Monthly Archives: August 2009

Z’s on holiday

Just popped in to Wink’s local library to check emails – not that I can’t live without emails or blogging or anything like that, hem hem, but because I bought something on the Sage’s behalf a couple of days ago on eBay and I wanted to pay. I spent some patient minutes talking the Sage through reading emails last night but we didn’t quite get there – nevertheless, he was really trying (no, I only mean he tried hard) which is a first. It’s only taken twenty years. I’m slightly anxious that he might actually persevere, however, and take over the computer. I said as much to Wink and she agreed – ‘a computer is personal, you can’t share’ she said.

Anyway, all’s going well here and I’m having a most jolly time. Just off now to see friends in Somerset. Toodle-pip!

Z has no time

Sorry, I must go in five minutes. I’m just finishing off half a melon – I know that the Sage will eat the other half, but if I leave the whole thing he won’t even see it – and going to put washing on the line – again, he can be relied on to bring it in but not to empty the washing machine. I’ve recorded anything I might want to see on television in the next week – actually, that means the last of the 4th series of The Wire. I haven’t seen any of it yet; that is, of that series. I think it’s fabulous and wish that I still had a DVD recorder (that records onto discs, that is) so that I hadn’t had to delete them. I think I’ll buy the set, in fact – Ro will certainly be pleased if I do.

So, have a fabulous time while I’m away and don’t feel that you have to be good. If I have a chance I’ll drop in during the week but probably to leave a comment rather than a post as it always feels odd to blog away from home. See you next Monday.

Z has a long day

Okay, right, I couldn’t not say what my concerns were, in the end. I pulled my punches, but I still raised the issues I felt should be raised, and ended by saying I’d endorse the decision if *this* and *that* had been considered and judged okay. But I did it in a friendly way and explained the reason for being relatively formal about it…that is, it’s an area I’ve had a lot of involvement in, and I sort of can’t help myself. Oh damn. Still, I will quit next year.

Anyhoo. Today started with birds yawning and wondering why I thought it was a good idea to wake them up so early. By 8 o’clock this morning, I was almost ready for lunch. Which I didn’t have until after 2 pm because Dilly and Al didn’t arrive home until 1.15 when we’d sort of expected them soon after noon. Still, didn’t matter, and we had the jolly opportunity to give Zerlina her birthday presents two days early – the Sage will see her on Tuesday but I’ll be several counties away by then. She was very pleased with her toddler Lego (does anyone actually call it Duplo?) and other toy and her parents enjoyed playing with it too.

Off to Snape again tonight for another concert, and it was a cracker. Really good. Oh, don’t we love links. Here we go.. You may remember that I decided to get to grips with a composer I didn’t know a lot about (new year’s resolution, I think) and chose two – Mahler and Shostakovich. Mahler proved to be a bit hard to love. This concert contained music by both of them, so seemed ideal. Well, Mahler is The Man. Fabulous songs, sung by a wonderful singer to brilliant accompaniment. The whole evening was a great pleasure and I loved every minute. Well, that is, of the concert itself.

Supper was a different story. It’s not as easy as one might think, providing food for people who are going to turn up – or not – and want hot or cold food depending on the weather, and whose, um, demographic profile will vary from night to night and influence what and whether they’ll buy your food. Tonight, being a weekend and reasonably upmarket classical music, people were prepared to come and eat out. Sadly, the caterers had had to throw some food away during last week, so cut down on what they provided tonight (I discussed the matter with a member of staff). Frankly, I was disappointed.

I read the blackboard and was quite encouraged. Now, first mistake – if it’s sold out, wipe it off the board. When I got to the food, I was instantly let down. Several mixed vegetable salads of various types with gloopy dressings. I made that mistake a fortnight ago – a Russian (or would it be Greek, pfft, who cares?) salad that was mostly cold potato, so ignored them. There was shredded cold pork with more potato salad, which didn’t appeal. There were beef salad baguettes that looked a bit more than I wanted, and smoked salmon sandwiches which, in retrospect, I wish I’d had. I went for the prawn salad. £5.50 for a sundae glass containing some salad leaves – not easy to get out and eat tidily with a fork, some shredded raw onion, two thick slices of cucumber – not easy, as mentioned already – one eighth of an excellent tomato, not run of the mill tomato at all, one sixteenth, I should think, of a lemon, which was awkward to squeeze and not very juicy either, some prawns and a big prawn in its shell. I sort of bought it for this big and juicy-looking prawn. It had, however, been frozen, cooked. Well you know, you can tell – it had that wet and flabby feel and it was shedding bits over the rest of the prawns, which I fussily picked out. There was a Marie Rose sauce I could have helped myself to, but with that silly glass I could only have dolloped it on top, so if it had been merely jarred mayo plus ketchup, or worse a catering-size jar of pink mayo, I’d have been stuck with it, and my general principle is don’t go there. I mean, it tasted okay but it was hardly eating-out food. If I’d taken a guest, I’d have been deeply embarrassed. I don’t think the new caterers are going to cut the mustard, at this rate. It was a dispiriting experience. A good job that the music was so good.

