Monthly Archives: November 2009

Xi gn language

Have I mentioned that I’m getting a bit hard of hearing since I’ve been helping in music lessons? Or it could just be that I’ve realised it because when pupils speak to me and there’s music going on, I can’t always make out what they’re saying. I’ve always been quite careful of my hearing and don’t tend to go to loud concerts and the like very much and I live in a relatively quiet place, but I suppose that life takes its toll. The Sage has pretty good hearing however, if he uses it.

I went to a meeting at the school the other day – oh, it’s only Tuesday – it must have been yesterday then. It was about disabilities and ensuring equality, lack of discrimination and access in the school – it’s an interesting subject. Our high school was built on a sloping site and there are steps all over the place. A member of staff with a disability (which I was unaware of) has taken on the project and I’ll be involved too as I’m one of those people who volunteers.

As an aside, I can’t help wondering when that happened. In my younger days I was the sort of person who hid behind a taller person, who was anyone else, when a volunteer was needed.

Anyway, I’ll no doubt get to know more about the definition of it – for a start, someone who wears glasses will not, just for that, be counted as having a disability but someone who wears a hearing aid probably will. I suppose that glasses correct a sight problem while a hearing aid helps but doesn’t correct deafness? I suppose also that, in a school, a child who wears glasses is hardly unusual, but one who can’t hear properly is.

At the village school they’ve done after-school classes in sign language, I’ve been told. I think that it is supposed to help with language development for visual learners, as well as being a generally Good Thing. I’d be absolutely useless at it I’m afraid. If I go deaf, I’ll have to live in a little world of my own because, while I might learn to use sign language, I’d never be able to read it. That is, I probably could read it in a book but not understand the actual hand signals. When Ro was at the village school, there were two children there with profoundly deaf parents, although the children weren’t. It was dreadfully embarrassing trying to hold a conversation with the mother as I had no idea what she meant. She’d patiently use gestures several times until I caught on, then my face lit up with recognition and I enthusiastically replied, only to be bemused again the next minute.

On the other hand, I’m absolutely not an auditory learner either. I can remember what someone tells me, one-to-one, but I completely switch off from an information talk unless I have it written down in front of me too. If I do, not only will I remember it but I’ll remember where on a page a particular sentence is. I’ve got better over the years at listening, but only because I try really hard.

I must do some more work. See you tomorrow.

Nu dles

Delicious stir-fry and slippery noodles, all slurped up for an early dinner as I had to go out to a very long meeting this evening. The Sage came to look for me just as the last three of us left, having put away the tables and chairs afterwards. Everyone had been very appreciative of the jelly babies, Minstrels, grapes, satsuma segments and drinks which eased our way through a productive and harmonious session, so we didn’t begrudge the time it all took.

I was really tired last night and unwisely went to bed early. You’d think I’d have learned by now but I never do. After an hour’s sound sleep I was wide awake by quarter to midnight, eventually got up, went back to bed, finally fell asleep sometime after four o’clock and was woken by Tilly barking at the newspaper delivery man at 7.15. I feel that I’ve had a long day.

There’s lots to do this week, which is quite jolly actually. I’ve been coasting rather, recently, which is pleasant in itself but gives rise to uncomfortable feelings that life isn’t meant to be this relaxed and there must be an awful lot of things I’ve forgotten. What’s good is that I’ve done some paperwork for the Sage today that I’d earmarked Thursday for, so I feel a bit ahead of myself. Just as well, as that means I can do the washing and buying and packing for my holiday on Thursday instead. And I sorted out my papers for the Sage to take to the accountant tomorrow – thank goodness, he takes my stuff along with his so I don’t have to. But when he asked for it, I went to the designated folder and just got everything out, and then went to another box file and got the other category of stuff out and it was all there, in perfect order, which makes me feel mighty pleased. I’ve never had such a big income as this year before (don’t get too excited, it basically means that I can pay for my own holiday and credit card bill if the Sage doesn’t get there first, and I’ll actually pay income tax which is a first for me) and I’m glad that there wasn’t a last-minute panic because I hadn’t kept the paperwork up.

Tomorrow, Nadfas in the morning, computer work (yes, work, not blog reading) in the afternoon and gardening club in the evening. Wednesday, haircut, then a funeral, then a governors’ meeting which – well, I rather think my fate will be sealed there. Thursday, getting ready to go away *memo to self: travel insurance and euros to buy* and Friday, high school music, Founder’s Day ceremony, then drive to Wiltshire to my sister. Saturday afternoon, drive with Wink and the Bod to Bournemouth, Sunday morning at larkfart get on a plane to Portugal.

