Saturday 31 March 2012

Z thinks about packing

I've got to iron some clothes, but I think I've got more than enough draped all over the spare bed.  And I've bought the final bits and pieces, including an unscheduled purchase of a swim suit because I can't find mine.  It's rarely used, I'm lamentably afraid of water.  I don't mind getting in, being splashed, putting my head under water - I just can't be out of my depth and, frankly, prefer to hold on to the side just in case.  Like Dumbo and the feather.  I rarely go more than knee-deep in the sea because there's nothing to hold on to.

Oh dear.  I didn't intend to mention my stupidest fear.  I'll deal with it one day, I promise.  Half a century is already too long to be afraid for, now I've written it down I'm halfway to pulling myself together.

Everyone in the family will be here for lunch tomorrow, Ro phoned to confirm this evening.  Brilliant!  I've made lasagne, they can phone when they are leaving and it'll give me half an hour to put it in the oven.

I still have typing to do, darlings, please excuse a short and uninteresting post.  I'll try to make up with it with PICTURES! when I get home again.  I've got my camera charging right now, so that I can thrill you all.  But there will be at least one more post before I go, probably two.  Because I'll miss you most awfully.

Friday 30 March 2012

It'll be fun

I've had my hair cut unusually short.  This is to make it easier to achieve some sort of style in high heat but with no use of Product.  Because, let's face it, some waterproof mascara and a shedload of sunscreen is about all I'll manage in the next few weeks.

I'm so tired tonight that, with my glasses off the screen is blurred, but with them on I'm seeing double.  In short, I'm losing focus.  However, I'm pretty well there for my holiday - and many thanks to Blue Witch for recommending Staysure - for an extra fifteen quid they have covered my hip for a year's worth of holidays whilst the other quote I had excluded it and charged more to boot.

The family is coming to lunch on Sunday - not Ro and Dora that is, and Weeza is hoping to have a chance at target shooting this time.  That means that I'll be looking after Zerlina and Gus.  This would be fine, except that I'm playing the organ on Sunday morning - oh darlings, I'll make it work.  It'll be fun.

Sums up life really, doesn't it.  If not, what's it all for?

Thursday 29 March 2012

Departure day approaches

It was lovely to spend the night with Weeza and the children.  Phil is due back on Saturday morning and is intending to take the children out in the afternoon, both because they've all missed each other and to give Weeza a break.

I can't believe the time to leave is so near, I'm leaving for Heathrow on Monday!  I must finish my preparations.  Still haven't booked my bus to get there, it's on the list for tomorrow.  As is a load of other work, the minutes to write up from yesterday, a couple of other letters for another club, a meeting with the Head.  If the minutes from the last governors' meeting come through I'll have to go through them.  It's all right, I'm still on top of things, but only just.  I'd be bored with routine though, this is how I like it.

I bought some presents to take to our friends in India, including some chocolate (Easter eggs, English chocolate is popular over there) and dropped in at home to leave it rather than have it in the heat of the car while I was in Year 9 Music.  As I came round the bend in the drive, the black and white cat that spends a lot of time around here appeared through the hedge by the lawn and ran over the drive towards the Ups and Downs, the rough field.  It had in its jaws a half-grown rabbit.  When I left again, a couple of minutes later, it was the other side of the drive near the hen-house, still carrying the rabbit.  "Was it alive?" asked the Sage when I told him later (the rabbit, that is).  No, definitely very dead.  I congratulated the cat, we're rather overrun with rabbits, sweet as they are.  Its jaws must ache tonight, carrying it like that.

I bought a couple of summer skirts today.  Comfortably back to a size 10, thank goodness.  I put on a few pounds last year and have been assiduously losing them - well, not quite all yet, but they will go.  Gorgeous as the food is in India, I shall not gorge.  It'll be too hot, for one thing.  But yum, I'm really looking forward to that food.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Just the ticket!

I'm a bit busy this evening, and hoping for an early night as well, but I'm wondering if anyone would like a ticket for the Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy?  Wink bought it before we were invited to India and has sent it to me to see if I can place it.  Thing is, it's for Easter Sunday, 8th April, at 2.30 pm and it's a senior ticket, though I suppose someone younger could pay the extra, so a lot of people will be visiting family.  If you would like it, please email me asap, first come first served and I'll post it to you.

After all the work of yesterday, the documents went awry in the ether and I received several apologetically complaining emails to say that their data had become corrupted.  So I got tough with the bloody thing and have asserted my authoritay and it's all okay now.  I'm not being beaten by a stupid incompetent computer programme (though at one point I did have to turn it off and on again).  And since, of course, a few people have sent me the documents they didn't get around to before - no complaints, I know what it's like and we're all volunteers - so I'm having to return to it again now.  So no great news from the Zedary.  Tomorrow night, I'm staying with Weeza so will post from my iPad I expect.  Unless we're talking too much, in which case please excuse me.

Monday 26 March 2012

Z can't count

The effect of the clocks changing was mainly to stop me sleeping at all.  I woke at 12.20 am, went to sleep sometime around 4.30, three hours later, and dozed for ten minutes at a time until 6.30 when the alarm went off.  So damn.

Apologies for no post yesterday, but I had an early night.  And I slept very well.  And I cracked, at least for the night, the way to get back to sleep.  I counted party guests.  Badly.  I started to tot them up - started on the south coast - well, there was Phil and Lisa, moving up a bit there is Tim, there's Mig, up to Mike and Ann - I kept counting, then realised I'd left out Pixie Mum and Ian - ooh, I must add them ... add them to what?

I'd forgotten the number. So I started again.  Then - ooh, how could I forget to add Rog and Mrs Rine? - add them to ... oh bugger.  Start again.  I know, I'll start from Norwich, Roses and Lawrence, keep going south ... I lost count again.  And that wasn't even including the people who would like to come but haven't confirmed yet.  I shall write them all down.

However, the thing is that, even as I was chuckling over my inability to remember what I'd counted up to, I was falling asleep again.  So these various tickings-off were not all happening at the same awakening, they were each an hour or two apart.  Quite ludicrous.

I had a busy morning - a document that had to be combined from 25 other documents and I can't bear to relive it all - suffice to say that I hadn't finished by 1.30 when I had to go out, so it wasn't sent off until the early evening.  So much seems to happen on a Monday morning - first Wendy, my governors' clerk, noticed something had been left off a document and it took several emails for it to be sorted out, then I received more emails and a whole lot of phone calls, most of which were for the Sage and I had to leave my desk to go and find him, then Jamie wanted to know how many trenches to dig for asparagus crowns, how deep etc, then the fishmonger called.  And then it seemed to make sense to plant the asparagus straight away, so I had to go and haul my muddy jeans out of the washing basket and put them on to do that, because I was wearing Good Clothes - ooh, by the way, there is good news in that I'd sort of grown out of those jeans (and I couldn't buy more because I've a strict size limit for wearing jeans and if I'm any bigger I don't wear them) and I've shrunk back into them.

