Monthly Archives: January 2014

There’s always 16-61 and win-win, surely?

Someone I follow on Twitter led me here – some great words or phrases in various languages that we don’t have in English, most of which are unfamiliar – the words, that is, not their meanings.  And here they are –

1 Age-otori (Japanese): To look worse after a haircut

2 Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese): An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favor, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude

3 Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist

4 Bakku-shan (Japanese): A beautiful girl… as long as she’s being viewed from behind

5 Desenrascanço (Portuguese): “to disentangle” yourself out of a bad situation (To MacGyver it)

6 Duende (Spanish): a climactic show of spirit in a performance or work of art, which might be fulfilled in flamenco dancing, or bull-fighting, etc.

7 Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love

8 Gigil (pronounced Gheegle; Filipino): The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute

9 Guanxi (Mandarin): in traditional Chinese society, you would build up good guanxi by giving gifts to people, taking them to dinner, or doing them a favor, but you can also use up your gianxi by asking for a favor to be repaid

10 Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo): A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time

11 L’esprit de l’escalier (French): usually translated as “staircase wit,” is the act of thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it

12 Litost (Czech): a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery

13 Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan): A look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire

14 Manja (Malay): “to pamper”, it describes gooey, childlike and coquettish behavior by women designed to elicit sympathy or pampering by men. “His girlfriend is a damn manja. Hearing her speak can cause diabetes.”

15 Meraki (pronounced may-rah-kee; Greek): Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing

16 Nunchi (Korean): the subtle art of listening and gauging another’s mood. In Western culture, nunchi could be described as the concept of emotional intelligence. Knowing what to say or do, or what not to say or do, in a given situation. A socially clumsy person can be described as ‘nunchi eoptta’, meaning “absent of nunchi”

17 Pena ajena (Mexican Spanish): The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation

18 Pochemuchka (Russian): a person who asks a lot of questions

19 Schadenfreude (German): the pleasure derived from someone else’s pain

20 Sgriob (Gaelic): The itchiness that overcomes the upper lip just before taking a sip of whisky

21 Taarradhin (Arabic): implies a happy solution for everyone, or “I win. You win.” It’s a way of reconciling without anyone losing face. Arabic has no word for “compromise,” in the sense of reaching an arrangement via struggle and disagreement

22 Tatemae and Honne (Japanese): What you pretend to believe and what you actually believe, respectively

23 Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island): to borrow objects one by one from a neighbor’s house until there is nothing left

24 Waldeinsamkeit (German): The feeling of being alone in the woods

25 Yoko meshi (Japanese): literally ‘a meal eaten sideways,’ referring to the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language

A few of them are well known, to the extent of having been adopted by us, and I’m not sure why 11 has been picked out when there are so many French terms that also hit the spot so neatly . 19 too, is so well known that it is used in English and generally understood, whereas 17 is even more useful, yet I’d not come across it before.  Yet it’s a personal choice, nothing definitive – anyway, the first three made me chuckle enough to show them to you (check Liz’s comment yesterday about the annoying Emma).  2 in particular – oh yes, exactly.  We so need a phrase for that.

I’ve had encouraging responses to requests for help this week, with the result that the governing body is looking nicely secure at present, even though we’re going to have a couple of vacancies by the end of the school year.   One is leaving after 16 years, another only ever promised one 4-year term and has worked very hard – it’s fair enough.  There will be more chairmen of committee roles to fill, but I’m good for replacement SEN governor, Safeguarding governor, all curriculum links but one, vice-chairmen, one of whom is up for taking over from me all being well, and someone is keen to be more involved.   When I started as chairman, I had five years in mind and this is my fifth year already, so I’ll exceed it by at least a year.  However, in the circumstances, that’s fine.

I’m giving some thought, rather too early, about what I’ll do afterwards.  I already have offers, but I need to consider what I want to do, not just where I’ll be useful.  The idea of not being useful is not one I’m ready for yet, but nor do I want to have too many new obligations.  Sometimes, agreeing to do something because of good nature is not very kind to oneself.  Still, I mustn’t think too far ahead yet.

Z at school 13 – school books

I found reading in class horribly dreary and dull – the bits where everyone had to take it in turns to read, that is.  Some children found it quite challenging and stumbled through, few read aloud well, with expression, and it was so much slower than reading to oneself.  I wasn’t alone in reading ahead, keeping one finger in the page we were on.  Of course, the teacher was wise to that and would snap out “next word!” to someone she spotted engrossed in a later page.

