Sunday, 31 March 2013

Nothing but a hound dog

I couldn't sleep at all last night, finally gave up and checked emails etc and found that a friend had just posted something on Facebook.  So we started chatting and - oh dear - two hours went by.  And he's given me lots of music recommendations (in return, I gave him Okkervil River, The Mountain Goats and Tom Waits' album Alice) so I'll have to put on earphones and listen later.  I could be doing it now actually.  Right, there we go.  John Hiatt comes to mind first, so he's on now.

I was going to tell you about another conversation I had today about the sort of clothes I like but, having written for some time, I realise I lack the vocabulary to make it remotely interesting.  So I've scrapped that and instead will tell you the funniest thing I've read on Twitter all day.  Or maybe I'm just easily pleased - anyway, I chortled mightily once I'd worked it out.

Say Jesus backwards.
Now say God backwards.
Now say them together.

Splendid, innit?

Dinahmow reminds me about Prince, the talking dog from That's Life.  Still hilarious, do watch.  I done quite a few lols.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Z calls for BST all year round - not that anyone listens

I was watching the tribute to Richard Briers (I missed the first half and will try to catch it on iPlayer) and Peter Egan said that, when he put down the phone after a conversation with him, his wife always said, you were talking to Dickie, weren't you?  And he said he was, how did she know?  "You never stopped laughing."

Okay, it doesn't take much to make me cry, dammit.

Nothing interesting today, dear hearts, but I'll do my best for you.  Flower arranging - fine.  What's to say?  I bought white and cream lilies, roses and carnations, cut various greens and did two arrangements, one in the pedestal and one to go behind the altar.  There are few leaves of interest in the garden, nothing springlike is out and some of the evergreens are looking tired and off-colour.  The arrangements are quite okay, they'll be better once the lilies are a bit more out, which they will be by tomorrow, I hope.  I also practised the organ and that's okay too.  I played very fast, partly so that when I slow down a bit tomorrow it'll be really easy, partly because I was cold.  Oh, and partly because some hymns sound quite dirge-like unless you jazz 'em up a bit.

Later, I filled the big wheelbarrow with rubbish and have said to the Sage that we need a skip.  There's so much rubbish that isn't burnable and it'll be a bugger to keep taking carloads to the tip (and my job, he doesn't care).  I can't live like it any longer, I'm miserable in a sea of junk that is never sorted out.  I insisted on sorting out the house a year ago and that has made so much difference - we still have a lot of stuff but it's manageable, if not easy.  The garden - well, it's no garden, too random for that - is a different matter, we'll never keep on top of it, but there's no need to make it worse.

I'm abandoning the kitchen garden altogether this year.  It's no good, too much else to do.  I'll grow a few vegetables in the cottage garden, maybe put a few things in the greenhouse, but the chickens will have the run of the veg garden.  They'll be happy, safe and keep the growth down.  I'm sorry about it, but it'll be a relief.  I'm overwhelmed with domestic things, so much that it's no longer any sort of a pleasure, only a source of anxiety.

I cut back the fig tree - didn't look to see what time of the year it should be done, I just did it.  It was overgrown.  And I pruned the grape vine, very late but it's so cold that the sap isn't rising yet - anyway, I don't care.

Weeza says on Facebook that where her parents-in-law live, within spitting distance of Birmingham, there's still an appreciable amount of snow.  Zerlina is charmed to find that some people have built igloos in their gardens and wants to move there for that reason.  I think it's a pretty good reason myself, though I'd rather have the igloos than the snow.  There's been some here today, odd weather - sunshine and snow alternately.  I can't remember having snowdrops in flower so late in the year before.

The clocks go forward tonight - roll on British Summer Time.  If any party made a binding promise to keep BST all year round, I'd vote for it - well, with usual disclaimers, of course, actually I might not.  But why on earth do we have to change the bloody clocks?  We have electricity!  And no one works in the fields by candlelight, even the tractors have floodlights.

Friday, 29 March 2013

If it's shaped like a pear...

Then it must have been our morning.  It was me, I'm afraid, that caused it, but it was not entirely my fault as the Sage had told me he'd wired in a large area for Ben, and it wasn't as large as he'd given the impression of, and I let him off the lead too early.  He was overjoyed at a sunny day and a stream to play in and wouldn't come back.  I'll spare you details of the merry dance he led us for an hour, but in the end it occurred to me to go round to a neighbour of Gill and Andy and ask to borrow her dog.  Ben came straight away.  He was wet and muddy and I simply shut him in the porch with his bed and a bowl of water, because we were already half an hour late.

We were taking a friend out for lunch - our mutual friend, Mike, whose husband's funeral we went to last year.  On the way, the Sage phoned to tell her to expect us later than planned, and all was fine.  We had a very good lunch (Ben was being walked later by a friend, we weren't leaving him all day) and then went on to visit Al and co.  I had, most remarkably, remembered to put Easter eggs etc in the car.  I haven't got around to buying Al a birthday present mind you, his birthday is on Tuesday and I'll have to get that sorted out.  He's even less interested in birthdays than I am, so it doesn't matter too much.

It was a lovely morning, quite warm compared to what we've been used to, and I didn't take a coat - which was okay until we went for a walk this afternoon with the children.  My dress was reasonably warm and I had on a short wool jacket, but I was freezing by the time we got back, especially my hands.  Al and Squiffany had made hot cross buns, most impressively, and then I nipped back home to take Ben out and feed him before going back for supper.

Tomorrow, flower arranging.  Gill is an expert flower arranger, which I am not, but in her absence I've been roped in to do the altar flowers.  I'm sure it'll be fine.  Flowers are beautiful by their nature, I can't mess it up that much, surely?

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Z and funerals

I played the organ for a funeral today.  Andy usually does that nowadays, but is out of action because of his broken ankle.  I haven't played the organ much recently - possibly not since Christmas, or not more than once anyway, because we use a smaller room during the winter months for regular Sunday services.

It was an old lady in her 90s who had died, who had lived to meet great-great-grandchildren.  She hadn't known much of what was going on in the last few years though, but was quite happy in her own world and did still know her family.  She had chosen the hymns for her funeral some years ago, which I very much liked, particularly because she had noted the reason for each choice.  The first was played at her Confirmation, the second at her wedding and the third was simply her favourite hymn.  What good reasons, she must have taken pleasure in remembering those happy events and it was something lovely for her family to come upon after her death.

