Monday 31 May 2010

Birds, mostly

Some highly magnified and, therefore, nvg photos - but I found the situations interesting and entertaining, so please forgive their quality.

The first two were from Scotland. We were staying in a modern hotel some 15 miles from Glasgow, with a golf club, health spa and all the usual malarkey attached. The staff were delightful - I must tell you about Tracy, whom I kissed - remind me if I forget in the next few days.

One evening, we heard a lot of noise from some birds, clearly an alarm call. We saw a pair of oyster catchers chase away a crow. The next night, the parent birds were out foraging for food for their babies who, presumably, had left the next the previous evening and were in need of protection. It was very entertaining to watch - the parents seemed to find plenty of worms on the golf course, and they flew up to the ridge of the roof where the three babies were waiting, who then legged it enthusiastically to their parents to be fed.
Today, I saw a French partridge (this is the breed, not the nationality, I expect it was born here) on the garage roof. It stood watching the world go by for a few minutes, so I took this snap - this is the same picture in each case, but cut down and therefore enlarged in the second version.

What amused me was its descent to the ground. Clearly unconfident of its taking-off ability from a roof, it carefully sidled down the ridge towards the gutter and then hopped off, using its wings for balance. It looked as awkward as I would have in the circumstances.

I only discovered a few nights ago that Mike, whom you probably all know as Troubled Diva has been, this month, doing his "which decade is tops for pops?" poll here on Freaky Trigger. Now, he put me on to this excellent site some time ago, but what with going away and all, I've fallen way behind in my reading and it was only by skimming through before a hasty delete that I found it. Actually, watching and listening to several sessions of chart top-tenners from 50 years has left me more than a little jaded, being done over two nights as it was, but I enjoyed it vastly, as ever. I am probably Mike's most ignorant fan and one of his oldest, but I am unperturbed by that. And I'm immensely grateful to him for introducing me to Shearwater's album "Rook", which is entirely divine (particularly if you're expecting a falsetto countertenor very high voice, which I wasn't). When I enthused to Ro (this is going back a couple or more years) he kindly told me all about it and said he thought I'd like it because of my fondness for Okkervil River - so why didn't the child tell me himself?


In other news, Al has bought a new (second hand) shop counter. I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds splendid. What? Not interested? Oh. Sometimes, I don't understand people at all.

Sunday 30 May 2010

Tilly pwns Z

A lot of work went on here today. Weeza turned up at 9.15, when I was making cakes for church (yes, darlings, I know) and she and the Sage disappeared into the dining room to get the china in order for the next sale. I made and iced 33 fairy cakes and took them to church and, when I got home again, W & the S were just finished and ready for cheese and biscuits, which was my apology for Sunday lunch.

After a short break, we spent the next three hours doing the descriptions and condition report. I left the latter to W - I need to go out into the daylight to be sure of spotting every little mark, but she's got fantastic eyesight. I did the typing.

We'd normally spend 3 days on this. But this is the only day that Weeza has free.

I do need to check what I've written, particularly that I've got all the estimates correct, and I'll probably do a bit of tweaking to the words, but I'd got every morning next week marked down for doing this work, so giving up a Sunday was certainly worthwhile, especially in view of normal Bank Holiday weekend weather. That is, it hailed this afternoon.

Tilly decided that she was ready for her dinner at about 3 o'clock. She came and looked at me. I gave her a Tilly-treat, aka a Bakers Allsort, sometimes known as a Scooby Snack. She looked at me again. I explained that it would be dinner time soon and she'd already shared our lunch and that one was enough. She looked at me. I said no. She looked at me.

I gave her another Tilly-treat.

A few minutes later, hungry again, she came back, but we were part-way through a tray of china so I explained that she'd have to wait. She sniffed the china, to our alarm. She never goes near it. When told not to, she went and sniffed the other trayful.

I went and got her dinner ready.

Later again, I was nosing in the freezer, wondering what to cook for dinner. Suddenly, there were two peremptory barks.

Tilly had waited long enough and wanted to go and lie on her sofa. I opened the door. I apologised for keeping her waiting.

Saturday 29 May 2010

Z is keen to start pruning

Behind Al and Dilly's house there is a fairly uninteresting piece of ground, then some fir trees and then a field that doesn't belong to us. Back in the 60s, outline planning permission was given for housing on that field, so the Sage's parents hastily planted the firs - but the permission was allowed to lapse and now the field is 'outside the village envelope' and so there is no likelihood of houses being built there, not for some years at any rate. Our land is in the same category, by the way - of even less value in fact, which is why we can have such a big garden. We let the farmer put cows on the field for no rent to keep it in good order, although we do get a grant for its environmental value.

Anyway, a few of the trees have died off over the years, but they have all been looking past their best and, if they were to fall, they could damage the bungalow, so we've had them cut down. Although they weren't 'that' close and on the North side, it's lightened up Al and Dilly's bungalow no end. Today, the stumps were being removed, and we found that some of the roots were quite rotten, so it's just as well we've acted now. I went to inspect the area. Al and Dilly are planning to sow grass seed and have it as an area for the children to play on. I also looked at the scrubby shrubs and trees at the West end (which adjoins our house - some of you won't know that the bungalow was originally built, some 25 years ago, as a granny annexe to our house). These shrubs darken that end of our house and don't let any evening sun on to the area that's been cleared. There is a lot of dead wood and whole lots of brambles.

I'm itching, positively itching, darlings, to get going with my pruning saw.

I won't, yet, of course, as it's nesting season - but I have plans. I'm not letting the Sage have unfettered access, as he will take down too much, but I want to thin it out a lot.

It's not that I have time yet, in any case. I'm starting to cautiously enjoy gardening again, and we have a catalogue to put together, and I've got lots of school and Nadfas work to do. But it's so much more fun to get going on a project than just do the routine stuff, isn't it?

Later, Squiffany phoned to tell us that the bantams were all on the patch of cleared earth, pecking away busily. They must have smelled it, as it's well away from their usual stamping ground and around the corner of the house. Squiffany was concerned that they might get lost - but they were all home for supper as usual.

You might like to see the wisteria. I didn't put up a picture last year, as it didn't flower particularly well - don't know why, as there weren't any late frosts - but it's back in form again.

Friday 28 May 2010

Bringing on the wall, Day 36 - Dave tops out

Dave soon got to work this morning, doing the capping on the first part of the longest stretch of wall. It had been lovely to see him - last time was back in October when I dropped in some shopping as he was under the weather with an illness from which he's still recovering. We stopped abruptly, having hoped to finish that section before the winter, but no harm has been done by the frosts.
The tiles underneath the final capping are the original ones from this house - we had it re-roofed, with hand-made traditional tiles from a firm in Sussex; the Sage went with a lorry and fetched them himself. We kept the old ones of course, and are really pleased to find such an appropriate use for them.
Then he got on with the next section - as you see, the first level of tiles is in place, to be followed next by the second tiles and then the capping next time.

