Sunday, January 28, 2007

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next, you forget to pull your zipper up and finally you forget to pull it down - George Burns

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago (well, last August, actually), the lovely and talented Maryb told us all about this book. Obviously it was a 'must read' so I rushed out and bought it immediately. 'Rushed out' in this case is a bit strong; I ordered it online from Amazon. The book duly arrived, I unpacked it and put it on the top of my pile of books to read, intending to dip into it at the earliest opportunity. Over the course of the next few months it occurred to me every now and then that I couldn't recall seeing the book where I'd left it and I must make an extra effort to seek it out and read it, especially Mary's bit. Usually this thought came to me at 'inconvenient for searching' moments, e.g. whilst I was shopping in Sainsbury's, driving on the M25 and by the time I was in any position to do so I'd forgotten all about it.

A few days ago, confined to the house with the coughs and sneezes, my head cleared long enough to recall my mission to FIND THE BOOK. It wasn't where I'd put it, it wasn't on the bookshelves, it wasn't anywhere. I seriously began to think that I hadn't ordered it at all! Then...........this morning.................Eureka!!!!! It was lurking in the bag that I carry all of my Ottershaw Players' stuff around in and which has been in regular, constant use since October, if not before. Is there any hope left for me, d'you think?

What a great book and well worth the long wait. Congratulations on your story, Mary; so wonderfully evocative of childhood.

Now where did I put that damn book???????????

The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time. - Friedrich Nietzsche


May I introduce you to Mitch:

"I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "where is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
Death thought about it.
"Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice." - Terry Pratchett (Sourcery).

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The ice age cometh

After a lazy 'getting up late' sort of start to the day, still trying to shake off this bloody awful cold (pass the AirBorne, MaryB), and thinking that the wet sounds of the cars taking the unlucky ones to work/school was caused by the usual rain, I actually exclaimed out loud when I pulled the curtains and saw the winterland in front of me. Even the building site which is the bungalow opposite us looked quite pretty with its covering of the white stuff.

Wish I'd got up earlier, though, 'cos it was thawing fast. I scrabbled about finding my camera, then finding new batteries. Why do they always run out when you want to do something spontaneous?

Anyway manged to get these and a couple more, which are on Flickr if you're interested.

It's now about 45 minutes since I took these and the garden is almost back to its usual weedy green.
Was doing a bit of 'blurfing' last night to see what I could find and found Colin Campbell, well worth a regular read, I think. Colin led me on to find this: Beau Bo D’Or » Blog Archive » GoldenBalls for Golden Globes . Another great site for your 'not watching rubbish on the telly' time.
Apparently an American company has come up with the idea of emails which self-destruct after being read once. It cannot be forwarded, copied or edited and the names of the sender and receiver vanish forever. You can join the cast of Mission Impossible for a mere £20 a year. I can see all sorts of shenanigans ahead.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hair today, .....

I have to be at the hairdressers' in about 20 minutes. Have just looked out of the window and am now wondering if it's worth it - or shall I just go and tip my money in the conveniently placed drain in the road just by my driveway?

For those of you who don't live here we are currently experiencing 'severe' weather across the country: rain, gale force winds, more rain, followed by more winds. The unbrella is definitely not going to be used!

Monday, January 15, 2007

A love story.

Here's a page from my 2007 diary, which I thought I'd share with you. I tried to make it bigger so that you could more easily read it but, not being very clever, I couldn't. So I'll reproduce the text here:

CHOCOLATE: You want me Lady don't you?
You want me! You WANT ME!

LADY: No Chocolate, I do not want you, for after the
initial pleasure there is SICKNESS and there is


Are you to deny me the REASON FOR MY

LADY: No, Chocolate. I would not do that.

CHOCOLATE: Thank you.

(A munching sound is heard, followed by a sigh of pleasure.)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Gordon Ramsey - you know nothing

It's my turn to host our weekly Mahjong get-together tonight. Being a good hostess (and because the others always dish up mouth-watering nibbles, probably purchased from Marks & Spencer), I had to turn my mind today towards thoughts of what I was going to impress my friends with. Yesterday I was going to buy a few carrots, a cucumber, some crisps or suchlike, some dips and do my own version of Ready, Steady, Cook just before they arrived.