On the whole, though I disliked the books we were given to read.  I can only remember a few, but was completely put off the author in every case – until I got to the age of public exams, that is.

The first was A High Wind in Jamaica – which must have been very well written, because I still remember much of it, much as I disliked it.  I’ve been trying to analyse why, without actually having to read it again.  For a start, I don’t think it helped that I came from a small family – the sort of banter that went on in large families was outside my experience, not in a good way … I remember a conversation about telling whose clothes were whose by their smell, and about catching ringworm by riding horses bareback, both of which rather revolted me.  The only character I liked, John, was killed off, and then his siblings put him right out of their mind and blanked the accident from their memories, which I found peculiar.  Emily herself, the main character, I disliked.  I’m sure I didn’t understand the undertones of the captain’s advances towards her, but probably found it disturbing – and it was again when Emily stabbed the Dutch captain, and when she condemned the pirate captain to death by crying in court about the blood when he died.  Even the end, when she was portrayed amongst other blameless children of her own age, I found creepy.

Nada the Lily.  Another horrible one, as far as I was concerned.  A lot of brutality, which I wouldn’t necessarily have minded (I remember taking A Coral Island in my stride and in that, a boat was launched using live – for a while – humans as rollers to haul it down to the sea) but I found it unpleasant – the narrator was accused of lying and had to put his hand in the fire.  If he’d cried out and snatched it out, it would have proved he was lying so he didn’t, even though he was.  Nada’s death was terrible, holed up in a cave with a rock trapping her.  I disliked it and was also bored by it and have never read anything by H. Rider Haggard since (he lived very near here and I know his family and would never dare admit that to them, especially to the one named Nada.

Worst of all must have been Redgauntlet, because I don’t remember anything about it at all.  Even reading the synopsis doesn’t remind me, and I was the sort of person who quoted lines from books and could place them – ‘near the bottom of a right-hand page, about two-thirds of the way through the book’ and so on, after a first reading.  Again, I’ve never read any Scott first, not even Ivanhoe.

Things looked up considerably when I was taking O Levels.  Inexplicably, the set book was Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals.  Having loved it from when I was a small child and read it many times, I already knew it well and it was certainly a doddle.  Hardly great literature and I’m not sure why it ever made it to the public exam syllabus.  The poetry was First World War, which was much more demanding, and the Shakespeare was Richard III, which I also loved.

There were so many good books about when I was in my teens.  Writers such as Nevil Shute, Monica Dickens, A.J. Cronin, Daphne du Maurier, Iris Murdoch, Kingsley Amis, JD Salinger, William Golding, Joseph Heller – and they’re just the first that spring to mind.  I read classics too, of course, from Conan Doyle and Tolstoy to Thackeray and Horace Walpole and lighter stuff such as Dick Francis, PG Woodhouse and Georgette Heyer.  Mark Twain was a favourite (our dog was called Huckleberry, though the cartoon hound had something to do with that, I admit) and so was Saki, whose levity and wit, interspersed with the deftly sardonic, still appeals to me no end.  We named another dog Bassington and a third Clovis, after Saki characters.

Oddly, I’d never read Jane Austen, which was very lucky because I came upon her at just the right time, when I was sixteen and taking my first A Levels.  Emma was the set novel and we studied Romantic poets, particularly Wordsworth, Keats and Coleridge.  Also Hamlet – now, who can go wrong with the Prince of Denmark?  And the blithe Wife of Bath, for the Chaucer.  How lucky I was.  I swept through the syllabus and took the exam after one year instead of two.

Little Z’s spare time – books

A friend of mine – the wife of a former Rector, as it happens – used to refer to me quite fondly as a tomboy.  It wasn’t a word used about me as a child, as far as I know, though I was determinedly not a girly girl.  I rather despised dolls, for instance, though I liked my cuddly toys.  I didn’t dress them up or anything, I think I just cuddled them and took them to bed.  I only remember once having a tea party with them, when two or three boys were round for the day and they rather enjoyed doing something quite different, just as I liked going to my friend Lawrence’s house, where I could play with his cars and trains.  I never had any myself – if my parents had had any idea how much I’d have liked them, they’d have bought me some, but I was firmly of the upbringing that to ask for things was greedy and rude.  I can remember very few toys or games that were gender-specific.

