Friday 31 May 2013

Z's day

Met the Head, phoned the Sage who had walked home, so I said I'd buy bread, the BBJ (local paper) and veggies and be home in twenny minutes.  But I wasn't.  On my way past the Buttercross, I met Nidge.  His wife is Patsy, who cleaned for me when we first lived here.  And he gave me the dreadful news that her son died last month at the age of forty.  Of course, I went straight round to see her.  What a shocking thing to happen - he had pancreatic cancer and lasted two years from diagnosis.  Patsy herself has emphysema and she and the boy took it in turns to use the wheelchair when they were out.  Hasn't stopped her smoking though, roll-ups with no filter are her preferred smokes.

There seems to be so much bad news at present.  Gill and Andy's fractures, Anthony's prostate cancer, Mary's broken leg, Willie's death, Sean and Wink's arthritis, Beryl's broken hip and that's by no means all.

Anyway, I was home at least an hour later than I'd said.  This afternoon, we've been to the hospital - that was a near miss, I assumed there'd be a mobile unit at the little hospital in the next town as usual. but fished out my letter to check, and it was actually at the main hospital at Gallstone.  Jolly efficient, the walk to and from the Breast Imaging Department (okay, for people with active imaginations) took quite as long as the appointment and I was in and out within the time allowed for free parking, which is a first.  There were lots of stats in the accompanying leaflet, such as "for every 14,000 women screened regularly for 10 years, one woman may develop breast cancer she will die from because of the radiation from the mammograms."  Oh, okay.  I suppose that's the reason Britain screens every three years and not more frequently, it's a balance.  Though how they know the cause is a mystery - that is, if it's caused by radiation from those specific x-rays, rather than anything else.  Anyway, it's done and won't be again for a bit, unless there's a problem, of course.

After that, we went to check the venue for the auction next week - same place, different room - and I decided on the layout of the room.  The Sage's suggestions were bizarre, so everyone went with mine.  *Toothy grin*  Then we went to call on friends who aren't well, then home.

I've accepted offers of tea and coffee everywhere and didn't confuse people who were already anxious by mentioning that I prefer black.  So I've felt slightly queasy ever since.

The rest of the day is school-related and so I can't talk about it.  Sometimes, I wonder how I have anything to blog about at all.  Because school seems to take up most of my waking life, some weeks.

Oh, and now we're keeping Ben, I've changed his diet a bit.  He was fed solely on dry food, but I had a dozen tins of dog meat in the cupboard, left from when we had Tilly.  I've been adding half a tin to his dry food - and he adores it.  Dinner is greeted with enthusiasm rather than indifference and he wags his tail as he eats.  

Thursday 30 May 2013

Do It Zedself

I finally had to acknowledge that I've completely blunted the mower blade.  Fortunately, while I was busy with my rub, trying to perk it up again, friend Mike called round and he offered to take it and sharpen it for me.  Yes please, I said, handing him an adjustable spanner.

I did my own bit of diy today too.  I changed various filters in the hoover and took it apart to clean out the crevices, all of which were full of dog hair.  It's a jolly good hoover, a Sebo (hoover being generic) and has been going strong for over 25 years.  I see it would cost a couple of hundred quid to replace, but that's what I paid in the first place.  I had a glitch at the end, however, because I'd taken everything apart, put it together and it didn't work.  Finally, I tried a new fuse in the plug.  Yes.  That did it.  And now I've cleaned through downstairs and we're surprisingly okay, considering I haven't heard from the cleaners again.  I'm as fed up as a polite person can be.

It may be half term - well, it is half term - but things don't stop when you're supposed to be on holiday, and I've a meeting at school first thing tomorrow.  And a mammogram later, oh joy.  It'll be fine, it always is and, if not, what's the worst that can happen?  No need to save for my old age.  Which is a useful thought.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Leaving on a jet plane

I'm feeling a bit distracted at present.  There's a lot going on with family, school, Nadfas...  At least the organ is sorted out.  Not sure if I mentioned that, but a few weeks ago a heavy hymn book fell off the rest and the corner hit a key, which shifted a strut so that a note kept playing.  At the time, about ten minutes before the service was due to start, I couldn't do much, so I whizzed home for my clarinet and played that instead.  Better than singing unaccompanied - actually, probably better than me on the organ.  Even sight-reading and unpractised, it's a lot easier to hammer out a tune when there's only one line of notes to read.

Various other things will be spoken of in due course, not yet.  But today we took a few hours off and went on a tour of Adnams brewery, distillery and distribution centre.  This is probably the nearest equivalent, but we got lunch too, as shareholders.  Only a few shares, to be honest, but it doesn't matter.

Darlings, what I love is enthusiasm, and that's what you get there, especially from the Chairman.  He's so knowledgeable, too.  He was able to go back several hundred years in terms of knowledge, but was bang up to date too.  Adnams is the only place in the country that produces spirits from its own grain: that is, from first to last.

Ooh, let me digress.  Ben just went to the Sage's table and picked up a rubber band.  "Excuse me?" said I (the Sage being out of the room).  He sucked the whole thing in his mouth.  From a good 12 feet away, I exerted Power of Z to make him come here and give it to me - I should remind you that he is a deeply disobedient dog.  I'm quite relieved to find that he knows I'm pack leader.

Right, so pure vodka has to be ... I think ... 96% ethanol, and gin and whisky are made from that.  The process was explained - bear in mind that methanol=bad, ethanol=good.  It was so interesting and you don't have to like spirits (I do) to appreciate the explanation.  Oh, and the yeast has been in constant use since 1940, so it's unique to the company.  Isn't that brilliant?  It's alive, of course, so the more it's used, the more it grows.

After we got home, I met someone who, I hope, will supersede me as Nadfas Area secretary.  She's lovely and will be far better at the job than I was (I should say that I've made the job simpler, but only because I had to because it was soooo time-consuming).  If this goes through, I've unloaded another whole job!  School stuff continues to grow, mind you, I'll still be busy.

Sorry about yesterday, I was going to write about something, not sure what, but then Weeza phoned and we had a long chat, and then I had an email from a friend who has moved to New Zealand.  He and his wife were from there originally, but it was a bit out of the blue - actually, there was a message on the answerphone a week or so ago, just saying hello but I expect he wanted to tell us then.  He bought some china in the last sale, which he was going to pick up next time he was in the area.  I'm guessing that won't be for a while, now.

