Monthly Archives: March 2012

Z thinks about packing

I’ve got to iron some clothes, but I think I’ve got more than enough draped all over the spare bed.  And I’ve bought the final bits and pieces, including an unscheduled purchase of a swim suit because I can’t find mine.  It’s rarely used, I’m lamentably afraid of water.  I don’t mind getting in, being splashed, putting my head under water – I just can’t be out of my depth and, frankly, prefer to hold on to the side just in case.  Like Dumbo and the feather.  I rarely go more than knee-deep in the sea because there’s nothing to hold on to.

Oh dear.  I didn’t intend to mention my stupidest fear.  I’ll deal with it one day, I promise.  Half a century is already too long to be afraid for, now I’ve written it down I’m halfway to pulling myself together.

Everyone in the family will be here for lunch tomorrow, Ro phoned to confirm this evening.  Brilliant!  I’ve made lasagne, they can phone when they are leaving and it’ll give me half an hour to put it in the oven.

I still have typing to do, darlings, please excuse a short and uninteresting post.  I’ll try to make up with it with PICTURES! when I get home again.  I’ve got my camera charging right now, so that I can thrill you all.  But there will be at least one more post before I go, probably two.  Because I’ll miss you most awfully.

It’ll be fun

I’ve had my hair cut unusually short.  This is to make it easier to achieve some sort of style in high heat but with no use of Product.  Because, let’s face it, some waterproof mascara and a shedload of sunscreen is about all I’ll manage in the next few weeks.

I’m so tired tonight that, with my glasses off the screen is blurred, but with them on I’m seeing double.  In short, I’m losing focus.  However, I’m pretty well there for my holiday – and many thanks to Blue Witch for recommending Staysure – for an extra fifteen quid they have covered my hip for a year’s worth of holidays whilst the other quote I had excluded it and charged more to boot.

The family is coming to lunch on Sunday – not Ro and Dora that is, and Weeza is hoping to have a chance at target shooting this time.  That means that I’ll be looking after Zerlina and Gus.  This would be fine, except that I’m playing the organ on Sunday morning – oh darlings, I’ll make it work.  It’ll be fun.

Sums up life really, doesn’t it.  If not, what’s it all for?

Departure day approaches

It was lovely to spend the night with Weeza and the children.  Phil is due back on Saturday morning and is intending to take the children out in the afternoon, both because they’ve all missed each other and to give Weeza a break.

I can’t believe the time to leave is so near, I’m leaving for Heathrow on Monday!  I must finish my preparations.  Still haven’t booked my bus to get there, it’s on the list for tomorrow.  As is a load of other work, the minutes to write up from yesterday, a couple of other letters for another club, a meeting with the Head.  If the minutes from the last governors’ meeting come through I’ll have to go through them.  It’s all right, I’m still on top of things, but only just.  I’d be bored with routine though, this is how I like it.

I bought some presents to take to our friends in India, including some chocolate (Easter eggs, English chocolate is popular over there) and dropped in at home to leave it rather than have it in the heat of the car while I was in Year 9 Music.  As I came round the bend in the drive, the black and white cat that spends a lot of time around here appeared through the hedge by the lawn and ran over the drive towards the Ups and Downs, the rough field.  It had in its jaws a half-grown rabbit.  When I left again, a couple of minutes later, it was the other side of the drive near the hen-house, still carrying the rabbit.  “Was it alive?” asked the Sage when I told him later (the rabbit, that is).  No, definitely very dead.  I congratulated the cat, we’re rather overrun with rabbits, sweet as they are.  Its jaws must ache tonight, carrying it like that.

I bought a couple of summer skirts today.  Comfortably back to a size 10, thank goodness.  I put on a few pounds last year and have been assiduously losing them – well, not quite all yet, but they will go.  Gorgeous as the food is in India, I shall not gorge.  It’ll be too hot, for one thing.  But yum, I’m really looking forward to that food.

