Monthly Archives: July 2010

Z counts

I was thinking whom I’ve met amongst you bloggers and blog-readers. First was Blue Witch (and Mr BW, who isn’t a blogger, as far as I know) – well that was the first arranged blogmeet. I already had met Badgerdaddy, who read this blog and left a comment, then I read his and realised I’d met him. Since, I’ve met Boy On Top, whose blog is still there but not updated, Dandelion, Martin and Wendy, Dave – of course, since he now is a fellow wall-builder, Rog and Roses. Al has his bee blog of course, but I don’t really think knowing your own son counts as a blog-meet. I’ve nearly got as far as meeting a few others, but it hasn’t happened yet. And I’m meeting Ziggi on Tuesday.

I’ve missed someone out, haven’t I?

Z is here

“Hi hoh ngy heef” said Percy. It took Wink a moment to translate, than she promised to drop in on her way home from work.

Later,the phone rang again. “It’s all right, we’ve found them. They were in the pocket of my pyjamas.” Percy is a dear old friend to Wink, but he’s a bit vague.

We’ve arrived safely and I’m feeling really stupid that I didn’t note Zig’s email to see if she has time to meet up. It’s too awkward toxtrawl through for on the phone so I’ll look at the library tomorrow. Don’t suppose anyone else is in the Wiltshire/Somerset/Dorset border area? Because I am for the next few days, though engaged this weekend.

Horrible journey, which took 6 hours instead of 4 1/2 because of hold-ups on the M25 and the A303. Wretched roads. Down to me we were late leaving because my meeting overran, but beastly useless roads anyway.

Still, we’re here. Woo-hoo, darlings. I never thought I’d get the Sage to go away with me. So it’s all good. Dawgs. As the Badgerdaddy would say.

Z goes shopping and to the iDoctor

I was down to only two summer skirts, one of those is button-through which is always a slight worry, and the other is over 20 years old – I still like it, but it’s not quite a must-wear any more.  So I went shopping.  There’s a nice clothes shop in the town that I usually use and I ventured in, to be greeted by the proprietor who was quite glad to see me.  A very well-known and liked member of the community died recently and it was his funeral today, and almost everyone was there.  I knew him, but not well and didn’t feel I needed to go.

I explained about the skirtlessness – last summer I wore trousers so I could wear my comfy walking shoes without drawing attention to them – and she told me that everything in the shop was reduced in price.  I took almost everything she had in a 10 and went to try them on … of course, within minutes two customers came in, and the shop has only one changing room.

Anyway, in the end I bought seven skirts and three jackets.  Most at 30% discount and a couple at 60%.  I won’t need any more for years, and some of those can go on to the autumn too.  It’s quite an incentive not to get any fatter, and I rather need one.  I bit the bullet and weighed myself this morning – I was quite relieved only to have put on 3 pounds since my operation, I did think it was more, but it’ll spur me on, I trust, to lose it and more.

I had an appointment at the Apple shop, so arranged to meet the Sage an hour after that at another phone shop.  I explained to the chap what the problem is and he was a bit bemused – the ringtone of the phone didn’t work but the alarms and alerts did, the vibrate worked but the text alert didn’t and the sound on the apps didn’t work but iTunes and Spotify and audio-books worked fine.  Oh, and since Monday email notification didn’t work, even when I tried manually, but the internet connection was quite okay and I could get emails that way.  He said it sounded like a range of software problems that you’d expect to find if the phone had been dropped in water, but it hadn’t, as I assured him.  I said I’d restored it – twice – and done the other obvious things, so he suggested doing a total restoration – not that he said such a thing, but I sort of took it as the difference between taking a laxative and going for colonic irrigation … I’ve never done either myself, but can imagine.  “It’ll wipe everything, have you got it backed up?” he asked.  I said I have.  “When was the last time you backed it up?” – evidently taking me for a bit of a blonde.  “Last night, I back it up every day,” I said meekly.

Afterwards, I sent an email to myself to make sure that worked, and then we wanted to check the phone. “There’s too much metal here, there’s no signal,” he said.  “I could go outside and you phone me,” I suggested.  “I don’t have a signal either.”  “Er, no, I did mean from a landline” I replied, wondering how blonde I looked today.  Maybe I just looked very old and a bit dim.

