Monthly Archives: July 2013

LaZing in the shade

I did most of what I planned today (one job is still waiting for me), but not at the time I had intended.  Because it was hot and, though I can’t sunbathe, I love a glorious summer’s day.  So I dressed in a particularly pretty frock, did necessary tasks in the morning, went in to school for a final meeting with the Head – just a few loose ends to tie up, nothing much – and went back home to cut back the creeper from around the windows, ready for the wood to be re-stained later this week.  But Russell was going out so I couldn’t do the upstairs windows with no one to hold the ladder.  So I defrosted and emptied one of the fridges (the other is now crammed full) and, after lunch, took a glass of quite low alcohol beer and the newspapers out into the garden and there I sat for – oh, hours.  I don’t know, two or three.  I had a big hat on and a garden parasol and I was rather too hot, but winter carried on for so long, you’re not going to catch me minding about a bit of heat.

We have moved the fridge and it’s settling down ready to be turned on tomorrow afternoon and I shinned up the ladder and cut the creeper, so no harm was done by my afternoon off.

Cooking is exceptionally simple at present, now I don’t have the Aga on.  The tabletop cooker is no pleasure at all to use, though it works perfectly well.  So I just prepared a couple of trout en papillote and served them with Norfolk samphire.  And then we had some Suffolk raspberries.

There’s an advertisement on the television with dogs and Ben has his nose pressed to the glass.  He’ll be so pleased when Rupert arrives on Wednesday night.

Two-post Sunday

Well, friend Barry was surprisingly supportive too – no one has yet come out with anything startled about my hitherto completely hidden yen to be a bike rider.  He’s suggested I go round to see his bikes – he has three on the road of various sizes and types and another which is currently off-road, and told me about the training and tests I would need.  I’ve also read about it, thanks to Sir Bruin, because verbal explanations don’t stick in my mind as reading them do.

I’ve mostly got the bungalow ready, though I still haven’t made the bed and I need to take a fridge through there – we have two.  I’ll have to empty one of them into the other, which will be a bit like Roses moving from a three-bedroomed house into a two-bedroomed flat and hoping everything will fit in.  Oh, and the china that I found (I wondered where I’d put all that blue and white stuff) is now in the dishwasher.  I also managed to find the extra keys that I’d had cut and then put rather too safely away.

The autumn is going to be pretty busy because I’ve got two holidays booked and, because my sister is expecting to have an operation, I’m also planning to spend quite some time with her, very likely travelling up and down to catch up with things at home.  I’ll probably not mention dates or tell you when I’m away because, although family will be here with Russell some of the time, he may be alone at others.  Blogging may be spasmodic or on general topics and I’ll tell you about the holidays later.

I was talking to Rupert the spaniel’s owner today and she says he now sleeps on the bed with her and her husband.  Actually, it may be simplest if that’s what he does while he’s here too.  When he was little (he’s now eleven months old) he slept in a dog-cage, but that hasn’t been the situation for a while and I’ve a feeling that he and Ben would play half the night and keep waking us up.  If Ben is downstairs and Rupert is upstairs, it should be better, especially if he frets without them.  I don’t mind, when I was in my teens I slept with three large dogs on my (double, fortunately) bed.  My dogs have always slept downstairs, though Tilly used to come in the bed for a cuddle first thing.

You can tell, can’t you, that I have work to do?  It’ll get done, though possibly not until midnight.  


I spent some time pottering back and forth with everyday essentials to the annexe.  I haven’t made the bed yet, nor found suitable china, but most of the rest is ready.  Mimi will be arriving on Tuesday sometime.  It’s just occurred to me, however, that there isn’t a television through there and little hope of an internet connection – when we had our recent upgrade, we moved the hub into this room and, though the connection is better and stronger, our thick walls mean it doesn’t travel too well and we do need a booster.  It’s not even too good in my study – it does work but has a tendency to cut out once in a while which is a real pain when filling in forms or paying for something online.

I can get round both of those by telling her she’s welcome to come through here, of course, but it’ll be at the expense of her and our privacy – not that this is a bother to us, I don’t know how she’ll be about it.  I’d better ask Ro’s advice about the wifi.  And I have been meaning to buy a tv for next door, though with no sense of urgency.