Just the ticket!

I’m a bit busy this evening, and hoping for an early night as well, but I’m wondering if anyone would like a ticket for the Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy?  Wink bought it before we were invited to India and has sent it to me to see if I can place it.  Thing is, it’s for Easter Sunday, 8th April, at 2.30 pm and it’s a senior ticket, though I suppose someone younger could pay the extra, so a lot of people will be visiting family.  If you would like it, please email me asap, first come first served and I’ll post it to you.

After all the work of yesterday, the documents went awry in the ether and I received several apologetically complaining emails to say that their data had become corrupted.  So I got tough with the bloody thing and have asserted my authoritay and it’s all okay now.  I’m not being beaten by a stupid incompetent computer programme (though at one point I did have to turn it off and on again).  And since, of course, a few people have sent me the documents they didn’t get around to before – no complaints, I know what it’s like and we’re all volunteers – so I’m having to return to it again now.  So no great news from the Zedary.  Tomorrow night, I’m staying with Weeza so will post from my iPad I expect.  Unless we’re talking too much, in which case please excuse me.

Z can’t count

The effect of the clocks changing was mainly to stop me sleeping at all.  I woke at 12.20 am, went to sleep sometime around 4.30, three hours later, and dozed for ten minutes at a time until 6.30 when the alarm went off.  So damn.

Apologies for no post yesterday, but I had an early night.  And I slept very well.  And I cracked, at least for the night, the way to get back to sleep.  I counted party guests.  Badly.  I started to tot them up – started on the south coast – well, there was Phil and Lisa, moving up a bit there is Tim, there’s Mig, up to Mike and Ann – I kept counting, then realised I’d left out Pixie Mum and Ian – ooh, I must add them … add them to what?

I’d forgotten the number. So I started again.  Then – ooh, how could I forget to add Rog and Mrs Rine? – add them to … oh bugger.  Start again.  I know, I’ll start from Norwich, Roses and Lawrence, keep going south … I lost count again.  And that wasn’t even including the people who would like to come but haven’t confirmed yet.  I shall write them all down.

However, the thing is that, even as I was chuckling over my inability to remember what I’d counted up to, I was falling asleep again.  So these various tickings-off were not all happening at the same awakening, they were each an hour or two apart.  Quite ludicrous.

I had a busy morning – a document that had to be combined from 25 other documents and I can’t bear to relive it all – suffice to say that I hadn’t finished by 1.30 when I had to go out, so it wasn’t sent off until the early evening.  So much seems to happen on a Monday morning – first Wendy, my governors’ clerk, noticed something had been left off a document and it took several emails for it to be sorted out, then I received more emails and a whole lot of phone calls, most of which were for the Sage and I had to leave my desk to go and find him, then Jamie wanted to know how many trenches to dig for asparagus crowns, how deep etc, then the fishmonger called.  And then it seemed to make sense to plant the asparagus straight away, so I had to go and haul my muddy jeans out of the washing basket and put them on to do that, because I was wearing Good Clothes – ooh, by the way, there is good news in that I’d sort of grown out of those jeans (and I couldn’t buy more because I’ve a strict size limit for wearing jeans and if I’m any bigger I don’t wear them) and I’ve shrunk back into them.

And I’ve just looked around and the Sage has brought me a snifter of whisky.  Or does it have to be brandy for a snifter?  A dram, then.  Cheers, everybody, cheers!

Ooh, I told the tequila joke to the Head this afternoon.  He thought it was very funny too.

Z dabbles in the mud

Today, I’ve mostly been planting plants.  The result is that the new bed between the wall and the drive is pretty well full.  There is room for a few more things that I can buy when I see and want them, and I’m quite sure that things will be moved around in the autumn, but at least the ground will be fairly well covered and there will be some flowers.  I know I haven’t got it right yet – how is it that nearly all the climbers have turned out to be yellow? – but at least there’s something there now.  And about 100 plants put in during an afternoon was a bit of a marathon and I got rather bored, I have to admit.  It wasn’t helped by the dark brown hen being so keen to be the first to find anything edible as I dug that she sat on my spade and I had to lift her as well as the sod.  Which was a word I said more than once, truth to tell.