And I've just looked around and the Sage has brought me a snifter of whisky.  Or does it have to be brandy for a snifter?  A dram, then.  Cheers, everybody, cheers!

Ooh, I told the tequila joke to the Head this afternoon.  He thought it was very funny too.

Saturday 24 March 2012

Z dabbles in the mud

Today, I've mostly been planting plants.  The result is that the new bed between the wall and the drive is pretty well full.  There is room for a few more things that I can buy when I see and want them, and I'm quite sure that things will be moved around in the autumn, but at least the ground will be fairly well covered and there will be some flowers.  I know I haven't got it right yet - how is it that nearly all the climbers have turned out to be yellow? - but at least there's something there now.  And about 100 plants put in during an afternoon was a bit of a marathon and I got rather bored, I have to admit.  It wasn't helped by the dark brown hen being so keen to be the first to find anything edible as I dug that she sat on my spade and I had to lift her as well as the sod.  Which was a word I said more than once, truth to tell.

The day started quite well actually, when the Sage remembered to remind me that I needed to turn on the church heating for tomorrow as well as a couple of days in the week when the village school is using the building for their Easter Play.  I went down, checked all timings, put in the right ones (there are a few of us who understand the timeclock but I was the only one about today) and came back home, made a cup of tea and some breakfast toast and then, sitting reading the morning emails, I remembered that the bloody clock changes in the small hours tonight.  And I had not changed the church timer accordingly.  So I had to go back and do it - and seriously, if there is not a firm decision made to abandon Greenwich Mean Time, fine institution as it was but is no longer except in Scotland where they are welcome to it, I shall mount a protest.  Well, not literally, but I'll moan like anything.  The point is, I don't want the clocks to change at all.  Summer Time all year round, I say.  It's the obvious way forward.

Anyhoo, that having been done I made another cup - well, I made coffee this time and faffed around reading the paper and so on for a bit, until the sun moved round to warm where the bed is, and then I started planting, and it took a long time, because I had to set the plants out and then change my mind and then tweak a bit and then ... oh darlings, you get the idea.  Fortunately, Jamie had rearranged his time, most kindly, to come for a couple of hours this afternoon and he has put wire netting round the bed so the chickens don't scratch them all up again first thing tomorrow.  He noted that I was looking a bit glum as I neared the end of the job - and then said I'd cheered up to my usual self after I finished, so that made me feel better - that my usual self is perceived as the cheerful one, that is.

I bought several pots of sweet pea seedlings that I've split and put into larger pots and will plant tomorrow or the next day - 50p for around 15 seedlings - that is, about 12-20 in each pot - which seems extremely good value.  I've also got a couple of dozen asparagus crowns and I've put them into some compost to keep moist until the bed is ready.  I'll probably plant them on Tuesday.

The slightly sad thing is that, a few years ago, I'd have been in a state of bliss all day and thoroughly enjoyed it all.  Now, it's a bit of a chore.  I don't quite know where my pleasure in gardening went, but it's more an obligation now.  I'm very sad about that and I really do try hard to renew that pleasure - I do love to raise plants from seed and care for young plants - but I think I have lost the ability to relax through work.  I shall keep trying, though.

Something I said the other night made me wonder if I was just saying it or whether I have found out something more about myself that I never knew ... I was at that school concert and (I can't remember the context) the Head remarked that I'm a linguist, aren't I?  I hastily disclaimed, acknowledging that I took Latin and French A Levels but haven't used them since and am pretty useless - and I took them the year after O Levels, which was way too steep a learning curve, especially for Latin.  I was asked, by the other governor, how so? and explained that I'd flunked Latin twice, dropped it for a year, took it again, got a respectable grade so went for the A Level (and in French too) in a year.  "If I failed, I raised the bar and tried again, harder," I said in explanation.  She suggested that I must have been quite an exacting mother - I said, not at all - and in fact, it's self-command that I'm interested in, not imposing things on others ... but the first bit, is it true, I wonder, or was it just something I said to give a plausible explanation?  I'm not sure.  I do know that I've a reputation for pushing myself hard, but that's easy to gain.  I don't really, I just take too much on and then scurry around at the last to get a reasonable result.  If I did less, I would be able to do it really well - but I can't be arsed.  I'd rather be just good enough at a lot of things.  I don't mind failing at something that's beyond me, but I don't like to be beaten for lack of effort, even though effort is a slightly dirty word in this part of the Zedary.

Anyway, the thing is, those plants are all in place and that's one job jobbed.

Friday 23 March 2012

Chick pic

When we were out for dinner with the family the other night, Squiffany had a joke for us.

"A Mexican man pushed his wife off a cliff.  What did he do that for?"
(see below photos)


 The chickens have been enjoying the spring weather.  Two of the three cocks are in this picture - they are still pretty friendly with each other and don't fight - it appears that there are quite enough hens to go around.  A bit x-rated on occasion, has to be admitted, around here.

 The new hen, Christmas Eve (I can't remember the alternative names) is particularly tame and makes herself welcome inside the house at will.  She is quite willing to be picked up for a cuddle.

And yesterday, when I arrived home and hurried in the house to fetch some change before delivering the meals on wheels money, I returned to find that I'd left the car door open and she'd hopped in.

Zerlina and Augustus enjoying the swings.


Thursday 22 March 2012

The usual Z

Things are progressing nicely.  My passport has arrived, duly visaed, I've picked up my daily contact lenses as well as the usual monthlies and I've bought mozzie repellent and sunscreen in bulk.  Wink and I have just had a conversation on the phone and are in complete agreement - that is, that we don't want to rush around sightseeing in between parties but are content to move about gently and chill in nice hotels, keeping the wedding ceremonies (bride Hindu, groom Christian, albeit also Indian) and receptions as the main events.  We've also agreed to go to Heathrow the night before departure, and Wink will book the hotel.  She's also investigating hotels in Chennai and in Pondicherry.  Since I've sorted out the aeroplane tickets, this seems a fair division of labour (I must remember to take the credit card I booked them on, apparently.  All this remembering is tough on a frivolous little thing like me, I prefer to let go of things once arranged to my satisfaction.

So now a short break in writing while I make coffee.  'Scuse me.


Right.  Chocolate truffle and coffee in front of me.

The catalogue for the Sage's next sale is at the printers and Ro is trying to work on the website tonight, but Skydrive won't let him access the photos, even though it clearly says at my end that he has permission and I can't see a time limit.  Hmmm. Since our internet is deadly slow now, it takes ages for anything to happen at all, and I'm still trying to check it out.  Honestly, darlings, it's a good job that I'm as remarkably patient as I am.

Still waiting.  Eaten chocolate.  Sipped coffee.

I've sent the file link again.  No idea.  Poor lad gives his time and expertise, I hate him being messed around like this.  Fingers crossed that the sodding thing works this time.

The Sage and I bought some plants today.  Well, that is, he came with me and spent ten minutes helping, then he vanished without saying anything, me waiting patiently, then impatiently.  Finally, I went and found him again.  Not that it mattered to me how long we took, it was he who was expecting a phone call.

