Monthly Archives: November 2011

Zed is home

Actually, the journey home could have been better.  I got on the train, rejected my reserved seat (facing backwards) and settled at a table.  A middle-aged couple joined me.  She sat opposite, he sat next – I’d have thought that they should have faced each other or sat side by side, so I already had personal space issues.

Darling, she talked.  Awfully pukka, but not actually strident, but she never shut up for a minute for the whole journey.  She and her husband had some papers and magazines each, she commented on every damn article in hers, passed them over and commented on everything in his/now hers.  Additionally, I know the results of her asthma test, her opinions on wine, rugby and Mike Tindall in particular, and a number of other subjects too.  I’m not sure whether she was trying to impress her husband or me (she caught my jaundiced eye a few times), or just generally unable to shut the hell up, but I was edgy.  I couldn’t concentrate on my book.  In fact, I went to sleep for a few minutes, just to get away.

One of the reasons I was glad to have a chance to talk to Chris, was that he is a delightful long-term blogger who is not afraid to take breaks, sometimes protracted ones.  I was slightly alarmed, a few weeks ago, when Diamond Geezer talked about his daily blogging compulsion.  He’s blogged far longer than I have…but all the same.  I do feel a bit of it and, in nearly six years of blogging, I feel a mild pride that I have always written at least as many posts as there are days in a year.  However, maybe less should be more?  I suggested to Christopher that maybe I should wean myself off the daily post and that I might write better for it, and he thought that was a good idea…not that he suggested I write badly…no need to say a word, Chris…

Anyway, I’m mulling.  And I think that, next year, I’m going to miss odd days or even weeks, on occasion.  I used to not write when I was away, but that’s changed with the iPhone.  Though that’s another matter, especially when I go away on my own.  It can be that I want to share experiences with when I don’t have anyone to talk to in the evenings.  Hmm.  But, quite self-centredly, I asked for advice and received it dispassionately, so the least I can do is take it on board.   If I do start to take breaks – and I don’t think that will be easy – I’ll give you fair warning.  It isn’t less of a contribution to blogging, which I enjoy very much, just a personal thing.

I write daily and sometimes it’s pretty good and sometimes it’s pretty dull.  It’s a sort of discipline, to write every day, because I found, a long time ago, that if I don’t write regularly then I feel that, when I do write, it has to be ‘better’.  Six years on, I should be over that, and maybe my discipline should go in a different direction.

Tomorrow, I’ll write my Zado Annie post.  Oh dear.  Charming gay salesmen, hey.

Z is not tired of life

As I write, there’s still half an hour before I board my train home, but I’ve arrived at the station so here I am.
This has been one of the shortest holidays I could have had, but was well up among some of the best. I found a combination that suited me very well, really enjoyable meetings with friends, plenty of time to walk and enjoy London and also visits to museums and galleries to see a wealth of interesting and beautiful artefacts and pictures. Add to that, down-time to read and relax in the cocoon of a hotel room, and I seem to have hit on a perfect break.
I haven’t managed to reply to comments or correct typos, so will do that from home.
Today, of course, there has been the public sector strike. There were barriers up at Trafalgar Square, and lots of police, and some roads were closed, but only a few people, a group of ten, holding placards. I walked along the Strand, which was closed to traffic. Most people still walked on the pavements though. I walked down the central reservation for a while, until it occurred to me that I could enjoy the rare pleasure of strolling in the middle of the road. At the end of the Strand, I heard some toots and drumbeats and along came a procession of demonstrators. It all seemed calm and good natured, both on the part of the demonstrators and the police. I stood and watched for a few minutes and accepted a leaflet, although  I binned it after a few minutes.
I’d though I’d go and have a large glass of wine to mark the end of my break, but then I suddenly fancied edamame beans and headed into Wasabi in Fleet Street for sushi instead. Frankly, darlings, after the walking and moderate eating (notwithstanding meals with friends) that I’ve done this week, I’ll be mildly disappointed if I haven’t lost a millimetre or two from the waistline.
I kept walking, having done and seen all that I’d wanted to in museums, and dodged down side streets and alleyways, losing myself while keeping a sense of direction.
And now the train is in, so I will finish. Laters, darlings.
Sent from my iPhone