I, meanwhile, had twigged that there wasn't a job for me. The Sage doesn't believe in talking things through in advance, and I'd cancelled my usual Friday session at Year 9 music - if he'd said, I'd have gone along as usual. I'd been working in the garden for quite some time already in fact, as I had a sleepless night, awake after half an hour's nap at 1.15 and up from about 2.30. I did a particularly boring bit of work on the computer that I'm rather pleased to have got to grips with, well before the deadline, and was out before 6. It was a lovely day and I enjoyed planting the squashes that had been waiting in their pots.
I spent the rest of the morning forking over and weeding the next bed, in preparation for more squashes. I was quite tired and my back ached and the Sage was going to help me, but first he needed to make a phone call and then some people arrived to see him. How lucky can a man be? Anyway, I got it done. I was interested to note that I have become a left-footed digger, having been right-footed all my life. For the last two or three years I haven't been able to dig at all, having not enough strength either to put pressure on the spade or stand reliably on my right leg. I carefully placed all the plants with the use of a yardstick. The ground is very dry - I've watered thoroughly this afternoon. I've also weeded the greenhouse. I've put tomatoes, aubergines and peppers, sweet and hot, into pots this year, which are filled mostly with very well-rotted and completely odourless manure, and only planted the cucumbers direct into the bed. I found it impossible to keep up with the watering last year and am doing it differently this time. The pots are bottomless, so the roots can find coolness and moisture in the bed beneath.

There's still loads to do, though. I've got a busy weekend to come.

We had lunch on the lawn, with bantams, the cock pheasant and a large rabbit wandering around. They hardly bother to move out of the way when we approach.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Burrelling again

I'm still not thinking straight, yesterday was quite draining. So you can have more pictures of the Burrell Collection.

Although it's not large, there's a lot to see. One of the things I liked was that it was the collection of one person, in the main (he left an endowment for future purchases, but his collection still makes up at least 90% of the whole) and he kept it at his home, so they are incredibly rare and precious pieces, but not grand - you can live with them. Apart from one large tapestry, they are all quite small. His stained glass collection was fitting in the windows of his house, until the war when there was danger of bombing.

The terms of his will were that the collection should be housed in a woodland setting in Glasgow, which wasn't easy to manage until someone left a suitable parkland area to the city, and that it should not travel overseas, for fear of a ship or plane going down. So items can be lent out in mainland Britain but nowhere else. There are about 9,000 pieces, of which a third are on show at any one time

I want to go back and have another browse. However, at least I bought the guide book - which I haven't unpacked yet. All that's been taken out of my case are clothes to be washed and clothes to be hung up. And my toothbrush.

Anyway, here are pictures.
I thought, irresistibly, of Reeves and Mortimer - a Ponderer, for anyone who remembers Big Night Out of about 20 years ago (we taped it for Ro, who was too young to stay up and he was the coolest kid at the Middle School for watching them before anyone else had heard of them) and the Dove from Above.
I can't remember who she was - but a lovely piece of stained glass.
Three more cabinets. The simple silver brooch appealed to me.
Eugène Boudin - The Jetty at Trouville, I think. Being a seaside girl at heart, I loved this. The hugging oneself against the wind.
An early self-portrait. Doesn't he look spiffing? We saw a couple of Rembrandts later, in his less confident and hopeful older age. Fine.
Remarkably, these are Chinese, dating from between 1550 and 1650. Incredible condition and looking far more modern. Beautiful. I want.
A wonderful and witty tapestry, which bears long and close study - though not from this photo which isn't clear enough.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, Dave will come over and we'll return to Bringing On the Wall.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Art in a woodland setting

It was worth the journey for the Burrell Collection alone. It was a delight. Since I am too tired, as I predicted, to write anything much (although I have drunk enough wine to make my typing a whole lot more accurate than it was an hour ago), I'll give you some pictures, mostly of animals. These are all Egyptian or Chinese, I think.
The nuisance of Blogger now is that you can't type while pictures are uploading, although I'm sure the blurb said you'd be able to. Anyway, here are the photos. I've got lots more, darlings, in case I'm similarly afflicted by an inability to form coherent sentences tomorrow.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Happy joy

I've actually been singing the song ... which reminds me, whatever happened to Ren and Stimpy? They were ace.

There is a reason - there's always a reason, darlings. The Sage has just left for a meeting...a PCC meeting...a meeting of a committee of which I was a member for many years, first as secretary and then as churchwarden, so I've always had a lot to do. The last two meetings, I've taken minutes as well as giving reports on churchwardenish stuff - and now, nothing. Poor lovely Sage hasn't got out of its clutches - but I HAVE.

There's another reason too. Home grown veggies. Tonight, we had the first courgette, as well as asparagus and coriander, and radishes that Squiffany grew at school. And the wisteria is beautiful. I've just been out to take pictures. Not that we're going to eat it.

I'll get pictures up in a day or two. Probably tomorrow, I've got a busy day tomorrow. The lovely and wonderful business manager at school has left - it's a terrific promotion, so can't begrudge her it but we will really miss her - and we're interviewing tomorrow. Presentations in the morning and interviews in the afternoon. The School Council are also meeting the candidates.

There have been letters in the papers recently about the thing of getting school pupils involved in the interviewing, but they've partly got the wrong end of the stick - and partly, they have a point as it appears that some schools haven't explained to the students what their brief is. It's not a talent show, it's a job interview, but it won't be their choice, it'll be down to the governors and Head; who will, nevertheless, look carefully at the students' findings and use them to back up their own judgement.

It's normal to involve pupils at our school and they take on the responsibility well. Teaching assistants, for example, work closely with children with learning or behaviour difficulties, so it's entirely appropriate for them to show the candidates round the school and give their opinions afterwards. It is not at all uncommon for their markings to be much the same as ours. They are often very perceptive.

Anyway, that's how I'll spend tomorrow. Tonight, I'll ... oh. I don't know what I'll do. Something frivolous.

Oh, another bit of good news. I just got a bank statement. Last month, I spent less than came in, which has to be an excellent sign.

Monday 24 May 2010

From square to prime

I've been home for an hour. The Sage came to Norwich to fetch me. I'd said that I'd probably eat en route, but I wasn't hungry at the small transport caff, so I was by the time we got home.