We went to Norwich yesterday to buy Ro’s birthday present, which I’d reserved the evening before.  Since the weather was so hot, I reckoned they might have sold out of my chosen model of barbecue … of course, it was the signal for a change in the weather and it’s still quite cool, though supposed to be hot again tomorrow.  Anyway, while waiting at the customer service desk, I realised that the man in front of me (with his back to me, my facial recognition skills may not be marvellous but I do know what my friends look like) was Dave, without whose help we’d never have built our wall.  He was buying stuff for a DIY project for a friend, who knew all about the wall and would love to see it.  So we’ll arrange something soon.  But of all the DIY stores in all the world (or Norwich, anyway), what a coincidence to meet him at the help desk – if I’d not reserved the barbecue, if he’d found all he’d needed on the shelves…

Z feels gung-ho

I’m going to need to be talked to, I think.  Right now, I’m not only inclined to have a birthday party, but to get a motorbike too.  I’ve a feeling I’ve got to make the most of the remainder of my not-quite-dotage, having led quite a sensible life up to now.

It had always been my intention to take up a vice in my fifties – well, earlier.  Once Ro reached the age of 18 and I no longer had to be a Good Example.  But I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do and the moment passed.  But whilst time is, if not actually on my side, not my enemy either, I feel a need to do something I’ve never tried before.

I probably need to be talked out of all this.  Weeza, mind you, has been surprisingly encouraging.

I was talking to someone about disingenuous insults, in respect of people who take their hobbies or lifestyle a bit too seriously.  We came up with a few examples, I wonder if you could add to them?  In the usual way, I’ll add them to the post if you can.

  • (in conversation with an American) Calling baseball ’rounders’
  • Similarly, referring to table tennis as ‘ping pong’ to a player
  • This is a bit out of date, perhaps, but the person who suggested it suffered from a keen friend in the 70s and still feels vindictive – talking about a ‘nudist camp’  
  • Suggesting that church ministers only work on a Sunday except for the occasional Saturday wedding


I’ve been given a number of letters to write over the last couple of days.  It’s a bit startling, so late in the term, but I’ve got two of them done and the others will be written over the weekend.  It’s an interesting exercise as they all need slightly different styles.  My formal letter-writing is nothing like what you read here, I take a lot of time and trouble over it for a start.  Here, darlings, you get spontaneous (yes, that’s the kind word) writing that breaks as many rules of English as I like.  I’d never start a sentence with ‘And’ or ‘But,’ never end one with a preposition, though nor would I fall into the ‘up with which I would not put’ trap either, not use colloquialisms nor keep reusing the same adjective in a proper letter.

This evening, I raked up the dry grass that had been strimmed from the verge down the drive and dead-headed delphiniums and roses, as well as doing the nightly watering of pots.  It was a mark of relaxation and of having some time to spare – that is, the weather was too lovely to waste by getting on with things indoors.  I did spend a while finding cutlery and utensils for the annexe for when Miriam comes to stay.  I’m still thinking about china and hoping to dig out something suitable from a cupboard.  She could have some of ours but I’d have to borrow it back if the whole family comes for lunch.  I have to admit, this is not very likely while the Aga is off, though I suppose I could do a cold meal with salad.

It’s Ro’s birthday next week and, now he’s a home-owner, I’m buying him a domestic-type present: ie a barbecue.  I’ll pick it up tomorrow, having reserved it in the shop.  As you know (well, most of you do), I’ve resolved to ignore my birthday, which is in about six weeks time.  But I’m weakening a bit and wondering whether to force friends to ‘celebrate’ with me after all.  Not on the day, I’ve got a meeting, though I’ve ascertained that someone will bring CAKE!

I’ve only ever had one birthday party since childhood and that was my fortieth.  I had the urge to celebrate, I’m not sure why.  We’ve only ever had one anniversary party, other than family ones, and that was a surprise one thrown by the children for our 25th.  We ignored our fortieth anniversary – on the whole, it all seems rather artificial and I don’t mark specific dates.  And I really don’t like a fuss being made over me.  I prefer parties that aren’t centred round a ‘me’ occasion.  But I’m a bit conscious of how short-lived my family tends to have been and I know that it’s daft not to grab every opportunity to have fun with friends.