Blog meets

I have had the most brilliant time in London – I am not going home until 4 o’clock tomorrow but it can hardly get better. I’m afraid I was a bit mysterious about whom (grammar) I was meeting for dinner last night, but that was because I hadn’t asked if I could take his name in vain.
I’ve been reading Fwengebola’s blog for several years, it is hilariously ouch-making on occasion and I’ve taken the opportunity to give maternally good advice and sympathy, which intrusion he has dealt with manfully. He is, in fact, even better company than I expected and I had a great time last night. Thanks, Fweng.
Today, PixieMum and I chatted for so long that it wasn’t until her dear husband, Ian, turned up that we realised it was half past lunchtime … So we had lunch too. Again, lovely company and many thanks to you both.
And then I had a phone call this evening from Christopher. He phoned on the off-chance, I was about to leave for a solitary supper at the noodle bar around the corner from Angel station (my usual resort when I’m staying in Islington – not that I was this time, but not far away) and we met for dinner. Again, I’ve had such a nice evening. Chris and J came to my Wall Party in the spring but, because of my ludicrously stupid decision to have a barbecue which didn’t happen because it was cold and windy, I spent most of the time cooking and not much of it chatting. So, the guests I’d wanted so much to meet all talked among themselves more than to me. Thank you, Chris, for listening to me rabbitting on and I had a lovely evening.
Now back in my hotel, and going to have a bath and then to bed.
Sent from my iPhone

Z is not transported delightfully

I can’t find anywhere to write a new post from my blog on the phone now. Clear and attractive to read, but not so simple to add to. So I’m phoning it in.

The morning didn’t start altogether brilliantly, because whole strings of farm vehicles on the road slowed us down, and then the traffic on the approach to Diss station was awful. I got out and started walking, then suddenly it cleared, the Sage drove alongside with the door open and I was on the station platform with three minutes to spare. Then, nearing London, we stopped for a bit and ended up ten minutes late.

Once seated, I had toddled along to the buffet to get some breakfast. The man in front put his card in the machine, which froze. The assistant couldn’t sort it out, got the guard and the whole thing took nearly ten minutes to put right. If it hadn’t worked at the moment it did, I was on the point of paying the bill. However, not only did I save £7-something, I also had the chance to say consoling things to the poor assistant and chat in a friendly way to the helpful guard, which was more cheering than feeling impatient.

I checked which bus I needed, found the road where the stop was and was fortunate enough to hop straight on to a Number 8. A few minutes later, I got off again, crossed Brick Lane and got on the next Number 8, going the way I wanted. Not the first time I’ve done that. Not very bright, Z.

And contact has been made with blogger friends and I’m off later to catch a tube to where one works, and we’ll go out for a meal. I’m quite hungry already, in fact, a croissant (quite plain, darlings, not even a spot of jam) for breakfast and a chicken salad and ginger beer for lunch are distant memories already. And tomorrow, another kind blogger is coming all the way in from Twickenham to meet me. I’m a lucky blogger.


Sent from my iPhone

Z goes on holiday

It was a brilliant day.  I’d invited Ro and Dora and Al, Dilly and the children, but hadn’t asked Weeza, Phil and co because Dilly had had a bad cold in the week, and didn’t want to pass it on to Gus.  However, while I was out at church, the Sage phoned and invited them anyway.  Apparently, he’d been going to not tell me, for a surprise – you’d think, after all these years, that he’d know better?  Anyway, Weeza vetoed that, so I cooked a pound of chipolatas, just to augment the 6 pounds of pork in case there wasn’t enough food.  It all got eaten.  Dilly had made a blackberry and apple crumble, Weeza bought ice cream, I made custard, so pudding was taken care of too.  It was one of those days when there was a lovely atmosphere and everyone had fun.

I’m a bit busy this evening, because I’m off to London for a couple of days and haven’t started to get ready yet.  I’m hoping that the two blog meets that I’ve set up will happen okay – sure that one will, but the other person hasn’t yet confirmed and I don’t know where or what time yet, and have only the pseudonymous email address and no phone number.  May have to tweet, but I avoid Twitter almost entirely.  Too many social networks already, can’t get involved in another, though I have an account.

It’s not yet December, so I apologise for the subject of this picture, but it is at least Advent, so officially the Christmas season.  I thought it was jolly good for a child who is only just five years old.

And now, I must go.  I’m not sure if I’ll blog while I’m away; if not, I’ll see you on Wednesday evening.  Be awfully good, darlings, while I’m not here to keep an eye on you.

PS – both made contact.  Huzzah!

Some good news and – Z doesn’t do bad news. All good here.

Well, darlings, here’s the good news.  My friend Martina, who comments here, sent me a doctor’s basic check-list for symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and my local chum took it home and went through it with his wife.  She then tested him.  She got every question right and he just dropped one mark.  The doctor has phoned,  and said she needs treatment for her low thyroid problem and also offered physiotherapy for her joint problem.  There are still some tests to be done, because the path. lab. seems to have cocked them up somewhat, but it’s all looking very positive and my friend’s anxiety is completely allayed.  He’s happy to accept that her tiredness and absent-mindedness in the evenings is caused by low thyroid and constant lowish-level pain, and that this can be put right.

So thank you so much for your concern and for pointing me in useful directions.