Monday 27 May 2013

Another sunny Bank Holiday Monday

A very jolly lunch out near Cromer at a Greek restaurant, all friendly and hospitable.  I managed to leave my cardigan behind, but have just heard from a friend that he's taken it home, as it was recognised as mine, and he'll drop it in tomorrow.

I'll be home tomorrow, as it happens.  We've had a series of mysterious messages left on our answerphone.  An automated voice said that to arrange delivery, we should go to a website and enter details - but I didn't know what *she* was talking about.  I wasn't expecting a delivery - that is, I have been at various times, but nothing that needed signing for.  And the whole thing was said so quickly that I didn't have a chance of noting the website, even playing the message several times.  Finally I was in and picked up the phone - of course, an automated message starts at once, not waiting for the answerphone message to be said, so the explanation of what it was about was lost.  And it's my new passport.  The day offered wasn't suitable, so I phoned (again, the number was rattled off far too fast and I had to play it twice, though it turned out I had written it down correctly) to change it.  I rejected the offer of a mere 4-hour time slot for an extra £6.50 and one of us will hang around all day.  Though it may arrive first thing, of course, and surprise me.

I also may or may not expect the cleaners.  I don't think this arrangement is going to work out.  I found a note in the front porch last Wednesday, saying sorry we weren't in when they arrived on Tuesday, please could I phone or email?  But I was expecting them this Tuesday, not last: the 4th Tuesday of each month.  However, last month was a 5 Tuesday month and evidently it was muddled into '4 Tuesdays later.'  I'm always out on the 3rd Tuesday though, it was quite clear when I booked it.  But I suppose the women won't get paid if they haven't worked, so I feel really bad about that.  I emailed, explained how the muddle arose and asked if they could come back this week, but I've heard nothing.  So, whilst I'm half expecting them, it's only half.  I won't hoover tomorrow morning, just in case.  

Sunday 26 May 2013

Hadrian and the Wall

Today is Hay's second birthday and the anniversary of last year's blog party (the first one, in 2011, was to celebrate the building of the Great Wall, and I'm going to have to take a picture of it soon for anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about).

So, this afternoon, the family turned out in force for Hay's birthday party. We had Gus with us, because I stayed over at his house last night after babysitting him and Zerlina, and suggested bringing him back with me.  He came to a very informal café church meeting first, where he was able to play with Toni and Freddie, both a little older than him and we made a paper windmill, then came back here for lunch. The presents I'd ordered arrived on Friday, so we wrapped and took them and we all had a brilliant afternoon.  Hay, I'm pleased to say, is turning out to be mischievous - you should have seen the grin on his face when he caught me with his water pistol.  It reminded me of my children's young days when, if the weather was really hot, we'd put on swimsuits, each take a sponge and a bucket of water and have water fights on the lawn.  It had to be so hot that it was a pleasure to be hit by a sodden sponge, of course.  Dora and Dilly both thought it was a brilliant idea and suggested reinstating the game, next time it's a hot weekend.  Um, a slight problem there ... but I'm up for it, weather permitting.  Actually, it was a lovely day today and very warm in their sheltered garden.

Tomorrow, we're out to lunch and have arranged for a friend to come and dog-sit.  Ooh, the responsibility of being a pet owner...

Saturday 25 May 2013

The pitter-patter of tiny Z

I have to admit I overdid it a bit this morning.  Several days of strenuous effort haven't begun to break the back of the cutting - look, I'll show you what I mean.
This is now the height of it, and there's a load of rubbish in there.  I don't mean weeds, I mean pots, planks of wood, lengths of pipe, and I wanted to clear it all before the grass grew long, but that only happens with a concentrated effort, and for various reasons, not enough of it happened.  So some was cleared, some wasn't.  The theory is that I cut the lawns and areas that aren't rough grass, and the Sage does the rest on his sit-on mower, but he's not big on clearing, so he only mows paths where he knows there's no junk.  And he doesn't do it very often, and a nagging wife is the dreariest thing in the world, so the best way to get him galvanised into action is to get started on some work myself.

However, I weigh a lot less than I used to, and what I remember from when I used to be - well, not what I weigh now, lighter than that, but not by much - a slender young thing, I was pretty strong but I didn't have a lot of stamina.  When I worked hard physically, I used up all my strength.  It seems to be the same again now, with the disadvantage that I'm a couple of decades older and have puny little muscles.  But I'm very dogged and determined and I'm going to get this job done.

I knew I was tired when I cut through the lead of the mower.  I know, what an idiot.  I've been so careful and I always have the lead over my shoulder and check constantly.  But, having checked for and removed rubbish, I ran over a bit of plumber's pipe and I irritatedly picked it up, chucked it on the pile and kept going without looking.  Oh well.  The Sage mended the lead while I got on my bike to go and buy insulating tape and I was back in business a few minutes later.  And I redeemed myself an hour later, when I noticed just in time that he was about to drive his mower over my lead and shouted in time to stop him.

I was determined to carry on until 1 o'clock, which was stupid, I should have stopped when I wanted to stop.  Because I realised, once I did finish, that my heart was pounding and, though I rested, it took quite half an hour to settle completely, and then I was cold and exhausted for quite a while after that.

I'm fine now.  And I'm babysitting this evening, so I'll just sit and relax, and tomorrow and Monday we've got various things on, but all very restful.  Another jolly on Wednesday, but not a strenuous one.

You may wonder why junk has been put in unsuitable places.  I dunno, darlings, seems stupid to me.  But the kitchen garden has always been my province and, especially when I had a bad hip, I tended not to look at what I couldn't do anything about.  Now I've taken on the job, I'll get it done.  The Sage never does, it's very rare for him to finish anything but, for me, the only point of taking on a beastly chore is to have the satisfaction of completing it.  

Friday 24 May 2013


Tim has found the best example evah of splendidly awry grammar, which looks like nonsense at first glance but actually makes complete sense.  I've sent it to the Headmaster, who will love it too.  

“A father goes up to his son's bedroom, a book about Australia under his arm, ready to read him to sleep. The boy notices the book and says: 'Daddy, what did you bring that book that I don't want to be read to out of about down under up for?'”

The Sage has gone out for the day, to have lunch with a friend, and I'm going to be out for an hour or so tonight at an open evening at our Skills Academy - I'll tell you more about that one day soon.

The wisteria is just starting to open, but is mainly still in tight bud, showing little colour as yet.  Pat asked about its colour - no, I didn't enhance anything on the current header picture, but it was late afternoon when I took the picture.  The house faces west so the sun was behind me.  You can see the moon in the sky to the right of the house.

