Monthly Archives: March 2007

Z wakes up and is bewildered

What happened to the afternoon? Was it that second glass of wine? Was it the soporific effect of the lettuce? Or the rain at the window?

I slept. First, I slept for about twenty minutes. That is a nap. That is fine.

Then I slept again for a full hour. At the end, I had one of those vivid, pre-waking dreams – never mind what it was about, other people’s dreams are boring – but in it my eyesight was really blurred and I woke up and my sight was blurry and I was alarmed. Not very alarmed, not like the time I went to bed with my contact lenses in and one didn’t reappear all day, but I sat there recovering for a while. Tilly, who normally starts to remind me politely of her dinner in good time, just in case I forget to feed her, stayed, considerately, in her armchair, not wishing to bother me.

Anyway, the Sage is just off to the chippie as I can’t be bothered to cook. Fish and chips would just fit the spot tonight. I can’t remember the last time I had fish and chips. Mm.

I’m not a mushy peas girl though. I only tried them once and, hm, well, there wasn’t exactly anything to dislike, but I didn’t feel inclined to bother again. I don’t normally add vinegar, either – oh, by the way, Dilly adds vinegar to sprouts! It is a family tradition (well, some deck the halls with boughs of holly…). It tastes all right, but doesn’t exactly add to the experience. Sometimes ketchup, but the only place I actually find ketchup (tomato sauce, if you prefer) indispensable is on shepherd’s pie, which is not at all the same without it. Or I might make up some tartare sauce. I always have capers and mayo and stuff in the fridge. Yes. That’s what I’ll do.

He’ll be back in a few minutes. I’m quite hungry now. I didn’t have a cup of tea, either, this afternoon, as I was asleep. Maybe another glass of wine? Got to keep up that fluid intake.

Z relaxes and is looked after

“Darling, can you spare a minute? The Sage is so polite that it’s impossible to know whether this means good news or bad, a request for help or a rather splendid present.

In this instance, he was being wonderfully co-operative. He wanted to know what I wanted done in the greenhouse. I explained, he got going and I returned to the warmth of the house. And my second glass of wine.

Well…the clocks change tonight, of course, which means that I’ll lose an hour’s sleep. And I so need my sleep. Some time ago (well, it must have been last autumn at least), a friend and I agreed that we quite like the clock changing in autumn, for it gives an extra hour the next morning. “One can get so much done”, he said, keenly. I admitted that I appreciate the extra hour in bed. Get more done? Phooey.

Having said that, I’d prefer to stay with Summer Time all year round. I know that we gave Greenwich Mean Time to the world, but I have no wish to eat my cake and have it too – the world can keep it, if they wish. I like light in the evenings. I don’t have my eyes open much anyway on a winter’s morning. I have every sympathy, of course, for the Scots, and have no objection to them doing their own thing.

Mind you, with a Scot as Prime MInister, a Scot in waiting to be the next one and a Leader of the Opposition called Cameron, I don’t see any changes in prospect.

Z is chilly


I had meant to finish the greenhouse work today, but it’s cold. The seedlings will be all right in the propagator, but it won’t do them any good to be taken out, potted up, watered – I fill the watering cans and leave them in the greenhouse overnight so that the water isn’t so cold, but it would still chill them – and generally bothered. It can wait. The forecast is good for the next few days and it’ll all catch up.

Next week will be busy though. Our next china auction sale is coming up at the beginning of May and the Sage has been gathering all the lots together. Some are delivered, but he is a good-natured soul and goes to fetch them from all over Norfolk and Suffolk at no extra charge. It’s a rather impressive bunch of china this time – this year is the 250th anniversary of the founding of the factory and he has been encouraging clients to make it a particularly good sale. We want to get the catalogue out by early next month, so next week we will be lotting up (that just means deciding on the order items are to be sold and putting on the lot numbers), writing the catalogue, taking photographs and getting the printing done. And then getting the catalogues filled and posted, quite a job in itself.

Years ago, this was a full-time job, when he had monthly auctions (all sorts of antiques, not our present specialist ones) and then, of course, he had full time staff. Now he has me.