Anyhow, things didn't go according to plan, mainly because I seem to have developed a condition called tescoitis a symptom of which is memory loss brought on by my desire to get out of the place as quickly as possible. Luckily I remembered the cat food.
So....... this morning I thought, 'I know, I'll impress them, I'll bake a cake'. I have this geat recipe where you put all of the ingredients except the flour into a saucepan and boil them, then add the flour, then put in the oven for an hour. Piece of cake!
Now, I quite like baking when I'm in the mood (a bit like knitting) but I haven't been in the mood for some time now so I thought it wise to check the 'best by' dates on the flour; didn't want one of my friends calling a 'pung' then passing out. An hour and one big black bin bag later my cupboard was bare apart from a packet of raisins with still a month to go.
Out had gone not only the flour but several small jars of herbs and spices, baking powder, cup-a-soups, gravy granules and even a couple of bars of cooking chocolate! I'm glad they haven't started the 'pay for your bin collection by weight' scheme yet.
Then came the quandary - where do I go for the replacements? Tesco, or even Sainsbury, they're both not my shops of choice, especially on a Friday. I'd get in there, have a bit of memory loss, and who knows what I'd come out with!! Luckily there are one or two small convenience stores not too far away, one of which is near a 'proper' butchers, so I could deal with Sunday lunch at the same time. Bought my ingredients, had a nice chat and a laugh about binmen with the lady serving me, didn't forget anything. Came home, made the cake.
Then I thought I'd make some flapjacks, as a healthy option. They must be, they've got all of those oats in them, doesn't matter about the sugar, then more sugar in syrup form holding the oats together.
So here I am passing time waiting for my friends to arrive and anticipating that moment when it's time for a break and I can bring out my creations. Oh the feeling of superiority when answering the question, 'These are delicious, did you make them yourself?' I can truthfully answer: 'Yes'.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

And here endeth the lesson


My friend, Judy, sent me this:

In the beginning God covered the earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, with green, yellow and red vegetables of all kinds so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's bountiful gifts, Satan created Dairy Ice Cream and Magnums. And Satan said "You want hot fudge with that? And Man said "Yes!" And Woman said "I'll have one too with chocolate chips". And lo they gained 10 pounds.

And God created the healthy yoghurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair.

And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 12 to size 14.

So God said "Try my fresh green salad".

And Satan presented Blue Cheese dressing and garlic croutons on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said "I have sent you healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them".

And Satan brought forth deep fried coconut king prawns, butter-dipped lobster chunks and chicken fried steak, so big it needed its own platter. And Man's cholesterol went through the roof.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with potassium and good nutrition.

Then Satan peeled off the healthy skin and sliced the starchy centre into chips and deep fried them in animal fats adding copious quantities of salt. And Man put on more pounds.

God then brought forth running shoes so that his Children might lose those extra pounds.

And Satan came forth with a cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering light and started wearing stretch jogging suits.

Then God gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.

And Satan created McDonalds and the 99p double cheeseburger. Then Satan said "You want fries with that?" and Man replied "Yes, And super size 'em". And Satan said "It is good." And Man and Woman went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple by-pass surgery.

And then Satan chuckled and created the National Health Service.

THE FINAL WORD ON NUTRITION: After an exhaustive review of the research literature, here's the final word on nutrition and health.:

Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

Germans drink beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

This one's for you....

This post is dedicated to all of those people out there who, like me, are constantly having to deal with banks, inconsiderate drivers, bad-mannered shop staff, call centres, service engineers who turn up late (if at all!), doctors' receptionists, gangs of 'yoofs' who play football in the middle of a busy road, Tony Blair, and his government, political correctness, health & safety, etc., etc., etc.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

These boots were made for walking....

