Saturday, November 17, 2007

Book Stuff Pinched from Azahar...

Four childhood books -

1. Susan's Secret Garden. I used to demand this again and again and 'read' it aloud at the same pace as my parents were telling it to me. What a fucking annoying child I must've been. Found it for sale at a car boot sale a couple of years ago and almost weed myself with excitement. Read it aloud to my parents during Sunday dinner and almost got a pasting.

2. Polly of Primrose Hill. Originally in a fusty smelling slightly furry pale green hardcover, I bought this from abebooks for my own children recently. I read it to them, and the descriptive passage about the orphan Polly shopping for her first party dress (pale lemon and fluffy like a chick) still had the power to make me sniffle a little. My children loved it too, which just goes to show that little girls will always be thrilled by stories of invalids, grandpas, secret tunnels, orphans and evil housekeepers. Sigh.

3. Helen Keller's Teacher. A badly written, indulgent, shmaltzy tale about the life of Annie Sullivan, the woman who 'rescued' Helen Keller from her 'life of darkness'. Passages from that book stayed with me for years, until (finding it on amazon) I read it to my own daughters (are you spotting a trend here dear readers?). Annie and her brother Jimmy, cast out by a cruel distant relatives after the death of Just About Anyone Who Ever Loved them, are sent to a poorhouse where they shared beds with foul smelling old women with no limbs or eyes or ears (or something like that). Bonny loves it so much she sleeps with it under her pillow. It gave me the bleddy nightmares. Kids are weird.

4. What Katy Did. More invalids. I fear I'm a bit sick myself when I analyse this lot.


Four authors I will read again and again -

1. Milan Kundera. Especially Laughable Loves. Made for the loo.
2. Slavenka Drakulic. Especially... well no. All of her stuff.
3. Ted Hughes. Poetry counts, right?
4. Pat Barker - but only Union Street.

Four authors I will never read again -

1. Jodi bloody Picoult for starters.

2. Jackie Collins.

3. Emily Bronte. Yes yes, I know. Shut up.

4. Joseph Conrad. Bleurgh. Even if he was Polish, he's rubbish.


The first four books on my to-be-read list -

I have a wicker picnic basket by my bed, stacked high with two wobbly piles of books I have yet to read. The four top ones...

1. Patricia Highsmith x 2. The names escape me, but I am recommended them, and lent them by a dear friend, so I shall. Soon. The writing is just so bloody small and my eyes arent what they used to be. (Pass my pension book and ear trumpet)

3. Magda Szabo, The Door. I'm a whore for east/central european books/writers. I want to read this, but still it sits there. I might move it to the top.

4. Iain Banks, Dead Air.



The four books I would take to a desert island

Hmm. Difficult.

1. Slavenka Drakulic - Taste of a Man.

2. Nicholson Baker - Vox.

3. Ted Hughes, Collected Works. I love him.

4. Shakespeare- Collected Works. And I'd learn to love him.


The last lines of one of my favourite books -

"She's never found peace since she left his arms, and never will again till she's as he is now!"
(the exclamation mark rather ruins it, but Arabella always was a hysterical type)*

*(that last was me incidentally, not Hardy)




take it and run dear readers...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Old Prune

Today will mark my fourth day in a row, pruning the runners off the strawberries that grow on the tabletops by the farm shop that I work at during the summer months. I cannot tell you how cold it is there - coast road, November. The next person I overhear in Tescos remarking on the unseasonal warmth with feel the wrath of my secateurs I can tell you.
The day before yesterday, severely berating Wibs for leaving her art book at her dads, I managed to leave the house without my coat or my wellies (flip flops are not ideal in wet mud). Luckily my dad came up trumps with a pair of workboots and a rather fetching lime green anorak (with oil stains) so I didn't freeze to death. (It was hard to see where I should be pruning mind, with the paper bag I wore in case anyone drove past and recognised me). Yesterday I managed to trump even that, grabbing the wrong kagoul as I legged it out of the house, I ended up pruning in a kagoul aged 10-11, with a 32" chest. At 2.30 I had to leave, what with the pins and needles taking over my whole torso.
No lav either in the field... imagine me, arms straight out either side because of massive jumper (and baps) stuffed into said kagoul, bent double, running along the plants making very fast very tiny baby steps to get to the car (and find a lav) before I peed myself.

On Friday, I have an interview. At a school no less, teaching English. Please, please God I will be successful, and I can finally get out of the part time farm/part time medical work that I've been doing for the last few months. Fingers crossed. And legs again today no doubt.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I Like.

As much for me, as for anyone else. I shall keep this as a work in progress. To start, Billy Collins.
And this too. I love this.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Boom Boom.

(Afternoon break at the hospital, Pesk and Debs are drinking coffee.)

Pesk - I had a patient in this morning, lifted up her blouse, and all around her middle she had this band of crusty yellowish scabs.

Debs - Ewwww!

Pesk - Yes, ewww! I said, have you seen the doctor with that? I reckon you've got pringles!

Debs - Pringles? (pause) Is that like shingles?

Pesk (waiting)

Debs (blank)

Pesk - (waiting)

Debs - (blank)

Debs - Is that a joke then?

Pesk - Yes.

Debs - Oh! Ha. Ha. Pringles! Shingles! You got me there.

Pause.

Pesk - Did you know that the word gullible isn't in the dictionary?

Debs - Is it not? Wow!

Pesk - Actually it is...

Debs - Oh. Oh... Is that another joke?

Pesk - Yes.

Debs - I don't get it.

Pesk - Is that the time already?

Monday, October 15, 2007

How to be a lightning tree.

It's been an age. Sometimes I don't feel like coming here and writing things down. Other times it feels like the only thing that makes sense. Then you can get stuck, how do you do it? Things used to be easy.

So it goes.

On a road -
1. An old woman leaning heavily on one stick to bend and scratch her fat labrador under the chin. The dog looked like he appreciated it. I wondered how she might straighten up again from such an angle.

2. An old man on a bicycle pedalled very slowly along. On the front of the bike was a basket, and in the basket was a very big, very elaborate bouquet of flowers. The man was smiling, a lot. I hope someone loves me that much at 80.

3. A child in a red hat and coat was staring at a puddle by the kerb. The puddle had an oil sheen across it, and the child looked like it was the most exciting thing he had ever seen. His mother stood by, looking the other way and smoking a cigarette. I thought - this wont last forever. Save it for yourself too. I tried to push the thought at her, but she carried on smoking looking off into the distance. She missed the rainbow.

4. I saw the lightning tree that I've seen a thousand times before. This time it looked as though it was beseeching. Those long bare arms raised heavenward.

Sometimes we miss rainbows. We miss the tiny things like scratching a dog, riding a bike, giving flowers to someone. We carry on looking for something better, someone better, and we gaze right over the top of that which we have. As though we are stuck with someone boring at the most perfect party, we search and dismiss, search and dismiss.

So it goes.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Physiology, Vermin and Warriors.

So, after the major maths triumph, I now discover that I also need a GCSE in a science. Apparently the A level psychology won't do. Hmm. It's a conspiracy. I signed up for the first class and duly went last Thursday night, after a days work at the hospital. Can anyone tell me the seven things that prove a thing is/has been alive as opposed to not, i.e a table? I could feel myself slumping lower and lower through the two hour lesson. Oh easy, said Elle, the babysitting daughter when I got home. MRS. NERG -

Movement
Respiration
Sensitivity
(MRS)

Nutrition
Excretion
Reproduction
Growth
(NERG! Clever isn't it! Ha!)

Theres two hours well spent then. Could've got it for free from the smartarse.

Whilst she is telling me all this mnemonic nonsense, I'm putting the kettle on, she's lecturing me on cell structures, and then I notice the dog and the cat being suspiciously and uncharacteristically matey, sniffing around the table. A sense of dread began to creep slowly over me. The cat shoots to the end of the (non mrs nerg) table. I'm torn between watching, finishing making the mug of tea I've been dreaming of since lunchtime, and getting the hell out of the kitchen, when Elle realises that Something Is Up. Her conversation peters haltingly to a stop and she follows my gaze down to the feet of the table. I'm edging out of the door at this point, and then she screams.

