Monthly Archives: August 2008

Z Pigs Out

I could give you a rant but I’ve decided against it; at least for tonight. Because I is cheery again and not in that sort of mood.

Tonight’s party (I’ll soon have to stop saying I don’t have a social life at this rate) was the annual Cider Club doo. Most jolly as always and a good meeting-place for friends I used to see regularly, in the days when we really did get out more. There is lots of cider, much of it slightly dodgy and I confess I quietly added a little lemonade to take away the acidity, in the hope of not having a sore head in the morning. A whole pig is roasted, which takes all day, loads of salads and a vegetable and rice concoction is cooked in a massive pan over an open fire. Dilly wants a pan just like it. I don’t know why, but nevertheless I think it’s a splendid idea. Enough rice was cooked in it for at least 150 people. Adèle says that you can buy them pretty cheaply in hardware shops in France.

We all went and the children lasted, sleepily by the end, until 10 o’clock when their parents took them home. I saw Ro deep in conversation with a bloke and later asked him about his friend – turned out he works for a large Norwich company and they might be able to direct some work in the direction of Ro’s firm. Useful, if not strictly social…

Alice had cycled up from Peckham for the weekend. Lovely girl, but evidently barking. Mind you, her brother is the chap who does triathlons (can’t remember if I wrote about that here or in the Other Place) and has ambitions to work up to an Ironman. Apparently, that involves a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a marathon run. Alice’s mother asked if I enjoy my cycling. I said truthfully that I don’t. It’s a way of getting about and it’s good for me, what’s to like? It’s not that I hate it, or not very often, but it’s not exactly tennis or something amusing like that, is it? Indeed, I added, if I really want to have a good time outdoors I’ll put my feet up in a sun lounger and read. She was quite shocked, for she loves things energetic, and suggested that there was surely something energetic I actually enjoyed. I agreed. There is. I’m sure you can guess what it is. But at my advanced age, it normally happens indoors and certainly between two consenting adults.

Arthropod, Bottom, Cheeks (for instance)

I was pondering, this evening. What made me ponder was the phonetic alphabet thingy, you know, Foxtrot Romeo Zulu and all that malarkey. And the reason that made me ponder was hearing a woman say that their seats were in row N and the chap with her said “N? N for Naughty?” Which reminded me that our postcode ends in F and whenever you give it over the phone the person at the other end says “F? F for Freddie?” Almost always. Rarely Foxtrot and never a third option.

And that made me think that one could have more memorable words. More interesting, maybe slightly startling. First, I thought of an alphabet of more-or-less rude words, but then I thought that this would be a bit dodgy to give over the phone, so maybe slightly odd would be better. So, if (living in Norfolk as I do) I started my postcode with Naughty Rascal, you wouldn’t forget it, would you?

I didn’t get all through the alphabet, well I did, but I’ve forgotten them now. I’d be charmed for some suggestions though. I know no one reads blogs at the weekend, least of all during a Bank Holiday weekend, but if you have a minute to spare to call in, would you like to come up with a couple of ideas? I’d be quite happy with, say, a noun and an adjective for each letter, so I don’t care if everyone suggests words for the same few letters, I mean, do I look a woman who gives a tuppeny damn about Rules? I think that B should be Bottom though, don’t you?

If you don’t leave anything in the comments, I’ll pretend you have all emailed me and make them up myself.

A – Arsey
B – Bottom
C – Czar
D – Djinn
E – Effing
F – Floccinaucinihilipilification
G – Gnome
H – Honour
I – Imbibe
J – Jerk
K – Kiss Knight
L – Lurch
M – Mnemonic (actually, that could be just too confusing)
N – Nuts
O – Organ
P – Pneumatic Pants
Q – Quiescent
R – Rumble
S – Snot
T – Tzatziki
U – Uppity
V – Verisimilitude
W – Wriggling
X – Xylem
Y – Ypres (pronounced correctly or as ‘Wipers’, each works)
Z – Bed

I give you carte blanche but reserve the right to refuse any suggestion that I deem just Too Rude.

Friends, family and neighbours

All very enjoyable. I woke up and decided not to get up, but to read yesterday’s papers first. At half past eight, the Sage came upstairs, saw me reading, went down again and came up with today’s papers as well to keep me going. I didn’t get up until nine o’clock. Ho.

I spent the afternoon with El, Phil and Zerlina. I made them lunch and cuddled the baby so that Phil could eat. Then I ate mine. I am adept at eating with a baby in one arm. I’ve been doing it for over 34 years. She slept mostly, but she did wake before I left so I saw her eyes open for the first time.