What is it with (some) men? There was hardly a vegetable in the kitchen. I found garlic and three tomatoes and that, literally, was it. Not an onion, nothing green. In the end, I chopped a couple of cloves of garlic and two tomatoes, fried them a bit in olive oil, added some dried chillies and some salt, opened a tin of chickpeas, rinsed them and chucked them in and, since the Sage entered the room at that moment to offer me some hot-smoked salmon, put in a bit of that too.

The only other remnant of vegetable I found was a single chip which had fallen unobserved to the edge of the counter.

Sad to say, I'm too tired to write anything more, but tomorrow I shall upload pictures and may post a few. Or whole lots, who knows?

Oh, you may wonder about the title. It's our wedding anniversary. I've brought him back some fudge.

Sunday 23 May 2010

Catching Oysters

There's a pair of oyster catchers staying at the hotel. Not in one of the rooms, you understand; they have nested in the garden and are rearing three babies. A couple of nights ago, the parents were calling and flying about agitatedly, and last night the youngsters were on the ridge of the roof waiting for their parents, who were foraging for worms for them. We watched for some time and it was most entertaining to see because of the scuttling of the chicks as they legged it along the ridge tiles towards the parent bird who had landed, worm dangling from beak.

I've taken some pictures, but I don't know how clear they will be. If they're any good, I'll put them up here in a day or two.

We're off tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock. It has been a lovely visit and we've seen some beautiful things and enjoyed good company. I am not marvellous at too much togetherness and did need some solitary time yesterday but, as I got it, I've felt thoroughly sociable again today.

Saturday 22 May 2010

Z suns herself

I'm sitting on the grass outside the National Gallery in Edinburgh, all alone apart from a few hundred other people enjoying a relaxing lunch hour. The rest of the party, apart from another eight who have similarly opted out, are on the coach being given a tour round the city. I like to explore cities on foot and, besides, it's a gorgeous day and I'm not spending it in a bus.

There are, in fact, notices which politely ask people to keep off the grass but we are, quite properly I believe, disregarding them. Everyone is just sitting or lying apart from some well-behaved little children running up and down the slopes, the older ones looking after the toddlers - it does an elderly maternal heart good, to see children being kind to their smaller fellows.

It was suggested by my friends that I was being overly optimistic, bringing sun cream instead of an umbrella, but my prescience is now commended.

Friday 21 May 2010

Z continues into Uncharted Territory

For those of us who are lifelong Southerners, heading towards the Highlands gives rise to a certain trepidation. I feel that I need to hold on to my seat ... I wonder if that was the effect that the prospect of Glasgow had on the young man yesterday?

Today, we're off to Loch Lomond, via Stirling Castle, and then to Hill House in Helensburgh. I was unimpressed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh's house (reproduced) yesterday. You sit on one of those very low, though uncomfortably straight-backed chairs and it would be quite difficult to get up again without help. Appearance over function is not much use in a chair.

However, the Burrell Collection is fantastic. I could spend another day there very happily.

This post is brought to you by Z's iPhone, from Alistair's coach, whilst Tom the guide tells us about the Battle of Bannockburn.

Thursday 20 May 2010

Z pokes fun

My friend Jill and I laughed so much we had to prop each other up. We had taken our final glasses of wine - the four of us, two Jills, Pip and me - to sit in comfier chairs and chat after dinner. Jill and I noticed a short, dapper man come out of the dining room and, a few minutes later, return. We both saw his hand gesture low down in front of him and sniggered. "He's having a little scratch" chuckled Jill. "He could have been doing up his flies," I suggested, slightly more charitably.

An hour later, he came out of the dining room and vanished in the direction of the loo again. We made observations about the amount of beer he had been drinking or the weakness of his bladder. Then he came back.

He scratched his groin again. We were helpless with mirth.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Scots wahay. Or something like that.

Do you know, I'm further northward than I've ever been before. Considering that Buchanan is my middle name (yes, honestly, darlings, it's something I usually keep quiet about, it may seem odd that I have never been over the border, but it's something I've managed to miss out on.

Anyway, here I am in not-so-sunny (esp considering it's 11pm) Glasgow after being on the road for over eleven hours. Including stops.

I have already embraced an hotel employee.

Monday 17 May 2010

What a difference...

... a couple of days make.


And, with the addition of some well-rotted (and completely odourless) manure, afterwards.

The stuff on the left, with the exception, of course, of the tomatoes in the big pots, is available for the shop, as are peppers and aubergines on the right. The sweetcorn and several varieties of squashes and pumpkins are going to be planted when I get home.

I meant to take a photo of the veg garden too, with its rows of five sorts of beans, plus herbs, lettuce, spinach, chard and courgettes (and anything I've forgotten about) but I didn't get around to it as Tilly was hoping for her dinner. Well, I went out afterwards to pot up aubergines, but when I finished the Sage was hoping for his dinner, so it still didn't get done.

I'd promised to make a card for everyone with phone numbers on - it had seemed a good idea, at one stage, to put the National society logo on them, and I fiddled round for ages because I'm not very good at this sort of thing, finally got it done and then printed out a sheet - and the blue of the logo was streaky. I tested and cleaned the print head - all the other colours were fine, it was just the blue. So, I thought, it doesn't matter, I'll print it in black and white. it wouldn't. As the ink cartridge was nearing its end, I decided to change it. The new one was no better.

The Sage had his dinner late. I've emailed it to Dilly and she will print it out for me. I've had enough.

Sunday 16 May 2010

Z's back (aches, that is)

Golly, I'm tired. I woke up at 6 o'clock, quite unnecessarily early and didn't get up at once - checked my emails in bed however, so as not to waste time - and was out in the greenhouse by 7, getting everything ready for Al. By the time he came out, I had loaded up the car. Remembering to put my eye in, I shot inside and then followed him to the shop...a quick unload and I was back for the second load. Breakfast at 9, a look at the newspaper, off to church, where I'd put myself down as sidesman, for coffee and as organist - home again, quick lunch and then into the garden to start planting.

That's gone well, actually, and I've got broad beans, two sorts of french beans, runner beans, chard and spinach planted out, and the remainder ready for Al to sell. Tomorrow, the courgettes, haricot beans, some lettuce and herb seedlings to plant out and tomatoes to put into final pots, as well as aubergines to pot up. When I arrive home again, there will just be the squashes and sweet corn to plant out, plus anything in the aubergine, tomato and pepper line that there isn't room for in the greenhouse.

