smoked from Norwegian herrings. I asked for a dozen scallops. They cost £8 (and formed the main interest of dinner. Or should I say supper? Tea, if you prefer). He rounded the bill down to £15 as he is nice that way.

I left the fish in Al’s shop fridge and headed on over to Weeza’s place. I took her some cherries, greengages, Victoria plums, peaches, raspberries, cucumber, bread (which was coated with toasted sunflower seeds), ham, salt beef and chocolate. The chocolate was Fairtrade milk chocolate and orange, Green and Black’s butterscotch and chocolate and Fairtrade praline chocolate. The last was 100g bar and she is allowed to share it with Phil at the weekend. The rest was littler bars for her to eat all by herself.

It reminded me of my father, when I was little. They were friends with an entertaining but eccentric couple who lived in a house done up with castellations and turrets – the previous generation who built it were a bit unusual too. The wife, Dorothy, developed cancer.. The husband was very interested in numbers and their meaning and believed you could use formulae to predict the course of the future. He would come round, in a state of despair.

“My darling Dorrie will die on the 27th September!” he declared unhappily. He accepted a couple of glasses of sherry and some nice cheesy biscuits and went home again. “No she bloody well won’t” declared my father, with equal certainty, and got on the phone to the wine merchant. The next day, he’d go round to the Towers with a crate of quarter-bottles of champagne. He put them in the fridge and instructed Dorothy to have one of them every day at 11 am.

She went on for longer than expected. It was all down to the champagne and the love – of my parents and her husband and family.

For now, I have delighted you long enough. And I haven’t even mentioned the baby. She deserves posts to herself, you see.

Z sees her time Slipping Away

Oh crumbs. And to think that only yesterday I said to Dave that I was a bit busy, so not building the wall next month would suit me rather well. This morning, just when we were very occupied examining china for the condition report, the phone rang. The Person at the other end was asking if the Sage could do a valuation of a very large and rather splendid collection of china (which we had been reminding the People Concerned needed doing for about three years). It needs to be done urgently and at as low a cost as possible. They aren’t sure if there is still the inventory that we did nearly nine years ago.

Next week is out of the question, the Sage mentioned, but we could make a start the week after. He’d have to check a few things first though, and he’d phone back within half an hour. He rang M. M reckoned he had a copy of the inventory, if not the previous valuation, but he pointed out that the collection is open to the public every afternoon, including Sundays, for the next two months.

Nevertheless, the Sage rang back offering a very low fee and to do the job asap – but he wants a firm commitment that he will be paid (I’ll not explain this, it’s not a matter of lack of honour but lack of cash, and People Concerned are trying to sort things out) and it transpires that the chap holding the purse strings is on holiday until next week anyway.

They want photographs too *of course* which is fine, as we’d have to open the cabinets anyway; you don’t value things without handling them as they tell you about themselves when you hold them. Sorry, I’m not being fanciful, truly. You might know what I mean and if not, er, stroke something you care about and see if that extra sense adds to the way you respond to it. It works on any level…Oh look, come back, I didn’t mean it that way. Unless that’s what works for you. Whatever, You see my point, which is an elevated and academic one with a sensuous (not a sensual) element.*

Anyway, when I said ‘make as start’ the week after next, I didn’t mean my time is free. I don’t have more than two free days any week, and that’s without having made arrangements at the high school for music, but taking in the dumping of non-essential commitments. It has to be in daylight because of the photos. And there’s always the matter of the members of the public potentially milling around. Screens?

I may not have mentioned that I’m taking over the shop next week as Al and co are on holiday. After that, I’m looking after the children a couple of days a week while Dilly is working,. Dilly wondered if they are asking too much, in view of this latest thing. I said that family things come first. And it’ll be fine. As it will. I just won’t be doing any housework from now on. That’s fine, a month’s dust takes no more time to remove than a week’s.

I suppose that they may declare the Sage’s ludicrously low fee is too high, but no one else will do it for that money because we care. No, really, we do.

I’m going to stop now, before I weep into my – oh gosh, it’s empty, how did that happen? – wine glass.