The day started quite well actually, when the Sage remembered to remind me that I needed to turn on the church heating for tomorrow as well as a couple of days in the week when the village school is using the building for their Easter Play.  I went down, checked all timings, put in the right ones (there are a few of us who understand the timeclock but I was the only one about today) and came back home, made a cup of tea and some breakfast toast and then, sitting reading the morning emails, I remembered that the bloody clock changes in the small hours tonight.  And I had not changed the church timer accordingly.  So I had to go back and do it – and seriously, if there is not a firm decision made to abandon Greenwich Mean Time, fine institution as it was but is no longer except in Scotland where they are welcome to it, I shall mount a protest.  Well, not literally, but I’ll moan like anything.  The point is, I don’t want the clocks to change at all.  Summer Time all year round, I say.  It’s the obvious way forward.

Anyhoo, that having been done I made another cup – well, I made coffee this time and faffed around reading the paper and so on for a bit, until the sun moved round to warm where the bed is, and then I started planting, and it took a long time, because I had to set the plants out and then change my mind and then tweak a bit and then … oh darlings, you get the idea.  Fortunately, Jamie had rearranged his time, most kindly, to come for a couple of hours this afternoon and he has put wire netting round the bed so the chickens don’t scratch them all up again first thing tomorrow.  He noted that I was looking a bit glum as I neared the end of the job – and then said I’d cheered up to my usual self after I finished, so that made me feel better – that my usual self is perceived as the cheerful one, that is.

I bought several pots of sweet pea seedlings that I’ve split and put into larger pots and will plant tomorrow or the next day – 50p for around 15 seedlings – that is, about 12-20 in each pot – which seems extremely good value.  I’ve also got a couple of dozen asparagus crowns and I’ve put them into some compost to keep moist until the bed is ready.  I’ll probably plant them on Tuesday.

The slightly sad thing is that, a few years ago, I’d have been in a state of bliss all day and thoroughly enjoyed it all.  Now, it’s a bit of a chore.  I don’t quite know where my pleasure in gardening went, but it’s more an obligation now.  I’m very sad about that and I really do try hard to renew that pleasure – I do love to raise plants from seed and care for young plants – but I think I have lost the ability to relax through work.  I shall keep trying, though.

Something I said the other night made me wonder if I was just saying it or whether I have found out something more about myself that I never knew … I was at that school concert and (I can’t remember the context) the Head remarked that I’m a linguist, aren’t I?  I hastily disclaimed, acknowledging that I took Latin and French A Levels but haven’t used them since and am pretty useless – and I took them the year after O Levels, which was way too steep a learning curve, especially for Latin.  I was asked, by the other governor, how so? and explained that I’d flunked Latin twice, dropped it for a year, took it again, got a respectable grade so went for the A Level (and in French too) in a year.  “If I failed, I raised the bar and tried again, harder,” I said in explanation.  She suggested that I must have been quite an exacting mother – I said, not at all – and in fact, it’s self-command that I’m interested in, not imposing things on others … but the first bit, is it true, I wonder, or was it just something I said to give a plausible explanation?  I’m not sure.  I do know that I’ve a reputation for pushing myself hard, but that’s easy to gain.  I don’t really, I just take too much on and then scurry around at the last to get a reasonable result.  If I did less, I would be able to do it really well – but I can’t be arsed.  I’d rather be just good enough at a lot of things.  I don’t mind failing at something that’s beyond me, but I don’t like to be beaten for lack of effort, even though effort is a slightly dirty word in this part of the Zedary.

Anyway, the thing is, those plants are all in place and that’s one job jobbed.

