Monthly Archives: March 2011


In the days when I was chairman of a Nadfas society and it was down to me to give a vote of thanks, I used to latch on to names, facts and individual pictures to mention – it’s my experience that remembering and linking a few facts gives the impression that you remember every word.  One of today’s slides that I certainly would have mentioned appreciatively was this one.  The picture wasn’t quite so full-on, but quite enough.  Hmmmm.

It was a whole day event with three lectures, but I couldn’t stay after lunch, as I had to get back to a funeral – not going to say more there, the circumstances were deeply upsetting but I’m an onlooker, not a sufferer.  Then a meeting at the school, I came home tired and a bit drained and seem to have had a couple of glasses of wine without really noticing.  At least the kilo of Montezuma chocolate that I ordered has turned up – although most of it is for Weeza (don’t tell her) and I’m not opening it tonight anyway.  I have, at any rate, been very appreciative of my dear kind Sage – not that I needed more kindness than usual, but others did.

Chocolate after all, perhaps?  Maybe.  Although, I also have a pineapple.  Which to choose?  I’m genuinely undecided.  Possibly neither after all.  Who knows?

Back to riotous good cheer tomorrow, darlings.  You get me in every mood, lucky people.  I appreciate your friendship, and thank you for it.

VI Squiffany

She seems to be taller every time I see her.  She has a missing top front tooth and the other is loose – ‘hanging by a thread’, we used to say rather horribly when I was little and a loosening lower tooth too.  Her hair is blonde and very wavy, she loves school, writing, drawing and making things and she is kind and motherly with other children, confident but fairly quiet with adults.  She’s just had the stabilisers taken off her bike and is very pleased about that, but her newest love is her scooter.  Today, my lovely little girl is six.

Our good friend Jamie called round with his nephew, Richard, who is going to do preparatory work on our drive.  It’s 100 yards, or possibly metres – I haven’t measured – long and needs resurfacing, but we want to widen it too, so Richard is going to get it ready for Alan, who will do the top-surfacing.  Jamie had other news of interest, which would be excellent for us, but I’ll tell you if it happens.

The birthday season has started – Al and Weeza’s are next and then Wink’s, all in April.  Zerlina approves of birthdays, as you know her bear, Barry has regular Happy Days, when he is sung to.  She didn’t join in the singing today, but watched us all and beat time with her right band.

The other news is that our latest catalogue is up on the website,  I think there’s a link on the sidebar.  Less than three weeks to go now.

Egg pro quo

I’ve taken a day off.  After an overnight frost, it was a beautiful warm, sunny day and a Saturday too, sometimes work has to wait.  I went in to see Al and Dilly first thing because they were going out (meeting friends at the Dinosaur Park, friends’ little boy’s birthday treat too) and they assured me that Squiffany would love gardening tools above all things.  So we’ve bought a good-quality child-size rake, trowel and hand fork, a container with a lid and a handle to put them in (it’s actually a kitchen compost bin, but it was easier to handle than the tool-holders on offer) and some seeds.  I thought I might take her out for tea one day after school and she could choose some flowers as well, there’s a lovely tea room at the garden centre, where Gemma makes the most gorgeous cakes.  Actually, we might all go, don’t you think?  Or maybe a Granny/Squiffany thing….hmmm….I’ll see what she says.

This afternoon, I pottered around in the veg garden tidying up a bit.  When you come here, you might be a bit disappointed at the veg garden.  I’m rather taking a year off.  For eight years I’ve been growing stuff for the shop, for 35 years I’ve grown lots of vegetables, apart from the odd year or two, and I want a break.  I’ll just grow a few things and mostly put the ground to potatoes.  It’ll be a load off, actually, although I know I’ll miss it.  Just some runner and french beans, broad beans, tomatoes, sweet corn, spinach and swiss chard, whatever else I fancy, a few tomatoes etc in the greenhouse, some salad, and that’ll be it.