I've played at a good many funerals over the years and attended a fair foo, as we say in Norfolk, as you'd expect by my advanced age.  And it always seems a pity when the same old hymns are pulled out time after time - not that I object to someone's favourite being played, even if it is All Things Bright And Beautiful.  More often though, the reason is a vague memory of Sunday School seventy years earlier.  I don't care if I never hear B&B, Crimond, The Old Rugged Cross or Abide With Me ever again, unless chosen for a reason.  On the other hand, I do approve of going for well-known hymns, because they're generally quite easy to sing and have a pleasant, pick-uppable tune, and that quite matters at a funeral.  I remember some years ago attending a funeral where, not knowing what to select, they'd gone for the hymns sung at the lady's mother's funeral a few decades earlier.  One of them was a complicated tune that no one knew.  I couldn't attempt the first verse, but thought I'd have a go at the second, if only to encourage the organist.  Unfortunately, he pushed in most of the stops (making it much quieter), probably hoping to hear someone sing.  It had the effect of unnerving me because I didn't want my not-very-good singing voice and uncertain grasp of the tune heard too loudly, so I kept quiet and so did everyone else.

It was a lovely funeral today actually.  Barry pitched it just right, with warm memories told him by the family, a touch of humour - a very old woman had breathed her last: she was mourned but it was not a great tragedy - and there were enough people there to make it apparent that she was remembered fondly, though she had not been out and about for several years.  It's a great comfort, such an occasion, and of course it can equally go badly wrong and really upset someone who has been bereaved if something jars.  Even something that would normally be discounted and forgotten can cause a lot of unhappiness.

I'm sorry - this isn't meant to be a gloomy post at all.  A funeral should comfort and sustain friends and family, even if those most affected are dazed and grief-stricken.  In fact, one of the most upsetting in some ways - a friend in his forties with a wife and teenage son - was so skilfully run by his brother-in-law, a lay preacher, that we all laughed and felt thoroughly uplifted and strangely comforted.

Oh, and I haven't mentioned the other sort of sustenance.  A good bite to eat afterwards goes down well, especially if people have travelled a long way.  I became quite terse with a friend of a bereaved friend some years ago - the family had gone on to the crematorium and everyone else had gathered at the house to wait, and she was determined that nothing should be eaten until the widow returned - the most hospitable of women, she would have been dismayed.  In the end, I mentioned that some people had travelled from York to Kent that morning and missed lunch because of the funeral, so perhaps handing round a plate of sandwiches might be in order?  

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

I say, you've got me bang to rights. I did open the fridge door. Um, jolly nice fridge.

1 Having thought about my father so much in the last days, I've been thinking about my lovely stepfather today, how happy he made my mother and what a fine grandfather he was to my children.  As I've said before, so fine that my daughter named her son after him.  I might be drawn to write more before long.

2 Also a post in waiting is one about a walking stick.  Not tomorrow, I'm busy.  I'll aim for Friday - but I'm a rotten shot.

3 Admission of the week - oh lord, this probably should have its own post.  I'll see how much more there is to write.

4 Remarkable event of the day - it was the Nadfas Area meeting, the committee which I'm secretary of, and where you can always rely on my grasp of grammar.  There were four posts up for annual election/re-election: Chairman, Vice-chairman, Treasurer and Secretary.  The last two were due to stand down, but we had no candidates.  However, when the Chairman asked, more from a  sense of duty than with actual hope, if there were further nominations, a hand went up - "I'll be Treasurer if you like."  Well, what a turn-up that was!  He was applauded, I mean literally, we all clapped, and he was duly elected.  Sad to say, no one offered to take over my job.  I would like to think that this is because I do it so well rather than because no one is mug enough, but it would not be true.

3 Okay, if I had another idea, which I think I did, I've forgotten what it was.  So back to the admission, which is quite odd enough to warrant two out of the five whatsits, but to be fair I'll still call it number 3.  I put on voices to be my dog.  Chester had a voice, Tilly had a voice - come to that, Edboes the teddy bear had his own voice too.  Um, has.  And I'm the animal itself when I do it - that is, I speak in the first person.  And that's not all.  Ben has his own voice now and it's worryingly like Boris Johnston's.  He has his bluff manner too, as I portray him.  My family is all so used to this that no one ever says a word about it.

5 Has anyone got a really tasty recipe for nut roast?  

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

All but Squiffany

Today's post was to have included pictures, but I didn't take them, so it will have to wait.

I got up late this morning.  No excuses but no apology either - not that you'd expect one - I woke early and didn't sleep again until I was due to get up, which is not an uncommon situation.  The two cleaners who helped me out when I was in a tight spot some weeks ago were due at 1 o'clock and, frankly, I'd let the place go.  No floordrobe but a thriving chairdrobe which had extended to the banisters, a kitchen that had become cluttered and papers, both newspapers and sheets of, in the drawing room.  And all the beds needed changing.  So I whizzed around for two hours and tidied, but didn't clean at all, and was ready for them to have a clear run.  We even had lunch.

And when they didn't arrive, we thought they'd overrun at the last place.  And after 2 o'clock, I thought that I might have made a mistake between 13:00 and 3:00 pm.  I knew the day was right because I'd noted every fourth Tuesday.  But when they hadn't arrived by 3.40, I gave up and did the hoovering myself.  No, I didn't get in touch.  Too late to be any use, I'm not desperate and they're very expensive. I'm going to wait and see if there's an explanation and if not I'll find someone else.  But I've tidied, done some of the cleaning and saved over £50 to boot - which I will spend, because it's been earned (the Sage did help, mind you, so probably deserves a tenner of it).

Watching the baking programme with Mary Berry, the voiceover chappy just referred to glacier cherries.  I snorted with glee.

Anyway, Al & co less Squiffany, who was at Brownies, came over this evening.  I had chocolate cake, to Hadrian's great glee.  Pugsley has had an excellent end-of-term report, he's really made a good start.  The school had its Ofsted inspection recently and received Outstanding, Dilly said today, which is brilliant news for the staff and I'm so pleased - it's extremely difficult to get an outstanding rating now.  Actually - and I'm not that sort of person normally - I've just emailed the Head and Chairman of Governors to congratulate them.

And while they were here, Weeza phoned the Sage on his mobile, and then Ro rang me on mine.  So the whole family was together, virtually, all but Squiffany.  Since we won't be over Easter, that was rather super.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Z plans to have two vices

dance for you to watch today.