I dunno.  Still undecided.  Still, if you have been, thanks for listening.

Z scathes

We’ve been minding friends’ dogs for the last few days – that is, Russell cheerily offered to have them here, but I pointed out that we’d find it quite difficult to manage the three of them when there is nowhere to let them have a run.  Ben has a wired area behind the annexe, though we take him round there on a lead when there isn’t time to let him go and wait for him to come back, but Molly and Maggie would jump out and Molly, though a sweet-natured dog in many ways, is a chicken-killer and we couldn’t take the risk.  So we’ve been going over four times a day to let them out in the garden.  In addition, they’d got the dates of their friends’ holiday wrong – they’ve been looking after another dog – and so we also had Mister to look after.  And a cat.

It hasn’t been the easiest week to do it, as we’ve both been quite busy, but we’ve managed it between us.  The owners have been in Liverpool at their daughter’s graduation – she’s now a qualified vet, having reached the culmination of years of study, so it’s been a big family celebration.

I showed governors my scary side today, not that it was directed at anyone there.  A letter from an English teacher (not one of our staff) had three errors in the first three paragraphs – that is, one clunking infelicity, an error of usage and a grammatical mistake.  I was rather scathing, I have to admit.  I’m only pedantic when circumstances dictate – I’d have let any of them go if it had been a dashed-off email, for example, or if it had been from anyone but an English teacher – but in the circumstances, it really did matter.

Much as I’m enjoying the heat, I can no longer stand the kitchen.  So the Aga has been turned off.  I miss it already.


I’ve been out all day, nearly, and should be working now, but I’m letting tonight’s wine wash over me for a bit first.  I was thirsty…

To the dentist first, and I’d sent Ro a text suggesting we meet for lunch afterwards.  His office is in the city centre and his lunchtime is flexible, so he was fine with me saying I’d text when I was ready.  However, I waited and waited – there were two emergencies, one was a broken tooth and the other was someone else’s patient and there was a mix-up – I was out a good half hour later than my latest estimate.  Still, never mind and my teeth (and mouth generally) have a clean bill of health.

And for the twenty-hundredth time, I thought how lovely my children are and how lucky I am to have them – we all get bogged down with the small child thing and the teenage angst, but grown up children are the best thing ever and so are grandchildren and I make no apology whatsoever for being sentimental.

And then I went on to a tea party, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and later was off to Squiffany’s school to go to her play, which was jolly good indeed.  I’m not being partisan, I’ve been around schools a lot, and they were really good.  Those who were overdressed for the heat must have suffered, especially the one in the horse costume, but they were troopers, or do I mean troupers?  No, surely the former – blimey, I’d have been confident twenty years ago, I’m becoming illiterate with age – anyway, they battled through smiling and taught the audience a dance at the end.  Yes, I joined in.  No, Al and Russell didn’t.  Blokes, hey.

And now I’m home again and we’ve eaten dinner and I’ve got work to do.  But it’s the day the cleaners came, so at least there’s no housework except the daily stuff this week.  And a friend’s daughter – well, the daughter is a friend too – needs somewhere local to stay for a few weeks, so of course we’ve offered the annexe.  So things seem to be okay, except for having paperwork at half past nine at night – but the sooner I start, the quicker it’ll be done.  Shall we say the deadline is 10 o’clock?  I’ll set a timer.

*was the name of the play.

Z doesn’t sunbathe

There were a good many documents to copy and send out to governors today so I went in to help.  I got a papercut in the first couple of minutes, of course, and bled over a sheet of paper.  I was given a plaster and carried on collating the packs, meaning to put the marked one aside for myself, but then couldn’t find it.  I handed them out randomly – but found, this afternoon, that I’d got the bloody sheet of paper myself after all.  It wasn’t very visibly bloody, I’d wiped it, but … well, I have it, luckily, so no need to apologise to anyone.