Kavitha phoned to say she could come over and visit before leaving for Deepa’s second wedding tomorrow. Weeza just rang to say that she had turned up with her husband and they could see there were other people in the car. It turned out that there were two carfuls of people on their way to Norwich, so they were all invited for an impromptu street party. It included family (from yesterday’s wedding) from Chennai, Sydney and Washington (DC) so Weeza isn’t likely to see them all together for some time, and there was a happy reunion. Then neighbours started to come out, including one who is expecting a baby herself in October and another who sent a card on the birth of Zerlina, so it was all very sociable and happy.

Tomorrow, the new family of three are coming over to visit as Squiffany and Pugsley haven’t met their new cousin yet. I printed out a photo and took it through. Squiffany stroked it lovingly, said that they would be very careful and gentle with her and took the picture to put it on her bedroom mantlepiece. I will go into the shop so that Al can come and join in the family party – having cuddled my granddaughter for several hours today, a shorter time will suffice tomorrow.

Z lets her hair down

Today, I went to a wedding. I had a fabulous time. It was the sister of El’s best friend, whose wedding we went to in Madras four and a half years ago. This time, it’s in England at the home of their aunt in Lowestoft. D was marrying an English man and had the Hindu ceremony and reception today and will have a church wedding on Friday.

We were all invited, but Al and Ro were at work, so the Sage and Dilly and I all went to the ceremony this morning. I’ll have a look tomorrow and see if there are any suitable pictures to put up. Tonight, just Dilly and I went to the party as everyone else ducked out on the pretext of not knowing anyone. I knew most of D and K’s family, but no one else – actually, we’d known several people this morning, though having lived in Lowestoft for many years, this wasn’t surprising.

I found that not many people knew me tonight. I’d cheerfully address them by name (this was quite a feat of memory, considering it was the foreign names of people I’d met for a week several years ago) and then have to reintroduce myself. Nirmala explained “I didn’t recognise you because you look younger than you did when I saw you before, and haven’t you lost weight?” I was completely mollified. I admitted that I had been very tired at that time.

Anyway, what with one thing and another, I was completely in the mood for a party. An Indian wedding is something else in any case, I adore the food and, though I had bought a dress for the morning, I was rather sorry that I hadn’t put on a sari, so I hauled a rather lovely royal blue and gold one in georgette silk out of the drawer and set about putting it on for last night. I hadn’t practised that for a few years either. I know the technique and it only took two goes…

As I say, completely in the mood and I felt the usual polite behaviour for which I am almost totally unknown drain away. I danced, darlings, like a meerkat*. For more than two hours, I danced my shoes off. Literally, as my feet were threatening to give out after a while, so I carried on barefoot.

I also ate my dinner properly, with my right hand. Indian food tastes best eaten with the fingers.

*With appreciative acknowledgement to Mike (Troubled Diva). I should add that I am not using his phrase in its correct sense – that is, dancing in a manner that brought meerkats to mind, but an extended meaning of dancing in an uninhibited fashion, regardless of what anyone might think. In short, it’s too good an expression not to use. Indeed, he has been known to verb ‘meerkat’ itself and that works too.

A slight degree of over explanation here?

Once, twice, three times a Granny

and how I love them all.

Her name is Zerlina, for she is a small version of her mother – Weezalina, she should be called but she will not be wee for very long so it has been neatened.

And here she is.

I took her from her mother and found it hard to put her down again. I passed her to Dilly and she was cuddled by the rest of the family and then I took her back and held her while I ate my dinner. I haven’t seen her eyes yet, she slept throughout. Her face screwed up a few times and she started to cry, but I have a soporific effect on many people and I was able to soothe her.

She has long fingers and hands. Her skin, soft last night, is now quite dry and wrinkled, but that won’t last long. She is tiny, smaller than any of the other babies in the family were, but quite strong and healthy.

Oh, and one more thing…


I made them a croquembouche as a wedding cake. It was the first time I had ever spun sugar. I meant to practise but hey – it’s always all right on the night, isn’t it?


Phil just rang. His and Weeza’s baby girl was born earlier this evening – a couple of hours ago, he’s a bit hazy as to the time. All’s well, although it was a bit tricky as she was facing the wrong way and so in the end Weeza needed an epidural and a forceps delivery. She weighed 6 lbs 3 oz so it was just as well that she wasn’t induced any earlier.

They expect to come home tomorrow.

Update Baby was born at 10 pm. So to phone not much more than an hour later is devotion to soninlawly duty indeed.

17, 18,, Granny in waiting

I can’t settle to anything today. I don’t want to use the phone in case we get a call and I can’t focus on work. My cold is clearing up, but I have a hacking cough and not much breath, so I don’t want to go out on my bike. Besides, I want to be here.