This is the Copper Horse on Snow Hill, and the view north along The Long Walk towards Windsor Castle and the George IV gateway. The gent sitting on the horse, dressed as a Roman, is King George lll.

And this is the aforementioned Long Walk, built in 1688, again looking towards the Castle for a distance of 3 miles.

I'm sharing these fascinating details with you in the hope that you will be overwhelmingly impressed that today Jo and I decided to get some fresh air by walking it. As there is no car park right next to King George, we had a fair old uphill walk to the start of our trek (about half a mile), followed by the previously referenced 3 miles to Her Majesty's front door. Time now for a spot of lunch, so into the town (not far) and then, after a well-deserved break, time to head back.

By way of a change, we decided to go back by a different route and set off up the road leading through Windsor Great Park to the car park. It was round about now that it crossed my mind 'perhaps we've bitten off more than we can chew'. This feeling strengthened as the footpath ended and we were obliged to walk on soggy, lumpy grass with mini quagmires every now and then. Is there still a hosepipe ban?? (I hope you haven't forgotten that the distance left to cover is about 3 miles!!) We soldiered on (not much else we could do at that stage) and eventually staggered to the car where we eased ourselves onto the seats, because the legs refused to bend at the knees, feeling a wonderful sense of achievement! Yes, it's made me determined to explore all of our local parks, gardens and countryside on foot and a lot more often than I have done recently.

As a postscript, you will notice that the bloke on the horse is pointing west towards the woods, precisely in the direction to where I lost my glasses. If only he could speak because I'm sure that from his great height he knows exactly where they are!

It's only words........

"I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit.
"No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it along the way."

Words that I like:
  • Compendium
  • bizarre
  • weird
  • connotation
  • rummage
  • bibliograph
  • jingle
  • frolic
  • perception
  • extravagance
  • perambulation
  • vehicular

Words I don't like:

  • vagaries
  • bell
  • brochure
  • bulldog
  • exercise-book
  • tumble
  • saxaphone
  • straight
  • cafetiere

Here are some old words no longer in common use:

bablatrice - a female babbler
chaterestre - a talkative woman
erinaceous - like a hedgehog; a person with prickly manners
deuterogamist - someone who marries a second time
dictioneer - person who takes it upon themselves to criticise diction or writing style
finnimbrun - a knickknack or trinket
flagitation - asking or demanding with passion; begging
funambulist - a tightrope walker; a person who thinks quickly on their feet
heterarchy - government by strangers or foreigners, literally "rule of an alien"
hibernacle - winter home of hibernating animal; a sunshine retreat for people
leighster - a female liar
loranthaceous - related to mistletoe family; kisses given or received under the mistletoe
lordswike - a person who deceives their boss; a traitor
mouton enrage - an angry person who is usually calm, literally "mad sheep"
nullo - someone who has undergone an elective amputation for the purposes of body modification, usually of a toe
rhinarium - the hairless and moist nose of some mammals
snollygoster - a dishonest politician, especially a shrewd or calculating one
solfeggist - someone who sings notes using do, re, mi, fa, sol, la and ti woofits - an unwell feeling, especially a headache; a moody depression; a hangover.

My favourite is loranthaceous although I don't think I'll be using it often. Now, snollygoster will be in constant use!

Going to bed now 'cos I've got a touch of the Woofits.

By the way, I get unreasonably wound up by people who pronounce the word 'aitch' as 'haitch'.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The party's over......

Well, that's it for another year then - Christmas, birthday and New Year all over and done with. Perm any two out of the three and you're bound to find that at least one of these celebrations could be described as enjoyable. Whoopee - jackpot time - they were ALL great!!

Christmas started a bit differently in our house this year because Jo decided that she wanted to wake up in her own home with Thomas on Christmas morning so that meant we weren' t comitted to staying up on Christmas Eve until the early hours waiting for Thomas to go to sleep so that Santa could deliver his presents. But it was very, very, very quiet in the absence of childhood anticipation.