It was a good thing that I've been hanging around, as it gave me space to remember that there was a casserole in the oven and I've taken it out.  No smells emanate from the Aga so there is nothing to remind you when a dish is ready - or overcooked - or burned.  Not that it ever burns in the bottom oven, it just sits there getting darker.  I was making spag bol for supper - not that I'd dream of calling it spag bol myself of course, it's just to save time typing.  I'm not big on abbreviations (and have never shortened university to its first three letters in my life.  You knee.  Hmph.) and have been known to get quite cross.  Apart from sensible ones, obv, darls, y'know what I mean.

It was not until this morning when I was roaming around the kitchen making coffee that it occurred to me that I had not had a drink at all yesterday.  Water, tea, of course.  Nothing alcoholic.  The good news was twofold - I didn't miss it and I didn't feel any different this morning.  If I'd felt all bright and clear-headed, it would have been a bit worrying.  As it was ... no, the usual grouchy Z.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Two more firsts for Augustus

The most cheering news of the day for me was that my passport, complete with visa, is in the post and I should receive it tomorrow.  Wink was going up to London today to fetch hers in person.  So we're on track.  I still haven't sorted out my transport to Heathrow or my insurance mind you, but that's because I've been having far too much fun today.

Weeza had an appointment locally this afternoon, so she brought the children over for us to look after them.  It was a beautiful day, really hot and I took them to a local playground, not the one in the village but about five miles away.  I thought an Emergency Russian would be a good idea, so packed a hot cross bun - not that it was hot, you understand, but 'cross bun' doesn't make sense.  Anyway, as soon as Zerlina heard about it she decided she was hungry, so I shared large pieces for her and small pieces for Gus.  Then they went on the swings - z had a go first, then I put Gus in the swing and she pushed him, then she went on the adjoining swing and I pushed both of them, then I received a phone call so spoke to a friend and kept pushing both swings.  Oh, how I multi-tasked.

Later at home, I gave Gus some tea and had just cooked boiled eggs and toast soldiers for z when Weeza arrived back, so I made a pot of Earl Grey fumé to drink while z ate.  Weeza was pleased to hear about the park and Gus's first experiences of bun and swing.

This evening, I went to the high school's Spring Concert, which was absolutely brilliant.  The huge enjoyment of music shown by the students is lovely and the standard is very impressive.  My ears are slightly numbed by the rock bands, but they're very good indeed and extremely dedicated.  I wonder if some of the musicians have much time for the rest of their school work, actually.  But maybe they are good at multi-tasking too.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Z says no

We all went out to supper this evening to celebrate Squiffany's birthday.  She had a party at home yesterday for her friends.  Weeza and Phil came over with the children, Phil on his bike straight from work - I've mentioned his 45 mile a day round trip commute, this added several more miles but he never seems to mind.  Ro cycles to work too, but he just has 4 or 5 miles each way to the city centre.  And I - well, less said the better.  One has to allow so much time, especially when travelling from one appointment to another - yes, it is possible because I used to do it, but I haven't been that dedicated recently and I tend only to get on my bike if I have a single errand to run.

The children were all lovely at dinner, the babies in adjoining high chairs looked particularly adorable.  Weeza shared her ice cream with Gus - his first taste of such a delicacy and he was thrilled.  He sat very still and well-behaved on her lap, his eyes following every movement of the spoon in the hope that the next mouthful would be for him.

I finally have got some seeds sown, but have decided not to grow greenhouse vegetables from seed this year.  I'll buy the plants.  The reason is that, with me away for a fortnight in April, it's a lot for the Sage to look after.  It's not difficult nor even very time consuming, but when I have seedlings or young plants in the propagator my first thought every morning is the weather and the temperature, whether I need to turn the heat off, leave the cover on, off or shade the plants, remember to fill a watering can each day and put it in the greenhouse so that it's not going to chill the plants and I can't expect him to remember it when it's not normally his job.  For a few days yes, but not for two weeks.  Just a few trays and pots to be watered is quite enough, on top of looking after himself.

Having said that, I think he quite likes looking after himself.  And I'm slightly anxious about what I'll find when I get home again.  This afternoon, for example, he asked to borrow Al's van.  Al said yes, but asked what for.  Tim in the shop wanted the old fridge taken away, he said.  "What are you going to do with it?" I asked suspiciously.  The nearest tip closed down and I didn't think he'd be driving 20 minutes to the next one.  "I'll leave it in the van, or maybe put it behind the wall" - he gestured to the newly-paved area where my shed is to go.  I lay the law down.  I said no, quite vehemently.  I was not having it brought home, it would be here for the next three years at least, and it wasn't to be left in the van.  The Sage accepted this with reasonable grace, though obviously thinking I was being totally unreasonable.  Later, I drove into town and saw him going in the gate of a neighbour down the road who is renovating his property and has a skip in the garden.  I asked, later ... the neighbour was out, he'll ask another day.  The Sage dearly loves helping people.  Unfortunately, I don't count as people and the result is not always quite harmonious.  Not that we fell out over it.  We would have if I'd found that fridge in my garden though.

Monday 19 March 2012

Z perks up

A brilliant day today, very successful.  I've bought Squiffany's birthday present for tomorrow, two dresses for me for India, spent the best part of three hours having lunch and chatting with Roses (we'd left it far too long since we saw each other, we won't make that mistake again) and then went to the dentist and now have a shiny new crown on a bottom left molar.  And I felt quite calm and relaxed after all that and sorted out NADFAS paperwork that, to my startlement, nearly drove me to panic the other day - really, I was in such a state that I couldn't even start and my heart was still a-flutter half an hour later.  Muttering JFDI, as Weeza puts it, I just did and now it's done.  Well, the easier half at any rate.  The bit that'll make me swear is still to do, but that'll be all right.

The other good thing that happened this morning was that I actually cancelled a meeting.  Yes, darlings, I really did.  I reckoned that there was nothing so vital as to need to take up our valuable time, so I emailed round and got very cheerful replies from people who were happy to be granted an extra hour of free time. I'm spending mine having coffee with one of the others on the committee.  Excellent use of it, don't you think?

In the next couple of days, I've got to finish sorting out my holiday insurance (I know, I know, I've got one quote but I want something to compare it with) and reply to two wedding invitations.  That'll make three weddings in less than four months!  And the reception for one of them will be held here, which will be great fun.  It's the daughter of our former Rector, now working in Oulton Broad - she asked if it might be possible to have a marquee on our front field.  Of course we said yes and we're really looking forward to it.

And now I'm leaving you, because I haven't had time to read the papers yet.  So goodnight to you all.

Sunday 18 March 2012

The Zandwoman

The Sage took Ro and Phil with him to the shooting range today and they had a lot of fun.  Phil had never shot before and he and Ro are keen to do it again and Weeza is tempted too.  I think that's a brilliant idea, a good way of spending a couple of hours on a Sunday and then they can come back here for lunch.