And a governors' meeting for me, where I raised the subject of my successor.  Not that I'm planning to stand down any time soon, but it's time to start ensuring that I won't be missed in the least.  Mind you, the job keeps becoming more time-consuming and serious consideration will have to be done regarding the workload.  Not only is there the main school and sixth form, which together have around 1300 pupils, but two other offshoot governing bodies are likely to be set up.  In addition, one of our committees that presently meets annually is going to have a much heavier workload and I need to be involved in that.  I go to most committee meetings because it's so much easier to understand all the workings of the school if I'm thoroughly involved - which is also the reason I help in lessons.  I left home at 11.30 this morning and returned at 5.30, three meetings later (no, I don't enjoy meetings and they have to be thoroughly purposeful or they aren't worth bothering with).  I can fit it all in, but not too many people with full-time jobs could.  Employers used to be much more understanding about time out for governor duties, but efficiency savings have cut that down considerably.  However, I've done this (not all at this school) for ... um ... it'll be 25 years in September.  18 years at one school and 14 years last autumn at this one.   Anyway, I said that I can't manage without my vice-chairman because she gives me so much back-up, I think we should revert to the practice of some years ago, and have a second vice-chair.   I carefully looked at no one as I said this, or rather I only looked at the Headteacher, at the far end of the table.  There are several people who are very capable of doing it, we've got really good governors, even the newer ones are very experienced (by virtue of governorship at other schools) and at least two are former Chairmen themselves at other schools (plus one at this one and a staff governor, who isn't eligible here, who's chairman at his village school).

Not that I know what I'll do with my spare time when I do stand down, whenever that may be.  There's plenty to do here, but I've done the devotion to home and garden thing already and I'm not too good at going back.  Travelling will become a less frequent option as the Sage gets older and needs me here more.  There are lots of other voluntary jobs, but I have worked hard for no pay for so long and although I won't be eligible for a pension for years (they keep raising the age and the prospect diminishes in the distance), that doesn't mean I want any sort of commitment, not necessarily.

Partly, I feel introspective because the day has arrived, and I think I referred to it a few weeks ago, when I am older than my father was when he died.  Many people outlive their parents' age at death, of course, though I don't know if it's usual to be aware of it to the day - or so aware, at any rate.  And more than forty years on, I still miss him.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

A round-up of pictures

If you have three minutes to spare, do watch this - Owl and the Pussycat.  There is music, in case you need to turn the sound down first.

It's been a busy morning.  We knew that a party of 20-something was going to be at the Communion service, because there was a burial of ashes at 10 o'clock and the family was coming to church first.   I was asked to help with the Communion, something I've always avoided assiduously in the past.  However, of the others who might have helped, one was making breakfast, one was sidesman and one was in charge of the children's crafts and the later service and there was no one else to fob the job onto, so I didn't quibble and took charge of the chalice for distribution of wine (actually port in our case, you need fortified wine for Communion and I buy it and get something worth drinking).  After that, the family went out for a brief prayer and interment of the box of ashes and then piled indoors again out of the snow for bacon or toasted cheese sandwiches.  I made tea and coffee and helped with the washing up.  After that, I hauled out my clarinet and played for the family service.  No, I wasn't the hardest working person there.  Five of us were equally busy.

A few photos to round up the week.

Triplets were born here a few days ago.  They are now safe and warm in their owner's barn with the other ewes and lambs.  One more ewe is due to lamb then she, with the ram, will be taken home until the babies are a bit older and the weather improves.

 Before the snow came back
 Ben enjoyed a game of tug of war the other evening.  He won every time.
Afterwards, he needed a little rest.

Here are the daffodils by the drive this morning.  They look about as cold and miserable as flowers can be.  It's about 1º Celsius at the moment, but feels a lot colder (according to the Met. Office, it feels like -5º) because of the biting wind.  Snow is lying on the field but has mostly melted from the road.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Z catches up

I seem to have caught up, so back to five points -

1 Much of yesterday was spent writing letters of one sort and another.  One was a letter of condolence to Jill's daughter.  Today will mostly be spent on office work and settling accounts.  I think the next batch of major bills will be the end of it.  House insurance, council tax and then we'll be out of debt.  Although there are three family birthdays next month, so it'll soon build up again.

2 The council tax-free period on the annex finishes at the end of this month so then we can furnish it.  I'm going to move my study in there, which is very kind of me because my present study is a lovely room and I'm letting the Sage have it.  On the other hand, the bungalow is going to be mine and I'm rather looking forward to that.

3 Can today go by without mentioning the weather?  I think not.  It's snowing.  Melting as it hits the ground, but settling on the trees.  We've got it lightly compared to the rest of the country, however.  If there are floods or blizzards your way, my heartfelt sympathy.  It must be quite dreadful.

4 In spite of my best efforts, my feed reader now has 227 unread posts.  I shall read the rest of those written by friends (that is, if you've left comments, replied to my comments, had any personal contact) and delete the rest unread.  I've hardly glanced at the newspapers all week, read no books and have had too much other reading to do, so something has to give.  Not friends, though.

5 The Sage kindly cooked me bacon and egg for breakfast.  When I had eaten it, I kindly cooked the same for him.  This seems slightly odd, but it seemed to work and enabled both of us to be nice.  Actually, the fifth point was going to be something else, but I've forgotten what.

Friday, 22 March 2013

It's as if you were there with me...

The lecture the other day was on the history of clothes and wasn't quite what I expected.  It wasn't so much clothes through the ages but an examination of specific portraits and the clothes shown in them.  The speaker did take them in chronological order so changing styles came into it, but there was much more to it than that, because she also brought along images of similar fabrics and clothes, mainly from the V&A, which was immensely interesting.  She had done so much research.

I'm not going to remember the titles of all the paintings to show you, but a few will give the flavour.  One was Moroni's The Tailor, another was Bellini's Doge Leonardo Loredan, there were these two splendid teenaged brothers, painted by Van Dyck, both of whom were killed in the Civil War.  This Gainsborough was used as an example of how a more free style gives little clue how the clothes were made (so is less appreciated by clothes historians) and a poignant Hogarth of the Graham children who look so happy and so very expensively dressed.  The little boy on the left died before the picture was finished and she showed several touches that Hogarth had done to indicate this sad event.  He was less than a year old - at that time, by the way, it was normal for boys to wear pink (as a less strong version of warlike red) and girls to wear blue, which was associated with the Virgin Mary.  There was Madame de Pompadour, who also died before the portrait was completed, Queen Charlotte who, anxious and distracted about her husband's illness, was reluctant to sit for a portrait.  She turned up in a dark gown and an unbecoming bonnet that hid her face and it took some persuasion for her to remove the hat.  Lawrence simply painted her in a prettier dress, but the king was shocked by her hatless hair and it was rejected.  Then there was Ingres' Madame Moitessier - this took several years to paint because Ingres kept changing his mind as to what she should wear.  He abandoned it several times, then returned to it.  When finally completed in 1856, this style was bang up to the minute.  Renoir also took several years to complete les Parapluies because he was not satisfied with it - an x-ray shows that the woman on the left looking directly at us had originally been dressed similarly to the mother in the bustle, but he changed his style and painted over her, also changing the message of the painting.  Instead of being another richly dressed young woman, her bare head and gloveless hands indicate a woman of a lower social class, one who had a job, though she's well enough dressed to be respectable and reasonably well paid.  However, it's clear that the man offering her his umbrella has designs on her.  In painting and costume terms, however, it's the completely different dress, painted in a different style too, that is most notable and shows Renoir's abandonment of Impressionism.