I’ve hit on a vein of nostalgia with yesterday’s post.  Oh good.  Can’t beat a bit of nostalgia.  Although, in truth, I’m not going to claim that everything was better in the good old days.  Ups and downs all the time, and would you honestly put the clock back? – bear in mind that you can’t cherry-pick, you’d have to accept the entire package.  I wouldn’t, but then I’m so practical, darlings, I live in the moment and make the best of it.  I can’t go back anyway, so why hanker?

As Blue Witch says, we have shared memories.  My friend Lynn, whom I’ve mentioned here before, was the only person I knew at school who grew up without a television – her father died when she was seventeen and her mother then bought one and Lynn promptly became addicted – but she would be one of the few who didn’t grow up with Yogi Bear and the Flintstones, or Blue Peter if you lived in a more sensible household than mine.  But there were many programmes where the memories cross the generations – everyone watched The Good Life, Morecambe and Wise, Dad’s Army – millions of people, all at the same time on the same evening of the week.  The last series I remember making that sort of impact was some twenty years ago, with The Darling Buds of May.  “Perfick” became the stock expression of approval that year.

My point is, not that there haven’t been some hugely popular programmes since, but I don’t think that they transcend the age and social barriers any more in the way they did in the 60s, 70s and 80s.  Strictly, I suppose, but then I don’t actually watch that myself, so I can’t really say.

What do you think?

Z and the Sage sit apart

Today was spent wisely and well, in not doing much.  I did a final tweak to my stern letter and sent it, did a few other jobs on the computer, including ordering some presents, checked when my credit card needs to be paid (not for ten days) and sponsored the moustache-growers on the High School staff.  I went and had a cup of green tea with Dilly and Hay.  Hay was eating toasted cheese and cucumber.  Not a huge amount goes down his throat, but he’s quite happy and enjoys a varied diet, now he’s six months old.  After that, I took the afternoon off and went to Norwich.  I didn’t do much there either, but trotted about enjoying the feel of the place, looked at clothes but wasn’t tempted to try anything on (I suspect that this will be one of the years I don’t buy any clothes, I haven’t so far) and then came home, feeling rested.  I was sitting with the Sage, but the phone keeps ringing for him, and it’s not very interesting, listening to other people’s conversations – or rather, politely not listening to them and so, with my coat on, I’m in here again.

It wasn’t so many years ago that an entire family would spend the whole evening together – and actually, that still mostly happened when my children lived here.  One simple reason for the change, I think, is central heating.  Time was, there was only one warm room in a house in the winter, two at most; the kitchen and the living room.  Bedrooms were rarely warmed.  A lucky child might have a two-bar electric fire, but that wasn’t that common.  Of course, one could spread out more in the house in the summer, but there was still the habit of sitting together – and that’s another reason for the change.

More than one television and an increased range of channels.

When I was younger, a household had one television and one telephone.  The former was in the living room and the latter in the hall, where you stood to make calls.  That’s how it was.  There were two channels on the tv until the late 1960s/early ’70s (depending on reception where you lived) and eventually, along came Channel 4.  So most people watched the same programme, all together.  Then home computers turned up.  We had one, a Commodore 64.  It was firmly kept in the sitting room.  I didn’t mind in the least if the room was cluttered or if it was on at the same time as the television.  I thought being together was more important, and I played games on it with my children anyway.  Weeza would have liked her own television, but I made her wait years, she was probably about 16.  Any younger, she’d have watched it half the night.  Al wasn’t bothered.  Ro simply bought his own, and a computer when he wanted it – which was a good thing, I was glad to have mine to myself.  It was before the days when broadband had reached the village and I used to get quite ratty with the Sage when he’d absent-mindedly pick up the telephone, immediately apologise and put it down, but it was too late – my internet connection was already cut off.  He never checked first.  So, ill-humour between husband and wife was quite enough, it wasn’t to happen between father and son, and I had an extra phone line put on for Ro in his room.  We paid rental, he paid calls.  Bargain.  Peace.

And now, after all the early years of effort in keeping the family together, the Sage and I sit in separate rooms, as often as not.  I blame too many channels on the television, so that we can’t be bothered to look at any of them, and the damn telephone.

Z receives a Day

It’s been far too long a day, and I didn’t quite make it to the end.  It was the Head’s appraisal in the morning, which went very well – successful transition to academy, ongoing successful transition towards 11-18 school (instead of 13-18) and an Outstanding Ofsted, I’m not breaking any confidentiality in saying we thought the lad done good.  After lunch, a full governors’ meeting, also went fine but by the end I had a splitting headache – and I hardly ever get headaches nowadays – and the prospect of another meeting to come.  And that was a really beastly one, though I am sorry to say that I can’t talk about it.  I’m not being awkward – I suppose though, if I can’t tell you, I shouldn’t even hint at it – but anyway, it finally finished at 6.15.  By then, I was supposed to be in a Year 10 Drama performance, but I couldn’t face it.  I was exhausted, felt sick and drove straight home, where I found myself obliged to hurry straight to the loo.  That was a surprise.  I’ve got the stomach of an ostrich normally – well, I haven’t, I’ve the stomach of a Z – anyway, I’m hardly ever sick.  After that, I went and had a bath (no, there hadn’t been an accident, I thought it would make me feel better) and was in bed before 7 and asleep in moments.