Very loudly.

And shouts. "RAAAAAAT!" (and it's definitely a MRS NERG rat, as opposed to the footless, headless, plastic one that the dog carries around with it).

I slam the door closed and leap onto the little footstool. Elle is still in the kitchen (I'll be writing my speech for Mother of the Year later thanks). She wrestles the handle down and skedaddles into the living room, almost knocking me off my perch. The phone rings. Faintly, as it is in the kitchen. Elle and I look at each other in a woebegone fashion. It's my mum, who is ringing to check all is ok before they leave for London in a few hours. Realising that no one is picking up, mum then wanders off around her (rat free) house chatting to my dad with the phone still in her hand. We are treated to a conversation about signposts, a rather loud burp and some scuffly shuffly noises. Terrific. I cant even ring her back from my mobile because she's forgotten to hang up her phone.

Elle bravely goes back into the kitchen and I ring dad's mobile. "There's a rat in my kitchen!" (sing it to the UB40 tune if you wish) I gabble. "Again?" says dad. (Oh yes, this happened twice last year too.)

We're on our way, he says. Dad my hero. The dog then barges her way into the room, rat in mouth. Elle screams, startled dog drops it, Elle screams again. I peek through a crack in the door to see Elle grab the TAIL OF THE RAT, run across the room with it SWINGING FROM HER HAND, open the window and fling it out!
My admiration knows no bounds. I rush off to find my sterile handstuff from work and spray her madly. I call dad back and he says they'll come over anyway. They too, are admiring.

I finally get my tea and there's a knock at the door. Mum and dad are there, dad like an assigai warrior, a large thick length of garden bamboo in his hand, the end of which has a large chisel inserted within it. He seems disappointed that he won't be making a kill, and looks fleetingly yet longingly out of the window. "Are you sure it's gone? Have you checked for any others?" (as though I live on the council tip). He peers under the table, says mournfully - "I made this spear especially when you had the last rat". And sighs.

Can someone, anyone, swap lives with me? Please?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Scent of Success

On Sunday, we cleaned out the office. Wibs starts at grammar school today, and as Chez Pesk is miniscule, we needed to create a warm, quiet place for her to study in. I converted the coal hole (don't laugh) when I was at uni a few years ago, and it was perfect. It has a radiator and plug sockets, a desk, a filing cabinet and two bookshelves. Perhaps 'coal hole' is a bit of an exaggeration, it's more of an internal shed, but anyway. In the gap between me being at uni and Wibs starting Big School it had semi reverted to shed status, but we got cracking and soon it was once more fit for purpose. We left a pile of things that came out of the office in the kitchen for More Sorting Later (yes I know). Then Monday we were exhausted and it was sunny. Tuesday was my dad's birthday so we were out, and yesterday - bad smell. Really bad smell. Every time we came into the living room, there it was. Passing through into the kitchen - there it was too. Strange. And not nice - like a exceptionally strong and severely vintage frankfurter.
So, rubber gloves on, bleach out. We moved the cooker away from the wall, swept out crumbs and mopped the tiles - nothing there. All the surfaces washed down, floor swept and mopped. We needed to clear the pile of papers from the office. Chatting away with Wibs and Bonnyholding out the recycling bag, I sorted and riffled. Then I saw it. With a comedy whooooOOOoooooarghh and a jete that Darcy Bussell would be proud of, I leapt two kilometers away from the table.
There are times that owning a cat is not a good idea. This happened last year too when I discovered a writhing brain of maggots underneath the bookshelf in the living room, all feasting on a vole.
I got the trowel from the garden, put seven carrier bags one inside the other, and troweled it up off the table. It left its skin behind.

Perhaps those motivated moms should enter mouse hunt onto their daily chores list. I might join up.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Full Heart...

This ad really moves me - I find it just astonishing. When I saw it last night, I watched as the gorilla breathed, eyes closing and opening, nostrils flaring, that barely perceptible lunge at the camera, and was almost moved to tears at the grace of it. The perfect background of swirly Phil Collins (yes, I am inordinately fond of Phil Collins and often play his albums when no one else is around. Tell anyone and I will hunt you down and hurt you), I suspected a save the gorillas charity appeal any second. When the drums kicked in, the camera panned out, and well. Have a look if you haven't seen it yet. I laughed out loud in surprise and delight, and the memory of it has had me grinning all day.



Fantastic. And very clever.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I'm gonna master all kinds of kung fu.

I spent last week with some oddbods. A woman who spoke about herself in the third person, an enormous woman who talked about her horse endlessly (I hope it has reinforced steel legs) two young men who whistled, tapped and played with their phones every minute of the day. A fragile blonde psychology teacher, two teaching assistants and a slight, fragile buddhist girl. All of us there because we need a maths qualification. A more unlikely gathering of people you can't imagine, but commonly, thickos when it comes to maths.
Maths. I can't trust anyone that can do maths. Like celery eaters, they are - well, weird.
The man taking the class was brilliant. Faced with the prospect of getting seven duffers through GCSE Maths in one week, you might think he would've been verging on the edge of panic. He was however, the most patient person I've ever encountered, going over and over the same points endlessly, trying different tactics to get things to 'click' for us in some way.
I have spent my entire life freezing up at anything remotely mathematical, teacher after teacher have tried to din the most simple formulas into my head. Even my oldest most favourite, gentlest teacher used to bang his head on the desk when faced with my brain freeze. My second year junior report said "Pesk still insists on trying to take the top line away from the bottom". It's a metaphor for my life I think.

Anyway, I needed this qualification to teach - I have a BA (hons) degree (2:1), I dont need to know about maths, but no - I must have it. I have A levels and GCSE's coming out of my ears - not enough. So I bit the bullet and booked a week off work to take this 35 hour course. Start to finish, from simple addition to algebraic calculations in 150 easy steps. And I actually did it. And passed. I can't tell you how amazed I am. How proud I am. Having been told I was stupid (harsh) to discalculaic (sympathetic), I have done the impossible. I'm more chuffed than when I got the degree, I really am. It makes me feel that now, anything is possible. I could really, do anything couldn't I?

Registering now with the GTP agencies. Whoo... watch out kids, here I come.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

You know who you are...

Spines are on special offer at Morrison's this week. Call me when you treat yourself to one.


Grrr.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Something like a Pagan Wedding ...

I have been outside with my (on loan from my dad) Garden Groom. A hedge trimmer advertised as 'ideal for the elderly and ladies' (I know) it is a marvellous looking thing. Fish says it looks like an enormous flip flop. Lightweight plastic, it is the hovercraft of the privet shearing world, zooming and zipping over the hedge seemingly of it's own accord. The intimation is that all the operator has to do is hold it down. A kite, one might say, with teeth. Here it is -


The tail attached to the clipper - sorry, groom, inflates and the whizzy lightweight ( lie - more later) blades shoosh and suck the clippings (which are chopped into mini pieces) down the tube and into that black bag that you see at the bottom. What could be finer, easier, more fun than this? At seven am I am awake, eagerly peering out of the window in search of hedge grooming weather. Eventually it stops raining and I go outside the the short yet overgrown 6ft hedge out front. It's windy and the tube lashes back and forwards like a giant angry cobra, I am spattered with bits of chopped privet and the dog is having an epileptic fit at the noise. I retire with faintly shaking arms for a cuppa and then go out the back to the 300ft long hedge. I call Wibs to come help, and Bonny to hold the bag at the bottom of the tube. Smash slash heave, we are a team. Wibs goes on ahead with the shears lopping off the big bits, Bonny solemnly and slowly walks with the bag and hose, she is a bridesmaid. Slash whip grind, bits of the hedge are decimated. We get halfway down. More tea. Bonny has to make it, I am Parkinsonian with effort, my hands are vibrating like a navvy's pneumatic drill and I am liberally covered with a confetti of garden mulch. I look like the Green Man.