I was so anxious not to waste time that I decided on the time I could spare for each job and set the timer. It's a method I've used for years to get myself going - it's an illusionary time limit, of course, but it works for me. In fact, I was pretty accurate, and I was done within a minute or two either way each time. I've also restocked the trays of plants for Al for tomorrow - each variety of tomato is separate, and everything is clearly labelled. I'm out of outdoor cucumbers, but have been able to replenish his supply of beans and have potted up a few spinach and chard plants as well.

Al was quite indignant yesterday, on behalf of one of the wholesalers' driver. I was talking to an elderly lady customer whom I haven't seen for a long time, as she hasn't been well enough to get out - Al has been delivering to her - and I noticed a woman waiting to talk to him. I didn't hear any of the conversation, but afterwards he said he'd had a complaint. She had had to wait while his daily ordered was delivered at 7.30 that morning.

The road by the shop is narrow (and one-way), but there's just room for one vehicle to pass another. However, cars had been -illicitly - parked on the double yellow lines overnight so, when the van stopped in its usual place, cars couldn't pass to the left of it. She complained bitterly that she'd had to wait, and so had other drivers.

"Suffolk and what?" was my reaction, I admit - I know how quickly the deliveries are made, and how cheerfully, and I respect the hard work of the delivery men, who start their working day at some time before 3 am, loading their vans with the daily orders, in the right order for delivery, driving for several hours to do their rounds and never missing a day, whatever the weather - they've been late a few times during the snowy periods but they've never let Al down. "Too lazy to walk a few extra yards, that's his trouble", nagged the woman. I'd love to see her lift half-hundredweights (25 kilos), portly as she was, never mind carry them an inch further than necessary. A lazy person wouldn't turn up for the second day.

From his report of the conversation, although Al stuck up for the driver, he was more polite than I'd have been. I was indignant, and afterwards apologised to Al's Saturday boy (who is a pupil at the High School) for my outspoken language. He was more amused than offended.

Al is pretty unhappy at the thought of losing him after the summer. He's about to take his GCSEs (that is, the exams taken at the age of 16 at the end of compulsory education) and has gained an apprenticeship at Sizewell - one of 26 out of 170 applicants. He's going to do his initial training in Portsmouth, so has handed in his notice. Al has only once had a young employee so intelligent, reliable and good-natured. He'll be very hard to replace.

Saturday 15 May 2010

What ho!

"Pob says that honey production may not be my forte as a beekeeper, but I'm certainly good at expanding the bee population." "Well", I replied, "that's what you want, isn't it?"

It's true, he's always said that he is more interested in the honey bee than the honey. He and Dilly took classes for a year before getting a hive and still go to the local bee society talks and demonstrations (showing you how to do things, rather than protesting, darlings). He became interested because of all the news about the decline in the honey bee population. Pob also says that it takes at least five years to be able to say you know anything at all about beekeeping. He started at the age of 13, but only started to expand his apiary when he retired, and now has 150 hives. Al will be quite happy with 3 for now, so will sell his surplus colonies, which will help to recoup the money he's just laid out on several more nucs (only this afternoon, someone in Yagnub came into the shop to say there was a swarm in their garden - Al phoned Pob to get it, but he'd be quite happy to pick it up himself if he had somewhere to house it).

A swarm is not aggressive, by the way. There are a lot of bees, but they have gorged themselves on honey and are quite docile.

Today, at last, the weather has changed and was warm and sunny, as long as the sun was out. I took a lot of plants in to the shop for Al to sell and planted out more - there's a lot to do tomorrow as well. I think I'll get everything out except squashes, if I can - well, and except surplus aubergines and peppers, which I hope to plant against the wall. When the capping is put on it, that is. Although I suppose the ground will be extremely hard and need thorough digging - might put them in pots instead.

My back ached and I was tired out by the time I came in at half past six. The Sage had been looking after the children so hadn't made me a cup of tea (not that I expected him to, but he often does) and I suspected I was so exhausted partly because I was thirsty. "Will you have some tea now," enquired the Sage. "A bit late, I think I'll go straight on to wine." I had a big glass of water first though, being awfully good and sensible and everything. Then I poured the wine and took a sip. Honestly, I started to feel better at once. I remember that my mother, who had to stop drinking alcohol when it started to give her migraines, took a long time not to miss it. She would come in of an evening and say "I've had a hell of a day" and pour me a glass of wine. I had to drink for two for the rest of my teens.

That reminds me, I started preparations for my holiday today, taking the first and sensible precaution of getting used to daytime drinking again.

When I mentioned signing off emails yesterday, I should have started with the less thorny but equally quirky salutation at the top. So, how do you start? With the name, with Dear *name*, with Hi *name*, with Hello* name - or something else?

Ooh, and while I'm on the subject, how do you spell hello? I've got friends who write hallo, hello or hullo, and holloo is, if old-fashioned, not incorrect either. Come to that, I have known people, rather posher than I, who pronounce it "hillo", however they spell it.

Friday 14 May 2010


I think you have to be over forty - maybe even more - to be aware of the difference in our behaviour to each other over the last few years, in this country. We kiss. We never used to kiss. You had to be quite close friends even for a peck on the cheek when arriving for dinner, but now we do it all the time, quite often lip to lip. Indeed, today I kissed three colleagues whom, a few years ago, it would not have been appropriate to have more contact with than a handshake (two women and a man, since you ask). Two of them lunged forward first and the third was a mutual thing, by the way, I haven't been having a startlingly exuberant day at the office.

Then there's the signing off of emails - oh, how simple it was when the choice was between "yours faithfully" and "yours sincerely" - because there was a Rule. Nowadays, though they still cut it for a letter, it seems to have moved to "kind regards" giving way to "best regards" - and where exactly does "best wishes" come in to play?

Not that we should forget those who opt out with "take care" or "cheers", or simply "best".

Of course, and I go back to the kisses again, it doesn't take a much closer friendship to sign off with love ... but how many of those x's* to put? I've got x friends and xx friends, a couple of xxxers and a XXX. It always seems polite to reciprocate. While I was on a committee with one of the xxxers, it seemed slightly too close to do the same, so I generally restricted myself to Zxx, but now we're not on a committee together and see each other less often, I'm more relaxed and follow his lead (it's true, darlings, don't try too hard and I'll follow you anywhere).

I'm not terribly Continental by instinct - I go along with the multiple cheek to cheek kisses of course - oh, that question of whether to go for the third kiss - or worse, a fourth which always catches you out - but I'm actually more of a 'one kiss with hug' girl for someone I'm fond of, which I feel is more close and friendly than the impersonal double mwah. It isn't necessarily impersonal of course, but air-kissing someone you don't know very well or air-kissing a good friend feels much the same.