So lovely to have hot weather.  I know we’ll all start to complain within days – well, some will, but I won’t.  Although I’m no good in the sun at all, I’d rather have it than not.  And I can go out and about, it’s just that I can’t sunbathe and I wouldn’t choose to anyway.  At my advanced age, it’s a salutary lesson that the bits of skin that have rarely or never been exposed are still young and unwrinkled, but the ones that are out in the elements look altogether older.  Lucky me, that I didn’t suntan much and never saw the point of trying, and that I’ve never had an exhibitionist streak and never cared to strip off at a hint of sun.  And that’s apart from the cancer risk, of course, which would be high for me, having a fair skin and a number of moles.

But I’m afraid I’ve had to take on another job, though I trust it will be temporary and involve little, if any, work.  I’m a trustee of a local – um – trust, which … oh, start from the beginning.

The village church sold a plot of land some 25 years ago and the money was invested and a Trust was set up to administer it.  When I was a churchwarden, I was a Trustee by default.  A year ago, the Rector and another Trustee left and so, as they really needed someone who knew what was what, I agreed to come on the board again, and be Secretary too.  There are only two meetings a year and a couple of letters to write, it’s not a big job.  But we still don’t have a Rector and one of the Trustees is leaving, who happens to be Treasurer and neither of the churchwardens feels able to take that on.  There are now only the three of us as Trustees and someone has to do it.  And I look so ludicrously capable.  I do hope this isn’t a long-term thing though, I really don’t like being in charge of other people’s money.

Darlings, I must go to bed.  I’m going to the dentist tomorrow – just realised I ate a healthy amount of garlic this evening, whoops – and I must get some strengthening sleep.  Toodle-pip, sleep well.

Love, Zxx


Have Blogger and WordPress fallen out?  I’ve written comments on Mig’s and Mago’s blogs and neither has appeared.  I don’t know if they’re languishing in a spam folder or have vanished altogether but sorry, darlings, I’m not ignoring you but am unable to help it.

Tomorrow, three meetings for entirely unrelated organisations.  And I’m taking the minutes for two of them, which wasn’t very well planned – though the first was arranged in December, the second a month ago, but it’s the third, only set a fortnight ago, which actually matters most, but which I’m not minuting – so all three it is.  But it means that only one day is messed up instead of three, so I don’t really mind.

Things I’d like to talk about have to remain confidential, so I’m finding myself stuck for much to say.  Maybe I’ll try to delve back into childhood memories, because a good many of you seem to like that – but I’m not sure if I remember anything more.  I dunno.  Maybe one of you could suggest something?

Russell has taken to bringing me tea in bed, which is very kind but I rarely drink it.  He brings the wrong tea, sadly.  I like a range of teas and tisanes and have at least a dozen on the go, but first thing in the morning it has to be proper tea – that is, it could be one of several, such as Earl Grey, Lapsang, Rose Pouchong or, at a pinch, straightforward PG Tips, but not peppermint or camomile tea or, as he’s been bringing recently, Rooibos.  Is that how you spell it?  Redbush tea.  It’s fine, I quite like it, but it’s wrong at that time of day.  But after several mornings, it seems churlish to say anything, so I’m just quietly tipping it away and have resolved not to buy any more for a while.

I mention it because he’s just brought me a cup of tea now.  Yup, Rooibos, and the smell of it first thing in the morning has put me off altogether.  Fortunately, he went outside for a few minutes, so I nipped through to the kitchen, threw it away and made a cup of Lady Grey instead.  I wonder if he’s drinking the same – I mean, if he really likes it, I suppose I’ll have to buy it again and tell him I’ve gone off it a bit.  I put the tin behind the superior teas yesterday, but he hauled it out again, so it is a deliberate choice.  

Z visits a friend

Yesterday, today and tomorrow – and Sunday too, if there’s still boxes to be unpacked.  It’s tough work, being a friend of Z, once I start calling round there’s no stopping me.  And Roses has to keep buying me chips and cider too.

This evening, I’m listening to the Proms and reading the papers.  An early night, I think, will follow, so please excuse the short post.