Oh, I nearly forgot – by the time we had had two more phone calls and two visitors – one expected and more than welcome and one a delivery of flowers to the wrong address – boo – we put them right, – boo – we didn’t complete the condition report either. The weekend is the deadline. That’s okay.

*sorry, I’m drowning my anxieties

Z and the Bearded Gentlemen

I was surprised. I had expected a certain chaos, but was ushered into a pristine and elegant room. There were, indeed, piles of cardboard boxes in the rooms off, but they were neatly and purposefully stacked. It recalled to my mind our move to this house. I stayed in L’toft to supervise operations back there and then followed on. I found a virtually empty house. The Sage had had everything stacked in the garages so that he couldn’t possibly have put anything in the wrong room. I did mention that some things, like saucepans and clothes – and, indeed wardrobes – are a bit obvious, but it was too late by then. Some things are still out there, 22 years later. Yes, I do miss them. No, I can’t fetch them. There’s stuff stacked in front of the doors.

Dave showed us round his house, which is remarkably well bathroomed and beautifully painted. The garden is splendid – well, it isn’t, it is rather bare with a thoroughly plantained lawn, but it has potential to be lovely, with the advantage of little that *must* be kept, so Dave will be able to use his talents for garden design.

Drew was already there when I arrived, but Murph wasn’t able to come, being in need of a rest after the excitement of travelling the M62. I used to travel along it too, when Ro was at university. It was usually foggy on the eastern side. Well, I suppose it’s the east, it’s the side on my right on my way north. I did, however, see the towel-lined plastic box in which Lily travels, sitting on Drew’s knees.

After our tour of the house, and having inspected all those bathrooms, Dave’s bedroom (also fully furnished and tidy) and the cupboard under the stairs (amazingly roomy), we sat down and took tea. It turns out that Drew, too, is interested in wall-building. I think it should be a bloggers’ wall and everyone who has a part in its building can sign their name. However, both Dave and I agree that we’re rather pushed for time this autumn. May is a good month for building a wall, don’t you think?

Big Pinkie’s progress

I’m a bit busy today but I thought you might like to know how Big Pinkie is getting on. She’s been alone in the field for the last few days, to see how she copes with it, and it seems to be going all right. Cows are herd animals of course and she has lived her whole life with other cows. The farmer never leaves just one, in case she gets lonely and breaks out of the field in search of company. However, the field is left ungrazed during the winter, from November to the beginning of April and, since our donkey died some years ago, she will have to learn to live alone.

She comes to the gate regularly in the hope of a cuddle and some food; we save wilted carrots and cabbages and old apples and that sort of thing for her. She’s quite calm and doesn’t seem to miss the other girls, who have gone back to the farm to get ready for calving. We’ll have to think about shelter for her for the winter – the donkey’s stable is still there but it’s hardly big enough for her. When I was a child, we made a small dutch barn for our pony (I didn’t ride her, she was an elderly pet with a weak heart, given a home to save her from being put down) and lined it with a double thickness of straw bales all around the walls – this was a shelter for her for the winter days and the summer nights and the straw was gradually used up in her stable. Something like this might be a possibility. The Sage and I have talked about it, but we’ll need to speak to Johnny and his dad too as they may have a better idea.

The other news of the day is that a blogmeet has been arranged – I’m calling on Dave in his new home this afternoon and Drew, who is owned by Murph, will be there too. Won’t we have fun?

Going for rather more than a song

The catalogue for our next sale is up here. Some rare items, several of which the Sage had previously sold to the late owner. If you happen to be a member of the Ant1ques C0llect0rs Club, there is a half-page advertisement near the back of the September edition of the magazine and we’ll have ads in the Ant1ques Trade Gazette and the EDP and EADT due course (if you are East Angularians you’ll know what papers they are and if you’re not you won’t see them anyway). We don’t usually advertise that much, as it’s more effective to have a large mailing list and send out catalogues, but this is an exceptional sale.

Oh, and the other news is that it’s Al and Dilly’s fourth wedding anniversary today.

Happy day, darlings!