My favourite chicken came into the garden with me.  A glossy brown, she is often on her own, having twigged that she can find choice treats and not have to share them.  She is very tame with me and the Sage and, seeing her scratch around in a bed, I fetched a garden fork and dug over some clods of earth for her.  She was very pleased and came straight over to look for worms.  I sat down to watch her, basking in the sunshine.  Every few minutes, I turned over a new forkful.  She let me feed her and stroke her, and we were perfectly happy for half an hour or so, until the Sage came and said he’d made tea and bought macaroons.  I left her scratching about for a while before her bedtime and, when the Sage came back from shutting the bantams up for the night, he brought an egg that she had laid for us.

Nearly midnight

Oh dear, my notes from the meeting covered eleven pages.  I shall, of course, condense them into two at most.  Thing is, you don’t know what’s going to have to be put down until the debate is over – fear not, I won’t do ‘he said, she said’ sort of minutes.  A few main points and the conclusions will be all.

I can’t help thinking about the cheerful Japanese family I passed in Piccadilly last week as I was going down from the RA towards Waterstone’s.  There was a shop with intricately shaped sweets or cakes or something, very Oriental in style, I didn’t really take much notice, but these people coming the other way were very pleased to notice it and stopped to look in the window.  I didn’t wait to notice if they went in, but they looked as if they were having such a good time.  Whatever must they feel like now?  I’ve been thinking about them all week, still seeing them as a mental snapshot.


I should never have taken on the job of secretary to this area (three counties, twenty-five societies) in Nadfas.  I thought I was reasonably sensible, but I’ve proved to be totally inept.  I am embarrassed and, frankly, humiliated, but humility is a good thing, even if humiliation doesn’t feel like one.

This evening, I had an email to say that a document hadn’t been received, that I’d sent out last night.  So I resent* to all the society chairmen; if one hadn’t had it then maybe all hadn’t – damn Hotmail doesn’t show all the people you’ve sent a document to, only the first line of them, and there were over forty.  Then I had a second email, saying that she had had it after all.  I replied, saying, don’t worry, I had to write again with some amendments (not corrections, none of them was a mistake, for once).

“the more stupid I am, the kinder people will be,” I explained to her.

I’ve just had an email back.  “”I can’t wait to meet you!” she says.

I realise that I have been put on this earth to make people feel good about themselves.  They can forgive me, because I’m so obviously harmless, and feel pleasantly superior.  I really, really wish that I didn’t have to feel quite such an underdog.

All I have to do is remember to print out a whole lot of stuff first thing tomorrow morning, and to note my expenses – mileage at 40p a mile is quite sufficient, whatever people say, unless they keep a car entirely for duty driving.  In that case, you have to take depreciation and original cost into account, but if you would have that car anyway, you’d b paying for it and for its insurance anyway. Sure, there’s wear and tear, to tyres and so on, but that’s still allowed for, if not so generously.  I remember some years ago, driving to Scarborough and being embarrassed by the huge petrol allowance I received, over four times what I’d spent.

I called on Weeza and Zerlina after lunch in Norwich.  Little z went to pre-school today – she’s been once with W, but this was the first time she’d been left.  Weeza had a lovely morning to herself and z was keen to tell me what a good time she’d had.  They are coming over here on Sunday, because it’s Squiffany’s birthday.  I still haven’t bought her a present.  A bit at a loss.  They are really trying to make some space, because of the expected baby, so don’t want toys or anything bulky.  I’ll be in Bury all day tomorrow, so will have to go shopping on Saturday.


Z used to be indecisive…

I’m so sorry to have dithered, but the good news is that some people for whom the 1st wasn’t possible can make it on the 2nd, so please change the date in your diary to that.  And I won’t change my mind again because that would be really annoying, except to Roses who is now feeling left out.

Not counting our family but including us, I think we’re up to fifteen, maybe sixteen, already.  How jolly.  I’ve met a number of bloggers, but always individually – well, plus non-blogging other half once.  I never would have believed that I’d be quite so excited about meeting a lot of people whom I’ve never even spoken to, some of whose names I don’t know, but who all know really quite a lot about me and in some cases, each other.

Right, okay.  We’ll firm up, as they say, arrangements in a while and I’ll have to make sure you all know my address.  Because otherwise it would be a bit silly.