I looked up other photos of the wisteria ... actually, I was looking for the original of that one, wondering when it was taken, and found other examples too from different years. 
                                                               This is 17th May, 2006.  
 Here is 16th May 2008
And 25th May 2010 

And I shall trot out into the rain to show you what it looks like today.

24th May 2013

Well, at least it hasn't been hit by frost. We cut it back from the gable end every few years because it gets under the tiles, so it's rather less rampant this year than some others, but my point is to demonstrate how late the season is this year.   

Thursday 23 May 2013

Like old times...

When one was unable to resist blogging several times a day.  You know, pre-Facebook and Twitter.

We've cut up a lot of random wood for firewood, though some of it needs splitting some more to make kindling sticks.  No gardening, too cold and wet.  But the remainder of the wood was made a bonfire of (grammar?  The purpose of grammar is to make sense, and that makes sense, yes?).  And I'd taken the sensible step of removing a dish of chilli bean casserole from the freezer in plenty of time, which went nicely with asparagus from the garden.

All the same, having cooked and eaten dinner and replied to a couple of emails, I felt a bit hollow and chilly.  I went back into the drawing room.  "I feel like a pudding," I announced.  The Sage gazed at my stomach politely.  I explained that I felt like cooking and eating a pudding, a proper one.  Do you know, the microwave is jolly good, has anyone else ever noticed?  I weighed two bantams' eggs, 2.5 oz and, using their weight in the other ingredients, whizzed up a sponge pudding mix, spooned syrup in the basin, cake on top, into the microwave on moderate for 5 minutes, which gave me just time to make custard, and - well, darlings, the Sage isn't a kissy man.  The only time one can be guaranteed is on production of a proper pudding.  Ben was thrilled to receive his own (small) helping.

Weeza had wanted a particular book, George's Marvellous Medicine, to read to Zerlina, who has just very much enjoyed the BFG,  I couldn't find it, but have found a dozen or so others (and there are lots more, of course) to take over on Saturday.  These include the Sheep-Pig, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Eloise, the Owl who was Afraid of the Dark - all of them books I read to Weeza, or she read herself, thirty-five years ago - no, I'm wrong.  The Sheep-Pig wasn't written then, that must have been read to Ro.

Take 5, at some length (might as well have written a blog post)

1 6º at 8.30 this morning.  It was only 8º at noon, and by that time we'd had a couple of hailstorms.  Rain, hail and sunshine this afternoon.  Don'tcha love English weather? Z's luck is holding out, I haven't got wet at all, having just got indoors every time before the next downpour happened.

2 I just found a whole dozen bottles of white wine that I'd not realised had not been drunk.  Oh joy.  Two of them are in the fridge Right Now.  Not that I'll drink them until the weather has warmed up a bit.  I'm on comforting red at the moment (not in the right now sense, I'll have a glass this evening.  Obv).

3 Today's meeting has left me less daunted than I'd expected.  It was about the new teachers' pay and condition arrangements - though we have to rewrite our pay policy and check it against the performance management policy, and consult the unions and so on, and guard against Ofsted damnation, actually it's okay.  Our criteria are already robust, as they say - and (another moment of relief) there was nothing I didn't understand.  Nor, actually, that I was inclined to argue with in the principle of the thing.

4 I'm going on a sort of blind date.  No, let me explain ... when I've gone on Nadfas overnight stays, I've shared a room several times with my friend Jill who, of course, died a few weeks ago.  It's rare that there isn't a thwacking single room supplement, so I said to the organiser (we're going to Holland in the autumn) that I'd consider sharing, and she's had a similar request from someone else.  Only thing is, we don't actually know each other and she isn't even a member of our society but of one in Cambridge.  So she's invited me to lunch and we'll see how we get on.  It does seem a bit weird, actually, but even if we decide each to have our own room, at least she'll already have someone she knows on the trip and won't be with 30 strangers.

5 When shifting stuff ready to mow yesterday, I found a nest with seven bantam's eggs in, that had obviously been there for a few months as they've been in the kitchen garden for quite some time.  I put them in a box on the wall, but it rained and I didn't go and fetch them.  There are only two there now.  Rooks, I suppose.  They might find the eggs a bit stinky.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Z relaxes

I was duly cuddled and then had a long soak in the bath, face pack and conditioned hair and everything and finally wandered down in pyjamas to find that the Sage had lit a fire and was all set to fetch fish and chips.  Which seemed a jolly good idea.  He opened a bottle of nice red wine, the dog climbed on my lap for another cuddle and I seem to be quite cheerful and relaxed, not least because it's pouring with rain and I had a sense of urgency, so did all the work while it was still dry.  So all my newly planted stuff will get a good soaking.  Hah.  Once in a while, it's luck that makes it all come together. If all that long grass had been wet, it would have been impossible to mow and it would have meant a lot of scything and raking, but the rain held off just long enough.

And tonight I'm doing nothing.  I've read the papers, I'll read a book, but I won't put on the television, especially not the news.  I made that mistake at 6 o'clock and it was so shocking again.  I'm getting to the stage where I can't take news with pictures any more, I'm so sorry about the dreadful things that happen but I can't do anything about them and I can't bear them in my brain.

So I'll think of five good things.

1 The hen blackbird (and the robin) have been following me about, checking out the piles of grass in the barrow.  The blackbirds are nesting under the eaves of Kenny's shed, the blue tits in the bird box, but I don't know where the robins' nest is.

2 The sun shone today, it was lovely.  I had to go and change into a t-shirt.

3 I wanted an omelette for lunch, but only had enough eggs for one, so the Sage went to squeeze a few chickens.  The eggs he brought back were still warm!

4 Wink rang this evening, not for any particular reason, just for a chat.

5 The Sage has been getting such nice emails regarding his retirement.  People are very kind.

Another day, another lawn

I got the day wrong, it's tomorrow I'm in school.  So there was no reason not to get out with that sodding mower, was there?  Although, sorry mower, it's not you, it's the vast amount of grass here that's the problem.  The mower is splendid and tackles knee-high undergrowth bravely.

But first I got out the hoover.  The swathes of dog hair were starting to band together and make the carpet look like shag pile.  Crikey, that looks a bit rude, shag pile.  For those of you too young to remember, it was - er - shaggy deep-piled carpet, popular in the 60s, I suppose.  I don't think I knew anyone who had any.  Anyhoo, fortunately the dog is the colour of the carpet, so I'd got away with it surprisingly long, but the time had to come.