If I have time, I’ll write a short post tomorrow, just to bid you all a loving au revoir.

The unspeakable in pursuit of, apparently, the edible

Al has had almost as many cabbage white butterflies fluttering around the shop as he’s had wasps. The butterflies happily settle on the cabbages and cauliflowers, though I’m not sure if it’s a bit late in the season for them to be laying eggs. Yesterday, Al saw one of them struggling on the ground and, looking closely, saw that it had been caught by a wasp. Later, he looked again and its body had been eaten. An unexpected use for wasps – did any of you know that they could catch cabbage white butterflies? I trust they don’t go for Red Admirals.

Tilly chased a rabbit today. It was in no danger, but she hasn’t bothered recently so I cheered her on. She returned a few minutes later with something of a swagger in her gait. At least the Frontline seems to have dealt with most of the fleas.

You know how it is when, for instance, someone asks what you think of their new hairstyle or whatever and you really don’t think it suits them, but you can hardly say so because it’s too late? I’ve just been asked for my opinion about something that is obviously going to happen, but about which I’ve considerable reservations. It’s obvious that my endorsement is being asked for and I’m not actually being consulted, and that it’s going ahead anyway, and I’d really rather not have been asked at all. I suppose I’ll think of something carefully disengaged to reply by tomorrow.

Tomorrow Al and Dilly are going out early to a car boot sale – as sellers this week, Dilly’s been having a clear-out. They’ve asked me to mind the children. At 6.30. Hm. All well and good for Dave, but if I’m awake at that hour of the morning I lie there thinking how nice it is that I don’t have to get up yet. I’ll have to get the Sage to take over from me later, I’ve got several things to do before going out, as we’re going over to lunch with Weeza and family. It’s Zerlina’s birthday on Tuesday, when I’ll be away, and Weeza and Phil’s 4th wedding anniversary the day after.

In fact, we’ve got 6 weeks of birthdays and anniversaries. Later this month will be Al and Dilly’s anniversary and in September Dilly, Phil, I and Pugsley all celebrate getting another year older. I think it’s Dilly’s mum and dad’s anniversary too, and possibly her dad’s birthday – I’ll have to check with her. A few happy Christmases over the years it seems…. (this doesn’t count as a use of the C word, btw, as I’m not referring to the forthcoming one that it’s far too early to mention).

The Sage is in bed. Time to take Tilly out and then join him.

Z is an Observer

The day started well when the post arrived, including as it did a second postcard from ILTV – hang on, you need a link there, well, a few of you do — – here it is – LINK! and my new Nadfas programme for the next season, which gives anticipation of jolliness. Later, Simon – oh gosh, another link made me scurry upstairs for the Observers books I still have, many of them from my own childhood, in their original little bookcase. Birds is a replacement (can you assume italics or quotation marks please, can’t be doing with them) but Wild Flowers, Wild Animals, Garden Flowers, Architecture, Mosses and Liverworts, Painting and Graphic Art, Music, Larger British Moths, British Insect, Dogs (2 copies of that) and Cats are all old. Fossils is a later addition.

Much of my childhood was spent reading. I was never discouraged – being equally obsessed with books themselves, my parents saw nothing odd about preferring to read than do almost anything else and there was no criticism for “always having your nose in a book”. I liked the Observer’s Book of Dogs best and knew every breed of dog in it. The one on cats was far less interesting, even if some of the pictures were in colour. There were fewer breeds and most of them looked much the same as each other – they had to be in colour or you couldn’t have differentiated between Long-haired White With Orange Eyes, Long-haired Blue, L-h Cream, L-h Smoke, and they had to put in pictures of kittens to make up the illustrations. Rather charmingly however, many of the pictures named the owners. In Birds, I learned, though have now forgotten, to tell the difference between kittiwakes and herring gulls and I stared with a complete lack of interest at mosses and liverworts, something I now find far more interesting than then. It dates from 1955 but still has its original dust jacket, a mark of how little it was read.

This afternoon, we were meant to bricklay, but it had to be cancelled as the Sage was busy helping Ben at the shop. Al has splendid new cast-iron guttering, which cost many pounds, and it was fixed with brackets which the Sage was drilling holes in for attaching to the building. It was fair enough as the work needed to be done – after all, the wall is a hobby – though it is a disappointment that yet another week has slipped away. Earlier in the summer I was busy, now the Sage is.