Maybe if I’d looked less girlish I’d have been called a tomboy, it’s impossible to know now.  I just don’t remember that sort of stereotyping.  But I had long, blonde hair, was shy and quite sweet looking – on the other hand, I was usually dreadfully messy, my hair was wild and I liked nothing better than getting messy.  I put a photo up, a long time ago, of me in our slipway, in the water tugging at a dinghy – I still don’t think that’s gender-specific and I’m very glad no one ever tried to categorise me.  I think that happens more now than it used to, now that they’re even aiming Lego specifically at boys or girls.

The books I read weren’t girls’ or boys’ either – or rather, if they were, I didn’t care one way or the other.  I read Mallory Towers and Chalet School books just as much as Billy Bunter and Jennings (mildly interesting that the girls’ ones are identified by the schools and the boys’ by the characters), girl-orientated pony stories, such as the Jill’s Gymkhana series, and the Biggles books.  I read everything I could – my parents subscribed to a children’s book club and the monthly book just arrived.  Since my sister was – indeed, still is – five years older than I am, there were already plenty of books on the shelves for me to start with.  They also bought a lot of books.  I read Arthur Ransome, Michael Bond, Lewis Carroll, Malcolm Saville, Willard Price, Rudyard Kipling, Enid Blyton, anything I could find.  By the time I was eight or so, I was getting rather more ambitious, or possibly pretentious, and convinced myself I read Shakespeare for pleasure.  Starting with Lamb’s Tales, I moved on to the real thing – the first I tacked was The Tempest, which must have gone way over my head.  Then I had a go at Pilgrim’s Progress, which I found such a struggle that I had to limit myself to a page a night.

I loved stories of Greek and Roman myth and history too.  My parents bought the Encyclopaedia Britannica and I amused myself for hours, opening it at random and reading about whatever I found.  Or I’d start with one item and follow links.  Was that unusual?  I’ve no idea.  I liked non-fictiojn generally, whatever the subject, though probably animals appealed most.

I’m not sure now if this was an unreservedly good thing.  I liked some books more than others, obviously, but I wasn’t particularly discriminating in terms of quality.  I know that I often would read about doing something rather than actually doing it.

Bittersweet sixteen

It’s doing the rounds on Facebook again, ten albums that mean something to you, that have stayed with you for a long time.

Black Sheep Boy – Okkervil River
Get Lonely – The Mountain Goats
Peter Grimes – Benjamin Britten
Cosi Fan Tutte – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The Lieutenant Kije suite – Sergei Prokofiev
Alice – Tom Waits
Rook – Shearwater
Orchestral Songs (singer: Christian Gerhaher) Gustav Mahler
Schwarzkopf Sings Operetta (singer: Elisabeth S) – Various composers
The Bix Beiderbecke Gold Collection (soloist Bix B) – Various composers
Dinu Lapatti/Besançon Festival (pianist Dinu L) Various composers

These were mine – and yes, I know there are eleven.  So?  Rules are like etiquette.  Sometimes there’s a good reason for them, sometimes they’re artificial and don’t matter.  Also rules are there for learners.  Once you know what you’re doing, you can break them.

So I’ll add a few more – I couldn’t bother my Facebook friends, but I remembered several others that came into my mind when I was thinking about it, but had slipped by the time I was typing.

Hoagy Sings Carmichael – Singer songwriter Hoagy C, rather obviously. I love this album.
Benny Goodman’s Greatest Hits – yeah, I know, ‘greatest hits’ – but this encapsulates how I’d love to be able to play the clarinet, not as if it’s an instrument but as if it is an extension of me.
Requiem, Mozart – I know, Süssmayr finished it when Mozart died. That’s fine.
Tom Lehrer in Concert – come on, he’s got to be in here. I took the name of this blog from him.
Schubert: Piano Duets – played by Sviatoslav Richter and Benjamin Britten. A friend of mine gave me this, some years ago, and I love it.

This isn’t meant to be a list of favourite music, and there are many works that would certainly be in there if it were – but it is (and I may slip a few more in there quietly) a compilation of some of the music I turn to most often, for whatever reason.

