Friday, May 19, 2006

Twinkle, twinkle little star

Last night I took Thomas to see Starlight Express at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking. When it was first advertised I was a bit dubious about seeing it again, having already seen it a few times in London when it became one of my favourite shows. The tickets were quite expensive (about £30 for concessions) and the theatre in Woking does not lend itself to having bridges and ramps built for the skating races. I convinced myself that it couldn't possibly be as good as the original.

I had a last minute change of heart and am very happy to report that I'm absolutely delighted to have been proved wrong. It was a fantastic show. They overcame the problem of being unable to build ramps, etc around the theatre by having a 3D film of the races shown on a very large screen on the stage. Very, very well done and effective. Thomas was entranced and thought it 'cool' (high praise indeed from someone whose only interests sometimes seem to be war games and fantasy fighting!!); as good as, if not better than when he saw it in London a few years ago.

Highly recommended if it should come your way and you fancy a show about love, rivalry and the power of good over bad in the world of trains!

Tall and tanned and young and lovely

I can't take a well-tanned person seriously - Cleveland Amory

Well, I'm not tall, no longer young, not sure about the lovely any more but, as I'm going on holiday in about a month's time and will have to expose bits of my body that haven't been seen since last summer, I succumbed to buying a quantity of razors, exfoliating and self-tanning creams. After all, who wants a couple of white plastic bags filled with yogurt appearing from the bottom of their skirts or shorts.

It is some years since I attempted this self-tanning excercise, which then resulted in orange streaky things that resembled reproduction mahogany table legs with a very erratic grain. However, with the reassurances of a friend ringing in my ears that things have progressed now and, as long as you do it properly, it will be OK I spent the morning in the bathroom a couple of days ago with the recommended products such as Inecto Moisture Miracle Leg & Body Scrub, razors, Dove body lotion and Ambre Solaire non-streak self-tanning spray. I followed ALL instructions to the letter . End result - orange streaky things, etc. I have spent the last couple of days using the Miracle Leg Scrub trying to get it off!! Also the palms of my hands are still the colour of the button below that says 'Publish Post', despite washing them several times after each application.

However, I must recommend the Dove Summer Glow Body Lotion as I used only that on the rest of my exposed bits and there's not a streak in sight!!!

I suppose I should be thankful that the stuff doesn't come off easily on to clothes and furnishings, etc. How well I remember the embarassment of having a driving lesson some years ago after having used a supposedly non-come-offable leg makeup only to have it come off all over the driving seat.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chin chin cheroo

Why is it that the hairs that have started to appear occasionally on my chin are a nice , dark hue whereas those that grow on my head are a whiter shade of pale??

Friday, May 12, 2006

I scream, you scream (everybody loves ice-cream)

A letter in The Times the other day recalled a radio programme where lsiteners were asked to call in with the cruellest lies they had heard. One told how his parents had said that the ice-cream van played music to announce that they had sold out.

We have, recently, had an ice-cream van try his luck in our road but unfortunately no-one bought anything from him so he's given up stopping at this end of the road. Possibly he didn't get any sales because his stopping time didn't give anyone, except the very, very agile, time to find their purse, vacate their house and sprint up the road to where he was waiting. Now he just zooms past, up the hill to the bigger houses at the top who are obviously much more organised.

I'm not fond of modern (post 1959 when Mr Softee & Mr Whippy were born) ice cream. I can still remember Eldorado ice-cream, a small cylindrical block with a paper band around it that fitted into a cone OR came in a tub if you were in the 1/9's at the pictures (the best seats only!). It was absolutely delicious and not a patch on today's synthetic tasting stuff.

Another early childhood delight was Cremola 'lemonade' crystals mixed with water to make a really disgusting drink. On occasion, when she hadn't got any of those in the cupboard, my mother used to make an almost equally disgusting drink by using orange juice or squash mixed with Andrews Liver Salts to make it fizzy. Mmmmmmmm....... Almost as good as having Alka Seltzer to refresh you!!

Liquorice sticks and Spanish wood, humbugs and Edinburgh rock. You could buy 2 ounces or a quarter (of a pound) twisted up in a little paper bag and still have change out of sixpence.

Well, have to go now, my Ovaltine is ready and it's past my 9.00 bedtime.