While they were out I was in church.  I was playing the music today, but felt the songs weren't really suited to the organ so played them on the clarinet.  We've recently updated the sound system and, for the first time, I was amplified.  Sounded quite good from where I was standing, I rather hope I might be asked to do that again sometime.  I like playing the clarinet and I like playing the piano (although to a very poor standard nowadays) but I have never been an accomplished organist and I rarely enjoy it.

Weeza and Phil brought fish pie for lunch, Ro brought apple strudel and cream and I provided a chocolate sponge pudding and custard, and the vegetables (carrots, cauliflower and courgettes, if you want to know) and it all went down well.  I sent them home with some fairy cakes that I'd have served with tea if Al and family had come through, but they still aren't at all well and Weeza and co certainly don't want to catch their bug, so better not mingle if there's still a risk.

After lunch, Gus was tired and started to cry, so I picked him up and took him out of the room.  A few minutes later, I returned with a sleeping baby.  The secret of my success?  A single recitation of The Walrus and the Carpenter did the trick.  He was asleep by the time I mentioned the 'shoes and ships and sealing wax.'

I'm not sure that I've ever mentioned (although I may well have, if you've been reading all this nonsense for the past six years there is little of my life that you do not know) that I have two ways of keeping young children quiet while waiting to be served in restaurants.  The first is teaching them that particular verse of the W. and the C. - it takes children a surprisingly long time to pick it up accurately, possibly because it is more-or-less nonsense (I've never yet had to move on to Jabberwocky) and the second is napkin folding.  I teach them the waterlily and the slipper, both of which are quite simple to do but take some practice to learn.  When I was quite small, my mother used to get me to fold the napkins when she had friends round for dinner.  I realise, of course, that it was just to get me out of her hair so that I wouldn't try her patience by 'helping' in the kitchen.  But that's okay.  It's proved its use over the years.

Saturday 17 March 2012

It's raining, so Z blogs rather than gardens

I was talking yesterday to a friend about being looked at when you go into a village pub.  You know how it is, all heads swivel as you open the door and you're greeted, smiled at, eyed up and down or turned away from, depending.  In our village pub I get a welcoming 'hello' at the least, though I don't get down there very often nowadays.  It used to be my post-church excursion where I was bound to find a few mates, we'd have a couple of drinks and then go home for lunch.  Not all the wives turned up because they were cooking, but I allowed for it in my lunchtime planning.  However, once we started to serve coffee after the service every week, I never had time.  I was churchwarden at that time and stayed until the end and was in the last group to leave.  By the time I arrived at the pub, my friends were about to leave so I didn't bother any more.  I always meant to start again but, in the way of the world, that group of people don't necessarily turn up regularly either,  and I can't really leave church without having a cup of coffee because it would be unfriendly so I'm still on the late side.  So John's sales have diminished by a pint or two a week for several years now.

Some time ago, I chatted to the sister of a friend, whose son was married to a Japanese girl.  They'd met when he was working in Japan, married and were living in London.  She wasn't finding the adjustment all that easy, especially when they visited his family. The previous weekend they had come to visit and gone to the pub and she was very self-conscious.  "Everyone looked at me when I walked in the door!" she said.  "It's not so bad in London because it's so cosmopolitan, but I stand out as a Japanese woman and I'm stared at."  They explained that she'd have been stared at anyway, not because she was Japanese but because she wasn't a local, but she didn't believe it.

I've noticed that on many occasions though, that someone thinks that their experience is because of their particular circumstances when actually it's what is likely to happen to anyone.  I expect there are times when it occurs with me too (because that is a logical conclusion).

I was going to give an example there but I've completely forgotten it.  The Sage just came and asked me for help in sending an email.  It turned out that he'd put a comma instead of a dot in the address so it was quickly sorted out, but I've lost my train of thought so will go on to another one.

The interviews yesterday were both very good and it was one of those awful occasions when you're going to have to disappoint someone whom you would be very happy to appoint because there were two applicants and only one job.  The worst things about all the interviews, and we've had about twenty new appointments to make (I've not been involved in all of them), is that the reason is the closure of the middle schools.  So there have been and still are a lot of teachers and other staff facing redundancy. We are so conscious that someone we do not pick might find it hard to get another job in the area, especially if they would prefer to move to a secondary rather than a primary school but do not have GCSE teaching experience.  We can ease them in - after all, some of our teachers have no recent experience of teaching 11 and 12 year olds - but schools not involved in the reorganisation would expect them to just slot in and not being able to do so could count against them.  So it's quite upsetting to think about.  And I turn up, do the interviews, discuss the applicants with the other interviewers and we come to an agreement, but I'm not the one who has to tell the unlucky ones that they haven't got the job.  So my sympathy was with the Head too, because that was his job yesterday afternoon.

I did once have to do it, actually.  I rang the successful person first, who was very pleased of course, and I asked for confirmation of acceptance (I'm not the biggest fool in the world, though not the brightest spark either, and if that person had said 'no' then the other one would have been offered the job, they were both good) and received it, and then I phoned the other.  And she cried.  I wanted to as well then.

Thursday 15 March 2012

The Zed Shed

Yes thank you, I'm rather more steady today.  But I've a feeling I'm in for another wakeful night, because nighttime is when one worries.  Daytime is when you get it all into perspective.  Pah.  Really.

The family next door is still unwell.  Pugsley made it to school yesterday - I'm not sure if he had to come home at some point during the day but anyway, he wasn't well enough today.  Everyone has a hacking cough, a raised temperature and feels generally rotten, apart from Squiffany, who is fine.  The Sage and I are also fine.  Squiff came through for a while this afternoon, having a family who doesn't want to do anything much with her and just lies on the sofa coughing isn't the most fun for a lass.

Yet more paving is being done in the garden, this time in the kitchen garden.  It's part of a job that's now in its third year.  Those of you who have been here - it's between the greenhouse and the right-hand end of the wall, it all needs to be levelled, pathed and a shed erected.  There's so much to do before I go away, I don't know how it'll be done.  To make things more difficult, the soil is already drying out and a hosepipe ban will be brought in in April.  And there's me wanting to put in a lot of new plants.  It's going to be a bugger, lugging watering cans about - but it's been very dry for ages, one can hardly complain.  Anglian Water have got a good record for managing water supplies and not having a ban, especially considering this is the driest area of the country.

The reason the job is taking so long is that this is about the only time we get around to it.  My kitchen garden was originally 6 beds, each about 35 feet long and 4 feet wide with concrete paths in between.  The reason for this was to make it manageable, not to have to walk on the beds because you can reach from both sides to the middle, and not to have to dig or manure areas where you were going to end up walking.  It's always worked very well, with the additional bonus that rain doesn't soak into where plants aren't going to grow, and the unexpected benefit that the concrete heats up in the sun and this helps to warm the soil.

