Monthly Archives: March 2014

Z looks forward

You know this, of course, if you’ve met her (and she’s been to each of the three blog parties so far), but Mig is lovely and great company, and I finally left after three hours.  She had to give me lunch!  She will be back to blogging, but gives her love and apologies at this time, she really can’t do it at present.  We agreed that, whatever the plus points of Facebook et al, blogging is the best, even if it’s rather in the doldrums at present.

Those of you whom I’ve met (including Mig herself) – it would not have happened via Twitter or any of the other *social media* and I wouldn’t have felt that I knew you and wanted to meet you.  Several blog friends have only met me once, though there’s never been any blogger I’ve met whom I haven’t liked, I’ve always told my husband and family when I was meeting everyone because I’m an open, cautious and sensible Z and I’ve appreciated the good nature and support of my family in this hobby.

I’ve come home to a lot of work – I did some while I was away but I wasn’t capable of it all, I’m quite near my limit at present and sometimes have to switch off and step away.  I’m ready for retirement, darlings, this is no fun any more and I’ve done it for so long, more than 25 years.

Tomorrow evening, our new Rector officially starts his job.  I’ve just had a phone call to ask (if the Archdeacon agrees) whether I’m willing to stand in as standard-bearer during the induction.  I don’t mind, of course, just as long as I don’t have to be a churchwarden again.  I’ve done that.  When I finish at the school, I’m taking a break.  Quite possibly, I won’t do voluntary work that carries any responsibility again.  I’ve given a lot over the years, I don’t owe anything.

Several of my dear friends are having their fortieth birthdays this year – some of my family, too.  It’s such a milestone – yet not a millstone, in any sense.  Jo’s birthday is tomorrow – not that she reads this blog, though she knows that I do blog.  Happy fortieth birthday, Jo.

Yes, she’s an April Fish.  But we won’t tease…


Z packs her bags

I’ve finally done the work that was the reason for me bringing the computer.  I should have gone home today, but Al can look after Hay tomorrow so, having consulted R and Wink, I’m staying an extra night.  The big bonus is that I can call on Mig on the way home – Zig is away and Tim is busy and I knew that Mig would have family things on today, but she’s free tomorrow so I’ll turn up looking thirsty around coffee time.


Having a lovely time…

Ooh yes, if you were here too, it would be brilliant!  What fun!

Wink has been working mornings and happy to do so, though she’s actually still signed off for another week at least.  Still, she loves her job, her boss and colleagues are great, she was keen to get back as soon as possible.  However, she was very tired by the end of the week and I’m tired too and we’ve been taking it easy.  We went to the village pub, or one of them, for supper last night, we had a relaxed morning and then went to Salisbury today, we called on friends for tea and then had a rather boozy evening.  And yet I am still typing accurately, so it can’t be that boozy.

I have been able to buy a mouse, though it was a little less simple than I’d expected.  They didn’t have them in the sizeable supermarket, so I enquired in Shaftesbury.  I was told there was a computer shop – but it had closed down.  There was a computer repair place though, so I went in and asked, without much optimism.  They didn’t have a new mouse, but they could let me have a secondhand one for a few pounds?  Perfect.  £3 for a decent Logitech mouse, everyone’s happy.

I’ve also bought Wink’s birthday present and Al’s birthday present, and had already bought part of Weeza’s birthday present.  The weight of responsibility is receding.  Those three family birthdays in April, but none in May (only our wedding anniversary, and we don’t do anything for that), R’s birthday in June – yes, it all starts to heat up from then on.  Still, time enough for that.  Everyone’s coming over next Saturday for tea, so I’m working towards that.

I’ve just been on the phone to R and all’s well at home.  He’s going over to Weeza tomorrow, to see what the builders are doing – which, at the moment, is removing the landing.  Three bedrooms are still intact, but the rest is a network of joists with nothing in between.  I’d be terribly tempted to play, balancing and swinging, so it’s just as well I’m not there.

Oh darlings, I must tell you – poor Bod has had a bad accident.  He’s Wink’s friend, a lovely man who largely dedicates his life to looking after his 90-something-year-old mum, who’s chairbound.  He had a rare week away, in Oxford, and had a nasty fall and has broken his hip.  At present, he’s in hospital in Oxford but should be home on Monday.  Fortunately, his brother, who’s looking after mum at present, can stay on, but they’ve got to think of what to do over the next couple of months, because it will take at least that long for him to recover enough to care for her as usual.

Tomorrow – well, I don’t quite know.  It’s been a lovely sunny day and if it’s the same again, we might just go somewhere nice and enjoy it.  It’s a little holiday, after all.

Duzzy Fools

That’s Russell and me, in case you wondered.