So another area is cleared for the moment.  A bit of strimming right against the tennis court netting, but the rest is done.  The Sage had gone with his sit-on mower two or three times down the middle of the area, but had left a yard or so each side.  Though I must give him credit, he emptied the wheelbarrow for me twice before going out.  And now it's raining, within five minutes of coming indoors.  So stopping mowing and starting to clear up at 3.45 instead of 4 o'clock was wisdom, darlings, not laziness.

Ben is whining gently and showing every indication of wanting a cuddle.  That's what I'd like too.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Z is eating ice cream. Strawberry.

I'm too tired to think straight, darlings, but I'll try.  It'll certainly save time to direct you to the lecturer's website - which was given out at the lecture, I'm not sneaking around.  It was excellent, amusing, with a good balance between images, music and speech.  He kept to the time (as in period, not musically speaking) of Shakespeare and explained at the start that he'd start with music at court and among the nobility, come down the social strata to the lowest, then slide to dance and go up again.  And he finished with some Shakespeare.

It was interesting to be told about the various musical instruments - I knew something about it already, but a good lecturer will find another angle.  He focussed on professional and amateur musicians - in those days, of course, to be a professional meant that you relied on the higher ranks to pay you, so it was further up the social scale to be a proficient amateur.  And the instruments you played, too - in short, the louder the instrument, the lower-ranked you were because you played out of doors and/or to a lot of people.  If you played virginals, recorder and so on, you were posh.  If it was the shawm, the sackbut, the fiddle, you were lower in rank.  The viol seemed to be played by everyone.  Oh, and there was the tabor and pipe, which was jolly.  One piece was played which was the only known Morris dance from that period, but it seemed rather too stately for today's Morrismen.

Actually, loves, I really am too tired to tell you, that was quite incoherent, I'll try to tell you more tomorrow.  I came back and worked in the garden for several more hours and I'm about ready to flop.  Still, we've got a lot done and I'm ready to make a new list, not that the first one is quite completed yet.

Young Hadrian Swallow's birthday is coming up.  Dilly suggested a few things for presents, and I looked one Early Learning Centre item up on Amazon.  And, as I was going in to Norwich, thought I'd trot along to the shop and buy it there.  Darlings, it was double the price.  It referred to the ELC on the website, so they sanctioned it all right, but it was £45 in the shop and I'm afraid I came back and bought it online.  And if there's a problem with Amazon not paying Corporation Tax, that's easy -  bring down the level of Corporation Tax and encourage businesses to take the easy way out and pay it here.  Of course they'll go to the cheapest country if it's legal.  Wouldn't you?  I just did.  Saving £22 seems to have been worth my while.

A differently busy day tomorrow, I'll be in school.  For a rest.  Don't think I'm complaining though, it's all going really well, as long as I don't remember that it'll all have grown back again within a fortnight.

Monday 20 May 2013


It's been a very good day, we got a lot done.  Or I did, anyway - the Sage was out and about most of the day, though he was turning out a workshop and putting a few final things on the skip later in the afternoon.  They were going to pick it up, but haven't yet, I expect they'll arrive in the morning.

Anyway, I mowed both lawns and weeded the bed alongside the Wall.  I planted some of the things I bought at the market yesterday, but ran out of steam in the end.  I don't have a headache, but the rest of me is a bit tender.  Mowing grass doesn't sound that much, but I've been taking in parts of the rough grass too, that would be done by strimmer if I had one.  Actually, friend Jamie has a mate with one he thinks might suit me, so he's going to borrow it to let me have a go and, if I can manage the weight, I'll buy my own.  If I can't, I'll have to go for an electric one and rely on shears and the scythe when it's too far from the house.

I thought it was going to rain, but it cleared and the sun came out so I put the washing out.  It turned out to be quite windy at that point, so it was a bit of a battle with the laundry - but I overcame it, darlings.  It all was successfully pegged out, though a bathmat made a break for freedom and some firm handling was required.

This evening, we went to the theatre/cinema - the showing of the live National Theatre play, This House, which is a dramatisation, from the point of view of the Whips' Offices, of the hung Labour government of the mid- to late-seventies.  It was very good and I recommend it, either at the theatre or as we saw it.  It took a few minutes to adjust to the slight oddness of the artificial overplaying of live theatre, but on a cinema screen, but the play was good enough to become engrossing, though I thought the second half could maybe have been cut a bit - the uncertainty of each vote became a bit less interesting every time and if it had been speeded up a bit, the loss of the vote of confidence would have been more of a shock and less of an inevitability (though if you remember that dreadful limping government that got sod all done because it had to bargain with all the minority parties all the time, it was certainly inevitable when you lived through it).  Still, that's a quibble, and it's certainly a link with the present situation, particularly when it came to the period of the Lib/Lab pact.

Tomorrow, off to Nadfas in Norwich.  Can't remember the subject of the lecture.  Shall I look or shall I be surprised? - oh, go on, I'll have a squint at the website.  Music and Cultural Life in Shakespeare's England.  I'm happy with that.

Time to walk my dog, dear hearts.  Goodnight.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Big Ben (and a lot of brackets)

I had an email from Gill yesterday, who was quite distressed.  The people whom they'd hoped would take Ben couldn't, so she and Andy were prepared to contact the dog rescue people and set the rehoming search in motion.  Of course, the Sage and I had already talked about it, so I confirmed with him and then wrote, asking to be allowed to keep him.  And then we heard nothing.

This morning, I went to church and Andy apologised (it wasn't necessary, of course) because Gill had been so upset (she wasn't there, the family was coming for a lunchtime barbecue) and - they hadn't checked emails.  So I repeated our offer and it was accepted.  Later, I dropped the church collection off to her (she's church treasurer) and she accepted too and we hugged.

I know, it was on the cards from the start and I'm not surprised, but I was never going to count chickens  and I've not thought of him as mine until the last few days, when I started to be unable to help it (and it was going to be incredibly hard to let him go as a result).

You know, I've said it all along, that my dog would find me, and I was right.  If ever you are tempted to argue - well, do, dear hearts, that's fine.  But if I argue back, which I usually won't, then you might as well concede at once, because I will be right.  No, I should clarify that.  If you've tried very hard to convince me and not succeeded, then there will be a good reason for it.  I'm both logical and instinctive, a combination that's hard to beat, because if one doesn't get you, the other will.  Fortunately, I'm also easy-going, so I rarely do argue ... which brings me back to it being for a reason if I do.