Suitable for the elderly and laydeez eh? There is a slowly dawning sense that my father has played an elaborate practical joke on me. I shall get my revenge.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Domestic Daze


Innocently reading one of my favourite blogs the other day, I was assaulted. I know that some of our Sisters over the Pond can do and say things that show us Euros what madness goes on in that wild ol' frontier land, however this little gem was linked to in all seriousness as a wonderful thing.
I hardly have words to describe this ... take a minute to feast upon the free sample page.

Now, is it just me? Is this completely fucken bonkers? There is even an option to purchase a version which not only plans out the time you spend cutting coupons (wtf?), but slips in a rota for scriptural reading, so that you can read the ENTIRE BIBLE IN A YEAR! Whoo! Go sisters. Change the hand towels, cut the coupons, plan the menus, weep for Jesu? I really can't get my head around it. Are housewives minds being so eroded that they need a calendar to prod them to clean the oven, check the toilet rolls and play with the children?
I might do one myself. It might look something like this.

Sunday - Make tea and toast, go back to bed.
Ring the pub and find out what time the carvery starts.
Read blogs.
Read the paper.
Go to the pub.
Come home, wash uniforms, read blogs.

Monday - Wake up, congratulate self that only work part time.
Make tea, go back to bed.
Make pastry for pie, congratulate self at housewifely skills.
Read blogs.
Go to toilet. Ten mins later realise there are no toilet rolls, shout kids to bring tissues.
Play Disney Triv.
Check watch, pour wine. Watch film. Flick through magazine.

Tuesday - Wake up, lean back & look out of window. If sunny, get up. Find bikini.
Walk to hammock. Lay down.
Go back inside six hours later. Find aftersun, make evening meal.
Go to bed.

Etc.

Really, do people need to be told what to do? My house is tidy. My kids are happy. I am happy(ish). We are all well fed and clean. Why does this thing exist?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Enough Already.


Unless you are between the ages of three and twelve, I promise that you look like a twat.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Today, I shall be mostly saying....

£1 a 1lb if you pick them yourself... no, bring them back here and I'll weigh them when you're finished... yes, plenty over there just before the raspberries...



It's not my day for the farm shop, but I agreed to do it after looking at the weather forecast (cloudy). Of course, the day dawns and it's not bloody cloudy at all, it's brilliant blue sky. I hate the BBC. I could do a better job of predicting the weather with a handful of raisins, a wet copy of the Guardian and a sodding pine cone. Still, it's all money.

Click on the picture and look at the lovely signs... notice that there isn't an aberrant apostrophe in sight. Am I letting the side down? I might add some for the hell of it today. Strawberry's... Cherry's. I might even put some quotation marks around things too, 'Carrot's'.

My grocer has a sign which says 'Plumb's'. You have to go a long way to beat that one.
The Ex Files

Went to the beach again... yesterday was fabulously hot. This time we stocked up on longer teeshirts, buckets and spades and factor 25. It was busier than the previous day, but somehow quieter, which was good. Ex husband came down midway through the afternoon which felt a bit odd, but nice as he went off exploring with the girls while I was left with my mp3 player, a bottle of beer and my book for some real peace. Managed to catch a picture of Wibs early on. Wibs hates being photographed and often looks sullen and scowly on pictures. This grieves me as she is a smiley beautiful child. I managed to get this as the camera was on my knee. She didn't realise.



Bonny has no such qualms and regularly stands gurning and demanding a picture. In my Czech Republic teeshirt - it looks so much better on her.



That sky was so blue. We played a game of I spy later - SS? Soggy sandwiches.
Today is cloudy, I can do some housework without a grudge.
Working tomorrow. It better be cloudy then too.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Flap, Rattle n' Burn

After consulting Lord Hog who advised that the weather was bad, we journeyed into town and bought a 7ft x 13ft windbreak. Nothing stands between us and the beach on an August weekend.
It whipped around like a bastid as I hammered it in with the rusty headed claw hammer I found in the garden. Never mind. Settled down with my bottle of budvar and The Interpreter, and sent Wibs and Bonny off to collect shells. The weather picked up. The book was good, the soundtrack of the Enormous Stripy Windbreak gusting back and forward in an east coast typhoon was slightly annoying, but ah well. Beach eh? Living by one, you know, you just know, that it's crap really. You spend an hour in the kitchen boiling eggs and lovingly packing your baps (into a coolbox, not a swimsuit) and off you go, you and the children all thrilled with the notion of a Whole Day at the Beach, because a whole big long cold winter followed by the wettest early summer ever has made you forget about annoying things that will definitely be there. Like wasps. And warm eggy baps with boulder sized bits of sand inside them. And the fact that your beer goes warm in a nanosecond. And that jellyfish have invaded. Again. And that other people will park their arses right next to you and then yell JASMINE I'LL SMACK YER ARSE IF YER DON'T BRING THAT BOTTLE OF FIZZY POP BACK NOW over and over again for three hours. Still, I'm steely. The raffia windbreak flapped and flopped at fifty decibels, but oh, we stuck it out. I'm sat here now, very carefully typing, because to move is to die in a writhing sunburnt agony. Yes, I did it again.

And tomorrow, we have 30oC. Guess where we're going?

I like eggy baps.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Reading Matter(s)

When I finished uni, I swore that I would never read a worthy book ever again. That anything I read from that point on would either have a pink jacket, or a title spelled out in glittering prismic letters. And I did try for a while, the summer after finals saw me stretched out in the hammock reading Tesco specials, you know, books bought on a whim with groceries. But like eating burgers and plastic cheese instead of asparagus pie and Camembert, the kitten heeled heroines began to leave me not only unsatisfied, but feeling mildly nauseous. I still tried, only paying even less, I bought them in Oxfam and Cancer Research. 50p copies of Lets Meet on Platform 8 cooed to me, "we're not so bad... we're built for the hammock and a glass of red, come on..." Daisy Falls in Love, It's my Party, FourPlay, I've brought them all home with their fluffy promises of an easy read, a pally gossip in the garden. They just don't cut the mustard. Now I once again work hard at my books. Uni ruined me for fluff. Thanks uni.

Beach day today. The local BBC weather forecast promises us a decent enough 25oC, the fat faced full little sun last night loomed off the webpage grinning and pointing at the picnic hamper. So at 9pm I merrily drove to the Co op and bought mini sausage rolls, hummus and egg custard ready to pack up. 4am this morning saw me awakened by the sound of a wind usually only captured on 1930 black and white films about the Russian Steppes. It has time to cheer up though, no? I shall make the eggy sandwiches and then choose my book to take.

Now, Painter of Signs, or Faye King Goes to Town?


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Spotted on the Trampoline Yesterday...



And today, I shall be mostly sunbathing and cooking. Probably in equal quantities, as I'm cooking Czech. As every good Czech woman knows, when they cook Czech food, it keeps them in the kitchen for most of the day. As every Czech man knows, this is the whole point of their national cuisine. Today I am cooking the horribly time consuming but incredibly tasty Bramborak. After that I will make kuře with houba, smetana and cibule in the remoska. For afters, almond thins soaked in Grand Marnier and covered with more cream, served with a strawberry granita. It's not Czech, I know I know, but man, is it gorgeous.

It's sunny, I can't believe it.

Summer seems to be looking up somewhat.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Please Remove your Shoes ...

and whisper while you're in here. The day after Suffering Sunday, and I'm still in some agony here. Please readers, next year when I post whoohooing about the brewery down the road having it's open cask day, could you all say "Liana! NO! Back away from the brewery, NOW!". I promise I will take notice. Open cask plus persuasive friends and a rare day of freedom might conspire to allow me to forget quite how shit I feel for days after the event. I would like any faithful readers to link back to this post for me, because I am stupid, and I Will Forget how ill cask beer makes me. By five o' clock yesterday I was practically inside out with puking and sorrow. Luckily I had had a cracking evening. That lessened the pain a tiny teeny bit. Oh yes, a cracking evening. Two hours sleep. And cor.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Song, a Scent and a Memory.