I had a text from Phil at 8.45 this morning which has left me hopeful of news today. I was waiting to pay the hairdresser at the time I read it -which was half an hour after it was sent, in fact. I hadn’t heard the phone beep, it was probably when my hair was being washed. It’s hard not to ring them, but of course that’s not on. Indeed, odds are that the phone isn’t either.

Another job was completed, in that our catalogue has gone off to the printers. It was a joint effort; I did the photos and the typing, Weeza did the layout, Ro then did the alterations and we all proofread and did final tweaks. I emailed it off as a PDF and had an acknowledgment that it was received. Our little business has never had a 40 page catalogue with most lots illustrated before, we usually run it all on a shoestring. I’ll let you know when it’s all up on the website. I haven’t taken the photos yet of the first 15 lots, which aren’t illustrated in the catalogue but will be online, but I’ve got all week for that.

I went to bed early last night as I really felt quite rough. If I mention that I didn’t want to finish my wine but left half a glass, you will appreciate the jaggedness of Z. I kept waking all night, I don’t think I ever slept longer for half an hour at a stretch and my mind was very full. And this was before Phil’s text.

It rained

But El has still not had her baby. She has been to the hospital for a check-up and it got her quite gingered up. “I’ll see if we’ll let you go home” was said to her. No, you don’t say that to a grown woman (who has done her research, knows her facts and in real life has a job with a high level of responsibility and who – shall we go there? Fuckit, why not? – is paid more, when working,* than the midwife who is trying to patronise her – who simply happens to be pregnant. With a commendable tolerance, she didn’t rise, but did say that she would prefer not to have daily monitoring. She’s having another check-up on Tuesday. I haven’t spoken to her today, but we’ve exchanged emails and she has thanked me for not fussing over her.

I do this complicated rota, you know? Three months at a time. Columns for two readers, sidesman, musician and coffee-maker, and a further column for additional notes, such as the rare weekends when I’m away (so someone else needs to bring keys). Some people only come to one service a month, some to any but one (not necessarily the same one) and some not in the school holidays. I ask for notice of inconvenient Sundays, so that I don’t make other people look for swaps, though people will always fill in. It’s all very good-natured. But it’s not effortless. So it was slightly disappointing when the second reader and the coffee maker forgot. The former didn’t arrive, the latter didn’t bring milk. There was an emergency packet of biscuits, I am not a careless sort of Z.

It was pouring with rain so, since I’d walked (cycling with an umbrella is a non-starter, really), someone gave me a lift home for the milk and the same kind someone read the lesson. It’s mildly frustrating that the one who forgot to come is a helpful chap who always offers but often doesn’t turn up. When I asked for extra sidesmen, my heart sank when he offered and, indeed, he doesn’t arrive early, so all the work is already done, half of it by me, and chats cheerily after the service so doesn’t help clear away. There are reasons why it’s impossible to say anything, but he’ll protest if I don’t put him on the list. I have to put it together in the next few days. I sigh.

But first, I’ll have dinner. It is entirely veggie. Blue Witch would approve.

*She was the highest earner in the family, before she went on maternity leave.

It hasn’t rained yet.

Nor has the baby been born, but thank you for asking.

I am quite tired and I have a cold, and I have been working very hard all day. So please excuse me if I do not scintillate like a twinkly little star tonight. I will later of course, when flirting with my husband, because that gives meaning to my day.

I cycled in to town and down to the Co-op, where I haven’t shopped for weeks and I had, as a result, run out of a lot of things. I shop most days, but once in a while it’s necessary to stock up. Furthermore, we were out of beer. There is a limit to how much beer can be fitted into a pair of panniers. So I agreed with the Sage that, at a given time, he would meet me at the shop and load the car up with shopping. I’m sure this is not the point of cycling to the shops, but there we go. He had to go out anyway.

It had been a tiring day and I bought apple strudel. We don’t usually have puddings and if we do, I make them. But tonight we had bought apple strudel. It was symbolic of a need, somehow, even if now my mouth has a coating of fat. It tasted good at the time. We also had fish. And baked potatoes and french beans.

I might write tomorrow, but if I don’t it will be because the baby has not been born and I am losing interest in writing about anything else. Don’t tell me you’ve noticed? I am completely distracted.

I’m going to read the papers. They will not cheer me, not one bit. I will probably spend some time staring at the crossword and filling in seven clues, then doing all the sudoku very quickly because it’s not that interesting, then staring at the crossword again. Saturday nights, aren’t they perfectly lovely?

I have the Sage. The answer is yes. Potentially.

Update — the evening has improved. The Sage just found a nest of chicks, whose mother had naughtily laid away. I knelt on a bed of holly leaves and reached under a prickly horizontally-growing dwarf conifer and brought out ten blonde chicks and their complacent mummy. They are tucked away safely in a coop.