I’m down at Wink’s again, though she isn’t here tonight. A friend was taking her to the theatre and then, to save the trip back late at night, she is staying over. Jennifer lives in the town where Wink works, so she can walk to her office in the morning. I will meet her at lunchtime (she’s still officially signed off work, but we Humphery girls don’t malinger (you’re not ill with a hip replacement, after all) and were both back in harness soon after our ops. She’s just working mornings, because one does get quite tired.

I had so much to do this morning that I left an hour later than scheduled, not having finished, so I have had to bring my computer again, which I had hoped not to do. It was raining, so I put it in a big box that Squiffany’s present had been delivered in, packed it round with pillows and Russell helped me load it in the car. Because of the late start, I got caught in traffic and had a slow section of the journey, not arriving until 8.15.

I phoned home and no reply. I phoned Russell’s mobile, no reply. I gave up, looked in Wink’s fridge and headed for the village. There were four options: the Indian, the Chinese, a pub or something from the Co-op. And the last was what I went for, buying pasta and a sauce.

While they were cooking, I set up my computer,and realised I didn’t remember packing my mouse. So I rang Russell again – a bit surprised that he hadn’t rung me. He answered. “Can you ring my mobile?” were his first words. There was no reply on his mobile, so I waited – or rather, I ate my dinner and drank some wine. In due course, he phoned back. He’d lost his iPhone.

Those of you with iPhones will understand the devastating feeling. He was immensely upset. However, and most fortunately, he had used the torch to find the keyhole as he came in, so he knew it was in the house. The next ten minutes or so was spent with me phoning him while he scooted round the house into every room he’d been in, listening for it.

Finally, we gave up. He lamented his foolishness but I was sympathetic.  He hadn’t left it on a shop counter (I have) and he hadn’t packed it in a box bound for Scotland (Rog). He knew it was in the house, which demonstrates the importance of rarely letting it out of your sight, so that you never forget the last place you had it.

I fetched Wink’s mouse, which is cordless … and won’t connect with my computer, chiz chiz. So I have an unscheduled (that auto corrected to a nun’s exiled, which really makes no sense at all) evening off and have had another glass of wine.  I hope the local electrical shop can sell me a mouse, otherwise I’ll be off to the supermarket ten minutes down the road.

Oh – soon after putting the phone down, after a final call to Russell’s mobile, I received a call from him. He found it. He’d put it back in his jacket pocket. He felt no end of a fool. I assured him that he wasn’t in the least, it’s normal.

Normal For Norfolk, darlings.

Five more things, a bit longer

1 I realise that I need to update my sidebar, to add the Tots. The three tortoises are all doing very well, the babies toddle about a bit but relax much of the time, whereas Edweena spends hours scrabbling around trying to scale walls. Once she’s outside, I’ll landscape her pen (it has to be constructed yet) to give her a rockery. All three eat very well.

2 Squiffany’s birthday present part 2 has just arrived. I hope her mum will be able to call in and fetch it on her way home from work.

3 It’s been hailing today and is chilly. I was awake most of the night and had the electric blanket on much of the time, having taken off the winter duvet a couple of weeks ago. I think I was cold because I was awake rather than the other way round, though.

4 I’ve just finished the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. I lent the first to Al last week and both he and Dilly read it in a couple of days – Al said he took all of three hours. Thanks to Sir Bruin for the recommendation. Furthermore, Al, Squiffany and I had a chat about books yesterday – she’s not quite such a keen reader as Pugsley, so it was good to have her so engaged with the conversation and to know that we were too. I’ve read four books (plus some pages of other books on the go, there’s never only one) in the past week, which is getting nearer to the normal level of book reading (I’ve always got too many documents to read) I’ve enjoyed all my life until quite recently.

5 Although one of them is held together a bit with glue, I have, for the first time in my life, ten good fingernails.  Still pretty weak, but it’s not the usual pattern of growing for three weeks and then all breaking within days.  So I’m going to call that a success.

Five positives today

1 I’ve had my hair cut today and since have been complimented by three people.

2 Russell bought me a macaroon, which I have just eaten.

3 The sun is still shining.

4 Four of the five varieties of peppers that I sowed some ten days ago have sprouted.  Yesterday, only one had.

5 I slept reasonably well last night.

I’d forgotten all about the five things posts…

1 A governors’ meeting today, most of which was taken up by training on e-safety.  One of the best training sessions I’ve ever been to, very engaging chap who knew his stuff and put it across with humour, briskly, everything pertinent.

2 Two dreadful nights’ non-sleep, two or three hours as it was getting light.  I hope I sleep better tonight.

3 I’ve done lots of laundry and dried it all in the sun, so it smells lovely.  Fresh sheets on the bed.

4 My lips aren’t swollen any more but are so chapped that it hurts to smile.  And I do anyway, and then they bleed.  I know, darlings, suffering for my good humour.  But you’ve got to laugh, innit?