Bringing on the wall, Day 24

I know these photos get a bit samey after a while – sorry. At least today I took a couple more photos of one of the more oddly shaped bricks for your amusement, and again to point out that when bits of wall look wonky it’s the bricks at fault just as much as Dave or I. Anyway, you’ll be glad to know, as I was to find out, that my back hardly twinged at all. In fact, it’s hurting more now I’m sitting down.
So, a brick – side view
Top view, including Z’s thumb, month-old burn scar from frying pan handle that had been in the Aga and toes –
The bit I did –
The bit Dave did, some of it on tippy-toes –
The Sage is going to put up scaffolding for the top bit next week

Progress so far –
A tilted photo comes naturally to me. The wall is not actually falling onto Dave and the Sage.

I’m going out for dinner tonight, so the Sage will be joining the ranks of Norfolkmen who are cooking for themselves. He’s having sausages and bacon and whatever vegetables he picks from the garden. He will spend half the evening on the phone and be completely content. He won’t miss me in the least.

Z knows how squirrels feel

That is, if there’s any truth in the fact that they forget where they’ve buried nuts for the winter, so that when they find some they must be awfully pleased. The more superstitious among them may even think that a little miracle has happened every time a cache of nuts turns up when they really feel like a nibble.

In this case, I’ve spent a monumentally dull afternoon doing the next 3-monthly rota for the church readings, coffee making etc. It’s early, but I’m going away on Monday for a week – have I mentioned this? I won’t be able to blog, darlings, I’m so sorry. Well, probably not. Where my sister lives, she can’t get broadband and dial-up is awfully slow and she spends much of her working day at the computer so she rarely bothers in the evening. So, I got the rota out early, and a depressing thing it was to do. Helpers have been diminishing in number for one reason and another, and I’ve had to put my own name down 24 times for the 12 weeks, as a reader, sidesman, coffee maker, musician or flower arranger.

Anyway, as I was nearing the end and just writing an email to go with it, I realised that it was coming up to 6 o’clock: ie time for a drink. I also realised that wine would not suffice. I wanted gin. I remembered using the last of the ice. Yes, I buy ice. Slap my wrist and call me extravagant and I will not care (unless the slap is very hard, in which case I will remove myself; I will not retaliate).

At about this time, Dave emailed me, so I remarked on just this sad situation. He wondered why I don’t keep gin in the freezer (for a non-drinker, he’s very astute and will make a good woman very happy one day). No, I hardly ever drink it, so it’s not chilled. I mentioned, however, that the Sage has, sagaciously, bought steak. Pity I don’t have any chips, I remarked.

Reader, I married him.

Ah no, forget that, that’s a line from a book.

No, I was driven on a whim (’twas a whim that made us build a wall) to look in the other freezer. The big chest one in the porch. And there was a half-used bag of ice that I’d forgotten I had. It smelled ever so slightly fishy, but nothing that gin wouldn’t cure. I went and put a good slug of it in a glass, added lots of ice and topped up with grapefruit juice, took a swig, and then decided to try my luck. I went back to the freezer, moved a box of big raw prawns and there was a bag of oven chips.

The superstitious might think that I was rewarded for being good and dutiful this afternoon, and doing the rota a fortnight early. I simply credit my bad memory but good instinct. I’d like it to be a little miracle, however, because it would indicate that Jesus approves of gin. I knew about the wine, but Mother’s Ruin would be no end of a bonus.

Is it just me, or is it really warm tonight?

And today I’ve actually handed over the chairman’s stuff – not much actually, I was given a load of out-of-date papers 4 years ago, so I binned them, and most of the newer stuff was on the computer, so I put them all on a disc, as I mentioned yesterday.

What I didn’t mention was that the box of redundant papers was behind a chair which I could only push aside *so far* so I had to pick it up at arms’ length and with my body twisted. I did it reluctantly, knowing it was bad for my back, but I seemed to get away with it and was still fine last night. When I got up this morning I had bad twinges for a bit, but I’d forgotten about it by the time I went to gather up everything remaining back into the box. I had to move the waste paper basket full of paper. Ow. And ouch. It got better – not well, but better – but I’ll be careful for a few days.