It has to be confessed, I do usually touch the cheek with my lips, which probably shows my general oikiness. And then, of course, there's the matter of lipstick. Is it polite to rub it off? And how intimate is that? It feels more personal than the peck on the cheek, but on the other hand, it surely isn't quite on to leave the imprint.

Lots of love, darlings


* whilst not, strictly speaking, a place for an apostrophe, I tried xes and exes and xs and they didn't work.

Thursday 13 May 2010

A bale of hay

I'd just said to the Sage that I was going to get changed, ready to leave at 6 o'clock to meet my friends for dinner, when the phone rang.  It was Al.
He'd been out to check the bees and found that a swarm was clinging on to one of the hives.

He knew they were about to swarm so had split them already - an artificial swarm, that is, you bamboozle them into believing that they have swarmed and, among the ones left behind (the queen and half the bees take half the food with them to set up a new home, leaving queen larvae and enough workers and food to keep the colony going) the new queen will hatch, fly, mate and return to the hive to spend the rest of her life laying eggs. Evidently, they had not been deceived.

By the way, Blue Witch, I'm sure this is only vaguely connected to the actual process, but bear in mind I don't really know what I'm talking about. I'm not the beekeeper of the family.

He was wanting the Sage to babysit while he and Dilly went and dealt with the swarm, but he soon realised that it wasn't going to be easy. The bees were all over the back of the hive with the queen somewhere in the middle and they were going to have to be coaxed into a new home. So he got in the car and drove off to Pob in Boringland to ask his advice. Pob lent him another hive and some tools to help and back he came.

In the meantime, of course, I'd been out to have a look but then had to leave for my evening out.

The other thing is that Al didn't know which colony had swarmed. It was probably one of the established queens, but occasionally a left-behind colony will swarm - this is beyond even my vague understanding so I won't try to explain - anyway, it could have been any one of the five, three of which are presently hatching out new queens (or two of them, anyway) and mustn't be disturbed. And evening was drawing on and the swarm might take off at any time to find a refuge before the air chilled. If they flew before he returned, nothing could be done.

Anyway, I got back just before 10 o'clock and hurried indoors. "Did they catch the bees?" I demanded. They did, said the Sage, and have put them in the hive lent by Pob (who is a long established beekeeper with a hundred or a hundred and fifty - can't remember - hives and provides all the honey for Al's shop.

The title of the post is from the rhyme
A swarm of bees in May is worth a bale of hay.
A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm of bees in July isn't worth a fly.

Mind you, it's not that Al has gained any bees, just that he hopes not to have lost any. All he's gained are some grey hairs and some more worry lines.


How odd.  My phone just quacked and I went to answer it, and the screen said "blocked caller."  I don't understand at all - I've not blocked anyone and I can't find anything on the phone that says how to block or unblock anyone anyway.  Can any of you suggest an explanation, please?

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Things going bump

It's no wonder that nothing is growing much - some leaves of the french beans, which are in the greenhouse about 5 feet away from the side panes of glass, are scorched by last night's frost.  The aubergines are looking unhappy and so are some of the tomatoes.  The pepper and chilli plants are holding up well, as are the greenhouse cucumbers, although they have hardly grown since I planted them out.  The courgette plants are looking good and have almost outgrown the frost damage of a few weeks ago.  All these things are in the big Dutch light greenhouse of course - nothing tender is planted out at all.  I'm doubting now that they will be before I go away, which is a bit disappointing, but I think it's too risky unless the forecast is really much better by the weekend.

Dilly phoned this morning, asking me to go through and help to calm down Pugsley, who had got himself into a real state.  There was a hanger on a door which had stopped it from shutting (I'm not sure exactly about the details) and he had convinced himself that there was a monster or something in the house which was out to get him - he was genuinely terrified.  We were puzzled and a bit unnerved - he asked to come to my house as he was afraid of his.  He was having sandwiches for lunch before going to nursery, so he brought them and I sat him on my lap while he ate them and I did some careful explaining of what's real and what's not, and that there are stories and films that are just stories - he did listen sensibly and we talked it all though, and then discussed things that really are dangerous in the wrong places, such as fire and cars.  And then animals that are real, like lions, but are not exactly a threat to him, and snakes.  I said I'd look out the snake skin I found in the greenhouse, but luckily he didn't think of it when he came home, because I couldn't remember where I've put it - it's not where I thought it was.

Anyway, when he came home he said that he was all right and it had all been a game - it hadn't at the time, but he seems to have got over it and he didn't mind at all about going home again.

When sitting on my lap, every time he wanted to say something, he started with "Excuse me," which was sweet - I suppose he's picked that up at nursery school.

Zerlina has had two days at the childminders now and it's gone very well.  The first day, last Friday, apparently, she cried for nearly an hour and was very relieved when Weeza went to pick her up, but the Monday afterwards, although she cried when Weeza left, she stopped almost at once and was quite relaxed upon Weeza's return.  She was asleep when her mother left her with me yesterday and took a while to placate when she woke - though I think that was because she was hungry - anyway, when Squiffany arrived she cheered right up.  When Weeza got back she was pleased, but almost immediately left with Dilly to go to their house - we followed a few minutes later, and by then she was happily bouncing on the trampoline and laughing with Squiffany and Pugsley.  So that seems to be all right.  No separation anxiety there, unless it's on Weeza's part.

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Bitty bits

A thirteen hour spread of governor stuff.  Hmm.  Still, I arrived home after 9 pm to find that the Sage had cooked my dinner and that there was still half a bottle of wine in the fridge, so I've cheered up nicely again.  I'm passing over details of today, if that's okay with you.

Wink and the Bod were due to leave for a holiday yesterday - the plane must have flown or I'd have heard, but I trust they get back again on time.  The Bod's bro is looking after their mum for a week, and Wink's office can manage similarly without her, but they're both vital after that.

It's still jolly cold.  When the sun is out, you can be forgiven for the delusion that it's warm, but it's not true.  My tomato plants are looking unhappy and haven't grown in a week.  There was a heavy frost last night.

Ooh, Yagnub is on television Right Now.  The Lady - the figure of Justice from the Buttercross - has just been put back in place after restoration, and there was a ceremony to unveil her this morning.  The Sage and Al watched - the Mayor and the Town Crier and everyone were there.  She does look beautiful.

Someone engaged me in conversation yesterday on the subject of addiction.  I gave it some thought and decided that it's not something that has ever happened to me.  Maybe I've just got a short attention span?

Monday 10 May 2010

Z drips

The day didn't start marvellously, as I woke early, read for some time and then spent some time sorting things out and tidying upstairs (I know darlings, the knicker drawer is a thing of beauty right now) and finally dressed,  and washed my hair - and then heard a car downstairs.  It was my neighbour, so I scuttled downstairs with dripping hair in a towel that kept falling off - the towel, most of the hair stayed where it was supposed to be.