There have been times when I couldn’t cope with too much extra emotion.  Such as when my mother was terminally ill and I was COPING, DAMMIT, COPING.  I didn’t appreciate at the time how anxious family and friends were about me, I was spinning those plates in a frenzy of efficiency.  Ronan wrote from university, lovingly solicitous, suggesting that music might be good for me.  I listened to two albums over and over again: Bix Beiderbecke and Prokofiev.  Why they hit the spot, I don’t know, but I could cope with them and little more.  It was in 1970 that my mother and I bought the Schwarzkopf record and it had the same effect – comforting and uplifting, but not too much – we needed some lightness.  It had the added advantage, to me, of introducing me to a way of singing, and after that I learned to love opera.

Dinu Lapatti is there for his courage.  Many people face their death with courage and grace, but it takes something else to pour all your fading strength into playing an instrument for the last time in concert and, if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t.  I’m not so sure about the wonderful Jussi Björling, who sang on stage, immediately after having suffered a heart attack.  He died the same year at the age of 49, and I’d rather he’d rested and maybe lived to sing on.

I absolutely adore Mozart’s operas, especially Cosi – I took my mother to it and she (really rather preferring favourite arias to the entire show) was rather shocked.  “That’s the most cynical thing I’ve ever seen!” she said.  I tried to explain, but not very well, Mozart’s deep understanding and acceptance of the way people are.  It’s not cynical, but it is worldly wise.

The Mountain Goats – after my mother died – and I cared for her to the end, she died in her own bed and I found her and checked that she was dead and phoned to tell the doctor in the middle of the night – I took more than three years to recover from what I later realised was a deep depression.  I was just pulling out of that when Ronan gave me Get Lonely, which I found startlingly negative at first.  But it grew on me – it was a time when I still was playing the same music over and over again.

And the rest – oh, there’s a story to tell with each one.  And I am thinking of more essential albums, but one has to draw a line and I’ve written enough for you to read on a Sunday night.  Besides, I’ve come up with a name for the post and I don’t want to spoil it.  Back to young Z tomorrow, I daresay.

Z at school 12 – games

The school was right on Lowestoft seafront and its premises stretched from the Victoria Hotel to the north side to Kensington Gardens, the public park, to the south.  From north to south, there was the school itself, with the playground in front of it, separated from the road by a high wall, then the convent, then a side road and the tennis courts and playing fields were the other side.  The school also owned a large house on the other side of the road – I think boarders slept there and, on the ground floor, there was the business school.

As an aside, the convent itself had previously been my grandmother’s family home.  It was then called Alpington House.  And Kensington Gardens (I’ve no idea why it was so named) was officially opened by my grandfather and we still have the gold key somewhere.

The playing fields were known as St Luke’s because there used to be a hospital there.  I believe it specialised in TB patients as the pure east coast air, with generally no extremes of temperature, was considered beneficial.  It closed in 1955 and its disposal was being considered as late as 1957 – it must have been  pulled down soon after that, I don’t remember it as anything but tennis courts and grass by the time I started school in 1958 and, though I hardly think it can have vanished without trace by then, it had by the time I used the playing fields.   Ah – a memory is coming back – several years later, by which time I was in the Senior School, it was decided to build a new Primary School on the further part of the playing fields.  The RC Church paid for the building and then it became a Voluntary Aided Roman Catholic Primary School.  I’ve just remembered that my mother was quite indignant, because there had been an appeal for parents to fund the purchase of the hospital site and she thought it was very sneaky to then use it for a different purpose.

The part that was built on had been the hockey pitch, and a damn cold site it was.  I mostly felt resentment, and I wasn’t the only one, that we had to wear little short navy skirts whilst the games mistress wore a tracksuit.  The next section of the field, later the whole of it, was for athletics, with the long jump pit (is that the word?) between the tennis courts and the road, which had a wire fence and a tamarisk hedge.  I was good at the long jump, the only sort of athletics I was any good at.  The run-up was about my length – I was always a poor runner.  Interesting (to me, that is) that it turned out I’d got a hip abnormality, I suspect a connection.