As time went by, we kept increasing the area and I had a large section that I used for various things, mostly Jerusalem artichokes in the end (I've got rid of them for the time being, they spread too much.  I like Jerusalem artichokes, but they are very tall and quite invasive).  Then, when we were planning to build the Wall, I extended it further again towards the drive, rather than have an expanse of grass between the wall and the drive that the Sage would be unable to resist using for storing wood or something.  We've been dividing this area into beds, but kept getting too busy or the weather was too hot or something - anyway, I hope we'll be able to finish it this time, though I'm quite doubtful.  The other thing is, of course, that the veg garden is now far too big for us.  Still, the other advantage of the beds is that one can cover over those that aren't in use and the job of bringing them back into use another year isn't too massive.

Oh, and I'm not going to let the Sage put anything into the shed.  It'll be my shed and he's not going to fill it up with a load of stuff.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Z gives in

No really, it's the bloody internet that's the real problem. They said 10 day disruption, it's been twice that and it's always when you're doing something important that the connection goes down.  Darlings, I'm so at the end of my tether that I've apologised in advance to the Sage in case I'm snappy or rude, because I won't mean it.  He's being kind and understanding.  I'm mostly wishing I was sober.

I'm done, darlings.  I'm exhausted, will read the papers and go to bed.  Sorry not to be my usual self.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Z has downs and ups

The Sage has made a small alteration to the catalogue, so Weeza and I have made the changes, taken the photos and Weeza has given me the latest PDF on a memory stick for, we hope, the final proof-read.  Though I'm not printing it tonight, it can wait until tomorrow.  But there's always so much to do, how am I going to ever get it done?  I've got three meetings tomorrow, two at the school and one here, with our insurance broker, and I'm falling behind on my other work and the garden needs so much done at this time of the year.  I'm trying very hard to keep a balance, being under quite a lot of pressure, so took much of today off with Weeza and Gus, but all that means is a bigger backlog.  I used to be able to get a lot done in the evenings or early mornings, but I get too tired now and need a long time to unwind or I don't sleep.

Sometimes, honestly, I think that a proper 9-5 job and then come home and get on with domestic stuff would be far easier.  Too late for me, though, I'm not going to do it now.  I'm close to juggling deadlines, though, and am feeling the stress of it.

Oh bum.  Sorry.  This is the upbeat blog, where I remind us all that life is splendid and every moment to be appreciated.  And I certainly did enjoy today.  We went to the very good little café at the local garden centre for lunch and then went and mooched around looking at plants.  We spent a lot longer than we'd planned because Gus went to sleep and so, since he would have woken on being put in the car, we stayed, walking and talking, until he woke up again.

Good news of the day is that the Head has just become a grandfather again for the third time, though the first baby for the couple concerned.  I'm sure I'll see photos before the week is out.  Like the Sage and me, he and his wife are doting grandparents.

And I've just had an email from Dilly asking us to join them for Squiffany's birthday tea next Tuesday.  And the family will all be together on Sunday.  So I'm going to stop worrying and enjoy life after all.  What else is there to do?

Monday 12 March 2012

Flowers for Z

I'm trying to think of something to write that doesn't involve droning on about what I did today.  Endlessly fascinating, my life is of course, but really only to myself.

I should put it on record that the Sage has bought me flowers two weeks in a row, if two is enough to make a row.  Mind you, he's careful to remove any hint of romanticism or anything like that.  Dora admired the tulips on Saturday.  I said that the Sage had brought them home. "Well, I was buying some for Muriel, so I thought I'd better."  Today, he brought a bunch of daffodils.  "Ma's birthday, I put some flowers on her grave and these were left over."

I know my place.  And I'm appreciative indeed, he doesn't normally buy me flowers or anything else.  Not that he's uncaring or ungenerous, just - well, if I collected any sort of antique he'd buy me things all the time, but one collector in the family is a lot more than enough.

I'm afraid that the nasty cough is spreading through the household next door.  It started with Pugsley, who was poorly enough to miss two days of school last week and was still at home today.  Al was ill on Saturday, but is soldiering on with work.  Yesterday, Hay started to cough and coughing makes him sick so things are rather difficult.  Today, it was Dilly's turn.  She says that Squiffany is complaining that no one is taking much notice of her.  I rather doubted that Squiffany is receiving much sympathy - I said that surely it's her job to look after anyone, anyway.  The Sage and I are still fine and we're being careful not to let a day pass without an alcoholic drink, that's the mistake that so often lets a bug in.

I've received an email asking me if I'll help judge the Denton Show in September.  Terribly flattered as always, I've agreed.  I must get dates in my diary, I'm booking holidays and so on and haven't got all the time blanked off.  Asking for trouble.

Weeza is coming over tomorrow, hoorah!  I'll keep her and the children away from next door, mind you.

Sunday 11 March 2012

Where there's muck there's Z

It'll be something new tomorrow.  I've often been part of an interviewing panel, but next week, for the first time, I'll be observing applicants teach before the interviews.  They always do take a class and are observed as part of the process, it's just that I haven't been involved before.  It will make for a busy week as, if I'm doing it with one, I'll have to do it with all, but it's all more fun than housework, hey.

I nearly sowed seeds in the greenhouse today.  The Sage said he'd bought some compost last week so I went and opened a bag - and it didn't look as I'd expected it to look.  He'd bought manure instead.  I'm sure he didn't mean to, we buy that from the farm not in bags, but I haven't been able to ask him because he's been out visiting various friends and clients all day and on the phone all evening, so we've hardly had an opportunity to speak to each other.  And in the short half hour we were having dinner and did, a bag of muck wasn't the most interesting subject matter.  Well, that is, I think it's quite reasonably interesting if you're discussing the finer points of manure, but simply a query whether its purchase was intentional is not so much.

When I was a child and we had a full-time gardener who took his job very seriously, the matter of manure was certainly important.  I remember very little about it, just that different flowers and vegetables did better with different animals' ordure.  Sheep droppings used to be steeped in water, the liquid diluted and used to feed/water begonias, that I do remember.

My parents and their gardener were very keen on horticultural shows and competed at local level and at the Norfolk and Suffolk shows.  My father's name was on any trophies won, with the gardener, Mr Weavers, being given the prize money and his name mentioned on the card.  It took endless hours to make preparations and we were only allowed the most misshapen vegetables in the week before the show.  It was not unusual for a whole row of potatoes to be dug up to find six perfectly matched ones.  That they matched was quite as important as them being perfect specimens.  As for flowers, Mr Weavers would sit for hours dipping delphinium stems in hot water then in cold to encourage the top flowers to open whilst the bottom ones were still perfect.  I remember my father holding a dinner plate in front of a begonia bloom and the flower being visible all the way round.

Somehow, I didn't inherit the competitive impulse at all.  I've supported a WI Area competition a few times with jam and lemonade and so on (I was particularly pleased with 19/20 for my lemonade as it was the first time I'd ever made it) and the village competitions, making a scarecrow with Ro one year (we won with the Reverend Paul Pitt) but otherwise I'm not really interested.  I enjoy judging though - as most of you know, I've been asked for several years to judge the home economics classes at Denton show and I take that on very conscientiously.