Talking to somebody lovely last week, we swapped our desert island discs. I found this really hard... this weeks D.I.D wouldn't be next weeks D.I.D, and last years held only a couple of keepers. It's all to do with sense of place and emotion isn't it? Aaaand the brand new number one slot this week goes to... Bat for Lashes, Horse and I. What a cracking song. In number two place, hanging on for the last eight years is the double A side from Jeff Buckley with Lover, You Should've Come Over and Last Goodbye. Making a surprise re-entry at number three is Portishead's Sour Times. Number four goes to Stipe and Hersh's Ghost, a song never far from any of Pesks gramophones. At number five, Massive Attack's Angel is a non mover (as usual), and at number six Carole King sings the Sunday morning anthem, So Far Away. Number seven holds The Doobie Brother's What a Fool Believes, for the simple fact that it makes Pesk dance like a loon and grin, even when she is feeling like poo. Finally at number eight, holding on, is Iva Bittova's Uspavanka, for reasons I just can't go into. Or can I? Ok. I saw it first on some Czech music channel. Black and white, a bus full of gypsy children and a beautiful violinist singer. I love that song. The Buckley, Portishead and Massive Attack traces back to a beautiful and doomed love affair in the late nineties. For a time I couldn't bear to listen to them, now they just give me a reminder of how glad I am that I had such love for a while. Bat For Lashes is newly discovered and I adore it so much. Carole King is good to hear mixed in with the crackleSwish of The Observer.

Scent is much the same for me. I have a little trick with perfume. A new love affair, or a holiday, or a major event, is always, always marked with a fresh perfume. I graduated to the scent of Ghost, I walked through That Love Affair wearing Rochas' Tocade, and Prague is always glad to meet me in Donna Karan's Cashmere Mist. Belgrade, and it's Prada, absolutely. (Even if it was described by a dear friend as 'pungent'). I went to Cambridge once in Paul Smith's Woman, but I don't intend to repeat that particular experience. It's good though... a song, a scent, both bring the past back into sharp focus. It's as though my memories are kept under wraps until another sense, hearing or smell, snaps them back to the surface.

I wonder which perfume is next...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

And so it goes.

I think I've mentioned before about the patients I have that are often near to tears (please people, avoid the obvious inference). You can tell when they sit down how close to the surface their emotions are. A____ came today, a really sweet patient I've had for almost a year. Come in, take a seat, how are you is the stock welcome to all my patients from me and impersonal as it is, it's sometimes it's the cue for a wobbly chin. A____ was really upset. Married 55 years, her husband doesn't beat her anymore, but only because she begs him, tells him that she is too old and frail now. He sends her to the hospital ten miles away with only the exact bus fare, nothing extra for a cup of tea. I wish I was dead, she tells me. What to do? Anything I say sounds crap. Five minutes per patient, five minutes per patient. I took five, asked about her children then counselled her on approaching her daughter. He listens to all her phone calls at home, apart from when he is sleeping underneath the newspaper. She can't make phone calls without his consent. Once, when she was younger, he broke her arm.

So, to the elderly people who notice my lack of a wedding ring; before you start in on the lecture I hear so often about youngsters not realising that you have to 'work at a marriage', look at that case.
I caught up with her ten minutes later in the corridor and sat for a couple of minutes, then gave her a hug. She kissed me and thanked me. For what?

The waste of that life makes me want to rage.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I Don't Belize it

First day yesterday working at the fruit stall. Absolutely, totally, brilliant. Bagging up fruit and veg, breathing the fresh air, running back and forward with sacks of potatoes to customers cars as they pull into the layby. Everything sold is grown by the farmer that runs the stall, a lovely woman who ran off to Belize at 18 to attend an army training course, and still lives there each winter in a mad house with five street dogs. A woman with an MA in Latin American politics and geography, she is really good fun, and we nattered all day as hungarian fruit pickers traipsed backwards and forwards with fresh fruit punnets. The weather could be better, but you can't have it all I guess. Feels like I do at the moment. The beer festival at the weekend, the Fish + Fish friend + Fish daughter are visiting, and school is out for summer. Hurrah!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sing Sultanas, Sing Sultanas to the King of Kings

Pesk - anyone want a slice of cake?
Wibs - yes please.
Bonny - has it got hosannas in it?
Pesk - ?
Bonny - hosannas, does it have hosannas in it?
Wibs - it's lemon cake.
Bonny - yes please then.
Pesk - ?
Wibs - she means sultanas.
Bonny - yep.



It's a parallel universe in here, I'm sure of it.
Crash Team Racing

Took the girls to see some stock car racing last night. We sat in the middle of great fat tyres set into grass, guzzlemunched on hamburgers and full fat coke then waved our flags as the contenders whizzed past. Bonny was a bit prim lipped at first. Look at the pollution! she said, as massive articulated truck cabs zoomed and screeched around our corner, belching great fat gouts of black smoke into the air. She soon got into the swing of it though, yelling and woohooing, all thoughts of saving the earth went to pot as she screamed out for Joe 90 to COME ONNNNN!.


The skydivers didn't make it, it was too windy and then airstrip was a bit soggy anyway they said. Ah well. What a great time we had anyway. Two artics had a huge smash into the crash barrier (no one hurt) and Bob had to be manoevred out of his car by paramedics (broken ankle). We left early at 11.15 after a teenager got stuck in her mini, smashed into by several others. I think things like this bring out the worst in people. Every crash brought huge waves of people from all over the stadium to rubberneck in case there was any gore. At one point Wibs said quite loudly, God how disgusting. But that was at me taking pictures of drivers bottoms as they attempted to fix the rope.






We also left before the fireworks and the Caravan Destruction Derby, which was a shame. I might've leapt over the barrier and taken an axe to the caravans myself.

Marlon Dingle made an appearance, and Bonny swooned as he told her what a beautiful name she had. Cain Dingle is at the next meet. My Emmerdale cup runneth over.



Both Wibs and Bonny are making plans for the next outing there. We will buy flasks and folding chairs and take a picnic they eagerly suggested as I drove home, ankle deep in mud with my teeth chattering. Marvellous.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Oi, Mush.

This blog is for me, to remind me when I need it.

It's school report time... Wib and Bonny brought theirs home this afternoon. Some choice excerpts...

- In a grey old world, Wibs certainly adds a little colour to the school. Not one of the crowd, she is 'happy in her skin' and I shall miss her.

- Wibs has been a pleasure. I can always rely on her approaching a task from an unexpected yet brilliant angle to produce work of a high standard.

- I hope Wibs keeps her quirky writing style - she is always interesting to read, and will certainly achieve a (rare) level 5.


- Bonny has great imagination. Her stories are a joy to read.

- Bonny is kind and has many friends. She has great empathy for others.

- when Bonny is not drawing or painting, she has her head stuck firmly in a book. No wonder her imagination is so vivid.


And this morning, I woke to this, stuck right where I'd see it -




And the point of this pile of braggardly mush, is this.

As parents, and especially as single parents, we beat ourselves up. We never have enough money to give our children the things we would wish to treat them to. We worry constantly that we didn't do enough, weren't there enough, didn't take sufficient notice. We rail and tear our hair, that we haven't done it right, that we could've done better and now it is too late. We see other children whose hair is neater, clothes are ironed better, shoes are polished more brightly, and we chastise ourselves and swear we will do better. I have a close friend who does exactly the same as I do. I am sure many of us do. Yet together, we have managed to raise, pretty much singlehandedly, (while working and often studying) six fantastically bright, happy, secure kind and imaginative children. So to all the other hardworking, loving, exasperated single parents, I say well done us. We are brill.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rapunzel

The elderly gent who lived next door died a couple of weeks ago. He'd lived here for decades, and his back garden was used for the purpose the council intended, to provide a large vegetable plot. A market gardener all his life, Joe set it out with military precision. Raspberries at the back, potatoes following, onions, garlic, carrots and finally, pea nets marking the edge of the border.
His wife, Winnie, has not been home since his funeral, and daily I gaze out of Elle's bedroom like the pregnant mother in Rapunzel, craning her neck to see the vegetables from her window, at the chickweed and rough grass that is steadily encroaching. The onion leaves are mustard yellow and wilting. Rain rotted perhaps, or just desperate to be dug up. The last time I spoke with Joe just a few weeks ago, he'd placed a tupperware bowl full of raspberries for my children on the hedge which joins our properties, and told me, matter of factly that he had lung cancer. "Ah well, I've had a good innings" he said. "We'll just see how long they can stave it off, nowt else to do lass". Winnie smiled by his side.
There's a special kind of stoic about old English people. They accept things, and do the best they can with what they have. Old people in general maybe.