I’ve also promised to spend some time in the shop. Jean, who has worked there for years – Al took over the staff when he bought the business – has retired today. Tim is taking over her hours, except that he’s working Wednesday morning instead of every other Saturday – he has young children. So I’m doing a few afternoons next week to help out, plus Saturdays when I’m wanted, until Al decides what he’s going to do in the long term.

Oh, and the electric blanket has stopped working. The Sage was obliged to breathe heavily at me to warm me up last night. Which was very sweet of him, as he didn’t complain at all. I wonder if he will be so kind again tonight, or if I had better search out a hot-water-bottle.


Tomorrow morning. Really. When I’m sober.

I had a deeply serious meeting here tonight, discussing Health and Safety and Risk Assessment and Job Descriptions and stuff like that. It went very well, but I did produce wine.

Two bottles between three of us is okay. But one of us is on medication and, bless her, she’s a bit of a lightweight anyway, so she had one glass. Ro took a glass up to his room. Pete and I drank the rest. And a pot of coffee.

As a result, no post tonight. Sorry. I’m going to light three candles and lie in a scented bath for a bit. Or rather, for never let it be said that I’m not pedantic, in a bath of scented water. And I’ll be sober tomorrow.

Wicked Pisser!

I did enjoy that. Thanks for joining in.

Today was Squiffany’s birthday and she is now two years old. But I can’t write about her in a post entitled wicked pisser, so I’ll see if I can find a suitable photo for you, tomorrow.

I’ll go for a P, Bob*

You know, ‘piss’ is an unlikely word to be so useful but, even if it’s just a touch vulgar (like me, innit?) it has so many meanings.

In just the blogs I’ve read this weekend, several people have been pissed off – the off may be omitted by the Americans, but that seems to deprive them of the useful alternative meaning of pissed, meaning affected by alcohol.

This morning, I looked out at the sleet and commented that it was pissing down. Then there’s an easy task, which is a piece of piss. You can, if pissed off, tell someone to piss off – a nice difference there.

Then there is the original and real meaning of piss, which I presume is an example of French onomatopoeia.

Half an hour later Now I’m giving the matter some thought (well, it’s a Monday morning, what else is there to do?), there are lots more expressions.

Taking the piss. Pissing in the wind. Full of piss and vinegar. On the piss (on your way to being pissed, of course)**. Murph suggests, for a tall thin person, a long streak of piss, but I think he’s making that one up***.

A bit later again – ooh, how about piss-poor – is that, so poor you don’t have a pot to piss in or, alternatively, really pretty awful.

Several hours later thank you all for enhancing my vocabulary. A wicked pisser (pronounced “pissah”) is New England for very good or very bad. If used without the indefinite article “This is wicked pisser” it’s excellent. With the ind. art., “This is a wicked pisser” it’s bloody awful. Oh, excuse my language, please.

Martin reminds me that if you can piss you can paint and petrified streak of piss – is that another tall thin person, Martin? I’m neither, by the way, another clue to my appearance. Oh, there’s a photo of me in this blog somewhere, if you look for Venice photos.****

Wendz just pissed her pants, I fear. At least she pissed herself laughing, so it was worth the zig-zag puddle as she ran for the loo.

I worry what all this will do for my reputation in the search engines.

This one is still running – it’s now Tuesday morning and I should be getting ready to go to Norwich. From Stegbeetle – “There’s always what I did with any money I had during my teens and early twenties – pissing it up the wall. Obviously derived from the consequences of bulk intake of beer but meaning “to waste something”. And Martin contemptuously adds I would not piss on them if they were on fire, which is, of course, another fine use of the splendid subjunctive.

Tuesday night – what did I start here? Murph knows a mean (in the parsimonious sense) bugger who “wouldn’t give you the steam off his piss.

Thursday afternoon – how silly of me – I’ve only just thought of this one! Mind you, none of you got it either – he couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery!