The V&A has one of the dresses shown in a portrait in its collection - sadly, I can't remember the title or artist and I haven't managed to find it on the National Gallery website.  If I can, I'll add it later.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Catching up, but still yesterday's post

The Sage went to boarding school, the one beginning with R in Derbyshire.  He was completing his schooldays about the time I was born, in fact.  There was an old boys' lunch yesterday in Aldeburgh, at a hotel beginning with W on the seafront, which will be easily identified by anyone who knows the town (no, not the Weasel, Mike).

There was quite a spread of ages, from 80s to a few in their 40s, about ten wives and it was all very good fun.  It reminded me of a blog party, rather, in that very few people knew each other but were coming along to be sociable and friendly and there was no question of sticking to those you knew because that wasn't the point of the day.  I chatted to a number of people, the Sage probably talked to just about everyone because he's even more sociable than I am (I know, darlings, hardly possible).  The Headmaster was there too, which was very good of him, I thought, a long way to have come.  The food was excellent too, a prawn salad, then delicious rare roast beef, then sticky toffee pudding.  I coped manfully with most of it and skipped dinner later, although I did have a snack at about 10.30 pm.

I hadn't had high hopes of the day, though I'd been perfectly willing to go along, and even encouraged the Sage to wear his Old R blazer, a bright little number that he's disconcertingly keen to wear on unsuitable occasions.  He also wore his OR scarf and tie.  Several others were wearing the tie too, and were impressed by him fitting into his jacket so many decades on - though he never puts on weight.  I sat opposite a retired ambassador whose memoirs are coming out later this year - I've noted it and (unasked) promised to buy it, next to a delightful woman who's a farmer but, as her children are fairly young, grows herbs at present instead of a full-on farm.  She said that she was talking to a farmer friend of many years' experience the other day and he said he has never known weather like the last two years and now doesn't know what to do.  The ground is too cold and wet to sow seeds, this time last year there was a drought followed by a wet summer, it's all beyond anything he's experienced.  My new friend is sure that, once the weather finally heats up (no sign yet, due to be colder at the weekend) it'll jump at least 15º (Celsius, that is) in a matter of days and be too hot for the seedlings.  My other neighbours were her husband, who was good company, a very nice man of about the Sage's age and the Head, who I'd already buttonholed a bit to ask various educational questions and then apologised to because it's not really the thing at a social do, but he seemed quite relaxed about it.  I didn't go into it too head-on, I promise.  Just interested.  They've been taking girls for many years of course, since the '70s, but no old girls were there.

In the evening, I headed off to the school for the first night of the school play, which was Twelfth Night with music from the 80s, set in Ibiza (the shipwreck was a plane crash instead) in modern dress.  And it was brilliant, great fun.  As it was the first night, they've got a bit of tweaking of sound balance to do, though I was in the front row (it was my duty, darlings, and I'm a slave to duty though that's quite another show) so probably didn't hear the dynamics as those further back did.  Some of the actors/singers were exceptionally good and all were splendid.  I had a great time.  I seem to have signed up for the PTA's 100 Club, which is fine except that I've done it on a standing order, so am probably in it for life.

I finally rocked home at 10.30, fried a couple of bantam eggs and drank a glass of wine, went to bed at midnight and slept soundly until after 6.  Since that is uncommon - the latest item, that is - the day must have been quite remarkably good for me.

It's been busy again today.  I suppose I'll catch up sooner or later.  I haven't got a lot planned for tomorrow, maybe then.  

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

yesterday's post

It wasn't that I had nothing to write, just too much to do.  It's been a very good couple of days in fact, so I'll start with yesterday morning.

I left half an hour later than planned because of phone calls and emails that couldn't wait all day, so whizzed hastily into Jarrolds.  I went to be measured for a new bra.  I knew I'd be a smaller size, but I was surprised by the result - and it just shows that one needs to be fitted by an expert.  And if you never have been, go to a shop with proper fitters, they can do it by eye.  You don't need to take your clothes off and they don't actually need to measure you.  I said that I'd last been fitted as 34D but that was now too big and she said I was 32 ... DD.  Yes, down a back size, up a cup size.

The thing is, and I did know this, the size of the cup is relative to the size of the back, as the circumference is called.  So a 32E would be quite bosomy but a 40E wouldn't be at all.  I'd never buy a cheap bra, it never fits well and doesn't last, whilst a good one keeps its shape (and yours) for ages.  They're not that expensive, the ones I bought were £27 each, but had 20% off because of the promotion.  I do love nice underwear, not that the Sage would notice but I wear it for myself.

Anyway, after that I popped upstairs for a quick look at beds and sofas, which was quite inconclusive and then, because I had a few minutes in hand, looked at clothes, specifically the 50% or more off rail at a particular make's petite section.  Because I am, most clothes have arms longer than mine and the waist is too low.  I tried on a skirt, two dresses, a top, a knitted jacket and a tailored bouclé jacket.  I picked out size 10 and thought, but they're too small.  The top was medium because they didn't have small ... that was the only thing I didn't buy, because it was far too big.  I had to be very hasty because I only had ten minutes - look, I can do decisive and my speciality is spending money in quick time.  I explained that I had to be somewhere else by 10.55 and two assistants looked after me, one packing and one adding up.

And then I arrived at the theatre just in time to find a seat before the lecture, which was really good, and I'll tell you about it another day.  Afterwards - I was so efficient, darlings, filled every minute of the day - I met Ro for lunch - it was funny, I steamed along towards his office, gathering up a woman on the way who asked me the way to Tombland - no, I'm not being peculiar, that's the name of a street in Norwich.  I said if she came with me I'd point her in the right direction.  Then Ro phoned to say he was outside the restaurant and told me which way to go, we knew we were within 50 yards of each other.  When I spotted him, he didn't see me so we carried on the conversation until we met face to face.  He said he'd heard my voice both through the phone and not (it does carry, loud and clear) so knew I was close.  We had a very nice beef stew: shin that had been gently cooked for hours with onions, red wine and mushroom and probably other things too, and coffee and while I was getting out my wallet he handed over his card to pay.  I was charmed.  One of the many lovely things about having grown up children is that they think it's normal to take you out for a meal as often as you take them.