The rain has half destroyed the crop of potatoes in the field behind our gardens too. Every day, the farmer comes with his tractor and his mate and they rattle back and forwards, desperately digging them all mechanically, and then a big motorised escalator style thing raises them up and riddles out the earth before depositing them into a lorry that trundles alongside. When I was 16, I worked in a potato field, much like this one (could've been this one) and a lone tractor dug while teams of us ran from one side of the field to another, filling supermarket type baskets then dropping them and running to the other side, where we'd start again as the tractor came back. Another person tipped the potatoes into a huge trailer. Times change. We'll have a huge glut of potatoes, cheap as (chips?) anything, and then there'll be a dearth, and they'll be outrageously expensive.

The rain is relentless. It reminds me of when we were in Prague, in 2002 for a few months. At night it tipped down, ferociously, and we sat in bars, steaming ourselves dry as we drank vodka and joked about the 500 year flood. It wasn't a joke, it happened shortly after, and it all but destroyed many villages, towns and cities. Germany had some of it too, and responded with typical German vigour, closing down the borders with the Czech Republic. As though by nipping off the tide of Czech refugees, they could stem the flow of flood water. Communism doesn't exist there any more, but it felt like it for a few weeks.

People get on with it though don't they? I'll ask Winnie when she gets back, if anything can be saved, or if we've lost the plot entirely.

I must get on with going to work.
Strawberry Surprise.

I have another job! Oh yes, the universe provides indeed it does. The person that offered me the work seemed afraid to say it, lest I shriek "I beg your PARDON?!" No chance. I snapped her hand off. As of next Wednesday, I shall be working selling strawberries and raspberries at a stall by a farm, on the coast road. What larks. It pays me 15p an hour less than I earn at the hospital, with no hierarchical aggro. At least I hope not. I can wear jeans and a teeshirt and hopefully sunglasses as I wrap parcels of strawberries and read my beloved books between passing cars. Marvellous! I can't wait. I'd almost do it for free.

In other news, my ex husband has split from his partner of three years. The children are more concerned that she has taken the kitten which was theirs, back to Dudley than the fact that they won't see her again. We can't take the cat, can't possibly offer another feline sacrifice to the Dog. The cat we already have is clinging on for dear life as it is, spending more than half her life balancing precariously on top of bookshelves, lamps and cupboards as the whiskered woofing one stands guard waiting to grab her in the jaws of instant death. I must say though, I am very glad he has ditched the Pole Dancing Pikey, as my patience was wearing thin. Constantly blowing cigarette smoke out from between teeny, brown and sharp teeth, I marvelled that the man I used to love (ten lifetimes ago) could be happy with this asinine trout. Aaaaanyway. So, on the same day, he got evicted. This poses more of a problem, as we pretty much share custody. I shall now have to force the kids out of bed at 6.00am two days a week, and shall rarely get a weekend off unless I park him in the house whilst I go gallivanting*. He's over for dinner tonight. It starts already.

Bloody men. Still, strawberries! Yum.


* obviously, it's more of a problem for him than me. Just adding that, as anyone might think I'm totally without heart**.

** But then again...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Here's looking at you kid...

I love site meter. It tells me who is looking at this blog, why they're looking, where they live (roughly - it thinks I live in - alternately Mansfield and Rotherham. I don't. I would be more miserable (if possible) if I did). It tells me where they clicked into Pesk from, if it was through Google, it tells me what they were searching for. The latest searches - 'venn diagrams + restaurants'. 'Hard to pronounce Czech words'. 'What snails eat' (everything in my opinion - don't get me started). 'Pesk for free' - (eh?) and 'Tiny Gatling'. They're not too bad - a friend had someone to her blog through the search tag 'dog sex videos', so it could be much worse. Almost as disconcerting as that, is the fact that they were able to arrive at her blog from that tag. Brrr.
Someone in Manchester has searched using my full name on Google. I know who that is, as the unusual isp gives it away. A couple of Norwegians have arrived at my blog, probably because of the post I made about how awful their hometown is. Site meter doesn't tell me if they were affronted or not.
We should have a feedback button. 5 stars for I like this, 4 for could do better, 3 for distinctly average, 2 for mildly offended and 1 for How bloody dare you, you sanctimonious foulmouthed shit.

Work today. Oh hurrah.
Dogs Dinner

Look at this. Notice it's an American company. I think you'd get stoned to death in Europe if you walked a dog wearing that.
Quite right too. I sometimes think our American cousins are - quite aptly - barking mad.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The East Wind.

You may feel a draught. Today, everyone here has a huff. The fence inspector has a huff that I was not in on Friday when he wanted to inspect my fence, the dentist had a huff because his assistant told him he was wrong (he was) and she was right (she was - this doesn't fill me with confidence as she is about 10 years old with lots of lipgloss). The left side neighbours are keeping Hairy Eddie away as he has not been castrated and so Hats has a huff because she misses wagging her bottom at him all morning. Bonny has a huff because she doesn't like 'grey smoothies' (blueberries and banana with honey) and Wibs has a huff because Bonny got fresh orange instead. I got a huff because blueberries don't come cheap, then I got a bigger huff after mowing half the lawn and running out of petrol. The fence inspector says that he cannot be expected to visit one fence in TinyVillage when he has lots of work in other places, and he would be in effect wasting his time. I apologised for having a job (quite huffily) and told him that I had cancelled the appointment they sent because I would be at work. I had informed them when BOOKING the appointment that I was at work. Clearly there is a communication breakdown between himself and the agency that took the booking, I said. Huffily. And that I think to say that he would be wasting time inspecting my fence is very rude. I didn't say that, but my huffy tone may have intimated it.

I don't even work on Mondays, and I have caught everyone else's huff it seems.




I shall now go huffily, to pick my children up from school.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Patients dear, Patients.

Clinic this morning was delightful. Many patients I haven't seen for a couple of months, all full of questions. How is the dog, the family, have we had floods, did my trip to Aberdeen go well? For a bunch of pensioners, the memories they have are startling and sharp. They are kind. Before I did this work, I would never have imagined that I would feel so fond of elderly people. Having been on the admin side of so many grumps on the telephone for more than a year, these people it seems are transformed by the sight of a uniform, a smile and a conversation which stretches out for months at five minutes a go. My regulars are all smiles, and me too. How cheering they are. "Ooh, you have lost weight!" "You have done your hair differently, I like it!" "Come dancing with me sweetheart".

Maybe it's the human face rather than someone on the end of a 'phone, I don't know. But they are kind, and for this I am grateful and happy.
Mind you, had B____ in. Deaf and utterly without social skills, he wears enormous glasses. B____ is almost exactly like the dad from the Royle Family will be in twenty years time. "How are you B____?" I asked.

"TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE!", he bellowed. "I'VE NOT BEEN WELL AT ALL! BEEN SLEEPING IN TEN HOUR STRETCHES, I ONLY WAKE UP TO SHIT!"

My head snapped up like a puppets. Sniggers from the corridor and a muffled good Christ from the phleb next door. I must've had the broadest grin. Look on the bright side B____ I said. At least you DO wake up to do it".
I like B_____ as well. He doesn't much give a fig, and that's terribly freeing I think.

I used to work with deafblind students, mostly with learning problems. There are many similarities between the elderly and those students. Mostly in that no one has time for them, and no one, if they can help it, touches them. Imagine that... to be so isolated and have people avoid you. I walk the patients back up the corridor arm in arm, I usually put an arm around their shoulders when i fetch them into clinic. It stretches me past the requisite five minutes often, but meh.