Ten minutes later, the Sage brought me dinner on a tray.  I fear that he didn’t get the friendliest of receptions.  I stayed in bed, eventually slept again, finally got up at 9.30.  No idea when I’ll get back to bed.  I’m fine now, but I think it was the weeks of not enough sleep finally catching up with me.

The Sage just brought me one of the new £50 notes to see, and compare to an old one.  “The banks ran out, they were selling like hot cakes,” he said.

Family Christmas wishlists are starting to arrive: or rather, links to them.  If I have the least sense, I’ll just get my act together and order everything or go and buy it in the next few days.  I have very little sense, but might just cobble it together somehow.  I’m going to look for some sheet music to suggest for a start – though still knowing that this is pie in the sky.  Still, one has to aspire, I suppose.  I suppose…well, this is a last-ditch attempt, anyway.

I only had one thing in my diary for tomorrow, and fortunately checked, because it’s been postponed, which is brilliant.  A day that I’d marked as busy and now have free feels like a gift.

Turbulent LA

It has to be said, even though the school has become an academy and should be free of local authority control, they are still on our backs.  At least we don’t meekly have to do what we’re told any more, but they are still trying to control us, and have a fair bit of power.  I’ve written a forceful letter this evening – polite of course, and constructive, but with no hint of the usual gentle Z that you know so well.

Well, that’s the impression that I try to give here, anyway.

My car wouldn’t start this morning, the battery was flat.  It was fine yesterday, zero today.  It didn’t matter, we went out in the Sage’s car, on a rare day out together.  Recharging it overnight, and we’ll get another one by the end of the week.  It has to be said, my £1,500 car has given very little trouble in the last three years.  Even this time (and you can’t blame a car for its duff battery), it politely didn’t leave me stranded anywhere.  So I gave it a consoling pat.

Many thanks for the advice on Alzheimer’s.  A friend sent a paper with typical questions that a doctor asks and I have given it to my friend.  I have also checked myself.  I am fairly sure that I am okay.  In fact, the blood tests have so far shown that she has an under-active thyroid – I wonder if that could be part of the problem?  It would be wonderful if they have less to worry about than he fears.

I finished the letter and sent it to the Head to be okayed (‘Brilliant!’, I received back) and then paused to drink a cup of peppermint tea.  I became aware of rustling sounds and tracked them to a bag which I knew contained some chocolate left over from Easter (we don’t eat much chocolate) that was on the floor. I decided that it probably also contained a mouse.  So I scooped it up and gave it to the Sage, who took it outside.  “You can just leave it if you like,”I suggested – but he wanted to be sure, so he took it onto the field and shook it.  The mouse shot out and ran away, poor little thing.  Still, if only it knew, that has saved its life.  If it hadn’t actually been inside the bag, I’d have set a trap.

That reminds me, this morning a movement outside the window caught my eye.  I kept watching and it soon became apparent that a blue tit was going in and out of a nestbox.  Surely not?  Could it just be setting up home for the winter?  However confused the little thing is, it surely is not nesting, not at the end of November.

Darlings, I must get back to work.  I’m a bit busy tomorrow, but on Friday I shall devote myself to blogs.

Old posts

The Sage is very happy.  There is a picture of the bowl which he sold on the front page of the Antiques Trade Gazette and a whole-page article about the sale, including the report that the buyer left by helicopter  and, since he’d bought the guglet and bowl for a friend, that he was allowed to take it with him and send a cheque a week later.

Obviously, when the Sage is happy, I am happy.  So all is jollity in the household.  The Sage has decided to give his apologies for a meeting this evening on the strength of it, so I will have his company after all.

I had a few spare minutes this morning before I went to school, which I spent browsing through my early posts.  I found my first ever comment, written by Pat on 12th March 2006.  I note that I called my daughter Rose and my younger son Baz in those days.  I’m not sure that Al had a name, he was just the Greengrocer.  Weeza then became El; she chose her present name herself. I seem to sound much the same in those early days as I do now, which interested me.  Slightly embarrassing, and unintentional, the last post of the year (which is what you reach when you click on 2006) describes the mildly frivolous fact that I was wearing stockings and suspenders.  Several early friends are still blogpals now, including Martina, Wendy, How Do We Know, the Chairwoman and Blue Witch, which is delightful.

I’ve never read all my archives and I don’t plan to.  But I might well dip in a bit.  I was funnier then.