I can't quite actually remember why he came - oh yes, now I can, it doesn't matter - but he mentioned that the Fellow was at his house (the Rectory) doing some work, so I said I'd hot-bike round there to say hello.  I was about to dry my hair when the Sage said that people were arriving for the 9.30 meeting.  Which had slipped my mind in the excitement of hearing about the Fellow.  So I phoned Dilly, said I'd be 5 minutes, slapped on my face, ignored my hair (vanity goes only so far) and scurried next door (the other next door to the Rectory) with the papers that I had remembered to print off yesterday.

It was so good to see the Fellow - my ex-fellow-churchwarden, that is, who moved to Norwich nearly a year ago.  We've got some unfinished quinquennial business so I promised to give a ring and go and sit down with him for an hour or so to sort it out - once we've both found the relevant papers.  "I know which room they're in," I said hopefully.  He laughed, but noticeably didn't say as much for himself.  I know what it's like - in fact, my copy of the papers is the same as his, but not annotated, but he'll remember what he wrote on them.

Anyway, I'm spending the evening watching Top of the Pops 2 with keen enjoyment.  The 80s.  What a decade for music.  Especially Bucks Fizz.  Gosh, the hair.  Oh gosh, Kylie and Jason have just come on.  If that's the right thing to say.

Sunday 9 May 2010

Today, we mostly ate...


There wasn't much left - all the pork went and most of the chicken, and the only reason there was a fair bit of the veggie dish was because the recipe said "serves four as a main dish" and I knew there were at least three vegetarians, so I thought I'd double up to be sure - it filled my biggest 10 pint casserole.  It was a jolly good recipe though, quick and easy, not at all solemn or stodgy, colourful and tasty, and vegan to boot.  I had been told that one of the guests is coeliac, so made sure that the whole meal (that I was responsible for- I didn't do all the puddings) was gluten free.

I'm pretty careful to bear in mind food intolerences and allergies - especially the latter.  I'd never put nut oil in a dressing, for example, unless I was sure it was safe to do so and I use no hidden ingredients that are likely to cause a problem.  One person can't eat onions, and I find it almost impossible to cook without onions, but the chicken dish doesn't have any.  Two of the dishes were low fat and there was a fruit salad for dieters and diabetics.  I can't bear to think of someone who already has difficulty with finding suitable things to eat being fobbed off with something boring and dashed off at the last minute.

I'd been able to put out of my mind the awfulness of Friday's meeting yesterday, but it (or rather, the result of it) has been weighing on me all day.  Tuesday morning will be not nice, when the person concerned will be told by me and the Head.  I feel pretty dreadful about it, in fact - it involves someone losing their job, not because of anything wrong they have done but because a department has become overstaffed.  One of the four had to go, and I chaired the committee which decided.  I know, lots of people have to do this sort of thing all the time, but I never have and nor has the Head (who took no part in the decision).  He feels bad too.

We'd had it in mind to start bricklaying again this week, but it isn't going to happen.  The Sage is busy with the day job on Tuesday and Thursday, the sand is being delivered on Monday, Dave's busy on Wednesday and I am on Friday.  Since each of us has two or three free mornings, you'd think that we'd be able to find one or two when we're all free, but no.  I hope the wind drops and it doesn't rain because then it will be a pleasure to plant out all the things that have been ready for quite some time, but which haven't gone in the ground as chickens etc still were free to roam in the vegetable garden.  It's been  fenced off now - the unwalled side and, temporarily, the side where the wall isn't completed.  The rest is wall or greenhouses.

Saturday 8 May 2010

The Bees' Knees

I spent a while cooking for this evening's supper and quiz - I made a goulash, my favourite chicken, tomato and pesto dish, a chilli bean and vegetable casserole, salad and baked potatoes, fruit salad and syllabub.  It was all kept simple - other people brought puddings too so I didn't have much to do.  It all went well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  The quizmaster was good, keeping it lighthearted and not too competitive, and he had a fine turn of North Suffolk speech, which is always appreciated.

The final three rounds were quite tight, when one team caught up with the front runners, then gained one more point and finally another to win by two marks.  The Bees' Knees won over the Train Set.

Friday 7 May 2010

Hanging together or being hanged separately?

Well, interesting that the polls were correct.  And interesting times ahead, I daresay.  I wonder how long it'll all last, and whether we'll have another election within a year. 

We didn't get much sleep last night - in fact, the Sage couldn't sleep so came down to watch the results come in and finally dozed off on the sofa.  I left the house at 7.30 and pedalled dismally off in the direction of Yagnub.  My legs ached.  I looked at the little upward inclination over the bridge towards the post office and thought I couldn't do it.  I was too lazy to get off and walk however, so kept going.  

I came away from my meeting, several hours later, dispirited.  I wish I could talk about it, because it would make me feel better and you'd have interesting insights into the matter, but I may not.  I came home and cooked bacon sandwiches for lunch.  I offered the Sage a glass of wine "I'm having one, will you join me?"  "I'll fall asleep," he confessed.  "Good idea,"  I said.  He accepted the wine.

I leap capriciously between frivolity, formality and severity.  "I think we should do this very formally, dear," I said to a member of staff.  And then did.  There were chuckles all round at the 'dear', but I like to summarise at the end, it helps me to marshall my thoughts and, I think, is helpful for the person taking minutes.  And I know when not to do it - the dear and darling, that is.  I wonder if there's a deliberate quirkiness? I don't think so, but I don't mind the thought of being slightly unpredictable.  But, even there, does that make me easy to read for someone perceptive? 

I suspect so.  I'm an open book and if you find one of the pages sticks, I'll help you to turn it.  I'm no woman of mystery.

This is published twice because Blogger was on the blink the first time round.  I saved it, put it on a Word document, saved it again from that (cautious, me) and put it in a new post.  That's all I did.  And it's neither the usual font or the peculiar one.  Sorry, but at least words aren't cut apart whimsically at the end of each line, and there isn't a huge gap between paragraphs.  I'll hope for better things tomorrow.  As will everyone in the country, in a less *Z* related way.

Hanging together or being hanged separately? First try

Well, interesting that the polls were correct. And interesting times ahead, I daresay. I wonder how long it'll all last, and whether we'll have another election within a year.

We didn't get much sleep last night - in fact, the Sage couldn't sleep so came down to watch the results come in and finally dozed off on the sofa. I left the house at 7.30 and pedalled dismally off in the direction of Yagnub. My legs ached. I looked at the little upward inclination over the bridge towards the post office and thought I couldn't do it. I was too lazy to get off and walk however, so kept going.  