Anyway, I digress.  It's not the only jolly good thing that's happened today, although surely the most momentous.  I cycled on into town after church, the Sage having gone ahead in the car, because the street was closed for one of the three annual markets, the garden one.  The antiques market is held in July, the Christmas one in December.  And we were so lucky with the weather!  It was lovely - a light, pleasant breeze, warm air and sunshine.  An unexpectedly perfect spring day.  Accordingly, everyone was there, it was really crowded and I had to be patient, getting through the throng with my bike.  The Sage bought me a roast pork roll from John's hog roast and I started buying. Not having grown anything at all from seed this year, only the second year in about the last 38, I seem to be seedling-starved.  I bought lettuce, peas, courgettes, runner beans, butternut squash, spinach, more lettuce, tomatoes, chillies, sweet peas, morning glory, verbena - oh, various flowers, but it's veggies that are close to my heart (in the sense that my stomach is...).  And I bought a lemon sponge cake, some pelargoniums and, with the last of my money, an ice cream cone.  The Sage had taken the first batch of  plants home in the car, but my panniers and handlebars were laden again, so I strolled for half a mile, eating icecream and pushing the bike, until my hands were free and I carefully rode the rest of the way.

It has always been my intention to let Ben run free so, having checked that no chickens had flown the coop, I let him out.  I followed him around the fields for a slightly anxious half hour until he decided to come back again, and then he ran round the garden happily while Al and Dilly helped fill the skip.  There were a couple of big pieces that I had left room for yesterday, then we in-filled.  And then I weeded the little beds, hardly 4 feet square, that I was going to plant with vegetables and then we had tea and cake.  And then I spent an hour potting up plants, forty of them.  So I feel that I'm getting back to my normal way of life.

By the time I'd finished, it was 6 o'clock, so I opened a bottle of Prosecco that happened to be in the fridge and we drank that and munched Twiglets.  Ben likes Twiglets.

I think I'll sleep well tonight, but who's to say?  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  But I'm quite cheery tonight, and so is the Sage.

Oh, and he had bought himself a ticket to the theatre - well, it's a film of a theatre performance - tomorrow, to my puzzlement because he doesn't like that sort of thing, and he asked if I'd like to go too.  So I said yes, because I do and, while we were buying my ticket, I asked if the Othello ones were on sale yet.  And they were - the Othello that's on in London at present, getting such fantastic reviews and is pretty well sold out, is having a film made of a live performance and it's on here in September.  And the tickets weren't available last week, and now they are.  So I've got mine.  The Sage doesn't want to come, he isn't keen on Shakespeare (I married this man?  I never thought to ask, darlings, it never occurred to me), but I'm very happy.

Friday 17 May 2013

The Sage lights a fire

Well, we've been beaten.  But at least we're warm tonight.  The may is out, but I'm adding clouts, not casting them.

The Sage was in London today.  I had a long discussion with the Head this morning.  Several matters to consider.  I've spent most of the rest of the day doing not much as a consequence, letting things settle.  And this is quite a good sign, that I was able to relax and let my thoughts flow without conscious intervention.  Not that I did so at once, it took a spell of sitting by the Aga munching Twiglets - I should add that I ate pineapple later, to perfect the meal - to get things straight - I'm sorry to be cryptic, but there are several irons going into fires and some may be quietly removed, but others probably won't be.  All good in the long run, but I've unanswered questions at present.

Still, better than not having enough to do, innit?  Seriously, I'd hate to do nothing but think of the housework, the next supper party or dabbling in watercolours, and I used to know a number of women bored out of their skulls doing just that, in the days when many of them didn't go out to work and use their brains - fine for me in twenty years' time, but not yet.  Not that you have to go *out* to work, but you have to be challenged and feel a sense of achievement.

Mentioning twenty years' time is a moment of rare optimism, I note.  I don't care to look forward very far, usually.

Anyway, after my Twiglet/pineapple lunch, I took Ben out for a good run and enjoyed the quiet.  Just birdsong, for the most part.  I said to the Sage on Monday, when we were on our way back from Lowestoft, how I love this time of year, when the leaves are still young and fresh and you really notice the different shades of green.  And there's birdsong all day long, and parent birds taking beakfuls of grubs back to the nest.  It's a joyous time, apart from it being bloody cold this year.

Trout and asparagus for supper.  It'll be a short asparagus season this year, the growers stop cutting on the longest day, because they need to give time for the crowns to build up strength.  So, if it's expensive, bear in mind that they only have a few weeks to make money when the plants are in the ground all year, and that it's cut by hand, painstakingly.  If we aren't willing to pay, they'll grub it up and grow sugarbeet instead.  If you'd buy a magazine or a cup of coffee, invest the money in asparagus for the next five weeks.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Very nearly an armful

Yes, it's that time again.  I wondered if I'd have to cancel at the last minute, but I felt fine this morning, albeit a little hoarse (insert joke of your own choosing), which is probably the effect of oilseed rape fumes.  I've been in Music all day, then off to the blood donor clinic.

Most amusing moment of the day was when a fanfare was played and correctly identified as such and the children suggested when it might be used. "When *the headmaster* comes in," said young Charlotte.  

There was much jollity at the clinic, mind you, where we had to wait for a while.  "They always overbook," Kevin explained, "but sometimes everyone turns up."  And they've got new couches, very comfortable but they take more room overall than the old flat beds so they can only fit in six instead of nine.  One young man was donating for the first time and was very nervous and his girlfriend and a friend had come to give support.  Doing something you're afraid to do makes you very brave, well done to him.

Tonight, I'm guaranteed a meal, because I'm going out to supper.  And tomorrow, the Sage will be in London - actually, we haven't seen a lot of each other this week, so at least we'll have plenty to talk about on Friday evening.  

Wednesday 15 May 2013

After you, Claude...

This is where I've been today, and very splendid it was.  Cold, though.  I dutifully spent quite a long time in the garden and rather wished that, as well as two jumpers and two jackets, I'd worn gloves.

I'm still tired, hoarse voice, tickly cough.  It's either a cold or a reaction to all the fields of oilseed rape that are now in flower.  I had a little nap on the way home and, I'm afraid, an early night is indicated at the moment.  I hate early nights.  I've nothing against getting up early, but evening time is when I perk up and feel most cheery.  But the Sage is out and may need a lift home, so I'll have to stay alert for now.