The cat obviously thought we were a bit sad so he thought he'd cheer us up by inviting his little furry friend in for a game of football. This was a surprise because we'd rigged the cat-flap so that he couldn't work it if he had any of the local wildlife in his mouth but he'd used his feline inventiveness (after about 5 years!) to overcome this problem. He's very thoughtful, is Mitch. During my recent involvement with Ottershaw Players' production of The Wind in the Willows I would often arrive home late at night to find Ratty or one of his family waiting on the back doorstep to offer advice. Usually they had found the wait too tedious and had died of boredom. The cat looked much too innocent to have wished them any harm.

Christmas morning arrived at last, the turkey (which we were very lucky to have, because when the butcher said he was open for 2 or 3 hours on Christmas Eve for collection of said bird he didn't mention that he started at 6am!) fitted well into the oven, Jo was bringing the vegetables, Kathleen was bringing the pudding, Thomas was bringing himself!! Lunch was almost on time and voted to be one of the best ever, I think. Present opening lasted throughout the day, thereby proving just how grown up Thomas is getting. Wonderfully hilarious end to the day with a challenging game of Balderdash. Not laughed as much for hours.

Boxing Day was a blur of bacon bagels for breakfast, followed by regular snacks throughout the day of all the fruit, nuts, chocolates, drinks, etc bought especially for the occasion. Of course we also had the turkey to finish up, ham, salad, cheeses, etc, etc. For exercise we had a walk round the block and up to 'the ruins', where Pete took some photos and reminisced about his childhood.

There then followed a brief hiatus of a couple of days (spent not doing very much at all) before my birthday celebrations. Although it wasn't a 'special' one with no zero on the end or anything, I was having TWO restaurant outings. This was all thanks to Pete who was off, on my birthday, to spend New Year in Lincolnshire. So we had a family meal at a local Indian restaurant and then the next evening it was scrummy Italian food with two good friends.

What should have been two relaxed, enjoyable evenings were spoilt by ***NOISE***. Now, I'm no killjoy and am usually happy to see others having a good time. But I'm also out to have a good time with my companions and really don't want to be forced to be included in someone else's idea of having fun or even excluded from having any fun at all. I've also noticed that a growing number of restaurants are being refitted/furnished with lots of hard surfaces (stone floors, no soft furnishings, table linens, etc.) and therefore noise is not absorbed. After that massive moan about my birthday I'll just have to make it a priority to find a little intimate restaurant locally and do it all over again!

New Year was spent, as always, with the lovely David; very low key, watching Jools Holland and his guests on TV and thanking our lucky stars that these days we're not forced to watch people in kilts playing bagpipes. (OK Jools did have men in kilts playing bagpipes but they weren't on for long and I hid behind my drink).

So now back to normal, whatever normal is.

This morning I had to shop for a few essential bits and pieces, because food bought for Christmas doesn't last forever, and had to make a momentous decision: will it be Sainsburys in Chertsey or Tesco in Addlestone? I don't like going to Chertsey on Tuesdays because the local auction house holds its weekly sale and car park is full of white vans and their men. As you may have gathered from previous posts and comments I HATE Tesco but it's easier to park there so I went for that option. BIG MISTAKE. I realised that mistake as soon as I entered the car park, passing four spaces where because other people had parked so badly nobody else could take advantage of the gap. To be honest I thought I'd entered some sort of time warp and I was in pre-Christmas mayhem again. But no, just the everyday mayhem that's the joy of Tesco in Addlestone. Luckily Jo phoned while I was in there and suggested lunch at the pub so that was a good excuse to get out of there at double speed. New Year resolution: never going in there again.

I was sorely tempted to buy a limited edition plastic filter water jug. They may be antiques of the future. Who knows in a few years it might be worth something (yeah, 10p I hear you say). How many, do you think, did they limit them to? This Tesco had a big display stand full of them and I bet all the other Tesco shops have too.

Got to go now as I've just spilled half a glass of red wine down my cleavage, the cat's giving me a funny look and NYPD is on the telly.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Photo Hunt Blogroll


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to everyone - here's hoping 2007 is everything you want it to be.