Yup, that’s my week. If all goes to plan, that is. And, apart from tomorrow, I’ll have every evening with my Sage, so that he’ll miss me dreadfully next week. Because if I don’t go away, how is he to remember how much he loves me? And it’s a bit lowering to have to remind him.

Heh. D’you see him forgetting?


Just been watching Antiques Roadshow, which ended with John Benjam1n being entertaining as well as knowledgeable and remembered with embarrassment that this was the man I introduced to 200 people as John Betjeman.

It wasn’t my fault. Really.

Mu ling, if not puking

That is, I don’t think calves are noted for it. It occurs to me that I haven’t reported back on Pinkie and Scarlet recently (if you haven’t visited for a while – or ever – they are two cows who lived with us during their pregnancies, who have now gone back to the farm). Pinkie has had her calf, a boy, and has happily rejoined the milking herd. She is not particularly maternal and didn’t mind being parted from her calf, though it’s likely he wasn’t thrilled. Poor animal doesn’t know better and he’s with his cousins, anyway. Scarlet is still relaxing and isn’t due for a couple of weeks or so yet. We’re rather hoping for a girl. The Sage goes to visit regularly and both cows lumber over to greet him and receive carrots and apples.

The stormy weather is over – it was a very English storm, being quite polite in its bluster. Today, there was a chill in the air but the sun was warm when I came home at half past twelve and there’s a pale blue sky with a few fluffy clouds. The bantams were relaxing, basking in the sunshine at the top of the drive. Yesterday, they stayed safely in their run with unruffled feathers.

The Sage is pondering whether to buy a book on Suffolk artists. I’ve pointed out that all his children are worrying what on earth to buy him for a present in a few weeks – for goodness sake, let me tell them about it. Or one of them, anyway.

There’s an extra service at the church this afternoon. For a (presumably sound) reason that hasn’t been explained to me, we missed All Souls’ day a couple of weeks ago, so the service will be today. Very little publicity has been given so I expect there won’t be many people there. I’ll set it up, play the clarinet and make tea afterwards. I’m not big on lighting candles in memory of people, so may not participate in that part. I don’t object, it just doesn’t mean anything to me. Nor do flowers on a grave, actually. I’m too prosaic to respond to symbolism and can do nothing to change that.

Lambda hope, glory and a very strong wind

Dilly was taking part in a do at the village hall this morning, so Pugsley spent the morning with us. Mid-morning, we walked down to the village hall to fetch Squiffany, who had gone with her mother. On the way home a squally rainshower hit us amidships. Didn’t help that Squiffany didn’t have a coat, although at least her top had a hood, as did my jacket and Pugsley’s. At one point we huddled under a (fir, so still leafy) tree. We had to have cheesy biscuits and marshmallows to recover when we reached home, as well as put all our clothes in the tumble drier.

Very pleasant now, though. I’m sitting in an armchair by a glowing coal fire, listening to the rain and the wind. There’s always something enjoyable about hearing bad weather when you aren’t going to have to go out in it again. It’s only quarter past four, but there is an early evening feel in the air.

I understand that fewer people wear watches nowadays. I hate having to fish my phone out to see the time but I need to be aware of it as I’m usually on my way somewhere for a specific hour , so I can’t be without mine. I put it back on after bathing in the evening so that I don’t have to remember it next morning. The Sage hasn’t worn one for years, however and I gather that he’s more typical of the young, who don’t bother.

I was thinking about the way people tend to make snap assumptions about each other. It was because a blogger mentioned her cleaning woman, which gave rise to a teasing remark about how rich she must be. But of course we all have our extravagances and our cheeseparings and there may be good and specific reasons for one man’s luxury to be another’s necessity. But it can just as much be that there’s one or two things that give so much pleasure that you would hate to give them up.

Then there was the “news” that we all waste a lot of leftover liquids. I think that’s a bit silly, especially as it’s based on only asking 300 people. The vast amount of wine that we’re supposed to pour down the sink – huh? I have only occasionally thrown wine away – I remember one bottle that was undrinkable, and so nasty that it could have ruined any food it was cooked in. Otherwise, the occasional dregs, but normally a small amount would be used up in cooking. If there’s more, I drink it. Obviously.