In other news - a colleague told me that when her dog was on heat, a rottweiler that she'd never seen before climbed up her trellis and in through the kitchen window to ravish her dog. I can't bear it.

And the meeting was ok. Air clearing, and ok.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

iTunes

I am rediscovering the magic of party shuffle while sitting here this morning. Better than daytime television. Well at least better than Jeremy Kyle, though yesterday's Phil and Fern gave me an unexpected Rupert Everett bonus, so I'm glad that I saved my scorn and didn't iTune 'til today.
I'm talking to the Fish about acupuncture, and party shuffle is flinging some marvellously unexpected treasures at me. As we scoff about homeopathy (definition - throw a bottle of Stolichnaya into the sea at Portsmouth and then fly to Manhattan Island , scoop up some water in a shot glass and expect to feel pissed), the 12" of Human League's Love Action beeps jollily at me. The thing about party shuffle, is that you hear things that you ordinarily wouldn't choose. I had been giving The Hours album a listen (not bad. Not brilliant, could improve with more listens) but Human League cheered me right up, despite me not liking it at the time. It is followed by the Cure's Cut Here, and Frank Black's Lone Child.
Someone told me once of a game that you can play with iTunes. Ask it a question and press shuffle, and the song is your answer. So, I think, how will the meeting go tomorrow? Answer - Death in Vegas' - Hands around my Throat.


Rubbish game.
Leave Box Empty if not Applicable.

To the person who tried and failed to contact me yesterday - there's my email address over there on the right.
*points*
Fences, Landlords and Meetings

Called the landlord about the fence a few weeks ago now. There is a field at the bottom of my huuuuge garden, and when the tractor comes round every few weeks, it reverses and turns, backing into my fence more often than not, stabbing little holes in it with the big bouncy metallic bridal train it pulls along. I said to the landlord that it is full of holes after the last ploughy type activity, and there was much huff and bluster. "Well I don't see why we should pay for it! Who is the farmer?". I have no idea, I said. But I am not home Thursdays or Fridays, so if you come and have a look, don't come then. Got a letter this morning saying that they will come on Friday. To look at it. I rang them back and said that I have a dog on heat and it needs doing quickly. I could hear myself becoming unreasonable. Surely not Liana, you say, you, unreasonable? It's true alas. I am getting a big bruise on my forehead these days.
Boss called - can we have a meeting. Bugger. I was thinking of resigning with immediate effect yesterday. Looks like I'll have to go in after all and endure this meeting. Unless they re-expand my job, I will have to go anyway - at least this gives me a chance to put my side of things across. Feeling impotent about life changes is such a negative thing, this lets me be proactive (jesus, I'm already into bullshit bingo). The Fish says that the universe is backing me into a corner so that I have to alter the bad. It's true possibly. I hope I don't puncture a fence as I'm reversing.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Time of the Season

I wonder if Hats and I are on some kind of psychic wavelength... after last nights dream, while walking the girls to school I notice (don't ask, it's gruesome) that Hats is experiencing her first heat cycle. Googling tells me that it lasts almost a month, but that I shouldn't have rushed home like a distressed maiden aunt with the vapours, as she will not allow a male dog to mount her for the first ten - twelve days of the cycle. After that apparently she will let any old mongrel in to have a go. The slapper. It lasts approximately twenty days. The website tells me that the most noticeable sign during this time, is that male dogs will hang around the house.
Oh please.
I can't get her spayed yet because a) I don't have £150 and b) during the cycle, if on heat, complications are a distinct possibility.

So, can I take her for walks or not? Do I have to carry a gallon of icy water in a bucket everywhere we go? I can't see either of us being willing to forego our three mile walks. Especially when I noticed a very handsome Italian Spinone on the last one. Poor Hats. Poor me.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Welcome Dreams.


Following on from my camping trip with Johnny Depp, I am pleased to report that I spent a significant portion (fnaar) of last night with Rupert Everett, having jolly fun on a sofa. The dream was incredibly realistic, so much so that I still have a huge grin on my face. Of course this is not my first dalliance with Dame Everett, he kissed me once. During waking hours too. I know, it's incredible - picture if you will, a 20 year old shop girl sent off to fetch milk belting down Oxford Street, turning into St Christopher's Place and subsequently running straight into a tall man in a long brown mackintosh. He grabbed my shoulders and said "My Darling - you can't come in here, we're making a film" then held my face in his hands and kissed me. It was him, filming Dance with a Stranger with Miranda Richardson in the mid eighties. He was straight then you see. I have hope that it wasn't our brief snog that sent him across to the other side.

I have the poster of the film in my bathroom these days. It was probably seeing that while brushing my teeth that set me off.

Am going to stare at it for another half hour before I go to bed tonight.

Cor.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Make it Happen Someone?

Back at work, to discover that in my absence they have subsumed my job and thus cut my hours in half. I now no longer qualify for tax credits, and am really stuck as to what to do. It can't be legal to do this I suspect, but I feel that I have no fight whatsoever to take them on with. Oh, and I only received SSP for the time I was off. Cheers guys, really appreciate the support.

In good news, amazingly, I got onto the maths course. This means, that when I pass the exam at the end of August (I can't even contemplate failing it) I will at last be qualified enough to take my PGCE.

Then I can get the hell out of here and they can all kiss my fat arse goodbye.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Truth be Tulled

I am busy sewing a gazillion fuschia sequins onto miles of black tulle. This is part of the trial of being a goth mother. Elle doesn't know that while I have been away from work I have decorated her bedroom. The colour is called Turkish Delight but would be far better named Sexy Pink or Hot Lips. It's a deep, deep blue pink, very startling... at least it is when you stare at it for hours at a time, as I have been. On top of this lurid shade I have painted yards of black ivy trailing across and down the walls. A new set of drawers, a new wardrobe and a lampshade dripping mirrors and sequins completes the look. Or rather, the fifty thousand metres of tulle studded with sequins will complete the look, once it is attached at the window.

Elle lives at my mums during the summer, as she cannot get back to TinyVillageByTheSea from her summer job. I miss her. I am hoping to tempt her back during next week so that I can see her stunned face as she saunters into her new den. Of course I may be way off beam - it is entirely likely that she will gasp in horror and weep tears of pain before telling me that this year, its all about pale lemon and fluffy ducks. I somehow doubt it though.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Book Sale

Just in case anyone didn't notice, I have a book for sale with the very wonderful Koo Press ... you can buy it here

Scroll down to the bottom, there is my lovely book. Liana Hemmett. That's me.

And no, there is no ulterior motive for blogging this. Honest.




My book.

Please buy.

Please?


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fractionally off...

Went for my maths test this afternoon. Must admit I was a tad grumpy, as it was boiling hot in tinyvillagebythesea and my new book was laid on the hammock, flipping its pages suggestively in the faint breeze. And I was sat, hunched over a level 3 maths book all morning. Looking confused.
After striding confidently (it's all bluff) into the wrong campus building I doubled back and arrived blotchy and panicky at the agreed meeting place where I hung around for ten minutes feeling sicker and sicker. Literacy test or numeracy test? asked the admin guy (note - cute, Christopher Eccleston lookeelikee, corphroaretc. Let's hope he likes ditzy women who count on their fingers.). Numeracy, I whispered, and followed him into an IT suite.

I need this maths thing to get into teacher training. I don't want to teach maths, I don't even want to teach a broad subject range, as I am intending to teach just English, and at a push psychology - why is it then, that I need to work out the volume of a cylinder? Convert decimals to fractions? What is the point?

I got 46.9% anyway, which is too low to qualify to take the intensive one week course which would get me the GCSE. I failed because I cannot work out volumes (except the one on my stereo) and I do not know what mean, median and something else means. If I knew what they meant, I wouldn't be sat there with three knuckle draggers . I can though still attend, and then go for an extra two evenings a week (like my life isn't shit enough already) until I reach the standard that the exam requires. That won't be too long, said Christopher Eccleston cheerily. Bless him.