I had just cooked myself scrambled eggs, put them on half a slice of toast, Marmited the other half and started eating, when someone called round to see the Sage.  Of course, he's out, but when I came back having explained that, I found the dog had eaten my eggs.  I'm really not very lucky with evening meals at the moment.  I've eaten some cucumber.  I can't have a glass of wine in case I'm driving and, actually, I don't really want one.

H'm.  I must be under the weather.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Nothing but praise for BT, really.  The young (he looked about 14, but I'm sure he wasn't) man spent a couple of hours tracking down the fault and putting it right, I've just had a call back to make sure we're satisfied and they'll keep the case open for another five days so that we get a prompt follow-up if necessary.  Calls to help centres, which are free, were answered by people who, whether in this country or in India, were not talking from checklists.  And there are lots of places to get free wifi on my phone, which is useful now I've got limited data included in my mobile package.

I'm so tired today, not sure why.  I slept unusually well for a couple of nights and then was back to normal for the next two, so maybe that's the reason, or maybe it's the return of cold, wet weather.  It started as a dull day in any case, we stayed in all morning because of the BT lad, then I had to drive the Sage over to Lowestoft and it was only after we arrived home that things perked up, because Al and co arrived and I cooked their tea.  Pugsley is a slightly fussy eater, though much better than he was at one time, but I hit the spot.  With little time in hand, I made chicken nuggets (made, not bought, obv, darlings) and served them with sausages, cucumber and, ahem, mini Cheddars.  Look, they're not junk food, they contain real cheese.  And they had ketchup too, which is full of goodness.  Full.  Besides, then they had strawberries (local strawbs, of course) and raspberry ripple ice cream with real raspberry: that is, excellent quality with no additives.  Not that I'm being defensive or anything.  And dinner was on the table 20 minutes from starting work.

It was a bit early for me, mind you, and I thought I'd tuck into the leftovers, which were chicken and strawberries.  But just before going to his meeting, the Sage polished off the chicken.  And there was nothing else I fancied.  I couldn't be bothered to cook, I was going to make a little salad and some tartare sauce because I wanted crunchy and piquant and no work to speak of.

I've eaten another packet of mini Cheddars (I KNOW, you don't have to look at me like that), the rest of the strawberries and some toast and Marmite.  No, it's no way to feed myself.  But I seem to be out of anything I want to eat.  I have kippers, yoghurt, stuff in the freezer, three-quarters of a cooked baked potato because I can't eat a whole one.  I've got loads of eggs, some bacon, some Parmesan but no other cheese. I've got plenty of vegetables: asparagus, cauliflower, courgettes, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, sweet potato.  But no garlic, no chilli.  Capers, but you can't eat more than a few capers.  Olives, but they're not exactly it.

I could consider just getting over myself?  Do you know, that's the best suggestion of the day.  I've got some lovely Montezuma chocolate, I'll cuddle the dog, I'll drink coffee and maybe a dram, though I'm out of Laphroaig.

Monday 13 May 2013

Still no broadband

1 I have sent in my passport renewal application at last. Yes, I've had the form for a while, but in fact I'm not going abroad until September and it runs out in December, so I'm in good time.

2 BT is coming to sort out the Internet connection tomorrow morning. I had things that needed doing, so spent half an hour on the library computer this morning.

3 The skip has arrived. The Sage and I will devote tomorrow morning to feeding it.

4 Local rhubarb in a crumble on Sunday, our first asparagus from the garden last night (though we gave the very first to Weeza the other day). And the lilac is nearly out. The weather isn't springlike, but the feel is.

5 Governors' meeting today. And oh look. It's nearly time to open a bottle. Here's mud in your eye, dear hearts.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday 12 May 2013

Z is offline

That is, following a brief power cut this morning, the broadband connection wouldn't restart. I phoned, the helpful chap at the other end of the line (wazzup with BT? I've had nothing but good service from them recently) tried to put it right, but it was at the exchange - anyway, he reported it and I daresay it'll be put right sooner or later.

Martina was asking about the name given to a house's living room in this country. Potential for disagreement there, what do you call it? Living room, sitting room, parlour, drawing room, front room, lounge? And does it matter to you?

An evening of reading and DVDs awaits, darlings. Sorry if you're waiting for me to play my turn at Scrabble etc, I'll return when the internets do.

Love, Z

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday 11 May 2013

Z is still useful

Changes are afoot here at the Zeddary (the spelling is optional, I like to ring the changes).  Have a look at the Sage's website and you'll see what I mean.

This is part of what has been behind my intention to retire as a governor, but I'm thinking again.  We've had a few straightforward talks recently, and I have been thinking things through.

What I'm good at, you see, is problem-solving, putting together what I know from various places and coming up with ideas.  Give me something to work with and I can see it from different angles and sometimes the comments I make are surprisingly helpful.  Not having enough to stimulate me will bore me silly.  I've no particular skill or overriding hobby, and taking up something for the sake of filling my time is a pretty dreadful thought.  I'm practical and I love to have a go, but I'm not artistic, I'm not a writer or a musician (much as I love art, books and music), nor am I especially skilled with my hands, though I'm pretty practical.  Looking after the house and garden, eating out and social small talk, taking up a hobby, are fine for when I'm much older than I am now, but that sort of retirement will just not do for now.

Natural inclinations that are better overriden are introspection, an inclination to melancholy (not depression) and solitude, a readiness to be lazy.  What I'd rather encourage in myself are enthusiasm, readiness to pitch in and work hard, a real love of people.  I'm very patient but I'm also easily bored.  I'm good at involving myself in a range of activities because I'm able to compartmentalise, dismiss one thing entirely from my mind temporarily to concentrate wholly on the matter in hand.

There's not going to be any great changes in the Sage's life, just a lifting of some of the work that he and I both do and which is becoming a burden.  He has plenty to occupy his time and if he wants us to do anything together we will.  But it'll be his choice of activity for the most part, he's either very interested in something or he isn't, there is no middle way.  I'll take an interest in pretty well anything, but not necessarily in any great depth.  He had been very reluctant to say he'd give up auctioneering, but once the decision was made (and Weeza and I both pushed for it) he realised it was the right one and he's looking forward to the freedom.   He's already become rather less active at home, it's me who has taken on much of the heavier work in house and garden that we used to do together or he did.