Kappa tween her teeth

For new readers, my youngest granddaughter knocked out one of her new front teeth a few weeks ago, which was rather traumatic, especially for Weeza. However, we’re resolutely ignoring the gap and celebrating her other new teeth instead, Today, Weeza bit a chunk out of a hard green apple (probably a Granny Smith) and gave the rest to her and she gnashed her way through it very well. For the last couple of months, Zerlina has been concentrating on perfecting her walking and her vocabulary hasn’t extended much beyond three or four words, but I suspect that may be about to change. Tonight, she waved and said “bye bye” to me, which she hasn’t before. She understands everything that is said to her, but she’s used a couple of useful portmanteau words, one of which is “baddy” for anything rather splendid, including a handbag, which she likes very much. My bag is picked up and put over her shoulder before being trundled about the room.

I bought a new bag today, a large and capacious one which will be quite adequate as hand baggage for my holiday the week after next. I will also be able to fit files of A4 paper in it, which will be very useful for meetings when I don’t want the formality of a briefcase. I did buy boots too, quite straightforward black ones with just the right heel – I can’t walk far in too high or too low; an inch to an inch and a half is about right for me. This has taken some getting used to, as I’ve always worn heels and, being short, prefer two or three extra inches. In addition to that, I bought some trousers and a jumper so it was a successful afternoon. Sometimes a day spent not expending cash counts as successful but there are days when the plastic has to come out. The Sage and I will, I expect, politely bicker over the bill in a few weeks – he will want to pay it and so will I. He always encourages me to spend money on myself because, whatever impression I might give, I rarely do it.

I have a busy week ahead of me – apart from anything else, the Sage and I have had a most sensible and friendly discussion about doing the work that wasn’t done today, without that fact being mentioned. Tact ruled. We have agreed that he and I will do some of it next Thursday (I offered Monday afternoon or Thursday as the only times I have free) and that he and Weeza will do the other part of it one weekend. So all’s good here.

This isn’t today’s post

The Sage has unmade the arrangements that he, I and Weeza made to help him this afternoon.

Weeza and I have chosen not to be annoyed. She is going swimming with Dilly and the children, and I am going shopping for boots and possibly clothes. Then we’ll spend the rest of the afternoon together.

I don’t know what the Sage will do, but I’m sure he’ll enjoy himself too, without us.

See you later, darlings.

Iota lovely readers an explanation

I’ve known my blood group since Weeza was born – I was given a card with it on and kept it in my handbag for years until my bag was stolen. I didn’t think much of it – I’ve the same group as my mother had, O rh+ and, whilst I’ve never asked my sister what hers is, she must know it because she’s had a transfusion.

When Weeza was expecting Zerlina, she mentioned to me that she has Rhesus negative blood. I’m not sure how this is passed down, whether I can carry it as a recessive gene or whether it has to come direct, so I asked her father what his blood group is. He doesn’t know. This isn’t entirely surprising, as he has his blood pressure checked regularly and yet can never tell me what it is, nor what his cholesterol count is (I get round that lack of boring info by not being tested), but it must be on his medical record and if I went for occasional check-ups like a sensible person, I’d have asked the nurse sometime. I wasn’t told the blood group of any of my children, by the way, when they were born or at any other time, so I still don’t know my sons’ and I doubt they’ve got any reason to.

Anyway, it made me ask around a bit, and most women seem to know and a lot of men don’t. This may be because women who’ve had babies have their blood group checked and remember, whereas men only know if they’ve another reason to. Every one of you who has replied knows, so it doesn’t really indicate anything except that we smart bloggers and blog-readers know a bit about our bodies and that the Sage isn’t bothered.

I did ask about giving blood after an operation and (they checked I’m not having one in the next few weeks, they’re always very considerate) they said I can come back whenever I feel ready. Assuming I’ve not had a blood transfusion, that is. And, those of you who can’t donate because they’re anaemic, I wasn’t strong enough to for years. I wasn’t checked for anaemia, but I used to feel faint quite regularly like a Victorian Miss, so I thought it wouldn’t be a good idea. Indeed, I’ve been turned away once because of low iron levels.

I met my friend Albert at the clinic. He was giving his 50th donation. Well done, Albert – that’s something I won’t achieve, I know.