The tennis courts were also used for netball.  Now, in those days, games mistresses were the teachers with the most blatant use of favouritism.  Many of you must have been in the same situation – the two best players of a sport were made team captains and took it in turns to pick players, to the increasing humiliation of the remaining few.  Would the slow girl or the fat girl or the one with thick glasses be the last picked?  I was the useless one, being short with a poor aim and no interest at all in team games, nor winning.  I wasn’t usually chosen last, but it was a close thing.  And I’ve got a reasonable aim now, yet I never remember once the teacher taking those who were not good at it aside and making us practise.  Only the stars got encouragement.

It isn’t quite right to say I was useless at all athletics – I was also quite reasonable at throwing, epecially the javelin.  Hopeless at hurdles, because I had short legs and it was really difficult to manage the required number of strides and have reached the next hurdle.  I could neither run far nor fast – yet I was agile and had quick reactions, it was a pity that I was so discouraged.

Hockey, I really didn’t like, largely because of my smallness and the cold.  I only once remember making much effort, and it didn’t end well.  Bending forward and running towards the ball, I came up against an opposing girl, who raised her stick only slightly higher than she should have (smallest girl in the class against the biggest) and smacked me in the mouth with it – completely accidentally of course, though she never came and apologised, probably from embarrassment. Thank goodness, though I still bear the scar, my lip protected my teeth.  I was led off to be patched up and went out as usual at the end of the day.  My mother picked me up from school and I remember keeping my hair over that side of my face so that she wouldn’t see my split lip before I was in the car and had a chance to break the news gently.  I really hated upsetting people.  I didn’t cry, of course – I never cried away from home.  Far too proud.

I did like tennis, very much and it was about the only game I played out of school.  If it rained, we sometimes played badminton in the school hall and that was ok.  Table tennis too, which I was good at, but it wasn’t played very often.

The hall was well equipped for PE with wall bars and climbing ropes.  We also had a horse and a box and so on – I don’t think I’m making these terms up, am I?  I didn’t mind it when we did relay races in the hall, it was the sort of distance I could run fast and not acquit myself badly – though my total lack of an urge to win meant that it was best if I was not the last runner.  That’s probably why I liked long jump, discus and javelin – I was trying to better my own distance, not compete with anyone else.  And that’s a thought that hadn’t occurred to me before.


250 down, 1,000 to go?

And the school has been hit by a bug.  The winter vomiting bug.  10% of children off yesterday, 20% today, and a number of staff.  I went in for my weekly meeting with the Head, came home, washed and applied sanitiser, drank a tot of whisky and made a masala omelette for lunch with three eggs, an onion, two chillies and three cherry tomatoes.  Then I ate chocolate – but it’s sweetened with xylitol rather than sugar, so is good for my teeth.  I may catch this bug, but I’ll go down fighting.

And I’m going to hold Monday’s committee meeting here, rather than in school.  One of the governors is caring for a family member with cancer, another for a very elderly one.  Let’s not look for trouble, hey.  No illness at the sixth form site, but there’s 1,250 adults and children at the main school, so a lot of people are affected.

Russell is out at a funeral today.  It’s the time of the year, I’m sorry to say, and it’s not even as if it’s a cold winter.  Between us, we’ve been to eight or nine in the last four weeks, it’s a sad time.  My love to those thinking of people they’ve lost or are about to lose (one blog friend’s father is desperately ill and will not recover).  Today is the 44th anniversary of my father’s death, Monday is the 27th anniversary of my stepfather’s.

And now I’m going to spend an hour on school stuff and, I hope, put it aside for the weekend.  Then I shall go and play the piano.  Champagne tonight, I think.  Remember people with a smile.

Z at school 11

I should have sub-headed these.  Oh well.  The numbers may go up and up.

So there I was, quite happy at school in my mildly bewildered way.  I was good at anything that involved writing or reading, quite good at maths but a bit lazy about learning times tables, hopeless at anything artistic and highly reluctant to speak in class.

It took me years to nail the shyness, but I did in the end.  As a child, it was so inconvenient.  I was incapable of making a choice, sat in agonies for ages because I was too shy to put my hand up to ask to go to the loo, avoided addressing people by name in case, with my vagueness, I’d forgotten it overnight and they’d be offended or laugh (yeah, that’s an odd one, isn’t it?) and never referred to anyone as a friend in case they thought I was presumptuous.  On the whole, I was biddable, but there was a well-hidden stubborn streak.  I rarely got spotted as a rebel because I was so quiet, but actually I did exactly what I wanted.  It was just that, on the whole, I was good-natured and conformed.