In short, I'm still going to work on finding someone to take over from me as chairman of governors, but I'm going to relax about the timescale.  There's a lot of work to do and there will be an even greater spread to come, so I need to relinquish a couple of the things I do now, to give me scope.  It'll be stimulating, whether or not it's always enjoyable.  I think I'll know the time to give up, and it'll be when I've got a successor and everything's going well.  Because when there are problems to solve, that's not the time to quit, not if I can be useful.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Z's days

There are things that I'm not too keen on about my life, but what I do like is the variety.  A couple of days will give an example -


  • Committee meeting at the school - these aren't boring, but entirely purposeful.  Staff members are always invited to give a presentation at the start on current matters and I'm always impressed by the level of knowledge and involvement of other governors.
  • The courtyard, I noticed last week, needed weeding.  A group of governors, including the Head, had done this last summer but we'd omitted to establish whose responsibility it would be in the future.  So I thought I'd spend a spare hour there.  I was told afterwards that students were asking who I was (this is at our sixth form centre - all our long-term pupils would know me, but those who joined us for the sixth form probably wouldn't) and they were assured I was Really Important.  Heh.  Three garden refuse sacks of weeds later, I'd done about two thirds and will go back and finish it off unless someone can bribe a few students (apparently, a lollipop engenders much goodwill).
  • Shopping - just groceries, but it all got a bit complicated.  
  • Driving to Norwich to pick up Zerlina from school, a great pleasure.  We went to the playground, then to the Post Office to post several hundred catalogues for the auction next month and buy ice cream, then went to visit Weeza to pick up a front door key because I discovered mine wasn't on my fob - got to search for that, then went home and did jigsaws and played in the garden.  I made her tea which she ate in its entirety, good girl.
  • Home, Squiffany was at Brownies as usual on a Tuesday, so the rest of the family was here.  I only caught them for half an hour, but it was nice to do so.
  • Meeting at school about a new project, this was largely to confirm financial matters.  One particular item gave cause for concern because we didn't feel enough money had been allowed for it.  Had a second meeting to thrash this out, more money in the pot as a result.
  • Over to a junior school in Norwich to help out with an art project - this is a Nadfas thing, they sponsored an artist to go into the school for four days to do a project with two classes.  We made dragons' heads, the bodies having been made yesterday.  Great fun, lovely children who were beautifully behaved - this is not a prosperous area of Norwich, but the school is obviously very well run.  
  • Haircut
  • After an early supper, meeting at the village pub to start planning this year's village festival, which we have decided will be in September this year.  I took the notes, which I haven't emailed out yet - I was going to do it last night, but found I had emails to answer and Scrabble to play, so did that instead.
Nothing strenuous, you see, which is just as well because I ache rather a lot after my weekend efforts.  But varied and interesting.  However, I was too tired to write more and my apologies for lack of blogging. 

Monday 6 May 2013

Z is going to need an early night

i wasn't going to blog tonight, or for a few days.  I'm too tired and grumpy.  But then I figured, what the hell.

I fetched my electric lawnmower back from Ronan last night, because the Sage's sit-on mower didn't work any more and I had my doubts if it would - at least, I'd get the lawns in check.  And so I have, and I'm just a bit knackered.  Ours took two hours, then I moved stuff ready for the skip, moved other stuff to burn, burned it, took the dog for ... oh no, turned out the Sage hadn't had lunch so I cooked him lunch ... took the dog for a lovely run on the marshes, came home, lost track of time a bit, got the mower out again and mowed the bungalow lawn.  Darlings, you don't deserve the most boring picture of the year: that of the heap of lawn clippings, but I never pretended to be interesting.

Oh.  Sorry.  It's so boring that even Blogger has rejected it.  Three times.

Sooooo, I didn't even leave a job for the garden fairies, but cleared away everything and then went for a bath, not forgetting to put a bottle of Cava to chill.  Because I needed the pick-me-up of bubbles, but it was more grim satisfaction than celebration, so I saved the champagne for a gooder day.  But the bath was nice, and I put on a face pack and everything.  Including pyjamas in due course, so that when the Sage said he was going down to the pub and would I like to come, I said no, because I'd already opened said Cava and started cooking dinner and wasn't actually dressed.  I say cooking dinner, but I haven't shopped for days and was reduced to an onion in the way of veggies, and half a cucumber, so it was spaghetti with tomato sauce and cheese and a cucumber salad.

And that was surprisingly entertaining, because the dog adores spaghetti and turns his head to one side to chomp it down.  I just hope it isn't returned in an inappropriate fashion.

No, I left half of the day out...but I'm too tired.  Some other time, darlings.  I'm flagging rapidly and it's only half past eight.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Ups and downs...(and ellipses, never forget the ellipses...)

Well, the day has had its ups and downs...

We've been getting on with clearing up rubbish, and the Sage has finally agreed that I'm right in suggesting that simply getting a skip and filling it is the way to go.  As I've said more than once, I don't want to throw away anything he'd rather keep, but the alternative is many visits to the dump - that'll be my job, not his - and it'll be simpler and easier to fill a skip.

Then he let the chickens out into the veg garden, and I let Ben out - not into the veg garden, but out without a lead.  No one told me when a chicken flew over the wall, or I'd have gone and fetched her before he caught her.

I couldn't help hearing Benny Hill music as we chased them, but it was far more upsetting, even than his (BH'S) distinctly dodgy, by today's sensibilities, actions - he (Ben) dropped her a couple of times and it was apparent that she was alive...anyway, after a few minutes he either got tired or realised we were going to catch him anyway, and stayed still while the Sage took his collar.  "Don't pull!" I warned him and said "Drop!" sternly to Ben, while looking into his eyes and parting his jaws, and the Sage rescued the hen - who seems fine.  He is a retriever, not a killer, thank goodness, not that this must happen again.  Poor little bantam.

So, a five-foot wall is easy for them to fly over and we have to clip their wings.  Ben was good in all other respects ("apart from that, Mrs Lincoln...?")  and he has to be let go, to learn to come back.

I'm afraid that reporting that I'd seen bees at Al's hives was a misleading sighting: they were a few foraging ones.  Al lost all three hivesful over the winter: he's cleared everything away today and won't restock until next year.  They died because of the long, cold winter, there was still food left.  Other friends lost all their bees too - you'd have needed quite a few strong colonies to keep them going.

I had to wrestle Ben after we'd rescued the chicken, and it's been acknowledged that I'm stronger than he is.  He doesn't realise by how little - but at heart I'm a winner ... against a dog, anyway.

Al, Dilly and the children came over after Squiffany's gymnastics in Beccles - lovely to see them.  Squiff has become quite nervous of dogs, but when she saw her baby brother Hay was confident, she plucked up courage and stroked Ben too.  Tired after his bantam wrangling, he lay there looking happy.  So let's hope that's a problem solved.