I didn’t get to bed until 3 o’clock this morning, which was also a bit silly, so I may keel over in a couple of hours.  Funny, how you wake up at the same time in the morning, regardless of when you go to sleep.  Or does that habit just come with age?

Hold you hard

…as we say in Norfolk.  Do keep 1st May free, but I’m trying to find a day when most people can come, including those who are only briefly in the country.  As it’s a holiday weekend, might Monday 2nd be a possibility?  And for the lucky among us, is Friday 13th any good?  It may still be Sunday 1st, though.  I promise to confirm within a day or two, but phone calls are winging across the continents.  Continent, at any rate.

Would you say which days you could make, of the 1st, 2nd and 14th?  Dave has kindly agreed to give his (look-forward to bi-annual get-together) a miss if the 14th suits everyone else.

What a carry-on

The Sage came into the room, bearing a china plate.  “I found a beautiful cock pheasant by the side of the road,” he said.  I looked at the plate of meat.  “It seemed a shame to waste it,” he explained.

Dear friend Lynn is digging deep and getting deeper with every email.  In one of her books, not Rosa Mundi but the lighter one, she has written a short humorous poem poking fun at blogging.  I mentioned it, and that she won’t put me off blogging at all as I’m quite unrepentant after all these years.  So she apologised hastily, saying that she doesn’t mean good blogs about something, and that I probably write about Lowestoft china, but the sort of blog that witters on and – oh, I can’t resist a quote – “I just meant that, doing research on art, I keep coming across terrific pictures of things on the Google image bit, only to find that they’re mired in some beastly blog of someone’s holiday in Moldova, where they don’t tell you which museum they were in, or where the thing is, or even – often – who it’s by or what its date is, because they’ve then gone on to a photo of their aunt eating a pizza or something.” Now isn’t that me to a T?  I’m thinking of that absurd post I wrote the other day, randomly saying which statues I’d liked at the RA exhibition, only to discover too late that none of them was illustrated on the website so I couldn’t show you any images at all.  Too funny.  I’ve written back, of course, explaining that my blog is just the sort that she can’t bear, but I still don’t care.  I trust she will put her spade down…

I’m tentatively planning the Wall Party.  At present, it seems likely to be Sunday, May 1st – though it occurs to me that’s a Bank Holiday weekend, and immediately after the royal wedding.  Does that make it better or worse for anyone?  It could be the Monday, as it is a holiday.  The other possible day for me had been Saturday 14th, but Dave is not free.  You are all invited, really, I’d love you to come, even if you never comment and I don’t know you’re reading – though an indication would be good so I know you’re coming (blog names are fine).  Vegetarians, carnivores, any allergies or pickiness (which is not intended as a rude term, there’s nothing wrong with being a picky eater) all catered for.  Partners, naturally, included, and if your other half would prefer a proper invitation in the post, let me know, because I take Lynn’s point, blogging to non-bloggers is weird.  My other quandary is, do I invite real-life friends too, or is that just asking for deep, deep embarrassment on my part.

I live on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, a lift from the railway station could probably be arranged (half an hour’s drive from Diss or Norwich, but it’d be easier to arrange one or the other rather than both), reverse Yagnub for the nearest town to know the distance from you if driving.  I’m thinking of lunchtime onwards because Dave won’t be able to get here much before 1 o’clock.

Go to bed Zed

I hate to quit so soon, but I think I’m going to have an early night.  Things started poorly this morning, when I had an automated call from the bank doing a security check.  I tapped in my details while running around barefoot calling for the Sage, but he hadn’t heard me by the time I was due to authorise, or not, the cheque that I hadn’t written but he probably had – anyway, by the time it was all sorted out, I had confirmation that it is all right for the other person on a joint account to put in my details.  So next time, he can do it.

Between us, we’ve got rather a lot of bank accounts.  There’s mine, his, ours, his but it’s a joint account in case he wants me to use it, and probably a few others I’ve forgotten about.  Not different accounts with the same bank, each with a different bank.  I’m not sure why we do this.  At least, if ever we were to have a disagreement with one bank, we’d just stop using it and not have the big annoying changeover.