After that, I had to hurry back to school for a meeting with the Head and vice-chair, which was very constructive in terms of future planning.  So it was one of those days when I felt I'd achieved quite a lot.   Today's been good too.  But that's a post for tomorrow.  

Monday, 18 March 2013

Surprised by Sage

One thing I always enjoyed about being married to the Sage was that he could always surprise me - that is, I've never learned all there is to know about him.  The revelations have diminished over the years and more recently most of the surprises have been less welcome ones, to be frank.  Changes associated with age aren't necessarily for the better.

However, this evening he did it again.  I'd been watching Paul Hollywood's Bread and he became interested too.  "No reason why we couldn't make bread," he said suddenly.  I agreed.  I always used to  make all my bread (hand-kneaded, of course, I've never had a bread-making machine, nor even used the dough hook on the food mixer) but I stopped years ago and never started again.  I make yeast batters once in a while, for blini, crumpets and so on, but I rarely make bread.  So my agreement was qualified, I said that I haven't done it for ages and I wasn't sure if I'd actually bother.

"I could do it," he said, "watching him, it doesn't seem that hard." "Well, you're a good cook, but I've never seen you following a recipe, would you be able to?"  He didn't see why not.  "You've got the tins, haven't you?" And the last thing I'd want to do is discourage him.  So, as I'm going to Norwich tomorrow and planning to go to Jarrolds (independent large department store, complete with splendid bookshop) I shall buy him the book.  And later, flour and yeast.

Okay, I'm not convinced it's going to happen, but I'm all for enthusiasm.  And who knows, it could be his new Thing.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

17th March 2003 was a Sunday too

Today is the tenth anniversary of my mother's death.  I don't normally mark such events and do my best not to think of them, but this has been on my mind a good deal recently.  I'm not entirely sure why, except possibly that it's close to the date when I shall have outlived my father, something I'm oddly dreading.  This is not to say I wish not to survive beyond the next week and please don't read this in any such light, but I feel as if I shall be leaving him behind and, even more than forty years on, I'm reluctant to do that.

My mother was told she had terminal cancer exactly, to the day, six months before she died.  She had a fabulous last six months and appreciated and enjoyed them fully.  I remember one day, not long after she came home from hospital, when very old friends, Lawrie and Lynn, came up from Somerset to visit her.  We made smoked salmon sandwiches and got out champagne and the party was in full swing when the Rector arrived to visit his sick parishioner.  He was momentarily bewildered to be greeted by Jane with a beaming smile and a glass of champagne (for him, she couldn't drink) but entered into the spirit of things in no time.

Our friends Pam and Peter, the ones I went to Corfu with last year, called round one day with flowers for me, having heard she had been at death's door but not that she had spurned its threshold.  I was out and she saw them arrive.  Naturally assuming the flowers were for her, she greeted them warmly.  They told me afterwards, that was pretty disconcerting.  But it was typical of those last months which she enjoyed so much.

Weeza and I were asleep in the next room when she died.  Weeza woke me in the early hours to say she couldn't hear anything: I went to check and found that she had left this life.  It was unexpected in that she had had a morphine driver fitted twelve hours previously, which should have eased her last few days.  No one was to know that it was only willpower keeping her going and, once the morphine had dulled that, there was no strength left.  It was the right time for morphine, though.  The previous night had been uncomfortable, though not painful for her and she would have suffered without it.  As it was, the Sage and I helped her to bed and he stayed with her while I went to fetch Weeza from the station - she had come straight home from London when I phoned.  When we got back, we found the Sage helping a very woozy mother to the bathroom, she being determined to go to the loo before falling asleep.  We helped, got her back into bed and she greeted Weeza and kissed us all before settling to sleep.  She didn't wake again and I'm sure she waited for me to get back.  I'm also sure that she didn't want to die in front of anyone, to spare us, because I know that's often the case.

I phoned the doctor's nighttime service and a doctor from the next town's practice (someone I know as it so happened) rang me back.  I explained the checks I'd made to ensure she had died: though I knew as soon as I saw her, I checked her pulse, her cooling temperature and put a mirror to her lips, and that he did not need to come out unless he felt he must, and he said he wouldn't unless I wanted him to.  I phoned Wink, who was due to arrive that morning, the undertaker and, around seven o'clock, the Rector, to tell him I couldn't play the organ at the service that day.

My mother's own doctor called in later out of sympathy, which was lovely of him as he wasn't even on duty that weekend, and later the undertakers arrived.  Wink and I had opened a bottle of red wine by then - it was sometime after midday, and the Rector came just in time to say a prayer for her before she left.  I thrust a glass of wine at him and he dutifully drank it, afterwards admitting he'd given up alcohol for Lent, but he's a good friend and it was a gesture of support (the Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath, as Jesus put it).

I didn't cry, then or afterwards.  I'd cried buckets six months previously and also briefly on the Friday when the doctor told me that the stent keeping her bile duct open had failed and that she would last a fortnight at most, probably less than a week.  But there's a time to die and she'd reached it, and it was better to be thankful for a peaceful end in her own bed.

If you have been, thanks for listening.  And if you are remembering someone you love, I hope I've not added to your sadness but please think of me as sharing it.

Love to all, Z xxx

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Keeping in Touch

A lovely afternoon out with Squiffany.  The Sage joined us for lunch, then left us to go shopping, but we couldn't find anything in Beccles so decided to go over to Norwich.  On the way, we talked about what she might like, but she couldn't really think of anything.  She's the most undemanding child.  She did mention hair clips.  So, knowing she's saving up for an iPod, I suggested a visit to the Apple Store.  So polite is she that she offered me a contribution of the £30 she has saved already, but I said she should keep it for apps and music.

So she now owns a lovely blue iPod Touch, which looks set to be popular with the whole family.  Luckily, I had a bagful of odds and ends squirrelled away and could give Pugsley a book of cut-out-and-fold paper aeroplanes, which lessened a rather inevitable twinge of jealousy.  I think I've just upped the ante in the grandchild present-giving stakes.

And I have no qualms about doing so, either.  I wasn't fortunate enough to have indulgent grandparents, though I had one very loving grandfather, and I didn't have any relations at all outside the immediate family.  Having grandchildren and family living close by is something that gives me great joy and I'm so lucky.    

And it gave me an excuse to spend time in the Apple Store, which is always a pleasure.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Zed and the Art of Motor Maintenance

1 The Sage noticed a couple of days ago that my offside sidelight wasn't working so I was going to go and buy a new bulb, but on the way home last night the headlamp wasn't working either.  It had been fine last time I used it, but the warning light lit up within minutes of leaving the restaurant.