At this rate, I shall be pensionable age before I qualify.

Leaving the car park, I leaned on my horn and made wanker symbols at a bloke that cut me up inadvertently. I need to find a better way to channel this energy.

Feeling better when I watch this.


Exit the Dragon...

This is what was flying and shooting near my house yesterday, Flighty tells me. Flighty knows everything about planes as you might suppose from his name. Thank you!

(I must say though, I rather preferred the idea of Puff the Magic Dragon. A warthog is much less acceptable. Though more likely to be associated with me, I grant you).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

One for Flighty

I live by a tiny airbase. Well, I say by, it's a mile or so from my house. I've never been there as a grownup, but as a child I went samphire picking in a marsh with a friend and her mother one evening, and we were ushered away by a man who said we'd be blown up by the bombs if we weren't careful. I remember being quite thrilled. A favourite book of mine was Carrie's War, and as a wee one, I imagined myself in all kinds of dramas, so this was probably lovely. I'm not much better as an adult, chucking myself into dodgy situations. Anyway. I never really think about the place much -the father of a schoolfriend of Bonny's works there. He's a bit of a drip, and though Bonny's friend says he is a pilot, she also insists that she has a flat in Big Ben, so I suppose he is someone who manages graphs or something. I drive past the sign that says R.A.F VeryTinyVillagebytheSea twice a day too, but I don't really give it much thought apart from when I'm outside in the garden and very noisy jets fly over, or there is some bombing out to sea and then I get a bit annoyed as the village is very quiet otherwise.
Today whilst sunbathing off the effects of a miserable visit to the dentist (more later) both myself and Hats the Mutt were alarmed off our lazy bellies by an HORRENDOUS noise. It sounded like a huge, giant sized zip being drawn across the sky, and went on for a good while. The dog leapt up, ears all spanish policeman hat shaped and I was aghast. Wondering what the hell it was, I called dad - he used to be an aircraft engineer in the RAF years ago. I tried to explain the sound - like the big sky zip, but also like something horribly wrong with a speaker or an amp at full blast, when it happened again - Oh, dad said, I hear it now (he lives 10 miles away to give some idea of how loud it was in my garden). It's puff the magic dragon, he said.
It's amazing how quickly thoughts of alzheimers, dementia, how mum would cope can whip through your mind. Puff the magic dragon? I mean I know he lived by the sea, but wasn't that in a land called HonnerLee or something, rather than VeryTinyVillagebytheSea?
Turns out it was this. It fires 6,000 rounds a minute. That's a hundred a SECOND. All firing off into the north sea, inches from my hammock.

Ok, well not inches but it bloody sounded like it.

It went on all afternoon.

Today hasn't been a great day. Nine o' clock had seen me at the dentists, where Petr the Over Friendly Polish Dentist, did something like the Lindy Hop as he tried to remove a molar from my mouth. For twenty minutes. "Are you okaaaay?" he asked, sweaty droplets landing on my brow.
"Of course I'm fucking well not you great OAF" my eyes replied. With a hint of "oh, I'm just a fragile little thing please stop hurting me."

"Vell, I aim doink it now, so sorry, please vait"

Please wait. Honestly. Six hours later my mouth (and tongue and nose) were at optimum numb, too late. Which made me sound very, very stupid as I tried to negotiate a place on a course at the local college in August. I have to go tomorrow to take an hour long test to see if I am capable of passing the course.
In Maths.

*weeps softly*

Puff, come back for me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Marathon Man


My dad ran the 30th seabank marathon on Sunday. It's a particularly tough one, as the terrain is extremely rough, comprising as it does of long grass, stiles every so often, mud, sand and lumpy bumpy stuff (I don't know the technical term for those). Originally a sea defence built by the romans, it is slightly longer than usual marathons. This year it started in Skegness and ended in Boston (they switch the start/end every year), and I went with Wibs and Bonny along to watch - we caught him in Wrangle (Isn't that a great name for a village?) which is approximately half way, where he changed his trainers, had a banana and a swig of water. We then drove on to Boston (after a spot of lunch at the garden centre and a wee bit of retail therapy at TKMaxx) and waited at the finish line for him. Bonny couldn't wait to get to him, nipped under the barrier and ran the last few yards with him to a big cheer and an aw from the crowd
. Look at my dad smile - I think it's a huge achievement not least because he has never run a marathon before - oh, and he's seventy.

Hats off to you dad.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Breast Beating


My grocer said breasts to me the other day. As in "I don't like women without hips and bums and breasts" (we have a fairly close relationship do me and Charles). I was telling the fish about it, and she said that breasts is a difficult word to pull off. Too many consonants together - that sts part of the word is so hard to pronounce, she says. "Hrm" I said. "Breasts breasts breasts". Nope - I find it easy, but I am used to speaking silly Czech words like zmrzlina and krc. An S a T and an S together poses no problem for me.
Bring on the consonants I say.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sorry Spider

that I painted you midnight blue. You have a broad, round back. I was painting the shed you see (like a tardis, but never mind) and your body is almost a perfect sphere. I thought you were one of those wood screws. You only have yourself to blame, holding so still like that. I realise that you were probably scared of either me or the whiskery dog who was watching the paintbrush brush zipping back and forth, because you upped and legged it (and how, you have so many) very fast and I thought as you ran away, you look like a sapphire gleaming in the sun. I wonder what your wife will say.

Monday, June 04, 2007

God is Good.

Nah, haven't been converted. Though sometimes, something happens which could almost make me a believer.
Last night, I dreamed that I went camping. With Johnny Depp. And one sleeping bag. One.

Oh, and I lost weight. Not in the dream, (though I must've burned at least half a stone on that overnight trip, and there weren't any long hikes either fnaar), but at Fat Club.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fatso.

Still on the Aberdeen prompted healthkick. The three mile walk with dog is now a regular thing, an this morning we completed it and were back for branflakes and banana by 8.30 ish. How virtuous I feel. If you ignore last nights red wine swimathon. Oh and the night befores Thai fest.

Sigh.

Still, I really haven't 'sinned'. This terminology makes me want to heave. Some foods good, some food bad, treats are measured in sins - or, syns. Like a chummy y will make the difference. It's thinking in terms of good and bad that makes people fat for chrissakes. (Well, that and ramming in cream horms at any and every opportunity). Anyway, I am not following the diet of the particular Fat Fucks club that I am attending, only going there to goggle at ginormos balancing on weeny scales, and of course to get weighed myself on their super duper digital whale harness. Will see how much I have shed/gained this week. Seems to me that my clothes are looser, which is a Good Thing.

Now, crispbread time.

Yum.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I am putting this here as much for me as for anyone else that stumbles across it. I heard it last night on Colin Murray (no idea, but glad I did is my answer), as I drove home late. Worth a listen - stay with it. It made me laugh out loud.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dinner

was lovely. Loads of hooting laughter, names not heard for decades bandied left and right, as though we were still there in 1974. Of course then, I was 10 and he was 20 something. He was my teacher.

Everyone has one of those teachers, those special ones that somehow get to you and make you shine. The ones that you recall all of your life, the ones who made you want to go to school, those shiny apple teachers. This one is my old friend now. I can call him that - we've stayed in touch over the 32 years that have passed since he taught me. I remember him bribing me with Tin Tin books to learn my times tables. He used to send the mothers atwitter, standing at the school gates, in american tan tights, (the mothers, not him) a veritable fan club.
He used to sit on his desk with his legs crossed - the other teachers frowned at him I know. We loved him. Tonight was the first time we've seen each other to talk properly, face to face, for 21 years. I can scarcely believe it. Older now, bald, but still twinkling, and instead of leaping on and off his desk, he bounds around pouring wine and yelling VENN DIAGRAMS! What the HELL was that about? Will you ever FORGIVE me?

Absolutely.
Lethargic.

I am off work presently, sick. Or, sick and tired would be more apt.