Chick pic

When we were out for dinner with the family the other night, Squiffany had a joke for us.
“A Mexican man pushed his wife off a cliff.  What did he do that for?”
(see below photos)

 The chickens have been enjoying the spring weather.  Two of the three cocks are in this picture – they are still pretty friendly with each other and don’t fight – it appears that there are quite enough hens to go around.  A bit x-rated on occasion, has to be admitted, around here.

 The new hen, Christmas Eve (I can’t remember the alternative names) is particularly tame and makes herself welcome inside the house at will.  She is quite willing to be picked up for a cuddle.

And yesterday, when I arrived home and hurried in the house to fetch some change before delivering the meals on wheels money, I returned to find that I’d left the car door open and she’d hopped in.

Zerlina and Augustus enjoying the swings.

The usual Z

Things are progressing nicely.  My passport has arrived, duly visaed, I’ve picked up my daily contact lenses as well as the usual monthlies and I’ve bought mozzie repellent and sunscreen in bulk.  Wink and I have just had a conversation on the phone and are in complete agreement – that is, that we don’t want to rush around sightseeing in between parties but are content to move about gently and chill in nice hotels, keeping the wedding ceremonies (bride Hindu, groom Christian, albeit also Indian) and receptions as the main events.  We’ve also agreed to go to Heathrow the night before departure, and Wink will book the hotel.  She’s also investigating hotels in Chennai and in Pondicherry.  Since I’ve sorted out the aeroplane tickets, this seems a fair division of labour (I must remember to take the credit card I booked them on, apparently.  All this remembering is tough on a frivolous little thing like me, I prefer to let go of things once arranged to my satisfaction.

So now a short break in writing while I make coffee.  ‘Scuse me.


Right.  Chocolate truffle and coffee in front of me.

The catalogue for the Sage’s next sale is at the printers and Ro is trying to work on the website tonight, but Skydrive won’t let him access the photos, even though it clearly says at my end that he has permission and I can’t see a time limit.  Hmmm. Since our internet is deadly slow now, it takes ages for anything to happen at all, and I’m still trying to check it out.  Honestly, darlings, it’s a good job that I’m as remarkably patient as I am.

Still waiting.  Eaten chocolate.  Sipped coffee.

I’ve sent the file link again.  No idea.  Poor lad gives his time and expertise, I hate him being messed around like this.  Fingers crossed that the sodding thing works this time.

The Sage and I bought some plants today.  Well, that is, he came with me and spent ten minutes helping, then he vanished without saying anything, me waiting patiently, then impatiently.  Finally, I went and found him again.  Not that it mattered to me how long we took, it was he who was expecting a phone call.

It was a good thing that I’ve been hanging around, as it gave me space to remember that there was a casserole in the oven and I’ve taken it out.  No smells emanate from the Aga so there is nothing to remind you when a dish is ready – or overcooked – or burned.  Not that it ever burns in the bottom oven, it just sits there getting darker.  I was making spag bol for supper – not that I’d dream of calling it spag bol myself of course, it’s just to save time typing.  I’m not big on abbreviations (and have never shortened university to its first three letters in my life.  You knee.  Hmph.) and have been known to get quite cross.  Apart from sensible ones, obv, darls, y’know what I mean.

It was not until this morning when I was roaming around the kitchen making coffee that it occurred to me that I had not had a drink at all yesterday.  Water, tea, of course.  Nothing alcoholic.  The good news was twofold – I didn’t miss it and I didn’t feel any different this morning.  If I’d felt all bright and clear-headed, it would have been a bit worrying.  As it was … no, the usual grouchy Z.

Two more firsts for Augustus

The most cheering news of the day for me was that my passport, complete with visa, is in the post and I should receive it tomorrow.  Wink was going up to London today to fetch hers in person.  So we’re on track.  I still haven’t sorted out my transport to Heathrow or my insurance mind you, but that’s because I’ve been having far too much fun today.