I turn 'judge not lest ye be judged' on its head, rather.

Saturday 10 March 2012

Z gets around

This last week, the Sage and I have mostly been doing sensible, practical things regarding paperwork and so on.  So we felt entitled to relax and enjoy Ro and Dora's company this evening when they came over for supper.  Steak and sticky toffee pudding went down well, with the Sage hovering anxiously over the last slice, hoping that no one else would claim it.  Ro having taken the precaution of taking his second helping along with his first (he knows his dad only too well), the Sage was lucky.

Finally, the warm weather that has been tantalising us all week with an apparent promise arrived and it's been a lovely day, though still a nip in the breeze.  We've had several broken panes of glass in the greenhouses over the winter and these are being replaced before I get started - I used to be very quick to sow seeds, but now I'm not.  The weather is so variable, you get plants growing well and then a cold snap with frosty nights and sunny days and you get frost damage on some plants and sun scorch on others, and now I wait until we're into March before I even start on the greenhouse veg.  Which should mean about now, of course.

Ro spent some time using my iPad this evening.  He's considering buying one.  He rather spurns the whole Apple thing, but he says that no other tablet comes close as yet and he reckons it won't for another couple of years.  I recommended getting one with a lot of memory, not a basic model.  You think you won't need it, but music and photos take up an awful lot of memory and my original 16 GB iPhone soon was full and I had to take a lot of stuff off it.  He loaded Google Docs on it, wanting to avoid Apple products as far as possible, but it was taking ages and they had to leave before it was uploaded.  Since our BT "upgrade" the broadband connection has been appalling.  Noticeably slower, keeps going down, nearly three weeks on (they warned that this might happen for ten days, hem hem) and no better reception  when away from the hub.

This evening, I'm listening to The Beach Boys.  Blimey, that takes me back.  I steer clear of too much nostalgia normally, keeping to the here and now most of the time - but once in a while it's no bad thing.  Or so I tells myself.

Friday 9 March 2012

Blog is the spur

I spent most of yesterday with Hadrian and this morning with Augustus.  Babies, once they are of an age to smile and give kisses, are the most adorable and heart-warming creatures.  I feel a sensation as if the dry shell around my old heart swells and cracks with love for them - I don't suppose that's what's actually happening though - maybe one of you, more expert than I in anatomy, could advise.  But I do love them and am enchanted to find that they love me.  I stayed for lunch both days.  Dilly is using a way of weaning Hay that seems to involve simply giving him pieces food to suck and taste, rather than spoon-feeding him purées.  To start with, he didn't actually swallow much but now can manage various foodstuffs.  The latest thing is spaghetti.  Up to last week he was mostly mashing it about on his plate, but now he's using his four teeth to masticate it and then swallows.  She says it's loads easier and he enjoys it and is getting a far wider range of foods to taste.  She does spoon-feed him once in a while, particularly fromage frais, which he very much enjoys.  An advantage of the method is that, from the start, he's eating pretty much what the family does, or as much of it as is suitable for him.

Out in the garden, we're finally making preparations to construct the potting shed.  I'm abandoning the small soft fruit garden, which has become dreadfully overgrown.  The paths will be removed and the paving reused for the base of the shed and around it, and we'll put the area down to grass.  Jamie suggests planting bulbs so I can pick the flowers for the house but they cause no work, and maybe some small fruit trees in the future.  I've got more kitchen garden than we need or than I can look after already.  I do need to start work out there rather than just look at the neatly prepared beds, but I'm strangely disinclined at present.  When I think what a keen vegetable gardener I used to be - maybe I've done it for too many years.  I only really enjoy the early stages now, sowing seeds and raising seedlings.  Weeds always grow faster than anything else, and I really hate weeding, which always seems like the garden equivalent of dusting, something unnoticed and unappreciated unless it isn't done, whereupon it's glaringly obvious that your work has been neglected.  But I will get going soon, I didn't grow veggies last year because the spring was so dry and I really did miss them.  Having to buy everything just wasn't the same.  I have a childlike excitement at picking the first beans or courgettes of the year and love to plan a meal around home-grown vegetables.

There, you see.  I've managed to kindle some enthusiasm.  Blogging is very good for me.


Thursday 8 March 2012

Z eats out

Once a month, except in the winter, I meet a group of friends for dinner.  They're all older than I am, mostly in their seventies and eighties, but I have never taken account of age in my friendships and I enjoy their company.  This evening was the first get-together of the year, a dozen of us met and we've had a good time.

At one point the conversation got onto funerals.  Someone was talking about the husband of a friend, who had died recently and the family had not known what sort of send-off he wanted, not even whether it should be burial or cremation.  Shirley said "I wouldn't want to be in the cold and dark with the worms, I'm going to be cremated."  Liz agreed, but wondered if her replacement knees would burn or not.  I declared that I hated the thought of being cremated.  The only thing worse would be burial at sea.  I'd feel far more at home in the earth and I'd feed the worms and things, so would be more eco-friendly.  "The thing is," said another Shirley (there are a lot of women of a certain age called Shirley), it's the last thing on your mind when someone dies, remembering all they wanted.  My father always wanted to donate his eyes, but it was six weeks before anyone thought of it."  "I'm only good for scrap," said Liz dolefully.

It was a very entertaining evening.  The Sage did not come with me but went to his wood-turners' club (he doesn't turn, but can often help out by providing wood).  He says he had a good time too.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Z remembers a happy time

I had occasion, a couple of days ago, to recall a visit to London some years ago.  It was for the christening of my goddaughter, who has just had her 23rd birthday, and was in late May.

It was one of the best holidays of my life, although it was only a few days.  So I'll have a happy time, if you'll kindly bear with me, and tell you about it.

The Sage's nephew lived in Hackney at the time and said that we were welcome to stay with him.  His partner, now civil partner (I do hope, before long, that it will be accurate to call him a husband) tactfully went away for the weekend - we wouldn't have minded in the least but, as I say, they were being tactful in case we did.  Simon made us very welcome and I've a feeling that he gave us their bed.  We had a very pleasant evening together and the next day we went off to St Martin in the Field in Trafalgar Square for S's christening.  Her parents lived (and live) in Tunbridge Wells, but that was the church they married in, so wanted their baby to be baptised there.

It was a wonderful service, made particularly memorable because of baby S's behaviour.  After the baptism, which she enjoyed immensely, the vicar carried her, at head height, down the aisle and she gazed with wonder at the lights, smiling, not feeling insecure in the least.   Afterwards, we headed towards a Chinese restaurant that her uncle recommended for dim sum.  And then we wanted to view a sale at Sotheby's.  Lynn (I have mentioned her before, she is one of my oldest friends - friendship of longest duration, that is), her husband and mother came too.  The Sage and I fell for a teapot.