Been to Aberdeen to launch the wee book - the reading went really well and people didn't file out of the door smirking and pointing afterwards, they buzzed around asking me to sign copies. I felt like JK Rowling, but fatter and a bit drunk. Wore Fletty's bowler hat for the rest of the night, danced with a sexy scot/german hybrid bloke, and nicked peoples chips. Went slightly mad with no sleep for 48 hours, apart from a snatched hour on a stolen bed, met a taxi driver that looked like a composite of every baddy in Taggart that was ever cast, and had a thoroughly fantastic time.
The low hit on the first day back, and I took LTK's suggestion of some time off.
Will use it wisely.
(Looking for a job, and not blogging.)

Dinner tonight with an old, old, old friend that I haven't seen for 21 years. Can't wait.




Me, drunk in Abers with bowler.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Chat Room


Mum - You know that pub in (your village), The Angel?

Pesk - Yes...?

Mum - Geoff was telling me, there's a conversation order on it.

Pesk - I'm lost for words.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bastro. R.I.P.

There's only so much a woman can take. After catching Bastro hosting some kind of stag weekend in my sunflowers, I got a stick and flicked him and his mates out and through the metal staging grids. It was like kerplunk.
Sad, but it had to be done.

This blog will return to normal service sometime soon. Glandula feva is in da house and frankly, it's interfering with normality.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bastropod.

Look at this, the cheeky little feck. The girls' sunflowers aren't even out of their seed tray yet, and he's managed to climb three feet up the greenhouse staging, march across the gridded shelf, shuck off the protective cover and start gorging.



Honestly. Worse, he's right in the middle like the cocky arse he is. I knew I should've put him in the bin when I caught him trying to bungee off the doorbell the other week.




Scaring away visitors is sometimes a good thing.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hrm.

Recieved a phone call last night from Ullapool where these people have swanned off to rehearse. They had been discussing that thing in Aberdeen and I am requested to perform work from my book, at the launch, on the 17th, for twenty minutes.

Twenty minutes.

Twenty.

I imagine that the first fifteen will be spent loudly trumping.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Smokeless Person Update


It is a really large number of days now since I became smokelessly fuelled. Feb 4th - you work it out. On my way home from an immense eleven hour shift yesterday, I was sitting at the traffic lights when there was a rap on my window. I looked left, and a beeeeeeaaaauuuuutiful (seriously beautiful) man was making clickety click signs with his right hand. Winding down the window, puzzled, I looked at him. "Have you got a light?" he said. "No! I don't smoke" I said. "I can see!" he grinned. "That's one of those things you use to stop, no? Good luck!!!"




I hadn't fully realised this was jammed between my lips ----------->





How fabulous. The most gorgeous man I've seen in approximately 32 years, and I'm chewing on a plastic tampon. If you think it couldn't get any worse, Mel C was on my stereo.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Norwegian Mood

The more I think about it (and no, I don't know why I am anyway), the more Norway annoys me. Those stupid little O's with diagonal slashes through them, those vile little open circles above letters, like the ones that teenage numpties use to dot their i's, those stupid burrrdoy-beeedish-beeedoy voices. Bleurgh. I've been to Norway, twice by the way, to a city which occupies an entire island, Moss. It's between Oslo and Fredrikstad. If you ever get the chance to go there, don't. Spend a more entertaining week in a remote campsite in deepest east england instead. Norway stinks. I flew into Oslo and got mugged at the airport bar immediately. Two small bottles of beer - a tenner. Norway, makes you bleed money from every orifice, open your purse and watch kroners fountain out. Fancy a tube of smarties? Ok. Three QUID. Want to take home a bottle of wine? Ok. First, go to the goverment controlled Vin Monopolet (wine monopoly - I'm serious. Something with more than a whiff of communism about this... take a ticket from a roll by the door, take a leaflet printed with the wine list and go stand in the queue. Inch forward, two paces per five miutes. Wait for your number to flash up on a screen, move past the locked (truly, locked)cabinets of Blue Nun and Leibfraumilch, and hand it over to the man behind the counter who has a smiling mouth and the eyes of a serial killer. Wait as he disappears into the back of the store and returns with your bottle of basic three quid plonk. Hand over twenty five quid. Do not wait for change, there will be none.
Walk back to your house, and do not expect to see anyone on the streets as there is no such thing as cafe society. Take in the boutiques along the way. Gawp in astonishment at the leather dresses in shop windows, complete with tassles, beads and feathers and marvel at the utter lack of any fashion sense whatsoever. Notice the one and only nightclub in the whole city, Whiskey Shack, and imagine to yourself the visions that must fill it on a Saturday night. Go out later for a meal with your PartnerAtTheTime - share a large pizza and a couple of beers, and find yourself signing a credit card chit for £170, the tears pouring down your cheeks mingling with the fountain of blood spurting, chopped-artery like, from your purse.

No one SMILES there. Well actually that's not strictly true. Like Vin Monopoly Man, they do smile, it is just that the smiles are like muscle spasms - they flit briefly across the mouth, do not reach any other part of the face, and leave ... no one laughs, no one shouts. It's like an enormous Village of the Damned.

When I flew home the London bound plane taxied along the airport runway in Oslo, then screeched to a halt. "Noooooo!!!" everything inside me screamed, "I HAVE to leave!". Two lorries pulled up, hosed the plane down with de-icer and then the plane took off almost immediately and practically vertically.
What a relief.
Rubbish Job.

Near to the clinic I have on a Friday morning is a shop which sells all manner of useless and cheap crap. There are tons of them here at the seaside, they are in a kind of poundland style, but owned by various local business people. Anyway, I nipped in to this one which is a particularly large, warehouse sized one, to get some latex gloves and nappy sacks for picking up dog mess (my life just gets more brilliant), and as I was walking around picking up bits and pieces (Pantene shampoo/conditioner £1.50, barg) a really loud voice shouted "Do not open the boxes!" I looked up to see a woman standing on a table at the front of the shop, shouting. I was in there for ten minutes (nine more than is good for anyone) and saw several people shamed this way. "Man in the red anorak, do not touch the lampshades" "Lady in the pink teeshirt, do not open the packaging".
This woman is actually employed to stand on a table and yell at punters. Whilst I can see the positives in it (I would LOVE to clamber up on my trolley and shout at some of my patients), this poor specimen was standing on a rickety table amongst piles of 50p colouring books, in jeans, boots, jumper and mittens, making sure that no one buggered up the flimsy cardboard on a box of lightbulbs.
That has got to be the worst job I've seen for a good long while. I wonder if she was the cheapshop poundland prototype for this?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

London Marathon

Speaking as one who wouldn't run if my bum was on fire, I admire those who would. This bloke is a colleague/boss/friend of mine. Can anyone spare a quid for the Round Table Children Wish?


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Especially for R.




Got to love that poor guy in the tie at 2.40, just right of the guitar. Looks a bit like a bloke that threw us out of the Green Dragon that night eh?

x

Monday, April 16, 2007

More Disaster in the Midlands

... as I get rip roaringly drunk and then loudly announce how shit the first act is at the Ha Ha Harborough night. My new found love of rose wine has been washed ashore by deep red hot waves of shame, and smashed to pieces on Hangover Rocks. I am deeply penitent. Not about the 'this is shit' stage whisper (ok, bellow) as really, someone needed to say it (and anyway the rest of the night depended heavily on jokes about the (ejected but not dejected) pair (that's you as well Clarkie) of drunken farts that were peacably persuaded to piss off to the pub I am reliably informed), but penitent because it was my best friends birthday AND I was supposed to be showing my daughter a great time. Still, she has her ways of getting her own back. There is a video on her phone of me falling off a bench, burger from Bills Bar in one hand and mayonnaise all over my chops, which I am certain will end up on MySpaz or Youtube.

God. Driving home was horrid. The schizophrenic sat nav that had, the day before, tried to make me leave Harborough every time I actually entered it (maybe the worlds first psychic sat nav) , failed to work at all as we left. Signal too low, it kept announcing. Consequently it took an extra hour to get home, as the turn right, turn right then turn right direction which Fish had given turned out to be useless as the second turn right was closed. I was almost in tears.

Poor me. Poor my friends.