Monthly Archives: November 2010

Plenty of Zedrest

We both slept really well last night.  When I previously changed the bedclothes I was busy, so simply changed the bottom sheet and swapped duvet and pillows with the spare room bed, all being the same size and all.  I swapped again this time (having made the bed up in the meantime, obviously) and, evidently, that duvet is just a little bit thicker – so we were really warm and comfortable.  So this is the one to stay with for the winter.

The Sage went the Southern side of the M25 this trip – the problem can be the Dartford crossing, but he was okay today, and the south side of London turned out to be much less busy with fewer roadworks.  It was 3 miles longer (238 rather than 235) but took half an hour less.

Al and Dilly invited me in to dinner, I took a started and an unstarted bottle of wine, so we made merry.  I lit the fire before I went so there was a cheerful blaze to return to.  I’ve lit candles too, so as not to feel lonely.  When I’ve finished this, I’ll start on the DVDs – the too-loud music (not very loud actually, I care for my ears!) is on now.  The Hold Steady and J Roddy Walston.  Oh yes, Julie formerly from Athens leads me astray.  BTW, Julie, Ro has a ticket for Hold Steady in February when they’ll be in Norwich (thanks to me, I told him they were coming) – I asked him how long he’s been listening to them and it’s been longer than I have, and you put me on to them; evidently you and he would get on well musically.

So, today – no, not a lot to report.  I went supermarket shopping because I had a voucher (£7 off £60) so bought some wine as I didn’t need that much in groceries. Misty and dull, but mild.  Squiffany and Pugsley are staying with Dilly’s parents and were going to see the Christmas lights in Norwich this evening, they were very excited at the treat.  Squiff and Nanny were going to watch Strictly this evening.  I’ve never seen it.  More likely to watch I’m a Celebrity, actually.  Not that I am.  It’s still swearing and violence for me.  I mean, you only have to look at me.  It’s obvious.

Balancing act

So, either I waffle on generally about my fairly uneventful day, or I reminisce or I go off on one, in the more vulgar parlance (how is it that parlance always follows vulgar?) – which last I did this evening, only to find it was the dullest option of all.  Because, who cares, hey?

No darlings, it’s still quiet.  But it seems to be a week of sadness.  My friend Val’s sister has died, and so has my friend George’s brother.  The first expected, the second a sudden shock.  Val’s latest granddaughter is being christened tomorrow – Russian Orthodox – so it’s a strange set of emotions for her.

I bought myself aniseed balls.  Well, you have to do something, don’t you?  And I like old-fashioned sweets, liquorice, aniseed, sherbet and so on.  And I cooked a particularly nice dinner – albeit with leftovers.  We’re still eating last Sunday’s chicken.  I think I’ll be eating it all weekend, as the Sage is off again.  He’s going on a china picking-up trip and will be away from tomorrow (Saturday) to Monday.  I shall play loud music and watch too many DVDs and go to sleep cuddling a pillow.

Ooh, talking about sleep, we were a bit fitful last night.  By the time we were ready, it was about 1 am and I couldn’t, so played Scrabble on the phone, which isn’t a brilliant idea at that time as you forget your two-letter words.  We both kept waking each other up and I was awake from 4 anyway, and when I was ready to get up a couple of hours later, the Sage put his comforting arm around me, so of course we both fell asleep.  Then I woke again so played poker, and finally he woke up, looked at the clock, said “9.15 – heh!” and went straight back to sleep.  I exhaust him, darlings, I can’t deny it.  But it’s absolutely worth it.  I mean, you only have to look at him.

Maybe I do

I was playing the organ for a funeral this afternoon and ran through the hymns, which was fine, and then started to practise the voluntaries, and found that one of the keys was sticking, an E.  Which was a bit of a nuisance.  I had to keep flipping it up with a spare finger.  If that occasionally happens at our own church, I can, as a last resort, work out which pipe it is and disconnect it, but these were boxed in.  Fortunately, it’s a two-manual organ, so I played the other one.  It was all right for the hymns as, by chance, neither of them used that note.  The final voluntary was in E flat so that was all right too.

The lady who had died was 85 years old and had lived in the village nearly all her life, until she moved into a retirement bungalow after her husband died, two years ago.  She’d married a local man, and some of their friends had known them since schooldays.  I don’t think that would be the case with many people now.