Well, in the event, it all worked.  The phone is fine again.  And the whole thing only took half an hour – it is true, by the way, that if they can’t fix it at once, they give you a new one.  And they’re really helpful – if you ever need to avail yourself of an appointment (which may be simply to learn how to get the best from your phone), book it online and then nobble a staff member to get signed in when you arrive.  Then have a little wander round all the pretty things until it’s your turn.  I was approached, unpushily and helpfully, by four members of staff as I probably looked a bit lost; I wasn’t, but I know it’s my manner.

After that, I went off to meet the Sage.  I’d investigated a bit beforehand, and knew that there was a choice of two mobile companies that have the best signal here, it turned out that one is more expensive so that was good, because the decision was made.  I said we wanted a touchscreen and what I was willing to pay – and we decided – er, the Sage agreed with me – absurdly, if we’d moved from Vodaphone to another company he’d have been able to keep his number but going from pay-as-you-go to a contract with them, he couldn’t.  But he was given a choice so he chose a nice number, which pleased me as there were mathematical reasons for doing so.

Oh, and we got talking about apps – it turned out that both the assistants at Crphn Wrhs have iPhones, too.  Which surprised me a bit, as there are some really good other phones out there now and they’ll have had a chance to try them all.

Z’s sharp tongue is left dangling

I’m not sure what’s the right time to write a post.  If I write it in the morning, I have the feeling later that I have things unsaid, but if I leave it until the evening, I am almost too tired.

Anyway, all I’m back to say is that English cherries are in your local English greengrocery and they are totally delicious this year.  I think that they have the best flavour – well, since Al had the shop anyway. so that’s seven cherry seasons ago.  Nearly eight years, goodness.

Red ones of course, one doesn’t often get the lovely white cherries nowadays.  It’s not surprising, they are very delicate and bruise easily, which shows up as brown marks even before you can taste anything wrong.  Were I to grow cherries commercially, I’d not risk them.

Also, the first English plums are in and they are excellent – Early River, I think the variety is.  More flavour and less sharpness than I expected.  Certainly can be eaten raw without a wince.  Though I don’t mind the wince, I have a sharp tongue more than a sweet tooth.

The Sage turned on his computer and nothing happened.  I mean, nothing happened!!(!)  “It was working earlier,” he said dismally.  “Is it plugged in?” I asked sensibly.  He said it was.  I went to check.  It wasn’t.  I explained how the first thing to do is always the most basic, because that’s usually the solution.

Talking of solutions, I’ve a problem with my phone.  Yes, darlings, I know, it’s scary.  But I have an appointment at the Mac store tomorrow and I’m given to understand that they’ll cure it on the spot or give me a new one.  It works all right, but there are sound problems, that is, there aren’t enough of them.

Amazing, grace*

Isn’t it odd, the way that memory works, or sometimes doesn’t work?  My contact lens is supposed to be changed monthly – that is, I take it out every night and put it in again in the morning, but it’s meant to be thrown away and replaced once a month.  I’m not sure why this arbitrary timespan was chosen, probably because it’s easy to remember but, over the years, this has stretched somewhat as, once in a while, an accident can befall a nearly-new one and it can become a bit expensive.

I had a new pack of six lenses which I’d carefully put in the work box.  I was sure of it. I also had one other, having ordered a new box when I first used the last-but-one.  All this tedious detail is just to explain why it happened quite some time ago and why I had time to doubt my memory.

When I went off to Scotland a couple of months ago, I wanted to take a new lens.  I went confidently to the work box, which is a mahogany Victorian one, with a lift-up lid and two false and one real drawer opening in the front.  I keep important papers, such as birth certificates in it, and needles and thread in the drawer, and my printer is on top of it.  So, I lifted the lid and discovered that the blue and white box of my memory was actually a box that held an elasticated knee bandage that I tried using as a support when my leg hurt a lot – it didn’t help, so I soon stopped.  So, I searched other places, to no avail, and have done so a few times since – I knew it would be in here or the dining room and that it was certainly not upstairs, but I just couldn’t find the box.

Today, I suddenly thought that perhaps it was in the work box after all, underneath the other knee-bandage box.  So I shifted the printer, lifted the lid, searched, didn’t find it – and remembered that it was in the drawer instead.  But I couldn’t remember until then, I needed a trigger.  It’s like having to go back to where you had a thought to be able to remember what that thought was.

Anyway, now I can wear a new lens tomorrow.  I think it’s high time, after three months.  Doesn’t seem to have done any harm though.