The next day was the auction.  We arrived, the Sage and I, and next thing I knew was the Sage giving me a list and a bidder number.  He had been given several commission bids and was interested in buying for himself too, and wanted to keep business and personal separate, for obvious reasons.  I was quite alarmed.  I'd never bid at a London auction before and had not expected to.  However, I'm awfully biddable (hah haa!  biddable! - Will you see a funnier joke today?  Ahem.) and it didn't occur to me to demur.  My feelings show in my face even now, darlings (I'm often asked why I look so worried) and, once I'd anxiously waved my catalogue wildly enough to attract the auctioneer's attention, I observed him casting a glance towards me to check whether I was bidding.  I wasn't helped by the Sage changing his mind on my written bids.  A few times, having shaken my head, the Sage nudged me and I had to wave again.

I shall digress for a minute.  Auctioneers are well used to people scratching, smiling, raising a hand to an ear, and will not take it as a bid unless they know that you want to be discreet ("I'm bidding for Lot 49 until I take my glasses off") and, if in doubt, they ask.  So don't be afraid at an auction, and do wave if you want to bid.

We bought our teapot.  It was our wedding anniversary present to each other.

The Sage had to be back for Monday, so returned home that evening.  I went back to Simon's flat.  At the time, he was training to be an acupuncturist and the part he was having difficulty with was in gaining empathy with people, you have to feel their feelings and he was quite a reserved young man.  So he asked me to help in some way - I can't remember, I lay on a couch and he held my hand and had to get me to relax or something by speaking to me.  He said he'd found it difficult, but hoped that it would be easier with someone he knew, I remember apologising that, as soon as I lie down, I relax totally and it would probably have been better if he'd eased the tension out of me (I'm sorry if this sounds a bit dodge, it wasn't at all).

What I haven't mentioned so far is the weather.  It was blistering hot!  I'd bought a new outfit for the christening, it cost about £80, which was the most I'd ever paid for any clothes, ever.  It was very floral, a very busy, pretty, multi-coloured floral print, matching skirt and top, which I bought from a little independent shop in Norwich.  After I bought it, the shop owner said approvingly that Esther Rantzen had worn it the previous weekend on That's Life (not that very suit, obv, an identical one).  I was slightly cast down.  Still, I liked it very much and wore it for years.  I also rented a yellow hat.

However, it was very much an *occasion* hat and it was so hot that I really did need something to keep the sun off.  So I went into John Lewis and - shy and inhibited little Z that I was at that time - I was somehow empowered to try on about every hat in the millinery department.  And I found a nice little straw hat that I loved.  I still have it - the front wore through so I altered the straw ribbon so that I could wear it back to front - I haven't worn it for a while but it would still do for the garden.  It cost £3.95, about the cheapest one there, but the one I liked best.  It was so hot that I didn't eat all day, but bought some orange juice.  In the evening, I caught a tube back to Liverpool Street right in the rush hour and was completely jammed into a full carriage.  Even the railway station was jam-packed.  Strangely, I didn't feel claustrophobic, little used as I was to crowds, but quite at home because the atmosphere was calm - resigned rather than cheerful, I suppose.  And I walked through the streets of Hackney, run down as they were, with various burnt items of furniture in gardens and people hanging about on street corners, feeling quite safe, as I was, no one took the least notice of me.

Simon cooked a trout and we shared a bottle of rosé and I said goodbye to him the next morning.  I left early to go to the Chelsea Flower Show.

Darlings, I was small-busted in those days, and young so it didn't show, especially with a loose top (although elasticated at the waist, it did give me some shape) and I wore no underwear.  I had a little bottle of talcum powder from which I sprinkled powder into my shoes, and I wore my hat and was really quite comfortable, hot and airless though it was.  I had a wonderful time.  I rather love being alone, and alone in a crowd is a feeling I'm especially at ease with as long as it's good humoured, and I arrived early, spent two or three hours in the marquee until it became both hot and crowded at the end of the morning, and then went outside to see all the exhibits and gardens there.

Later, I caught the train back and the Sage picked me up from the station.

And do you know, when I weighed myself, I'd lost half a stone!  I'd hardly eaten and, at that, mostly vegetables and salad and a bit of fish.  I took the opportunity to diet for a few weeks, lost another 12 pounds and - well, then and for the next couple of years was the last time I weighed a mere hundredweight.  I'd be happy with nine stone now, never mind eight.  Hmph.  Anyway, we still have the teapot.

Size is everything

So let's check out the size of the print today.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Z sings. Badly, but the wonder is that it was done at all

I was writing an email to a friend earlier on today and, halfway through, realised that a whole paragraph was not a personal, chatty letter but part of a blog-post.  I know I get personal here and goodness knows I'm chatty enough, but a fine line had been crossed.

If only I could remember what I'd written, I'd be well on the way to tonight's post.  Ho.  And hum.

Anyhoo.  Kenny's funeral today.  Most of the people in the congregation, some sixty of them before the family came in, were village residents who had known Kenny and Muriel for many years.  It's noticeable that the church always fills up from the back on these occasions, but if people don't know each other they sit in the next pew.  In this case, everyone did know each other and so filled each pew.  Thus it was that, sitting down almost last, the Sage and I found ourselves in front of everyone but the family, albeit halfway down the church.

And there was another thing - hardly anyone was a regular churchgoer, so singing of the hymns was muted and cautious.  It was quite a contrast from last week's funeral, where the singing was vigorous and excellent and I was able to be very quiet.  I'm not a good singer.  My voice is a bit thin unless growling around the lower register, which hymns don't, and I never quite know, when I open my mouth, what will come out (this happens with speaking too: mouth overtaking brain is what my sister calls it, although in that case it's usually offering to do something that I'd be far better shutting up about rather than hitting a duff note).  However, in this case someone had to be audible, and it seems it was going to be me, so I piped up and did my very loudest and best.  

There was a meet-up at the pub afterwards, so I toddled along.  The Sage was coming too, but got side-tracked somehow (I don't know, darlings, he was probably chatting to the gravedigger and advising on filling in the grave) and so it's a good job I have Social Skills and don't rely on him being at my side.  He did arrive in the end, but I was ready to leave by then so he came home some time after I did.

I answered various business emails and phone calls and was suddenly very tired, so went to sleep.  I can't have slept for more than five minutes - I curled up in an armchair at 4.50 with the paper, didn't read it for long but was woken just before five by the Sage coming home from Yagnub with some tulips for me.  He'd bought some for Muriel and thought I'd like some too.  He was quite right.  And the catnap was enough.  

Clients came later to look at the china, which will now be packed away, and then I cooked dinner and that'll be about it for the night.  I'll gaze cluelessly at the crossword for a while (actually, that's not quite right, I've got the clues, I just won't be able to answer the buggers) and listen to music and do nothing much else.

You'd love to know what music I'll listen to I daresay.  Well, I've been playing the Elisabeth Schwarzkopf operetta CD and now I'm listening to Shearwater's new album, Animal Joy.  I think it's jolly good.  Later - I don't know yet.  I need gently cheering up, ideally.  Nothing too demanding though.  Any ideas gladly received.