5 A very busy afternoon tomorrow, but then I’m free!  Huzzah.  And the cleaners are coming at lunchtime tomorrow, so I’ve every excuse to do nothing.

Z’s Sunday

Excellent to see Ro and Dora today and we all over-ate hopelessly.  Ro took the rest of the sticky toffee pudding home with him, very kindly, to save me from temptation.  What a good son.

I’ve met the new Rector and his family – that is, he hasn’t taken up the reins yet but will in another week – and they all are delightful.  I’m finding it disconcerting that so many people in positions of authority are so much younger than I am – not just a few years, but a whole generation.  The next Headteacher of the school and the new Rector are both younger than two of my children.  I don’t suggest that this is in any way a bad thing, it’s just a bit sudden, this  skipping of twenty years.  What’s happened to people in their forties and early fifties?

We had a phone call a little while ago which has saddened us, from the son of old friends.  He rang to say that his father died today.  We went to call on Herman and Joyce a few months ago and were sad then, to see how their minds were fading – we were told that he had vascular dementia and she had Alzheimer’s and was in a rather worse way.  They managed in their own little flat in a residential complex – just a sitting room, bathroom, bedroom and kitchen – with help.  Joyce was not capable of cooking any more and couldn’t quite cope with making tea for us all, though she knew to offer it and fill the kettle and put it on.  I had to get things ready while she wasn’t looking, because she hospitably wanted to do it all herself.  She’s poorly herself and in hospital at present, and we can’t wish her to live too long without him.  Together, they could help each other and be companions, but she will be lost now.  Russell knew them first in 1961 when he first lived in Ipswich and they’ve been friends ever since, Herman being about five years older than he is, so he feels quite solemn this evening.

Ben is watching television at present, because there’s a programme about dogs – it’s about homeless dogs being rescued and taken to animal sanctuaries in Los Angeles.  Ben’s nose is almost touching the screen, but I’m keeping an eye on him, in case he gets upset or confused.

Read my lips

I hope being confronted by photos of my lips isn’t too startling, darlings, but they illustrate what I mentioned the other day – the one on the right was first thing this morning, the other was this afternoon, some five hours later, by which time much of the swelling had gone down.  The different colour was just the natural light – I haven’t joined in with the makeup-free selfies on Facebook (in connection with awareness of breast cancer symptoms and charity fundraising, in case you don’t use fb) but this is the naked-faced me.

We seem to have tracked down the cause, though.  Dilly emailed me after I wrote about it the first time to say that Hadrian has the same thing and a rash as well, she’s taken him to the doctor and it’s a virus.  We’ve got away lightly – it can be acutely painful – though most adults have antibodies and don’t catch it at all.  Anyway, it’s improving but the very tip of my tongue is still over-sensitive (so I’m very careful not to say anything critical) and, as you see, I blow up overnight.

We had a lovely time when the family came to lunch.  We gave Squiffany the first part of her birthday present, promising part two on Tuesday and the rest during the Easter holidays, when we can all go to Norwich together.  I bought a nice little mini chest of drawers, about 8 inches high with three drawers, quite a dark wood (no, I don’t know what wood, I’m afraid) with little inlaid brass stars – I thought it was pretty and useful and not too childish, so she won’t outgrow it, and she liked it – an immediate pleased reaction, not a *polite* one.  So that was all right so far.

Tomorrow, Ro and Dora are coming to lunch.  What a good weekend this is turning out to be.

Z made a boob over tits

As I said the other day, I am lamentably bad at distinguishing one songbird from another.  I’m okay with other birds on the whole, largely because their voices are easier to distinguish – I mean, you can’t really mistake an owl or a pigeon, even if you’re slightly hazy on the specific breed – but the thing is, unless you’re with a person who can tell you, when you hear a pretty warbling sound, you then have to peer around to find the bird that’s singing and then identify it.  If you’re both shortsighted and unobservant, as I am (and the second does, to quite some extent, follow on from the first), this isn’t all that easy.

However, nowadays there’s an app for most things, and I’ve downloaded one onto my phone and I listened to various birds.  The first thing was that I discovered that it was a great tit I heard and saw the other day.  It was at the top of a hedge with the light behind it, I couldn’t see well enough.  At least I know a tit when I see it.  I also confirmed that I recognise the song of a blackbird.  Otherwise … oh dear, this is not going to be easy.  It’s not exactly that they all sound similar, but that there isn’t enough to go on, to remember which one is which.

I asked Russell to identify some and he proved to be as bad as it as I am, similarly recognising the blackbird but not the robin, bluetit or chaffinch.  I was somewhat encouraged by this as, though he’s fairly close to tone deaf (or at any rate, as uninterested in music as anyone I’ve ever known and not able to hold much of a tune), he’s very fond of birds and grew up in the country, unlike me.  He’s also much more observant than I am.

Ah, I’ve just heard a pheasant in the garden. I know what he sounds like.