Weeza had an appointment locally this afternoon, so she brought the children over for us to look after them.  It was a beautiful day, really hot and I took them to a local playground, not the one in the village but about five miles away.  I thought an Emergency Russian would be a good idea, so packed a hot cross bun – not that it was hot, you understand, but ‘cross bun’ doesn’t make sense.  Anyway, as soon as Zerlina heard about it she decided she was hungry, so I shared large pieces for her and small pieces for Gus.  Then they went on the swings – z had a go first, then I put Gus in the swing and she pushed him, then she went on the adjoining swing and I pushed both of them, then I received a phone call so spoke to a friend and kept pushing both swings.  Oh, how I multi-tasked.

Later at home, I gave Gus some tea and had just cooked boiled eggs and toast soldiers for z when Weeza arrived back, so I made a pot of Earl Grey fumé to drink while z ate.  Weeza was pleased to hear about the park and Gus’s first experiences of bun and swing.

This evening, I went to the high school’s Spring Concert, which was absolutely brilliant.  The huge enjoyment of music shown by the students is lovely and the standard is very impressive.  My ears are slightly numbed by the rock bands, but they’re very good indeed and extremely dedicated.  I wonder if some of the musicians have much time for the rest of their school work, actually.  But maybe they are good at multi-tasking too.

Z says no

We all went out to supper this evening to celebrate Squiffany’s birthday.  She had a party at home yesterday for her friends.  Weeza and Phil came over with the children, Phil on his bike straight from work – I’ve mentioned his 45 mile a day round trip commute, this added several more miles but he never seems to mind.  Ro cycles to work too, but he just has 4 or 5 miles each way to the city centre.  And I – well, less said the better.  One has to allow so much time, especially when travelling from one appointment to another – yes, it is possible because I used to do it, but I haven’t been that dedicated recently and I tend only to get on my bike if I have a single errand to run.

The children were all lovely at dinner, the babies in adjoining high chairs looked particularly adorable.  Weeza shared her ice cream with Gus – his first taste of such a delicacy and he was thrilled.  He sat very still and well-behaved on her lap, his eyes following every movement of the spoon in the hope that the next mouthful would be for him.

I finally have got some seeds sown, but have decided not to grow greenhouse vegetables from seed this year.  I’ll buy the plants.  The reason is that, with me away for a fortnight in April, it’s a lot for the Sage to look after.  It’s not difficult nor even very time consuming, but when I have seedlings or young plants in the propagator my first thought every morning is the weather and the temperature, whether I need to turn the heat off, leave the cover on, off or shade the plants, remember to fill a watering can each day and put it in the greenhouse so that it’s not going to chill the plants and I can’t expect him to remember it when it’s not normally his job.  For a few days yes, but not for two weeks.  Just a few trays and pots to be watered is quite enough, on top of looking after himself.

Having said that, I think he quite likes looking after himself.  And I’m slightly anxious about what I’ll find when I get home again.  This afternoon, for example, he asked to borrow Al’s van.  Al said yes, but asked what for.  Tim in the shop wanted the old fridge taken away, he said.  “What are you going to do with it?” I asked suspiciously.  The nearest tip closed down and I didn’t think he’d be driving 20 minutes to the next one.  “I’ll leave it in the van, or maybe put it behind the wall” – he gestured to the newly-paved area where my shed is to go.  I lay the law down.  I said no, quite vehemently.  I was not having it brought home, it would be here for the next three years at least, and it wasn’t to be left in the van.  The Sage accepted this with reasonable grace, though obviously thinking I was being totally unreasonable.  Later, I drove into town and saw him going in the gate of a neighbour down the road who is renovating his property and has a skip in the garden.  I asked, later … the neighbour was out, he’ll ask another day.  The Sage dearly loves helping people.  Unfortunately, I don’t count as people and the result is not always quite harmonious.  Not that we fell out over it.  We would have if I’d found that fridge in my garden though.