One of the things that other smartphones are, apparently, better at than iPhones are notifications.  It’s set up for one email address but, like many people, I have several.  The other day, I read about an app that does it all for you, so I downloaded it, and started to set it up – Facebook messages came through quickly (I have Facebook on the phone too, but it doesn’t notify me that regularly) but when I put on an email account, the promised email to confirm didn’t arrive.  Eventually, I discovered (ahem) that I’d mistyped the address.  I’d put (actually, this is a bit embarrassing) gmali.  And there didn’t seem to be any way to change it.  I even went on the website and it seems that no one else has done this silly a thing – though mind you, lots of people change their emails, so there should be provision.

I’ve sorted it out, I deleted the app, reinstalled it and set the whole thing up again, correctly.  So now it works nicely and will save me checking several little-used emails every day.  I have to say, having this phone really keeps me away from the computer, it’s brilliant.  I used to check things and, having sat down, stayed there for a while.  Now, I leave it alone unless I’ve got work to do.  It’s the reason posts are written late at night, mostly.  And occasionally from my bed, when I realise at the last that I’ve forgotten about it.  Not that I feel I *have* to write something every day of course, you understand.  Or maybe I do.  Hm.


Doesn’t the year seem to be galloping on?  Now we’re on the final slope towards its end, time has speeded up with a worrying momentum.  I don’t think that going away for the first week in November helped, I left in early autumn and returned to near-winter and long to-do lists.

Having said that, I’m feeling quite good at the prospect of December, largely because I won”t have to make holly wreaths this year.  You may remember how much I dislike this job, yet I felt obliged to do it because they were worth so much to Al.  He bought the wire frame and we mostly cadged fir and holly to make the body of the wreath – that part was the Sage’s job.  Al made several pounds profit on each, if you didn’t count anything for my time, which I didn’t.  I sat down two or three evenings a week with an old sheet spread over the floor and worked away for two or three hours getting thoroughly prickled hands – anyway, that’s it, I don’t have to now.  So I can – um – well, I can lounge around in the evenings not doing much instead, now I come to think of it.

In fact, I’m rather cheerful.  I’ve been thinking back a year for one thing, because it was during November last year that my hip became so much worse suddenly, and I can’t help contrasting then with now.

Z the Dragon

I spent all day at the school, and sat reading for half an hour while munching toast and Marmite on my return home.  Gosh.  How do people manage doing it full-time?  Though I suppose I did for thirteen years. I was young then, of course.

Anyway, I was accosted by one of the staff, who wants me to be a Dragon.  I agreed, of course, though secretly a bit daunted.  I’ll rise to the occasion though, I’m sure.  The Business and Enterprise (or whatever, I can never remember the names of everything) group are putting together business plans as a project.  Our business manager will also be on the panel.  Should be fun.

In music this morning, one of the four groups didn’t have anyone willing to sing – which meant that it wasn’t going as well as it might.  So I became their vocalist.  I know, it was absurd.  Singing I Predict A Riot accompanied by five teenagers young enough to be my granddaughters.  Still, I took the view that I can’t expect them to overcome inhibitions unless I’m going to do it too.

I didn’t know until recently that the popular shortening of Juliet is now Jelly.  There are two in one year at the high school.  I rather like it, I must say.  In this afternoon’s class, there’s a Z and a Weeza, which is a first – though she prefers Ellie, inexplicably.  I think Weeza (her actual name, that is) is lovely and she likes it too, although I do sometimes call her Ella, or Weeza of course.  Although Dilly, Dora and Phil are noms de blog, my own three children are called by short versions of their actual names here.

That reminds me, what is blog in other languages?  Or is it a weblog in every country?

Z is pleased with her efficiency (don’t laugh)

I make every effort, as a rule, not to say the same thing here as I’ve already said on Facebook.  Most of my FB friends are people who read this blog, so it would be a bit dull for them – however, this is the exception, sorry.

I was so pleased with myself this afternoon, that’s the thing.  I so rarely get it completely right first off.  Al and Pugsley appeared at the door after lunch; it seems that Dilly had some friends over and Al felt that the atmosphere was entirely too girly and that he and his son were, as he put it, personae non gratae.  I know, darlings, I didn’t understand it either.  Anyway, they came and joined me for a considerably less girly atmosphere.  Al read several books to Pugsley and then P wanted to watch television (he loves tv here, as I allow CITV, which has advertisements), so Al felt able to turn his attention to his laptop.