So today I toddled in to the car maintenance shop in Yagnub where the very helpful owner had also ordered me a new rear windscreen wiper and brought them all home.  And reader, I fitted them.  Yes, I know it's not that hard, but I've never done it before, having always had a husband for that sort of thing.  I still have the husband but he has lost interest in such matters over the last couple of years and besides, he's out.

When done, I duly tested them and have to admit an arms-in-the-air triumphant "Yes!" moment.

2 After the Finance meeting today, two of my fellow Trustees and I (all the governors are academy directors, though we don't use the term normally, but four of us are Members of the Academy Trust, though we avoid saying that too, most of the time) had an informal chat and I broached a subject that's needed to be talked about for a while, ie succession planning.  It's up for discussion about staff anyway, but I was talking about me.  Not for a while, I'm not standing down yet, but that's the point of calling it succession planning.  My aim is not to be missed when I leave because I'll have prepared for it.  And we're going to start by raising the matter, not just about me but other key governors, at our Steering meeting on Monday week.

3 The air has changed.  Though still cold, winter is no longer here.  I trust it won't be back for at least 8 months.

4 My passport runs out in December.  I'm going to Turkey in September and need to have 6 months at least in hand (I mean, on the date - I'm only going for a week).  Oh joy, a new passport photo.  I'm going to Beccles tomorrow, I might as well go into the post office and pick up a form - as I remember, you can't get them here.

5 Talking of going to Beccles tomorrow, the purpose of that is to meet Squiffany after gymnastics and take her out to lunch and Shopping! for her birthday on Wednesday.  She will be eight.  I know, it's hard to believe, she's older than this blog.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Gather ye daffodils while Z may

1 I see that Google Reader is closing down in July.  I am, even now, downloading (via Google Takeaway) all the info I have stored there, but what do I do with it?  Can anyone recommend a good feed reader, please?

2 I have no comment to make on the appointment of a new Pope.  I expect it to have no impact on my life at all and it doesn't seem necessary to form an opinion.

3 I went out this morning without a coat to put some papers in the recycling bin.  I did not scuttle back moments later, chilled to the marrow.  And when the snow melted, daffodils were in flower.  The Met Office app says that the temperature today will be 5º max (feels like 2º) so that this feels quite warm shows how used to the cold I have become.  The sunshine shows that the windows need cleaning.  I'll go over them with a babywipe*, housework has its limits and I've already done the dusting today.  And cleaned my computer keyboard.  Ben found a patch of sunshine to lie in (and I took a photo which is on Facebook).

4 Having booked a holiday in the autumn, my sister emailed to suggest we go away together the same week.  The dear girl has now suggested a different date.  Bring it on, I say.  I like holidays, even if there's only going to be a few days between them.  And they'll be quite different in style, one very relaxing and the other busy, with lots of sightseeing and museums.

5 The sunshine has also shown me how much glinting white shows in my hair.  I don't care.  I'm not going to get into the tyranny of dyeing it and having to touch up roots.  I don't mind going grey and I don't mind looking my age, either.

*I just have.  Most of the dust is on the outside.  It can stay there, then.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

This little finger on the right - except it isn't, it's a thumb and it's on the left

The only problem with this 5 things way of blogging, which many of you have also taken up because it works very well, is what I should call the posts.  There's rarely a unifying theme and there are only so many variations on 5.  Anyway,  here are today's five plus a postscript, because it doesn't seem appropriate to write it in a list.

1 Not sure what happened last night, I cooked and ate dinner (trout) and read the paper and was suddenly overwhelmed by tiredness.  Not ill, just exhausted.  I thought a bath might perk me up, but it didn't and I was in bed and asleep before 9.  That meant I thought it was morning at 2 am and I didn't sleep again, or not until I decided to get up at 7.  That sent me off for half an hour, oh yes.

2 May have to postpone meetings, as we're getting so many apologies.  Oh good, that means I might have time to get ready for them.

3 My sister asked if I was free for a literary lunch in London in June, which I'd have liked to go to.  Unfortunately, it's the same day as a concert in Blythburgh church - the only daytime one I've booked for, except the children's one which is at a weekend.  Always the way, innit?

4 When preparing the trout, I cut my thumb.  I thought I was in for a painful time, as I was handling both salt and lemon juice, but it hasn't hurt at all, then or since.  Quite odd.  Actually, I just bit my thumb to be quite sure it hadn't lost all feeling.

5 Looking out of the east window, the sky is grey.  On the west side, the sky is blue.  The Sage took Ben for his walk this morning (I expect it was a short one but can't blame him) and I haven't been out of the house yet.  I have to go out after lunch but would much rather stay home and skulk by the fire.

I'm sorry to say that my friend, whom I visited in Norwich hospital a couple of weeks ago, is very ill and unlikely to see the weekend.  I shall not see her again: family visits only now.  

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Z flops

1 Totally exhausted suddenly.  Heading for bath and bed in five minutes

2 I introduced Ben to the bantams today, which went well.  More tomorrow.

3 A lamb born on the front field.

4 I've got loads of work done, but not all and more has come in.

5 Several emails to answer including one from Elle.  Maybe bath will perk me up.  Can't keep my eyes open at present.  Sage will walk dog.  g'night

Monday, 11 March 2013

Because it bit my finger so

1 On Tim's recommendation, I bought Joseph Heller's God Knows. Unable to sleep, I started to read at daybreak.  I've discovered that I have reached the age when I need a decent light to be able to read small print.  After a lifetime of reading in the dimmest conditions, this is a bit depressing.  I shall have a bath later and read there.

2 The phone keeps ringing and it's for the Sage every time, though I'm nearest and have been the one to answer.  I'm really not very fond of the telephone.  The Sage loves it though.  He's just been Skyping a friend in New Zealand and now is on the phone to Sheila in Atlanta, Georgia.  There's a drought in New Zealand.

3 I put the pictures of Ben onto Facebook and Andy was very pleased to see them.  He really misses his dog.

4 Norfolk and Suffolk have had a month's worth of rain in 24 hours, according to the local paper.  And a few inches of snow.  I drove to Norwich today and passed a car upside-down in a (dryish) ditch.  The owner of the sheep just phoned: he rescued them from their huddled position in their shelter, to which the water was rapidly rising.  They'll be fine now, that field will never flood.  Well, the whole village would have to be under water.  Though I'm not entirely sure that is out of the question.  And it's cold - when I left the car park in Norwich today, a Renault Megane that had, like my car, been parked for four or five hours had icicles hanging from its back bumper.