*I suspect only British readers will get this reference.. Ooh, at 8.30 pm, yet another update Yay! Here’s a link!!(!). It has the signature tune and everything!!(!)*****
**I’m assuming you don’t need definitions for these, do you?
***Murph, I apologise. I just checked it out on Google. It is entirely valid.
****I digress
*****JonnyB has, of course, the copyright on !! and a repeat of the second !. It is more than my life saving’s worth to put !!!******

A Day Out (I’d have said ‘Grand’ but the title has been used)

It was a gorgeous day on Wednesday. London looked so pretty. The traffic, as we approached the City, was awful and the driver took us over Tower Bridge, down Tooley Street and back across London Bridge as that was the quickest way to St Paul’s. When we got off the coach, several people asked me the way to go. I pointed, vaguely, away from the river and latched on to friends who actually had some idea where we were going.

We went to the Guildhall first. This is open to the public, except when it isn’t. They don’t publish in advance whether it is open or not, for security reasons if a Foreign Dignitary (or possibly even a Brit) is coming to call.

It was to be open in the morning. We read the sign. £2.50 entrance, or £1 for concessions. My friends, a little older than I, grinned smugly. I fumbled in my bag for coins. Straight-faced, the woman at the desk said “That’ll be a pound each.” I was mortified. Only a couple of weeks earlier, when we’d got a block booking for over-60s to Windsor Castle and I was the only one of 49 who has not reached this august age, I felt the need to wrinkle my face and let my chins down. Evidently I had not yet regained my normal smoothly unblemished youthfulness.

We went through the art galleries, which have pre-Raphaelite paintings, official portraits and some 20th Century art. Then we went down into the Roman amphitheatre which was brilliant. It was only discovered about 20 years ago and the restoration has continued until recently. It was really a pleasure to wander in the empty galleries, unobserved by attendants (although, of course, less visibly seen by the CTTV) and to see meetings carrying on in adjoining rooms. How enjoyable, to go to work and take for granted surroundings like those.

By this time my friend Sue and I were getting giggly and we exclaimed joyfully over the food on offer at the sandwich bar. Not a drop did we have all day, I assure you. We were high on springtime, perhaps? It was sunny and fresh and everyone in the streets looked smart and cheerful. And very prosperous. The City of London gives an impression, at present, of streets paved with gold. There’s a lot of it about. Positively glistering, it is (are you going to quote Gray at me?).

Goldsmiths’ Hall was great. There is a small exhibition on in the foyer, and we’d booked for a private tour. A most engaging chap whose name, sad to say, I didn’t catch, showed us round and told us of the history of the Goldsmiths’, one of the twelve Great Livery Companies. They are fifth in order of precedence, immediately after the Fishmongers, which rather appeals to me.

Gorgeous marbled halls, gilded and painted columns and ceilings, splendid candelabra – if you go to an evening reception in the Livery Hall, the 493 candles are lit in the 5 candelabra – all by one nimble chap, apparently – but they are wired too and we had lightbulbs. At dinner, silver-gilt rosewater bowls are passed around for the guests to rinse their fingers. Messy eaters, these City people, it seems.

Each year, in October, the Goldsmiths’ Fair is held and most of us keenly put our names down on the mailing list – one friend who has been says that it’s wonderful. Like the Guildhall, it is a working building and it’s where silver, gold and platinum items go to be hallmarked (as well as to the other assay offices in the country, Sheffield, Birmingham and Edinburgh).

Don’t you just love it?

That nicely mellow feeling of being mildly pissed, on just a glass or two of red wine on an empty stomach? I don’t need to drink more really, I’ve had enough to enjoy.

I’ll be back later. After dinner, which will be roast lamb, roast potatoes, ratatouille (I know it’s wildly out of season apart from onions which are like kissing, but Al had some lovely aubergines (eggplant) in and I took it from there) and purple sprouting broccoli, of which my mum, most reliably, said each year “they’re my favourite veg!”. I have some rhubarb, which doesn’t look forced but is surely somewhat protected – from Yorkshire anyway, mine isn’t ready, but since I have been given chocolates and I always share, I might not do a pud.

See you in a couple of hours.