Night, night - sleep tight.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bye, bye birdie

Did St. Francis preach to the birds? Whatever for? If he really liked birds he would have done better to preach to the cats - Rebecca West

Now I know that generally birds aren't the Einsteins of the animal kingdom but those that visit our garden have, over the years, got to know that we have got a cat. This I know because, over the years, I have spent exorbitant amounts of money buying nuts, fat-balls, seeds and suchlike for their delectation only to find that they prefer the toast put out by next-door, despite the fact that next-door has two large dogs who race up and down their garden. BUT dogs don't eat birds. Why, then, do they insist on building their nests in the most inappropriate places around my house.
This year's choice site is in a pot near the top of a wall where my cat and next-door-but-one's cat sit and play lucky dip with their paws with Mum and Dad blue-tit having a blue-fit on the washing line. I seem to spend half of my day rushing out chasing off the cats, who then stroll away to do a bit of goldfish spotting in the pond.
Last year's ideal home was yet another almost inaccessible pot on the wall outside of the back door. This was more successful inasmuch that Mum and Dad birdie only had to shout at people going in and out of the back door as the cat couldn't reach the pot. However, the cat's big moment arrived when it was time to fly the nest!! He just sat on the doorstep, watching the flying lessons, and then took advanage of those who didn't take off first time. The RSPB weren't very helpful - just said that blue-tits have so many ?litter, flocks, broods? one less wouldn't make much difference. I must admit that I then took to using the front door and let nature take its course.

tweet, tweet

Sock it to me!!!

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair - Kahlil Gibran

I was going to comment on Liz's thoughts about socks but it turned into such a long item that I thought It'd be better to rant on my own time.

To me socks are another of life's little wind-ups. Like Liz says, black ones are always made in different shades of black so that, even if you buy completely plain ones, when one of them emigrates without telling you or runs away from home, you can't matchmake the ones left behind because they are all different shades. Whilst this isn't a problem in human terms it is just not acceptable with socks.
Shops seem to sell socks only in packs of 3 or 4 so that you can't see if they suit you and then buy some more. Oh no, you have to buy multiple pairs and then discard 2 or 3 unworn, new pairs when you find you don't like them. This has happened to me twice recently which is why liz touched such a raw nerve. Firstly I bought a pack of black semi-sheer, nylony, nice-looking ankle length socks. Horrible to wear - itchy, tight and I thought my blood supply would be cut off round my ankles! Discarded! Next, shopping in Sainsbury's, I spotted some of those little 'trainer' socks. Should have known better - one or other of them always ends up in the toe of my trainer! But these had a little cuff round the top that looked as if it would do the trick. Did it hell!! I spent most of May Day bank holiday removing my shoes to adjust my socks until, in the end, I let them just get on with it until they had formed a lump under the ball of my foot and I walked in the manner of John Cleese. No-one commented so perhaps that's how I always walk.
I also hate matching up David's white sports-type socks after washing them; so I've given that up after about 40 years and leave them for him to do.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Verify this

Liz alerted me to the fact that word verification now has a little wheelchair symbol next to it. Upon investigation I discovered that you can now choose to click on this symbol and listen to randon numbers to type in, recorded by people with strange accents in a pub, instead of using the very sensible words given in the box.

The last half hour has been spent trying to work out who will benefit by this?? If you can't see the word then you wouldn't see the wheelchair. If you can't that doesn't work. If you're in a wheelchair then you have your own special button to click. I'm sure there's a simple explanation (there usually is) but I can't think of one because I'm, well, ..............simple

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Welcome to the weekend (part 2)

Heard last night that the chap who crashed his car didn't die but was diagnosed as being very drunk and arrested at the earliest opportunity. I'm glad he didn't die but the sympathy stops there I'm afraid. If that phone box hadn't been there, or there had been someone in it, I dread to think what would have happened.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Toilet humour

Mark my words, when a society has to resort to the lavatory for its humour, the writing is on the wall - Alan Bennet

We've all met people who are supposedly incredibly intelligent but don't know which way to sit on a lavatory - Stephen Fry

[First - please note that the first word of the title to my previous post should read Welcome NOT Welocme. (You knew that didn't you). ]

This item in the paper made me laugh out loud and spill my yogurt:

There's no escape from the Health & Safety Gestapo. On Tayside, the NHS has just issued guidelines on how to use the bathroom.
A four-page leaflet, entitled **Good Defecation Dynamics, has just been published in Dundee.
You couldn't make it up. It gives advice on the safest way to sit on the toilet. 'Do not slump down but keep a normal curve in your back. Make sure your feet are well supported.'
You get the gist.
So this is what Gordon means when he talks about 'Investment' in public services. Coming soon from the NHS - Sucking Eggs: A Guide for Grandmothers.