I came away from my meeting, several hours later, dispirited. I wish I could talk about it, because it would make me feel better and you'd have interesting insights into the matter, but I may not. I came home and cooked bacon sandwiches for lunch. I offered the Sage a glass of wine "I'm having one, will you join me?" "I'll fall asleep," he confessed. "Good idea," I said. He accepted the wine.

I leap capriciously between frivolity, formality and severity. "I think we should do this very formally, dear," I said to a member of staff. And then did. There were chuckles all round at the 'dear', but I like to summarise at the end, it helps me to marshall my thoughts and, I think, is helpful for the person taking minutes. And I know when not to do it - the dear and darling, that is. I wonder if there's a deliberate quirkiness? I don't think so, but I don't mind the thought of being slightly unpredictable. But, even there, does that make me easy to read for someone perceptive?

I suspect so. I'm an open book and if you find one of the pages sticks, I'll help you to turn it. I'm no woman of mystery.

Thursday 6 May 2010

Z will see the early hours, one way or another

I had to write an official sort of letter to someone last week, which I hope is about the last thing I'll have to deal with as churchwarden - which I'm not any more, the official swearing-in of the new one having happened this evening.  It's when the Archdeacon, during his Visitation, does his Charge.  Which is less exciting than it sounds, being an instructive talk.

Anyway, I deliberately didn't put my phone number on the letter because I wanted a written reply.  So I was decidedly miffed when, having just arrived home from a meeting soon after 6 o'clock, I got a phone call from the chap who wanted to argue his case.  It took 15 minutes of my time, and during the call he reproached me for not giving my number, which he'd had to look up.  I explained, more politely than he deserved (and I've got to meet him next week so actually I'll put it more forcefully then) that, if I'd wanted a phone call I'd have given my number.  As it was, I told him that I need written confirmation of anything said as I'll be passing the job on.  But anyway, having just got in and not even having had a chance to put the kettle on yet, answering the telephone to a business call was not what I wanted to do right then.

This morning, I was doing computer stuff for several different things when the Sage asked me for an address.  I looked it up from our mailing list and was just reading it out when the damn phone rang.  There were three calls in ten minutes, two business ones for the Sage and one for me, they needed to be answered.  It always happens.  We never have a conversation or do any work without being distracted by the phone.  I so prefer email, which doesn't impose and gives a record of what took place.

A very good governors' meeting today, where lots of people had things to say - sometimes it turns out to be only about three of us.  And the two new governors volunteered for things, which they are obviously more than capable of doing well and, indeed, there were helpful offers all round.

At last, the only interesting bit about an election - the results.  For once, I can forgive the pundits for speculating.  I'm really quite tempted to stay up, but I've got to be out of the house by 7.30 in the morning.  So I'll probably get up early instead.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Z is not alone

I thought you'd all like to be the first* to know (if, collectively, you can be "first") that the Sage has arrived safely home, after a long round trip.  He is very pleased with the vesta case he bought at an auction *somewhere in Gloucestershire*.  "How much did it cost you?" I asked pleasantly.  "Worth every penny of *£ quite a lot*, he declared.  "I daresay," I replied, "but that wasn't exactly what I asked."

It took some asking of the specific questions, but he finally did tell me (*£ quite a lot* had been the hammer price, with the auctioneer's premium on top) but it's up to him, I'd only asked, he's welcome to buy whatever he likes.   Not that he does, mostly, he has simple tastes, except in women.

I woke up this morning at 6 o'clock and lay very still, so as not to disturb him - and then, of course, when a discreetly extended foot found an empty bed, remembered that he wasn't here.  I've never lived alone, you know.  In the old-fashioned way, I left home to get married and have been there ever since.

*At the time of writing, you were the first.  However, since then, I've had a long chat with Weeza so now she knows too.  Mind you, she didn't know he'd gone away in the first place.

Not a pretty poll

They keep saying that there are millions of people who haven't made up their minds how to vote yet.  I've not heard even one person say that and I'm not so sure that it's true at all.  In fact, at least three of our family have already voted, as they opt for postal votes.  I would only do that if I were actually going to be on holiday (as Ro is this week, as it happens).  I like to mark my cross and put my paper in the ballot box in person.

We've not seen any candidates here.  We had Lib Dem fliers in the post yesterday, and the Conservative candidate was in Yagnub a couple of weeks ago (that's the other side of the county border, so not the same constituency here).  Few people in the village have posters up in their windows or gardens.

South Norfolk has always been Conservative, with Lib Dem in second place.  Labour trails in the rear.  There have been boundary changes since the last election which could disadvantage the Tory candidate.  Waveney, where Yagnub is, used to be Conservative but changed to Labour in the election when Blair got in.  The MP there is an energetic and dedicated constituency MP, but may lose this time - if so, I'm sorry for him as it isn't his fault, but then nor was it the fault of the man before him whom he beat.  It's just the way things go.

I haven't been talking about the election or politics much - a few people have raised the subject, otherwise I wouldn't have at all - and I didn't watch any of the leaders' debates, largely because I didn't care for the format.  Pre-arranged questions and no follow-up points made from the floor, and standing there like idiots - nah, didn't appeal.  It would just have made me cross.  A friend, having watched the first one, agreed that he'd shouted at the screen rather a lot.

I've met a few MPs over the years and rather enjoyed talking to them.  Engaging, articulate and interested in having a conversation rather than just imposing their views.  One of the more flattering occasions was, when our MP was the Education Secretary, being asked my opinion on a matter of the day (it was relevant, as he had come to open an extension to the village school, being a friend of the then chairman of governors) and then hearing him say exactly what I'd said in the House of Commons the next week.

So it's not individuals I'm meaning when I say I'm completely fed up with the lot of them and I've heard more than enough, even though I avoid most news broadcasts, to see me through the next four or five years.  I hope there's not a minority government, come to think of it, because odds are it wouldn't last long and we'd have to go through it all again in a year or two.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Both grain and grape

The Sage is in Wiltshire and I am at home.  It's is very quiet.  Tilly is snoozing on the sofa and I - oh, it isn't quiet at all, I'm listening to quite loud music.  But there's an emptiness that sound can't fill.

There was a brief meeting this evening to make sure arrangements are all in place for the church supper on Saturday.  It was here at half past seven and I reckoned it would be done in twenty minutes and I'd be eating supper by half past eight.  We did sort out the practicalities quickly but no one was in a hurry to move and they didn't go until nearly 9.30.  I was very hungry and also somewhat embarrassed that I hadn't made coffee and offered wine - I didn't think anyone would want it and by the time it seemed appropriate it was also too late.