When I was in the annexe attic last year (a note of explanation at the bottom)* I found a painting I’d done when I was 8 or 9.  My mother was so impressed that she had it framed.  It’s a white horse lying in the grass.  In vain, I explained that, though I’d done the basic outline and the painting, my teacher Mrs Hubbins had added a few brushstrokes that turned it from a daub into a horse.

The school was co-ed up to the age of 11, then was girls only.  It was a Roman Catholic school, fee-paying, but not elitist at all.  Catholic children were admitted regardless of their ability to pay – I’ve no idea how it was arranged, but I suspect that some parents paid little or nothing, there was certainly a very wide social mix.  Not that I was aware of this in the least – I had no notion of class or snobbery.

In those days, quite a lot of people talked with a distinct local accent.  I’d found it hard to understand when we first moved to Oulton Broad, though later I was almost unaware of it.  One, that I’ve never come across anywhere but Lowestoft, was the use of ‘funny’ to give emphasis – “coo, that funny hurt!”

*My mother used to live in our annexe.  Subsequently, Al and his family lived there for several years but their furniture meant that one of the attics wasn’t easy to get at.  Some of her stuff is still in there as a consequence.

The buck just stopped

I should carry on with my schooldays, but I feel the need to let go.

We went to the funeral of a dear friend today.  He and his wife have been tremendous experts in Lowestoft and other china, greatly liked and respected, he will be so much missed, personally and for his huge wealth of knowledge on many subjects.  Two Antiques Roadshow experts came to his funeral, for a start.  No one knew more than he did, nor was more generous with their time and expertise.

Before that, a committee meeting that raised an issue that needs tact and understanding.  On the whole, that’s what I’m good at – never being didactic, always asking questions, respectfully and with no pre-formed opinions, doing research before suggesting a way forward.  That’s what I’m there for.

Later, notice that a matter that should have been dealt with a couple of months ago is still outstanding.  When we held our headteacher interviews, we provided hotel accommodation for one of the candidates.  The hotel was booked for two nights.  They were asked for written confirmation, which was not forthcoming.  The candidate phoned to confirm and was told there was no reservation, so booked a room himself and notified us.  When we checked, we were told that two rooms were booked for him, so cancelled one.

We had three excellent candidates and any one of them would be a fine Head.  But we needed the right one for us now, and I had to tell this one that he would not go forward to the final interview.  He had rightly thought he was in with an excellent chance and had enquired at the hotel about staying a third night at his own expense.  At lunchtime, he went and checked out and asked if there was a charge for the late check-out.  He was told there was not.  But the school’s credit card was debited for a further sum, nearly £100, for a third night’s stay.

Several phone calls bore no conclusion, so I telephoned and was told the manager would not be in until Friday evening – this was Wednesday, I think – but I could email him.  I did so and received no reply.  I emailed again and finally phoned, having been down to visit Wink for the weekend in the meantime.  I got the ‘oh, your email is in front of me and I was about to contact you’ reply.  I was promised a refund as soon as the details of the bank account were provided, which they were some ten minutes later.

Then we broke up for Christmas.  Once there was time to look into it again, it was discovered that no refund had been made.  An email was sent.  An apology was received: it would be dealt with at once, could we send a fax number for the confirmation?

You’re not going to be surprised to be told that sod all has been received.  And the manager is not available until Monday.  He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s passed zero.  I’ve reached the end of my tether, yet I’m giving him a final chance.  If it hasn’t been dealt with by Monday morning, I will require the name and address of the hotel owners and details will go to Trip Advisor and any other similar website too.  Honestly darlings, I’m very tolerant but my core is sheer flint and I’ve been tested to that very core.  So has the finance department, who deals with a £7 million budget efficiently and with rigorous government auditing, to the penny.

I’ll make it clear that the hotel is not in the town but one of the adjoining ones.  I have no reason to think that you don’t get a good meal and a comfortable stay.  But the management is inept in every respect.

Back to normal Zeddiness tomorrow, darlings.  Apologies for venting, but by gum they deserve to be named.