Friday 3 May 2013

Nephelococcygia (sp?)

I've been doing some more thinking and I have come to a balanced solution that I think will suit everyone.  But then I was ever the optimist...we'll see.

Sunny and warm at last, woo hoo!  And just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend.  Actually, it's been noticeable this year that holidays have had reasonable weather - well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, it being two out of two, but that's a lot better odds than most years, when the prospect of a Monday off brings on biting winds and horizontal rain.

I've no particular plans, myself.  One tentative one for tomorrow has fallen through, so I'm open to suggestions.  Although it's quite possible that I won't leave here at all except to walk the dog.  Now that the grass is growing, there's too much to do and I suspect that the Sage hopes I've forgotten about an ultimatum that I issued a month ago.  What I haven't done all week is read blogs, I'm afraid, so there won't be many comments while I catch up again.  And if I'm out in the garden, there won't be too much of that...

I'm rambling, I'm afraid.  If you haven't met me yet, this is worryingly like the way I normally speak, when I'm not in incisive chair of governors mode, that is.  A little touch of irony there?  D'you think so?

Ben says he wants attention and I've been at the computer too long.  Fair enough.  Mind you, since it was only ten minutes ago that he threw up on the drawing room floor, I think it's I, who cleaned it up, who could do with being made a fuss of.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Z looks at herself, flatteringly (over-flatteringly)

I've been doing a bit of straightforward self-appraisal, but with a deliberately appreciative eye.  And yes, I can see why people are reluctant to take over from me.  Normally, one sees ones shortcomings and takes for granted what one does well enough, but I have to understand the situation.

Today, I was due in Music - two double lessons, one before lunch and one after, with two Year 7 classes.  First, the downside - I've missed the last two because I was out for lunch.   Then the balance - I had a great time (nothing to do with being a governor, that, except that it matters to me that I spend time in the classroom because that's what matters most in a school, the learning and the teaching) and I was some use.  Indeed, this afternoon, a lad observed "When you concentrate, this is really good" and that was as a result of my input (including, darlings, I sang along to help.  I am a reluctant singer, normally).  In addition, though I'm not in with a governor's hat on, it keeps me aware of what's going on, I can't help observing, though I have a careful awareness of the position of trust I'm in.

On the way in, I was spotted by the Head, who came over for a chat and filled me in on a situation.  I understood completely because I know the background and everyone involved.  We discussed and agreed what I'd do, and I assured him I'd not go beyond that.  Don't make a tricky situation worse through naivety, or leap in through over-enthusiasm.  Come to that - darlings, this is Z with Good Advice hat on - write an email, save it and read it again the next day.  You'll probably tone it down.  If you're on shaky ground, even in one small area, that's what'll be picked up, so don't say it.

Later, I had lunch in school (pleasing the cooks, being seen by pupils and chatting with teachers) and then went for a chat in the Finance department, where I was filled in on another area - no need to do anything, it's being done (nothing to do with money, btw) but a potential problem that needs quick attention (and an appreciative email to another member of staff).

That's it, really.  Four and a half hours in school, two and a half on Tuesday, it'll be another hour or so tomorrow - that's the equivalent of a day, plus about three hours of computer work, plus some discussion, another two hours perhaps - though a fair bit of that was about me, so let's call it another half-day's worth.  But it's not the time spent this week, it's the accumulation of time that gives me the experience.

Right, so that's how I happen to do the job.  It's not necessary to be so hands-on, it's how I like to do it, keeping my ear to the ground and not thinking of this as a managerial job but as one that involves people, especially the children and their future prospects (in an all-round sense, I'm not meaning just exam results).  It's the reason I have been doing it for the past twenty-five years - that's an exaggeration but not much, it'll be twenty-five on 1st September.

I can also talk about my shortcomings because there are plenty of those, but they're what I grapple with in private, not that I won't acknowledge them in public.  I'm a simple person who is good at making links, but I have to do a lot of work to be able to make those links and others could pick up the details quicker.  In addition, this job is changing, in future it will be more strategic and less hands-on, more for someone with solid business experience and that won't be me.

I've run out of steam, I don't know what more to say.  Anyone with the interest and some time could do this job, but they'd do it differently from me.  But that would be fine, I'm not doing it as well as it could be done, just as well as I can with the time and ability I've got.  I put on a good face, that's all.

Anyway, in other news, it's looking up on the Nadfas secretary front.  We might have a volunteer.  I think that's a three-exclamation moment, don't you?  We might have a volunteer !!(!)  I'll keep you posted, darlings.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Z goes to the Fisher

The local theatre is branching out - it already shows films, a mainstream one once a week and an indy/foreign film with a cinema club, also once a week.  But now they're joining in the screening of opera performances and are doing several of them through the summer.  In addition, they're screening films of plays currently on in London, including the Othello that's received such good reviews recently. That'll be in the autumn.  Also a satellite broadcast from the British Museum of the current Pompeii exhibition, in July.

None of this is going to be like the real thing of course, but I hope it'll be an adequate substitute and I hope it'll be well supported.

This theatre has been a remarkable success story.  It was a Georgian theatre, long disused as such and most recently was used as a storage warehouse by clothing importers.  A group of enthusiasts started a fund to get it converted back and at that time there were still generous EU grants - all the same, they had to raise an equivalent sum themselves.  I honestly thought it was a pipe dream, but they did it and it's a brilliant venue and they have all sorts of imaginative showings there.  It's also available for hire for various events - the local branch of Nadfas uses it, for instance, and there are book signings, parties, charity dos and so on.  A lot of the people who manage it are volunteers and it's a labour of great love.  I don't get there enough - the Sage isn't fond of theatre or cinema and I don't like to leave him too often in the evening.  I used to have various meetings in the evenings, but not now, or rarely.

Tomorrow morning, I must print out the address labels for the catalogue for the next sale - I meant to do it today.  I hope I've got enough sheets of labels, though I can buy a few more locally if necessary.  I'll tell you about the sale another day.

I was practising the organ the other day when it occurred to me that I'd never seen myself play - well, obviously, since I've never been filmed.  So I did - that is, I started my phone camera and balanced it on the sheet music ledge and played it back.  Yes well, it was amusing anyway.  Rest assured, I deleted it once watched - no one else has or will see it!  I look so solemn - though there wasn't too much scope for mistakes in Abide With Me, at least.  At least I keep my eyes on the music rather than the keyboard most of the time...