I'm so suggestible.  Rog mentioned his favourite iPhone apps, which led me to go straight to download two of them.  And then, because of the sight of a virtual pint of lager, I was drawn inevitably to a bottle of beer for myself.  I planned to have a second with dinner, but by the time I came to eat and drink, the moment had passed and I had wine instead.

"I've left plenty of corn and water for the chickens" said the Sage as he was getting ready to leave.  "They will go to roost by themselves, just do their bread in the morning."  They have half a loaf, soaked in warm water, in the mornings.  "Wouldn't they like a little something at lunchtime?" I asked.  "Only if you've time.  Otherwise, I've left a couple of bunches of grapes in the porch.  You can give them one this teatime and one tomorrow.  If you give them a call, they'll follow you."

He just likes being followed about by adoring females, of course.

Monday 3 May 2010

Z respects Asparagus

I've just eaten dinner which, when I went to cook it, was still just a twinkle in my eye as I'd overlooked there being a bank holiday when the shops were shut.  That is, I don't suppose the Co-op was, but I hadn't got on my bike and shopped, as it was jolly cold and windy.  In fact, I've been out to the Dutch light greenhouse and covered over vulnerable things, as they were talking darkly about frost tonight, earlier on.

Anyway, I had a head of celery (is that the right word?  I think so but it looks strangely impolite) and a couple of parsnips and some onions and not a lot else.  But I did have some chicken stock.  So I decided to see what parsnip'n'celery risotto tasted like.  And to serve it with a nice Norfolk Little Gem lettuce that I remembered was in the fridge.

This was nearly cooked when the Sage came in and I remembered that he had, earlier, mentioned asparagus.  So I asked him to pick it.  The asparagus, that is.  Darlings, there was lots.  I also remembered a small amount of fillet of pork in random sauce (basically shallot and red pepper, can't remember what else) that a small amount of was in a bowl in the fridge.

It all got served up together and, having chattered away to the Sage's complete entertainment, I explained that I was going to observe a respectful silence for the first home-grown asparagus of the season.  Silence didn't last for long, as my groans of delight soon pierced the air.  I have, of course, saved the cooking water and trimmings as the basis for another stock.  Frugal, me.  And greedy.

The Sage has suddenly decided to waft himself off westwards tomorrow.  He will stay overnight with Wink (having saluted Stonehenge with an uplifted heart on the way) and then head for Gloucestershire, to three destinations and then other places on his way home.  I have a meeting here at 7.30 tomorrow night, but after that I can watch episodes of Deadwood (I'm really slow, I'm only just on Series 3, after months and months) without having to put on headphones, because the language is too strong for the Sage's tender ears.

Ooh, I can hear the coffee grinder.  The Sage is looking after me again.

Sunday 2 May 2010

Z settles for Tea

I have caught up with the business paperwork, which is v good, but I've been neglecting other stuff - that is, voluntary business, which is v bad.  Still, as tomorrow is a Bank Holiday, there won't be any post to deal with so I should be able to get on.

I've realised that we're going to have to crack on pdq with the next catalogue - the auction is mid-July and the printers want it before the end of May and I'm going to be away for a week.  So the Sage has a week to get the china together (he's only got three-quarters of a sale-worth so far) and then we'll have a week to do the work, then Weeza can prepare the catalogue while I'm away.

Hm.  I may have to relinquish my lazy ways for a day or two.

I had a lovely time in the shop yesterday, Al's customers are wonderful.  One lady came in with an adorable spaniel puppy, 12 weeks old.  She was very friendly and affectionate (I mean the puppy, Dave*, although the lady was charming too).  A little girl came in with her mother and cuddled the puppy too.  "We may be getting a labradoodle puppy," she said hopefully, "If Daddy says we can.  He's away cycling across Australia just now."  I advised getting it as a welcome home present, but apparently Daddy doesn't really like dogs and is arriving home this week.  So maybe they'll be able to get him to say yes when in the first enthusiasm of homecoming.  "Remember," advised Al, "He can say 'no' any number of times, but he only has to say 'yes' once and he's committed."

That's my boy.  Teach a 6-year-old how to negotiate successfully and run rings round her parents.  It has always been my speciality to do the same thing.

Today, it's jolly cold again.  I haven't been down to the greenhouse at all and hope that cucumbers aren't suffering - everything else will be all right.  I'll go and have a look in the morning.  It's not been frosty, just a chilly wind, and I thought it would be better to leave what heat there is still in there and not open the door.  I've got lovely plants ready to go out, but the garden is still not rabbit- or bantam-proofed, so they will have to wait.  At least we've had some rain, but I may have to start watering before I can do anything else at all.  It's been a very dry month.

I've remembered that I've got half a packet of wine gums somewhere, but I can't remember where I've put them.  Now I've thought of them, I really want a wine gum.  I've got chocolate, but that Won't Do.

I shall have a cup of Rose Pouchong instead.

*The puppy is not called Dave, I was addressing Dave.

Saturday 1 May 2010


Though it could be as well phrased by saying Aidez-Zoi.

The sale went well thanks, but it's all got too busy to write about.  I've reached my limit, I think, which doesn't often happen.  I've had to talk so much and write so many emails that I've run out of words.

Still, I'll make the effort.  It's for you, after all, and you're Worth It.

It wasn't until 8.30 that I found out that Al had kindly given his Saturday assistant the day off.  A sixteen-year-old boy, his parents are on holiday and his mates were coming over on Friday night and staying over - it would have been churlish, don't you think, to make the young man get up and come to work?  Well, so Al thought anyway.  I didn't know any prices so spent most of the morning lugging sacks of potatoes and bushels of apples about and stacking shelves rather than on the till.

I lost my iPhone.  Someone found it, tracked me down and returned it.  I am still the luckiest person I know - and he's one of the nicest - he's a fellow iPhone user himself, so understands.  And is a Yagnub person, so is lovely.

Oh, and Al had a parcel to post, something he'd sold on eBay, so I went along to the post office for him.  There was a queue and two people who knew each other were chatting - both had come along to pay their car road fund licence, both had tried to pay it online and had been refused - one didn't recognise the number on the log book, the other said she hadn't paid the insurance but she had the certificate.  The Sage tried to pay his online this year and it wouldn't take the 16-digit number either.  So they had to trail along, as both will be at work when the PO opens again on Tuesday.  Which was quite annoying for them.

On the other hand, the internet is very useful when finding out how much postage to charge when posting £1,000-worth of china to Australia.