5 The school play this term is Twelfth Night.  It's to be a musical, in modern dress (but Shakespeare's words) and the music is from the early 1980s.  I'm sure it will be splendid and I'll love it.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Stop the world, Z wants to get off

1 I have just finished the agenda for the next governors' meeting, to go out tomorrow.  Also the agenda for Friday's meeting, where I've blithely put down several items that I haven't started to prepare yet.  Rather hoping my much more efficient vice-chairman will come to my rescue.

2 Huge backlog of Nadfas reports, which have come in over the last week and which I haven't had time to look at.  Next mailing has to go out by Wednesday, so that's all right, I've Tuesday morning and evening available.

3 Very entertaining watching Ben watching Crufts.  I read once that dogs can't see the 2D images on television.  That is nonsense, as you'll see from the photos below.  None of the dogs was making a sound, so he certainly saw them.

4 The field where the sheep are is flooded and they're huddled in a small area, so they will be brought on to our front field tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to that.  I like sheep.

5 I'm going to a lecture about Burghley House and Hatfield House and the Cecil family tomorrow.  Before that, I'm going with the Sage to his doctor's appointment, because he'll not report back accurately - he always tells me everything is fine, even when it isn't (he's not ill, don't worry, it's the result of a blood test) and afterwards I have to pick up a piece of china, which will mean going through Norwich at the start of the rush hour.  So that's 9-5 taken care of.

 His interest was engaged
 Listening to advice on dog training and making notes on how to avoid it
 This is more like it!
*Sniff, sniff* - wot, no smelevision?

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Gardners Leave

And jolly dull it is around here now.  It was lovely to meet them all at last and I'm really pleased that Ben settled down at last yesterday and showed he can be a very nice dog and not a rather annoyingly whirling dervish all the time.

Back to the five things

1 The rain turned to sleet and then snow.  We'd all hoped that spring was arriving but the forecast is pretty depressing.

2 The road into Yagnub is closed for several weeks because they're repairing a bridge, so we have to go round by the bypass.  It trebles the journey, which we never allow time for because we generally forget about the closure, both going into town and out again, and have to turn round.

3 I've been flower-arranging in the church this afternoon.  It's Mother's Day tomorrow (actually, it's Mothering Sunday, but since it's treated as Mother's Day, I'm going to call it that.  Mothering Sunday is actually a church thing, not actual mothers) but we don't now know how many families will turn up.  It's an hour earlier than usual, I'm not sure why, and although it was in the village magazine the school apparently didn't send out a reminder.  I suspect people will arrive just in time for coffee and posies.

4 After Phil & Lisa & co left, Dilly arrived with the children, then Al turned up after work to look after Hadrian while she took the other two swimming.  He said that there have been several postmen off sick, so he's done at least two rounds every day.  He had a message from his boss asking for help: they were short-staffed again today.  He got back to the depot to find piles of post because of Mother's Day.  So he worked until it was done.

5 Gosh, it's far too quiet.  

Friday, 8 March 2013

Z calls a Halti

Phil, Amelie and I took Ben for a walk on the marshes today, while Toby had a nap and Lisa kept a watchful eye, or possibly took the opportunity for a well-earned rest.  I made the mistake of not putting on Ben's Halti and he was quite overexcited and pulled hard.  I could barely manage him.  However, once we arrived on the field and I let him off his lead, he had a wonderful time.

There was a swan relaxing on the water near the opposite bank to the cattle's watering hold and Ben was quite interested.  I was quite anxious, because I know how tricky swans can be, and Ben plunged cheerily into the water - but only to paddle, he didn't go out of his depth.  He ran around for quite some time after that, then found an area where the farmer had taken a tractor and the ground was quite churned up.  He loved wallowing in the mud.

I looked at this dog, covered in mud, wet through and blissfully happy, and I felt happy myself. This is what a dog's life should be, I thought.  He's a retriever, after all, running round the fields and going into the water are natural to him.  Amelie wondered how I'd catch him to put his lead on and I assured her he'd come when I called.  Before that, he went through another stream and washed most of the mud off and then we set off for home.

There's a beck that runs between our garden and our further field (which is known as Humpy's Meadow) and he decided to plunge into that too. Startled, Phil let go of the lead.  I was just getting that sorted out when Ben had a good shake.  The river water doesn't taste *that* bad, but I still spat several times.

After putting him in the porch, where I rubbed him down with a towel, we went to visit the chickens.  One had just laid an egg and clucked obligingly.  Another ate out of my hand, the Sage picked up a black hen for Amelie to stroke and she was able to find three eggs to take back to the house.  So she has learned a fair bit about living in the country.  Phil and Lisa have discovered that we're even more peculiar than I portray us as here.  

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Gardners' Questing Time

The Gardners arrived during the afternoon and are as delightful as I'd expected them to be.  The children ate their tea with impeccable manners and went to bed in due course, and Lisa and Phil have just gone up too.  Ben was hopelessly overexcited all day - he normally sleeps half the evening, but mostly bounced instead.  I hope he settles down tomorrow, it's a bit trying.

It was an odd day in some ways.  I have been so busy this week I hadn't got anything ready, so whizzed round for a couple of hours, changing beds and - Phil and Lisa won't believe this, but I did - tidying up a bit.  Then off to school for Music, where the morning lesson was a new project, learning to play a piece of music, including some theory and reading a stave.  The piece is Katy Perry's Firework.  Or is it Fireworks, I can't remember.  Then I trotted along to a reception for a group of French exchange students, the Mayor and Town Reeve came along too and I smiled and shook hands a lot and had my photo taken several times (in a group) and I'm afraid it's bound to be in the paper.  There was a large chocolate cake and I ate a piece of it, which was all I had time for for lunch.  I also had a small cup of tea and it wasn't until this evening that I realised I hadn't had anything else to drink all day until 5 o'clock when I had some coffee.  Not enough, really.

In the afternoon, the other class hadn't yet finished their Indian music, so it was back to the ragas.  I felt a bit spaced out by the time I left.  And then, when home, I had several things to deal with, including booking a holiday, so it was just as well that the guests were a bit delayed.

I gather the children wake pretty early.  Well that is, we usually get going rather late in the morning, it isn't that they're unusually early.  Amelie is looking forward to meeting the chickens.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

On the double

1 I seem to be making a habit of not enough sleep - no change there, then.  But I did sleep reasonably well last night, it was just that I had to get up early.

2 And was in Norwich by 7.30 and on the way to London.  We had a really easy run and arrived on schedule, although apparently there was a burst water main in Piccadilly.  We saw no sight of anything amiss.

3 The exhibition was jolly good and bigger than we'd expected.  A lot of Manet's paintings that I knew nothing about and some that I did.  I hadn't realised that he was only 51 when he died.