I may have mentioned that Al is a governor at the village school, the same one I was governor at for 18 years and which Ro attended for 5 years.  They found it hard to get rid of me, darlings.  Actually, when I became chairman of governors (because the CoG died suddenly, it was awful), they were going through a difficult time – anyway, a few months later, we appointed a new headteacher.  The choice wasn’t a unanimous decision, and she knows that so I can say it, but I will also say that it was a superb decision and I was instrumental in it happening.  A cautious person by inclination, I’m not afraid to follow my instincts when it’s time to be bold.  This was 8 years ago and she has been brilliant in sometimes difficult circumstances (coincidental serious staff illnesses, that was awful too, because not all of them survived).  Now she’s moving to a different part of the country and a new job.

So, various governors have been asked to write each part of the information pack to applicants, and Al was asked to write the part about the locality.  He agreed and came promptly to me for advice, wise boy.  I (‘scuse the caps) WENT STRAIGHT INTO THE STUDY, TOOK DOWN A FILE AND FOUND THE INFO FROM 8 YEARS AGO.  Just like that.  I haven’t been a governor there for 4 1/2 years, I’ve destroyed nearly everything, but I still had this and I knew where to look.  Remarkable, hey?  Anyway, some of it is out of date, but at least it gives Al something to base his piece on.

The second thing I’ve already mentioned on Facebook is the phone call I had this morning from someone called Kate who wanted the Sage to ring her back, from the Viron Licencing Dept.  I asked her to repeat it twice, I didn’t understand, and I could only write it down phonetically.  The Sage was puzzled for a minute.  Then his face cleared.  “Firearm”, he said.  “It’s about my firearm certificate.”  Oh.

Tonight, I had governors training on Safeguarding Children, which is a main OFSTED focus this year.  Next September, it’ll be dead in the water but right now if you haven’t ticked all the boxes you’ll fail.  Actually, we do tick nearly all the boxes and have an action plan (sorry) for the rest but I need to keep up to date on things and haven’t been trained for about 4 years.  I wisely prepared a delicious fish pie before I went out.  I was glad of nice food when I slunk back at 9.45.  And a couple of glasses of wine.

There was an air frost by 6.30 this evening, by the way.  I had to clear the windscreen before I left.


Ro and Dora came over for dinner today.  She and her sister are going to Thailand in a fortnight, to visit their brother and his other half, who are expecting a baby in the New Year.  She confidently expects Ro to miss her horribly, and I’m sure he will, except for the weekend when he’s visiting Zain in London.  I promised to lend him my Oyster card and then we forgot.  D’oh.  I’ll put it in the post, if we won’t be meeting before then.

I had an unscheduled stint at the early service this morning.  The person who was down to be sidesman has a frozen shoulder; he had to help shift a dead body the other day and was obliged to take the weight on his wrists as he couldn’t use the strength of his upper arms and, yesterday, found that his hands swelled up.  He and his wife were due to go on holiday tonight, so yesterday were trying to get a doctor’s advice on whether it was okay to go.  I hope so, the profession of undertaker is a demanding one and they need a break.  Anyway, I was searching for my key at 7.30 this morning.  I had last seen it, that I remembered, before I went away when I was sorting out my handbag.  Having looked in all the likely places, I decided it might be in another bag, which I couldn’t find.  In the end, just as I thought I was going to have to give up and call on someone else with a key (who would be up, I’m not that inconsiderate), I found the bag and therefore the key.  I also found £100 which I had squirrelled away and forgotten where.  It wasn’t lost, you understand, I just hadn’t found it again yet.

I had another visit to church later of course, for the Remembrance Sunday service.  I shall never not be struck by the recital of the names of 25 men from this little village who lost their lives in the Great War.  It still shocks.  And another of our three linked villages lost 4 from the same family.

Flatter than Norfolk

I had several vivid dreams last night – or, at any rate, I remembered them, which is rarely the case.  Don’t worry, I won’t tell you all about them, just one thing.  At one point I was brought a cup of coffee and didn’t drink it for a while. When I took a sip, it was stone cold.  I remember being surprised that it was completely cold already, not just lukewarm, and I could clearly taste the coffee, which I also could see was black – but black as a specific shade, not black and white.  So I dream in colour, taste and temperature.  Which maybe I’ve always known and had forgotten.