Anyway, I have pictures for you, of Al’s honey.  As you see, he has the pictures marked – he found that people were pinching his photos for beekeeping information websites, which was a bit naughty.  He thought he’d got them so they couldn’t be taken, until I did.  Heh.  So the reason for the ‘watermark’.

He took the photos for the labels – you have to be careful when putting up flower photos not to make them too clearly identifiable, because if there’s a clear picture of lavender, for example, the honey must be mostly lavender honey.  However, we rather like the variation of labels – if he ordered them, the minimum quantity is several years-worth at the rate he’s likely to produce it, so he doesn’t want to be stuck with one sort.

*A vague thought of the line about once being lost and now I’m found.  I know.  A bit rubbish.

Z plans to be tactful

The Sage announced this morning that the Aga was going to be serviced, so he’d turned it off.  This was a Good Thing as it enabled me to give it a thorough clean.  I also turned out the fridge and scrubbed it out – all a rare dabble in domesticity.  Anyone looking in the fridge now would receive a quite erroneous impression of my priorities, as there’s very little food and a lot of drink.  Some fish, plain yoghurt, cottage cheese and milk, half a jar of mayonnaise and some jam, plus a lot of booze and a few cans of *Dave’s Tipple* and lemonade.  The freezer compartment contains ice.  Cubes, that is, it’s not iced up.  The fridge will have some soup in it soon, as the rest of what I made for dinner is cooling down now.  That reminds e, there’s also half a waternelon.

Enough of the voyage round my kitchen.  It rained this afternoon.  The thunder sent me nicely to sleep, so I’m not sure how much rain we had, but at least it will have helped Dave’s garden.  He is hoping for enough rain to fill his water butts and save him from having to carry his bath water down the stairs – a recipe for disaster, I think, but then I’m quite clumsy.  I would have to stand at the window and chuck buckets in the general direction of the garden.  Bucketfuls of water, I should say.  Not much point in an empty bucket being thrown.

I am wondering whether to mention the gate to the Sage, the wrought iron one that is to fit into the wall.  I have already, a couple of times in the past few weeks, the last time being to suggest that a break in bricklaying would be a good opportunity to get it sandblasted and to paint and fit it, and he agreed with me.  So, will he do it next week while I’m away without me reminding him?  I would prefer not to in case he’s planning to get it done and surprise happy me with it on my return.  But he might not think of it at all, in which case I’d have to pretend not to be disappointed.  And I really do want it up, it’s a nuisance having to keep moving barriers, and when it’s windy they shift enough to allow a small bunny in.

Maybe I’ll mention it to Al or Dilly instead and they can raise the subject.  That would be more tactful.

There are fairies at the – ah – they’ve all gone

This morning, we mostly made cakes.  Fairy cakes, that is, iced with pale pink icing (as I didn’t have any green food colouring) and decorated with sugar sprinkles, as I have to learn to call them, silver balls, glace cherries and white chocolate drops.  This afternoon, we mostly ate them.

I was thinking about my stepfather just now.  He was a ship designer, a very fine one.  He and my mother married six years after my father died and he died just shy of their tenth wedding anniversary.  My mother never got over the unluckiness of being widowed twice, she couldn’t bear it when a woman didn’t appreciate the good qualities of her husband or carped about him, when she was lucky enough to still have one alive.  Good friends of hers couldn’t steel themselves, out of love, to tell her of their divorce, not for a couple of years, and they and their sons played happy families for her benefit when they visited until the family home was sold and there was no option.

Anyway, Wilf’s company in Oulton Broad used to pitch for contracts all over the world.  And, the design having been completed, he used to go off to put forward his case.  It was not unusual for a client to change his mind after the design was completed, once he could see the plans.  I remember a particular occasion, when word came through that the length of the ship had to be extended by x feet.  Of course, you can’t just do that.  Everything has to be checked because the proportions have changed.  So, everyone flew back home and returned to their design team for a redesign.

Except Wilf.  He stayed in his hotel room and set to work to redesign the whole ship himself.  Because he’d started from the bottom and worked up, in a way that simply isn’t done now.  Once as a young man, he was caught smoking where he shouldn’t and was sent to work in the foundry as a punishment.  So he understood the casting of propellors and was able to redesign those too.

His company won that particular contract, not surprisingly.  He didn’t get a bonus or anything though.  It was normal, back in those days, and considered part of your job to do the best you could.  Once he retired, he was replaced by several other people.