4 I had a Roquefort, celery and wild mushroom tart for lunch.  It was very good.  I had a pistachio-topped and strawberry-purée filled cake for tea, which was rather richer than I expected.  I coped manfully.

5 I was in cheery and expansive mood and trotted over to Fortnums and bought presents for the children and the Sage.  Food ones.  Well, food and drink (tea).

6 It's been a busy day and five isn't enough.

7 One of our party didn't feel very well and the RA staff looked after her and altered her ticket to another day, as she wasn't able to cope with the exhibition.  Unfortunately, she was extremely sick on the way home.  Most unfortunately, she was in the seat behind me and my friend Angy.  It was worse for her travelling companion, of course. I trust it was nothing catching.

8 Usually, the Sage would have cooked my supper.  I phone ahead so he knows how to time it.  But we were a bit late, so I said he shouldn't wait.  I cooked myself an omelette when I got home.

9 There was a frost last night when I walked the dog, but none this morning.  But the sun didn't shine all day - or rather, it did but it was hidden by clouds.

10 Our friends whose wedding reception was held on our field last summer have asked if we could look after their puppy Rupert in August when they go on holiday.  We've said yes.  This could turn into a nice little business - totally non-lucrative of course, as we wouldn't charge them.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Tuesday's five

1 Sunshine and warmth!  I had to wear sunglasses to drive.  Mind you, I gather the weather forecast is none too good for tomorrow.

2 Awful noises came from the new phones and it wasn't even a heavy breather.  Turned out that the base had to be plugged into a different socket, not the main one - which was the one the previous phone worked best from.  Ho hum.

3 I'm going to the Manet exhibition at the RA tomorrow.  Early start, I've got to be in Norwich by 7.15.

4 A meeting at the school with feedback from an evaluation we had done by advisors, who gave impartial advice on how well we're doing and how to improve.  I was quite enthused and invigorated by it all, which shows that my assertion that I need outside interests and responsibilities, however much work they are, if I'm not to be bored and depressed, is correct.

5 Time to walk the dog.  Goodnight

Monday, 4 March 2013

Your five a day

1 We're really looking forward to Phil, Lisa, Amelie and Toby coming to stay.

2 I haven't yet decided what to give them to eat. Some recipe browsing is called for (though I trust I'm not raising culinary expectations).

3 Having said the chickens are having a new run, the Sage is now considering letting them take over the whole kitchen garden after all. Hmmmm.

4 The aforementioned Sage is loving driving again.

5 I have readopted Maudie Littlehampton's mantra "If it's me, it's U".

Sunday, 3 March 2013


1 The Sage is finally driving again, more than a month after his ban ended. Having been really anxious to start again, he then kept putting off the sending in of the form. I dunno. That's Sages for you.

2 Wink and I were discussing how one remembers numbers. I lost her entirely when I explained my methods - for example, my mobile number ends 3795. That's 19x2-1 and 19x5. Obv. She didn't think so.

3 I have had a cooked breakfast two days in a row. Yesterday, the Sage cooked me bacon and eggs. We have been married 40 years, or it will be that soon anyway, and he's never cooked bacon and eggs for my breakfast before. Today it was poached egg but I cooked it myself.

4 The sun shone today. Ree-markable.

5 All the same, I've found it hard to keep my spirits up. End of winter blues perhaps or maybe it was last week's hospital visiting. I'll be glad when the clocks change. I want BST all year round.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

1,2,3,4,5 - which should have been the title of yesterday's post

1 A weasel ran across the road in front of me. It always surprises me quite how small they are.

2 When I took Ben for a walk this morning, he disappeared over the bank towards the river. It's only a little river, but all the same, I'd rather he didn't jump in. He came back when I called but later took a paddle at the cows' drinking area.

3 I slept soundly last night. It was lovely.

4 I've been getting a lot of emails from various friends whose accounts have been hacked into. Four people yesterday and another two today. I've changed my own password, I suggest you do so too and are vigilant.

5 Having changed the password, I had to update several other places too, iPhone, iPad, gmail notifier. It was a bit of a nuisance, actually, and now I have a new password to remember. But it was a year since I last changed it, so a Good Idea.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Once Z caught a fish alive...

I like these 'five things' posts.  Stops me waffling so much.

1 For the first time, I had to pick up after Ben.  He, like a lot of dogs, is very modest when it comes to lavatorial matters and usually vanishes into a remote corner of the field.  Bitches don't care, in my experience.

2 I achieved quite a lot this morning, getting the Sage's car insurance searched out and bought and dealing with our house insurance amongst other things.  That is, the insurance is not due yet and I'm not paying until it is, but I've gone through all the paperwork.  The Sage has finally handed over all such things to me, which has probably been a good move as he is very loyal to those who have his custom and is reluctant to switch.  Sadly, loyalty isn't always a two-way thing.

3 I visited my friend in Norwich hospital.  She's brave and cheerful, but hasn't felt like eating since Sunday which is probably the reason she is quite weak.  And she lost her hair again over Christmas.  Still, she's resolute and has booked a place on the Nadfas visit to Holland in the autumn.  If she's able to go, we'll share a room.  While I was there her daughter arrived, then another friend and then another, so I left at that point.  Jill was really pleased, she's very sociable and was charmed that so many of her friends visited on the same day.  When I arrived home, I rang a couple of other people who I know are fond of her, to let them know she's in hospital.  It was such a silly accident, she fell between two pieces of furniture and couldn't extricate herself and had to wait until her daughter arrived to rescue her.  it didn't injure her, but it was the weakness that made her fall that is the problem.

4 I spent an hour or so setting up the new phones we have bought.  I reflected that I seem to have reached the age when getting to grips with new stuff is a worry rather than a pleasure.  I've done the immediate bits and will do the rest, such as programming in phone numbers so that we know who's ringing, when I've recovered from the stress of the basic stuff.  In a day or two, I will have to teach the Sage how to listen to messages.  Actually, it's easier than the last phone.  I had to buy new ones because the Sage had left two outside and they were rained on and the rechargeable battery on a third has failed, so we were left with a single useful phone, plus the one that works without electricity.  We never use the landline except for phoning abroad or for 0800 etc numbers, we always use our iPhones.

5 Mysteriously, my iPhone has got a shattered back.  It's always kept in a leather case and I don't remember dropping it, but I must have - it still works, I only found out when I took it out of its case: the glass is broken but still in place.  It's covered on our homoe insurance, but there's a £100 excess so I may get it repaired instead.  I'll have to look into it.

It's going to be a busy weekend, so please excuse me if I miss a day or two.  I'll be back, as they say.