Yet more jingles, how not to lose weight and Hip Hooray

Too many in the comments to add to the last post, so one more go…

Kipper says that Alka Seltzer was ‘I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.’  That was in America, over here it was Plunk, plunk, fizz, as far as I remember.  Other American ads are Wendy’s ‘Where is the beef?’ which I think is a bit odd, isn’t Wendy’s a burger bar?  Calgon take me away – ah, over here we had a jingle that irritated me – Washing machines live longer with Calgon.  I’m easily irritated.  But washing machines are inanimate objects.

Roses grow on you – of course, thank you, Pixie Mum.  Mike reminded us of We are the Ovalteenies – I’m singing along (sotto voce, you’ll be glad to know) as I type.  AQ has Hands that do dishes…. I mean, she suggested the Fairy Liquid ad – Put a tiger in your tank – was that Shell?  That reminds me, The Esso sign means happy motoring – that’s going back a long way, I wonder how many of you could still sing that one.  The Shake’n’Vac one was indeed very annoying.  Frosties were grrrreat, according to Tony the Tiger.

LZM has some more American ones – Shake N Bake hasn’t made it over here, nor has her Nestles one – but that’s something I meant to mention.  Nestlé is correctly pronounced with the acute accent, of course, but it wasn’t in my young day.  The Milky Bar advertisement clearly went ‘Nestle’s Milky Bar’ – nestle as in snuggle.  As for M’n’M’s melt in your mouth, not in your hand, that was a slogan that was used over here for Treets – which were chocolate in a candy shell, but weren’t there different fillings?  One was chocolate, one was peanut…was the other toffee?  I can’t remember.

Sir B had as misspent a youth watching tv as I did, citing Hot chocolate, drinking chocolate.  A million housewives every day… Beanz Meanz Heinz, and he has a later Esso song too – do check yesterday’s comments if you would like to be reminded in full of all these.

Things go better with Coca Cola.  Have a break, have a Kit Kat.  Drinka pinta milka day. A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play…the list is almost endless.

So I’ll finish by telling you seeing Ronan today.  I was in Norwich for one art lecture this morning and another in the afternoon, so suggested we meet and he kindly treated me to lunch.  He was telling me he’s put an app on his phone to keep track of what he eats.  “It reminds you to eat, you mean?” I said.  Not exactly – it works out the calories and so on, and then he sees how little he tends to eat and scarfs down a few snacks.  Healthy ones, of course.  Nuts, mostly.  The 12 miles a day he cycles use about an extra 500 calories, apparently and he finds it really difficult to eat enough to keep his weight up to 10 stone.  “I’m too lazy to eat, you see,” he said, a bit bewilderingly.  Mind you, I always knew he would remain slim.  Even as a child, when eating cake or pastries, he never picked up the crumbs on a dampened finger and put them in his mouth.  I mean, who else doesn’t?  Or am I just displaying embarrassingly why I shall never be thin?

Oh, one more thing.  Today’s the fourth anniversary of my hip replacement.  Three cheers!

Z at school 10 – jingles

I’m being reminded of more and more confectionary – I must admit that we’re a nation of sweetie-lovers.  And my keen recollections seem remarkable, in that I didn’t actually eat them that often.  Someone mentioned Toblerone, and what about the remarkable popularity of the sickly sweet Milky Bar?  Which brings me on to advertisements.  I reckon we watched BBC more than ITV, but all the same, there are so many jingles that will probably stay in my mind after I’ve forgotten my own name.  I’ve already mentioned the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, with its glass and a half of full-cream milk.   Murray Mints, the too good to hurry mints.  The highly irritating Milky Bar Kid (‘The Milky Bars are on me!’).  Opal Fruits, made to make your mouth water.  A finger of Fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat.  Fry’s Turkish Delight, warbled, was a slogan in itself.  Just because the lady loves Milk Tray.

I don’t think there’s a single current advertisement I could quote, but I remember loads from years gone by.  The Guinness is good for you ones, you’re never alone with a Strand (which was not a success, apparently, everyone loved the ad but thought they’d be Billy-no-mates if they bought the cigarettes.  You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent – a bit startling, perhaps.  1001 cleans a big, big carpet for less than half a crown.  Flash cuts cleaning time in half.  Go to work on an egg.

Any favourites?  I think I’ll have to add them to the bottom of this post if so.  I really can’t milk the subject much longer, this series is supposed to be about my schooldays.  Although I have to warn you – I adored television too in those days, I doubt if I’ll be able to resist remembering about that.