There was something I was going to tell you, but which I can’t think of at present.  I daresay it will come back to me.  In the meantime, a few other random snaps of Malta.

I rather loved the Savoyard helmets in the Armoury.  Sorry about the reflection, I couldn’t do anything about it.

There is a lizard here somewhere, but I can’t see it now.

As I said before, I loved Mdina and its winding lanes.  They are all this size, it isn’t a side alley.

Mdina is in the middle of the island.  But you can still see the sea.

Zerlina is affectionate

I bought some Montezuma giant chocolate buttons.  Zerlina was most impressed.  She came and stood beside me several times, being very affectionate in a hopeful sort of way and kissing me lovingly before asking if there was any chance I might be considering opening Granny’s tin.  It got me every time.  I’m afraid my reputation as a soft touch will take a while to live down.

She also hoped I’d notice and remark upon her appearance. She touched her fringe faux-casually and tossed her pigtails, and glanced down at her striped wool dress.  Each time I complimented her, her face lit up happily.

She still has an afternoon nap, something which her mother strenuously encourages.  She loves her nap and now has graduated to a full-sized single bed in our smallest bedroom.  When she woke, I went to fetch her. “Look, I’m in a big girl’s bed” were her first words.  We walked downstairs, holding hands, and she showed me the cars decorating her socks (not actual cars, darlings, they were part of the pattern).

I finally got around to downloading the photos I took on holiday.  Here is one of a resident of Sliema.

Z stays in

I woke to the sound of rain and wind against the window, and was in no hurry to get up.  I thought of Al, who normally would be getting the shop ready at that time.  I’ve done it myself in the winter, they used to go on holiday the first week in January when things were quiet and I took over.  I remember one week when, every day, I had to weigh down the display as I put it out because the wind was so strong and even so, I had to hurry down the road after various baskets and cloths that had blown away.  I also remember cycling against a wind so strong that, in quite a slight upward incline, I had to get off and walk.  I didn’t go out all day except to pick Pugsley up from nursery school.  Jo brought him to the gate for me.  “Tell Granny what you have done this afternoon” she prompted.  “I’ve made cake!” he announced.  “Carrot cake.  I love carrot cake!”  I was slightly surprised as well as pleased, because he isn’t all that keen on vegetables usually and so I’d have thought he’d have a prejudice against cake containing them.

We were lucky with the weather, the sun came out ten minutes before I left and then the rain started again on the way home.  It rained hard and turned to sleet.  We sat in the car and waited for it to ease, while I showed him an app I’d downloaded for him, and then, as it dried up, hopped indoors.  Minutes later, it was bucketing down again.

I’ve not really got myself sorted out this week.  I meant to go shopping today but changed my mind, and so actually emptied the fridge.  We finished leftovers from the past couple of days for lunch, and then there was nothing left.  Some milk and cheese, butter and champagne, the tail end of a jar of pesto, a tube of the children’s cheese spread and some orange and apple juice and half a jar of mayonnaise.  That was it.  Not a lot to base dinner on. Fortunately, I had vegetables so improvised.  You can make a delicate soufflé from cooked squash mixed with cheese and a couple of egg yolks with the whisked whites folded in.  No flour or anything else.  I seasoned it with cumin and piled it back into the squash shell – it was a largish Festival squash, that is, some 5 or so inches in diameter, plenty for two – topped it with flaked almonds and baked it again.

Ro phoned to say that he and Dora will come over on Sunday, so I’ve said I’ll do dinner a bit early, and Weeza and Zerlina are coming over tomorrow.  It was a fortnight ago I saw them, at the auction, and we were busy then, so that will be good.  I haven’t set foot in the dining room since I got back, I bet it’s cold in there.  There’s no point in lighting the fire for two of us to have dinner at an 8 foot long table so we don’t use it much in the winter.

Phil had a job interview last week and has been successful.  He likes his present job, but it’s a long way to travel every day and takes him ages.  He’ll be working in Great Yarmouth, so he’ll still be cycling and then travelling by rail, but the train journey is much shorter.  The road from Acle to Yarmouth is far too dangerous to cycle.