I looked after Pugsley and Squiffany for an hour until their father got home from the shop, having left it in the capable hands of Eileen, and then left, with 45 minutes (plus a polite 5 to allow my hostess to be quite ready) to drive 35 miles, 10 of them on dual carriageway. This should have been fine, but a mile from home 3 huge bulk carriers, a lorry and a tractor towing a Land Rover pulled out in front of me. I was pretty indignant that they should use an unsuitable back road, for which they were far too big, but when we reached the main road I discovered that they were too wide for that too. All the oncoming traffic had to pull over on to the verge and a big queue built up behind me. It took nearly half an hour to go the first 6 miles. I’m not too bothered about farm traffic usually, but this was not acceptable, and should have had an escort. We’d all have been stuffed if an equally big vehicle had come the other way. I almost wished it would, for the entertainment value.

The Sage has gone out and I’m listening to the charming Hoagy Carmichael. A-Huggin’ And A-Chalkin’ made me chortle as ever. I looked for it on You Tube, but no joy – well, some grandad singing it in a home video, but that’s all. It’s the happy story of the chap whose lovely girlfriend was so big and fat that he got lost while hugging and kissing her, so took a piece of chalk and marked his way. Until he was A-Huggin’ And A-Chalkin’ and he met another fellow with some chalk in his hand coming around the other side. Hoagy, of course, was the pianist (he sang Hong Kong Blues) in To Have and Have Not, which is one of my favourite films, not least for the pleasure of watching the divine Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall falling in love. If you’ve never read the Hemingway story it’s based (loosely) on, don’t. It’ll only depress you.

Later – Ooh! – I’ve found it –

Z intends to resign to spend more time with her family

Mm, sorry about yesterday. Having nothing to say normally doesn’t deter me in the least, but after two attempts to write posts that bored even me quite witless, I thought that nothing was better than either of those.

The expected building didn’t happen today; the Sage spent most of the morning running errands for a rather demanding old lady (not me, no) and ended up with a headache and a complete disinclination to spend the afternoon mixing mortar. Which was fair enough. So I went to visit Weeza and Zerlina instead.

Otherwise, I sorted out papers. And files on the computer. In doing which, I discovered that there are over 10,000 images stored on it, a great many of which are photos, some of them duplicates – well, lots of them I should think. I think I should sort out rather more. In fact, such is my control freakery that I have made copies of things I’m to hand over to the new chairman so that, if the disc gets lost, I’ll still have the information. Just in case, several years from now, anything is needed. This may seem extreme caution on my part, but I’ve been asked three times recently – each from a different organisation – for information that I was the only person to have retained. One of the items in question dated from 2001. I’m not sure whether this is a good or a bad thing about me – though I think Dave will approve, or at least understand.

Nevertheless, I have decided to give up another committee next year. When I toyed with the idea last week, even the thought of it lifted a load from my mind. I’m afraid some people I like very much will be unhappy about it but, you know, I think I want to put myself and my family first.

Z has a good day

Indeed I did – I went into the dress shop I usually go into in town when I do go into a dress shop, which isn’t all that often (second time this year, I think) and found the teenage daughter of a friend was working there for the summer holidays. As a result of our conversation, I’m quite hopeful that her mother might join the school governors – she’s already a governor and I’ve worked with her, and she’d be absolutely ideal, quite apart from being lovely too.

And I found some clothes I liked – in the sale, furthermore – and bought them.

And then I went to a concert at Snape tonight, which was splendid although the chap talked too much. I’ve seen them before, several years ago, the last time they were there and, sad to say, him talking too much rather spoiled the show. It’s not that he doesn’t talk well but that the music is so good that chatter wastes good listening time. He talked about half as much this time, and when he cuts the chat by another half to two-thirds, he’ll have it about right. Anyway, I did buy their CD.

I had a most delicious ice cream at the interval. Hang on, I’ll google the company and see if I can give you a link. Here we go. I’d been pondering hopefully (not having known about this new supplier) and hoping there might be lemon or something refreshing – well, the choice was elderflower and gooseberry, blackcurrant or strawberry. I had the first of those, and it was absolutely yummy. I’ll go back to the website tomorrow and see if there’s a supplier near here. One small pot was really not enough. I mean, it was for tonight but not… oh, you get the picture.

I actually did some housework today and majorly cleared up cobwebs. Only in one room, but at least I moved all the furniture and cleaned behind the pictures and all that malarkey. It took a good couple of hours, which is a lot for me and housework. It isn’t possible to clean this house all in one day, not to do it properly, that is. Even if it were tidy it wouldn’t be*, and it certainly is anything but that**. It never will be while the Sage and I live here. We’d not like it.

Oh, and I found a library book that I’ve had to renew twice as I had lost it. Mislaid, that is, I knew it was downstairs somewhere. And, while looking for that, the Sage found two organ music books that I’d also mislaid. I even knew the room they were in. Yes, I know. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with me (though you’d enjoy it really).