Most of the morning was spent on the phone, which wasn’t my doing as all calls were received and, unusually, all for me.  Unwisely, I made one call myself at the end of the morning, to register my receipt of a new Barclaycard.  This was done in moments, but then the woman with a strident voice gave me a long spiel, which turned out to be a sales pitch for protection against computer fraud.  I let her go on for a silly amount of time, until she mentioned the cost, *only* £79.99 … what?  I’d have to examine my current legal liabilities carefully, bearing in mind that I don’t use computer banking, use PayPal where available, remember my PINs and passwords rather than write them down  and, although I recognise that anyone’s account can be hacked into, I am as cautious as I feel I can be – and she was way over-pushy.  When I refused her service, she tried to sell me a £40 one.  Hm.  I gave her a lesser-used email address to send me the stuff – which I haven’t received – and went to take paracetamol.  I felt that she was behaving rather worse than the regular cold-caller, and it wasn’t what I’d expect from Barclaycard.

Tomorrow, the Finance committee meeting.  Better be good, I’m missing a Nadfas lecture for it, one I wanted to go to.  It’s the meeting when we go through the budget for the next year, I can’t miss it.  Rather amazingly, we’ve got a budget that balances, which a lot of schools haven’t this year.  I know we’ll also discuss Academy status again, preparatory to a decision by the governors in ten days.  The Head and I met Union reps today.  It’s not altogether surprising that I’m tired out, although it is good to know that the staff do trust the Head and governors.  Anyhoo.  I’m off to bed.  The Sage is already asleep, laptop on lap – it’s like a teddy bear to him, really.

The lost dog has been found

I was absolutely dismayed, darlings, when I woke up at 6.15 this morning, because my alarm was set for 6.45.  I did doze for a while, however, before I had to get up, and I was out of the house before 7.30, face in place and teeth mumbled into place.

The day has been absolutely fine, with a nice blend of doing nothing, having a good time and getting a bit of work done.  Still the last bit of work to do, but I have to borrow the Sage’s laptop again to finish.  I did do most of it already but, although I find using a laptop okay at the time, it makes my back and eyes ache.  I like a good distance between keyboard and screen, and being hunched up for a while isn’t good.

There is good news, and several of you have said that you are waiting to hear it.  Mike phoned this evening, to say that the little dog is reunited with its owner – you see how I start with the end and don’t keep you in suspense?  I’m marvellous, don’t you think.  He and Ann had put posters up in all the outlying villages, and there had been several sightings of the terrier, and many attempts to catch or tempt her, but she wouldn’t be caught.  Then her owner arrived home, and said that she reckoned that little Holly wouldn’t go to anyone but her.  She got back home last night, and this morning, someone rang Mike to say that Holly was in Hempnall churchyard.  The owner went straight there – after so many trapping attempts, Holly was quite prickly, but at last she allowed herself to be picked up, and she’s safe and well with her owner, who was very kind and understanding about the whole situation.  Thank you for caring, loves, you are so kind.

There is a side-story.  On Saturday morning, friends called round in their vintage car and wanted to take Mike and Ann for a joy-ride.  The phone rang, saying that a stray dog had been seen at Topcroft, without a collar, in the road.  It was decided that the joy-ride should be to Topcroft.  The dog wasn’t Holly, but it was in the road, looking clueless but friendly … the upshot was, Mike and Ann took him home.  They phoned the RSPCA, police and rescue centres, to general hilarity.  “You’ve lost a dog, you’ve found a dog … all sorted!” was the general view.  They already have two dogs, plus visitors, they don’t really want to keep him, so they’re hoping the owner turns up.  I’ve said no, in case you’re wondering.  I don’t want a dog who wanders.  I need a dog that I can teach to come home.  I wouldn’t mind Mike and Ann’s little spaniel, mind you, she’s adorable.  But, sad to say, I’m not up for a challenge, right now.  I just want a dog to love, that loves me too.  I’ll train it, I’ll be tolerant of naughtiness, but there’s limit to the amount of wilfulness I’m interested in dealing with.  I’m wilful enough for any dog or man.  Although, if the Sage plays his cards right, I’m really quite biddable.