Z rests

Dilly is tutoring all morning tomorrow, so I’ll look after the children from 8.30.  I think that’ll be the last session for now – she wants a summer holiday as much as the students she teaches do.  However, it’s quite useful as she normally teaches immediately after school or later, no more than one session per day (not every day) so at least she’s using her time efficiently.

I’m not intending to use my time efficiently at all.  I’ve pretty well switched off for the holidays.  I’ve a meeting on the 13th which I have to arrange, but that shouldn’t be a problem, and I’ve got to get some things organised in the house and garden before going away on Friday.  The Sage is already backtracking on his agreement to come with me, and has decided to return on Sunday rather than Monday.  Dilly and Al will move in here, because the house is never left – nor is Tilly, come to that.  Dilly asked what time Tilly needs to go out in the morning.  I said, as soon as possible.  She’ll know if she comes down too late…

Actually, Tilly has been a bit better recently.  Usually, she’s too polite to bother us if she wants to go out during the night, and just uses the floor, but the other night she woke the Sage at 2 am to go out.  I don’t think she knows what she did right when he told me in the morning, but she didn’t object to the praise she received.

I downloaded a new level for iAssociate 2 a day or two back.  I’m embarrassingly pleased to have completed it and submitted my score, to be told I’m in the top 100 of finishers – 23 out of 87 in that particular round, to be exact.  I really don’t have enough to do with my time.  Which is rather the way I like it, just now.

Happy Birthday, Ro

It’s Ro’s birthday.  And yesterday was the 24th anniversary of us moving to this house – or, as the Sage puts it, moving back to this house, for this is where he was born.

Everyone is coming over tomorrow – originally it was to have been for lunch, but then Dilly remembered that they are out in the morning visiting her auntie and won’t be back until about 3, so we’ll eat in the middle of the afternoon sometime.  Weeza will want to leave around 6 for Zerlina’s bedtime.  She keeps to a reasonably careful routine as that seems best for z’s sleep pattern, and I certainly can’t disagree with it, because it works really well.

If the weather’s good enough, we’ll have a barbecue; I’ve bought steak, sausages and chicken fillets, which last are presently marinading in my favourite gloop.  It’s a mixture of various spices, mostly starting with C, such as coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cumin and cayenne, plus oil and vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger and tomato paste.  And salt.  I think that’s about it.  All liquidised and the diced chicken chucked in and left for some hours.  I’ve probably given the recipe before – I couldn’t find the book, but remembered it had been typed up so did a Jimmy-look-see on the computer for the proportions.

Anyway, the other item to report is that, finally, I think my resistance has collapsed and I must steel myself to join Facebook after all.  Yes, darlings, I have succumbed.  Simply because one of my dearest friends, who only lives 20 minutes drive away but whom I rarely see to talk to – that is, I see her about twice a month but when we’re busy or having lunch among a big group, so it’s not always possible to chat – has started an account and sent me an invitation.  You see, darlings, close to irresistible as you are, and out of the loop as I sometimes feel, it’s an invitation from Bette that has tipped the balance.

Just to be awkward, I don’t think I’ll actually use my actual name though.  I’m only too Googleable as it is.  It’ll probably be Zed and my surname, which won’t be exactly difficult to find but not there for the casual looker.  I haven’t done it yet, don’t all rush straight there.

Al’s new honey extractor arrived yesterday and they have bottled up 70-something jars of honey.  It looks lovely, darker than the first lot and, he says, is tastier – just the different flowers the bees have been to.  He’s got it on sale at the shop and has sold several jars today.  They’ve got about as much to do again.

Z goes to the playground

Weeza emailed me first thing this morning to tell me that she’d lost her voice and suggest coming over to be entertained by sister-in-law and mother.  So that’s what happened.  The voice gradually returned during the day, going from Harpo Marx to Marge Simpson to almost normal Weeza by the time she went home.

After lunch, she and Dilly went off to the end-of-year assembly of the village school while I looked after Pugsley and the Sage minded Zerlina who was having her nap.  Later, we went off to the playing field to visit the playground equipment.  I enjoyed myself on the swing.  I do like swinging.  On a swing.

So, here are some pictures, though not of me swinging on a swing.  I am in one of them, almost hidden behind Squiffany.  Pugsley is on her bike – she pushed Zerlina’s pushchair instead.  It was big for him, but he managed the pedalling very well.