**This is the bit where the yogurt got spilled.

Welocme to the weekend

'-"I've been thinking, Hobbes---"
-"On a weekend?" - Calvin & Hobbes
-"Well it wasn't on purpose..."

Have had a great weekend, doing enjoyable things.

Saturday: Had to get some posters for Habeas Corpus photocopied so, after an abortive trip to Chertsey ( an uninspiring and boring place, so much so that if you follow the link you'll find someone trying to sell you CD rom!) I ended up in nearby Shepperton, home of Shepperton Film Studios where all of the best early British films were made (and I believe some still are). This is a place that is frequently driven through by me to get to other places but I haven't visited it to shop for a long time, maybe 30+ years. Now I wish I had! It is still a small, local town centre reminiscent of the days when such places consisted of individual independently- owned shops with not a giant supermarket in sight. Shopkeepers actually stood in the doorway when not busy serving and wished passers-by a 'good morning'. Everywhere was very busy and happy and good-natured and I spent a considerable time there just browsing and enjoying the atmosphere. Did I just happen to catch it on a very good day?? I do hope not as these places are fast disappearing and should be cherished.
After this adventure it was home for lunch and then sorting out costumes acquired for
Habeas Corpus as PT was due to come round to discuss them. Jo and Thomas arrived to do a car swap with me and then Pete and his lovely wife, Kathleen, put in their appearance. Everyone stayed for supper (takeaway kebabs - delicious!), Kath, Jo, Thomas and I played 'Doggie Top Trumps' in the kitchen (Thomas won, of course, because he's an expert) and Pete and his Dad talked about family history in the living room. Then everyone went home.

Sunday: Early morning and David set off for the archery field and I set off for 'The Hut', official address of The Ottershaw Players, to do a bit of set building and painting and take the tea and coffee things. Managed to get more black paint on me than the thing I was painting but 'am I bovvered?' - no, as long as they let me into the pub for lunch, which they did. Pete had been given a free lunch by John, the landlord, so he and Kath came too and David joined us after a hard morning shooting arrows. Food was great, as ever.
Back home, David to read his book (that means one paragraph and then zzzzzzzzzzzz.......) and me to wash cups from morning's coffee at the Hut and get together costumes to take to evening rehearsal at Brook Hall so that Pete can take publicity photos.
Then it was time to go to Brook Hall for an evening of fun, laughter and maybe a few bad tempers. It started well and we had a bit of fun and laughter but this was unfortunately interrupted for about an hour by a chap crashing his car into a phone box opposite the hall. One of our actors was out by the door having a quick smoke at the time and was one of the first on the scene. Emergency services were quick to arrive but they had to wait for the firemen to cut the roof off the car to gain access to the driver. This shook everyone up somewhat but after cups of tea/coffee it was time to soldier on. The evening ended a bit earlier than usual and a couple of tempers got frayed (one of them being mine) but most of the cast and crew ended up in the pub again so a fairly pleasant end to the evening. I do hope the chap in the car was OK.

Monday: To the Hut at 10am to collect stuff for our stall at The Ottershaw May Fair. David was dragged along to help (he's got a bigger car than most others) then off to the field to set it all up. The weather forecast had promised heavy rain all day but, I'm glad to say, they were wrong and it wasn't bad at all - a bit chilly but we didn't get wet. However there were a few heavy gusts of wind and the stand next to ours, which was borrowed from a market trader and consisted of a heavy metal frame and plastic sheet, took off and landed on top of a couple of cars parked nearby damaging the roof of one of them. This was duly sorted, without anyone coming to blows I'm glad to say, and we went on to have an enjoyable day promoting our show to the good people of Ottershaw and beyond.
After packing up and putting everything away it was back home to think about dinner and what to have. As if on cue, Jo and Thomas arrived to return tto do a return car swap and suggested we go to an 'eat as much as you like' Chinese restaurant. After much persuation (well none actually) we made our way there and ate our fill - yum, yum.

Lovely, lovely weekend - some of it planned, some of it not. Not all of it fun I'm afraid but that makes me appreciate the good bits more.

How was yours??