And now I've got to think of a title for this post.  Always summat, innit?  

PS - this has published in tiny writing.  I've changed it to LARGEST but it's made no difference.  I'm so sorry, I haven't done a thing to cause it.  It's bloody Blogger again.  

Sunday 4 March 2012

Z is flattered

Lunch was, as predicted, very jolly.  We had roast chicken - it so happened that Ro phoned when we were on our way there, asking about making more gravy than enough for two, as Dora's sister and her other half were going to join them for lunch and he was also roasting a chicken.  I always make thin gravy and never add flour, but Ro thought that thickened gravy would be the thing, so I explained how it's done, and I received a text a few hours later to say that it had been a success.

I had promised to take a pudding and we stopped to buy it, choosing a sticky chocolate and a sticky toffee pudding from the supermarket in Boringland, between here and Norwich.  They turned out to be jolly good - each was supposed to serve four, but between four adults, a little girl and a baby, we scoffed the lot.  Zerlina and Gus are easy to feed, it has to be said.  Little z will eat most things, including vegetables (lots of carrots for preference) and Gus looks to be going the same way.  His father had already given him his lunch by the time we arrived, but he accepted bits of carrot and so on to keep us company.  He sat on my lap afterwards and tucked into small spoonsful of my pudding with Gusto (see what I did there?)

There had been two small children in church this morning, a little girl slightly younger than Zerlina and her brother, who is at the fast-crawling stage.  They got about a bit (we're having services in the church rooms during the winter for warmth) and it was very entertaining, they're lovely little children.  The girl wanted to take a Communion wafer to her mother.  She had her eye on the chalice, I suspect, too, but that was kept firmly away.  During the last hymn, she came and fixed me with a beady gaze.  I found it hard not to laugh, which isn't ideal with a clarinet.  Afterwards, she said "More, more!"  So, after the service finished, I played another verse of the last hymn and everyone good-humouredly applauded.  "More, more," she said again, so I agreed to play one last verse.  She asked for more again, but I pointed out that no one could leave until I finished, so it would have to wait until another day.  In the kitchen, I rewarded her with a chocolate biscuit.  It was terribly flattering.  Two encores and asked for a third!

Saturday 3 March 2012

A few random sentences

It's just as well that Ro didn't come over for supper after all, because I didn't finish work until after 6 o'clock.  He's coming next weekend, when Dora will be able to join him.

The Sage is having another evening on the phone, with the result that we're in separate rooms again.  At least I can listen to music.

Phil and Weeza have invited us over for lunch tomorrow, which will be very jolly.

There is a fruit fly wafting itself about in front of me.

I've been wearing my new glasses to type.  It's not an unqualified success - all right if I'm simply typing, but if I'm reading notes to type from then I have to take them off or I get a headache.  I suppose it'll make it easier to read music,  at least if the print is small.  There's a limit to how close you can lean towards the music stand with a clarinet in the way.

At last the Sage was off the phone.  I was just going to finish writing and go and join him - and then the phone rang again.

Anyway, I did book our flights (Wink's and mine, that is) yesterday.  We'll be away from 3rd to 17th April.

Friday 2 March 2012

Z is excited

It's been a productive morning.  First, I went to the surgery and had a couple of vaccinations.  Apparently, there's no particular need to take anti-malarial tablets as the area I'm going to is deemed minimal risk.  I'll check with our friends who live there to see if they agree - I can just buy them from the chemist if they recommend it.

Then on to a meeting at the school.  I've mentioned before that we are taking in the Years 7 and 8 pupils when the Middle Schools close permanently at the end of this school year.  Since we haven't been given any money to enlarge the school, we're taking over the Yagnub middle school premises and turning it into a Sixth Form Centre, so some alterations have to be done at both schools to make them suitable for different age groups and curriculums.  Although there is a very tight budget and every penny has been gained after much argument with an obdurate local authority, it's all going well and we're really quite excited about it.

I had 40 minutes in hand so went along to the café at the garden centre down the road.  A friend happened to be there, our Rector's husband - he said there was a meeting at home so he'd sloped off out to read the paper, eat cake and drink coffee in peace.  Encouraged by the sight of cake crumbs, I allowed myself to succumb to the temptation of a scone (I'm so dull and good, darlings, I rarely eat so much as a biscuit) and scoffed the lot, with the result that I'm still rather full and probably won't want lunch until well into the afternoon.  I shall have lunch sooner or later mind you, the notion of missing a whole meal is too dismaying for words.

And then back to the opticians.  £300 the poorer, but two pairs of glasses better off and pleased that my contact lens prescription hasn't changed, so I've got them on order too.  I've also ordered a pack of daily lenses so that, when I'm in India, I don't have to bother with overnight soaking.  I'm wearing the middle-distance pair of glasses now, though have had to move the computer a bit further away.  I normally keep it at just-within-arm's-length which is okay with a lens in or not, but I've been noticing an occasional tendency to screw my eyes up, so I'll try to get used to it.  The main reason for these glasses is to read music easily.

This afternoon, we shall take the photos for the catalogue.  And I shall sort out holiday insurance - I will have to phone for a quote as, with my hip, I can't tick the no medical issues box for online buying.

It hasn't been the easiest week, various things have been quite frustrating and the strain of visiting Kenny had to be come down from.  But I'm feeling myself again, much happier and the anticipation of the Indian holiday is certainly helping there too.

Thursday 1 March 2012

Z goes to church

The trouble with making a pot of coffee is that you feel you have to drink it all, rather than just one cup.  It's a small pot, anyway.

On the way to the funeral, I found myself in a two-mile tailback, going at walking pace.  It turned out that the coffin was being taken to the church by horse-drawn carriage.  It was the funeral of the Head of one of the local primary schools, I went there to represent the High School and hadn't known her personally.  She had been off work for a while, ill with cancer.  She was only 40 years old and had two young children, pupils at the school.  It was an immensely sad and shocking sight, such young children following their mother's coffin.

It was an interesting church which looked large from the outside but was quite narrow once you were in, with room for four people to squeeze in to a pew.  I was all right, being with two other women not broad in the beam and a young boy, with whom I shared my hymn sheet, but the three women and a burly (not fat) man in front of me looked to have to negotiate which moved first if not to get stuck.  There were fairly fragmentary remains of (presumably) ancient frescoes on the wall - usually, these have been painted or plastered over and it's only when renovations are carried out that they are rediscovered.  The advantage is, of course, that they have been preserved from the wear of centuries.  Here is a link to the church, which describes some of its other features.

This site and its companion, Norfolk churches, is well worth a browse.  I discovered it years ago and it's one of my favourites.  Simon Knott has visited every church on the site - I seem to remember that he often goes by bike.  I was tremendously excited, a few years ago, to find his name in our village church visitors' book, looked up the entry and left an enthusiastic note of thanks and belated welcome on his site's visitors' page.  The church is just over the field from our house, I can see it from the room where I sit now - although not now, it's 10.30 at night.  The photo on Simon's article is taken from the other side of the church, however.