Today, I’ve been slogging round outlying villages delivering leaflets to specific houses and being highly frustrated (not for the first time) by the abysmal level of street and house labelling. Houses are often numbered at random and names may be put anywhere – impossible to spot as a car driver and if it’s a long road I don’t want to walk it, just for one house. This village is very random too and any new postman is sent out with an experienced one for the first few days to start getting the hang of it.. For example, Marsh Lane is in two separate locations with no indication which is which, and the village’s bypass is in between them. So is the whole of Station Road.

Theta. Hmm. I haven’t been to the theta in ages

I should have been going next week, but it clashed with the only suitable week for the Bod to go to Portugal. So Wink and I have meekly and really quite cheerfully made other arrangements, and Weeza and Dilly are going to see Falstaff.

Today, I went to the Remembrance Day service at the high school, and very moving it was, to have over a thousand silent people in the hall. I hope the teenagers found food for thought and I think they must have. Hugs were exchanged afterwards between me and friends (not pupils; some staff and fellow governors) and then the Chairman and I went and had lunch together. I drank, nervously. I drank a lot. I felt quite waterlogged. And tealogged.

Maybe as a result, I didn’t faint this afternoon. If you remember, when I last gave blood I had the mortifying experience* of fainting in the middle of the town. I was standing getting money out of the cashpoint at the time, and all I can say is that I managed to wait for both my card and my cash before keeling over. Someone gave me the receipt afterwards. I frightened poor Al into abandoning his shop and taking me in his loving arms.

Ha, You see what happens when you accept me as your mother (cheers, darlings, for being so lovely about yesterday’s post).

Not a lot else has happened. I gave good and motherly advice to two women of about my age (and practical help too, I was helping, honestly, not telling them what to do). I came home to mild disapproval from the Sage because of what I’ve offered to do, but he’ll rally round because he’s rather lovely that way, and I rearranged the furniture so that the radiator can be turned on tomorrow (the sofa was in front and would have absorbed all the heat). It’s warm in here now, but it’s time to turn the heating on. Last year, we didn’t last to the end of October and it’s almost halfway through November, so we”ve done better, Mind you, we haven’t had snow yet, and we did last October. And every month until the spring.

Must sort out my travel insurance. Oh dear. And next week, must buy boots. Last winter I had to manage without as you can’t rely on the sales. I want lovely comfy boots, regrettably low-heeled, but nice enough to take me through the winter without feeling underdressed but still able to ride a bike and walk without limping more than usual. I had to stand for 45 minutes this morning, which was not that easy, but I mostly stood on one leg with the other propped for show and it was all right. I hadn’t taken any tablets because I didn’t think it would be fair for the recipient of my delicious red blood.

That reminds me, do you know your blood group? I don’t need to know what it is, just interested to know if you know, and if not, have you ever had it tested so had a chance to ask? Please let me know, anonymously if you”d rather, but in that case, please say if you’re man or woman. Thank you.

*though I was more turned to jelly than stone

Eta proper meal, Zed

I’m not at all bossy in real life, but in blogland I’m a real caring mummy who can’t help giving good, loving advice. I can’t apologise, because it’s heartfelt and, actually, right. You know it makes sense.

Today, for example, I’ve advised Dave to insist on an instant appointment with his doctor (if you’re still doubtful, Dave, what would you say to me in a similar situation?), told Belgian Waffle to live only for the day, good or bad (honestly, it’s the best way if times are tough, and I’ve followed my own advice and look at me now *big happy grin*) and told Zed that a Cuppasoup is no sort of dinner for a woman and please to eat properly (look me in the eye and disagree, darling girl*).

I wouldn’t dare to speak to my family like this. Well, let’s put it another way. If Dave were mine, I’d ring the doctor myself and deal with it. He’d have another prescription by close of play tomorrow at latest, and I’d be completely sympathetic with his wish not to make a fuss. If BW were my daughter, I’d give her all my love and be as supportive as possible, with no pressure. And if Zed were my daughter, I’d cook her a lovely meal and then spend a day cooking to fill her freezer so that she needn’t think about it for a few more days, and pour her another glass of wine because she doesn’t drink anywhere near enough.

I’ve discovered my m├ętier. I’m a blogmummy. Not the sort who writes about her children, but the sort who worries about and cares for people she may never even meet. I don’t know what to make of this. I’m not alone, I know. I’ve never met such a caring bunch as you lot. It’s evident that I frankly love you.

I’m not sure that I’ll ever regain my total cynicism. Damn. Not to mention, Blast.

*She didn’t, she assures me that she eats her veggies properly. She also didn’t tell me to butt out, which demonstrates patience and good manners.