Well soon anyway.
Things I absolutely must remember in the next day and a bit
1. Wear apron at all times in the kitchen. (last wash going in soon. I might want to wear some of that stuff I’m wearing now when I’m away – Oh damnit all! I forgot to wash the apron)
2.The dog (not just to take him with us but also to deflea, deworm and demoult him and his basket before we go)
3. Key and marjoram plant for next door (so they can feed and love the cats while we’re away and nurture my marjoram plant)
4. Canals are just as much fun in the pouring rain as in the sunshine (it just started to rain but I don’t care, lalalalala – la)
5. Dry the washing (so I can take some of it with me)
6. Do the washing (oops!)
7. Don’t get involved with blogs, photos or email till I’ve done everything else (oh. well. um. Everything else? All of it?Hmm)
8. Go to bed early (yep. promise. I’ll do it tonight – that’ll be enough won’t it? One early bed?)
9. Get up early (Ooh last chance tomorrow!)
10. OMG I knew I’d forget something.
We won’t have any internet for the next longish time. What’s more, we won’t have proper power for charging batteries and stuff which threw me into a flat spin the minute I read the holiday bumff, since my laptop battery only lasts an hour and a bit and I don’t have anything like enough memory cards for all that canal beauty I’ll be seeing and my little storage hard drive died in India.
So, lots of panic internet viewing of charging gadgets and BIG SD cards and lots of serious investigation of the most delightful looking little netbook (9 hours battery life, 160 gigs of ram and 2? really? gigs of rom – I’m really not sure if I’ve got that the right way round but you know, memory for pics and memory for doing stuff – and really good reviews.) And a really really big price tag. And two days to get it here – of course no one’s selling it in store.
So I quickly and efficiently (ahrem) ordered some big SD cards and an incar camera battery charger (the boat boasts a cigarette lighter type power point for charging mobiles) and of course they haven’t arrived. So before I do all the things I mustn’t forget I need to rush off and buy these things in Reading so then I’ll have twice as much as I need of all of them which won’t be a very bad thing will it? Well I know at least one Nikon user who might have a use for the extra battery charger!
Ok. It’s pouring with rain. Must be time to go. I seem to have forgotten #7 don’t I : )
Later, having returned triumphant, with 16 Gigs of SD card and a few bits of bread and bacon and stuff, and also having packed a large number of big bags full to bursting with all kinds of absolutely essential items I am seriously confused to find that on my list, near the bottom, along with ‘dog treats’ and ‘buy nail clippers’, it says ‘white cotton”
What white cotton? White cotton what? What was I talking about? What do I mean? I don’t have any white cotton (unless you count a couple of sheets – ooh I wonder if there’s sheets on the boat?)See you when I get back. Hope the weather keeps nice for us all.
?:0 White cotton?
Starting at the end of the story you see. The dishwasher is now full and busily doing its thing. And this time it’s full of water too.
Yesterday, when we had friends to stay the night, Barney was creating wonderful things in the kitchen, as he does, and suddenly appeared to ask if we wanted the bad news? We looked blank. The water’s off he said. Ohhhh! I thought. And that’s why the dishwasher light was flashing indignantly at me when I told it to start half an hour ago.
So then I’m wondering aloud, “now, what can’t we do?” Because things often stop working around here. And you get confused. The main thing is you can still have coffee as long as you have some water, even when it’s the power that’s off, because the cooker runs on bottled gas. In fact there aren’t many things you can’t do apart from washing up. Oh and flushing the loo and showering and a few etceteras like that.
So there’s the kitchen, bursting at the seams with evidence of Barney’s creative culinary efforts. And all four of us thinking “I should have gone to the loo before we left the pub”. These things happen and after a bit of rooting around, there comes a cry from me from the larder “I found some water!” It all begins to feel a bit biblical as if I’d struck oil water in the larder but in fact it’s just a giant water bottle we were given last time the water was cut off : )
So going backwards a bit more, we’d invited two of the lovely people I went to Skye with for dinner and to stay over and taken them to the pub in the afternoon, because they didn’t know Barney and it seemed like a good plan for Barney and the Photo pixie to walk there with the dog while Cuddly lady with the lion’s mane and me drove so that we could all come back by car. The sun shone (I can’t believe how much it’s been doing that this summer) and it was all very very nice. (And they were very nice about not being able to flush the loo or anything too).
Then going back even a bit further, the previous day, Barney and I went to a mini music festival in Reading and were treated to fabulous fast and furious fiddle music as well as dreaming strings from the totally wonderful Feast of Fiddles. Imagine any number up to seven (four in this case) virtuoso folk fiddlers with bass, guitar, drums and melodion as a backing band and think of sun and breezes and a small field on a summer’s afternoon and you get the idea. Later we fled from an assault of extreme loudness with no discernible melody but in between there was plenty of nice music.
The upshot is I didn’t get much sleep this weekend at either end of any of the nights and now I’m quite, quite knackered. the water came back as Photo Pixie and Lion Lady were leaving so as soon as I’d started the first of four dishwashings, I just crawled upstairs and went to bed for an hour. Because tonight I’m committed to going to a Newbury Flickr group meet. And I keep missing them and I really don’t want to miss this one.
It matters not. What’s a few hours of sleep compared to wonderful music and delightful company? A mere bagatelle is what I say : ) And now I’m going to go and catch another hour or so.
Oh but I forgot to say, just in case any grass might think of growing under our feet, (there’s a lot of it growing out in the garden but that’s different, being entirely Barney’s department) we’re off on holiday again in a few days. Canals this time and nowhere more exotic than the country around Birmingham and Wolverhampton – not known for it’s landscapes but on the canals you see a whole different world.
So now (several days later) I’m beginning to think maybe I ought to do a little bit of panicking and quite a lot of list making. Deflea the dog and hoover his bed and stuff like that.
Sleep well and I hope all your plans are going well.
I’m not sure I meant to do that.
Got a bit cocky after adding a lot of RSS feeds and playing with widgets.
And then I thought I’d change the header. and then it went ahead and saved it for me – no going back! Why didn’t I look for a preview button?
There isn’t one. Ah.
Well it’ll do for now.
Some time ago I bought the dog a new harness for his lead thinking that a lead that stayed on top of his shoulders would make it less easy for him to tie his feet in knots. This worked fine but today I discovered a new way in which he is able to get himself well and truly knotted!
He was tied up outside the back door so that he could either lie in the sun till he was panting for breath in the heat (his preferred way to spend time out there) or lie in the shade and be cool or wander inside and let me know he’d like to come and pant in here for a while.
Suddenly there was an almighty yowling, gasping, crashing and general mayhem at the back door so I went to have a look and found the poor mutt hung up on the back door bolt by his nice new harness with his paws somehow tangled up in it, practically strangling and helplessly muzzled. What made it quite a lot worse was that having, apparently, taken leave of her senses or maybe being deeply offended by him blocking the door or perhaps even horrified by his transformation into a heaving, wheezing, gasping obstruction, the cat was attacking him! Launching herself bodily at his trapped head and attempting to scratch his eyes out or at least his nose and ears off! Fortunately none of these were really accessible and even more fortunately, the harness thing has a quick release catch which I quickly released. (giving the cat a quick whack at the same time since I didn’t relish her attacks landing on my tender skin). Normally more or less polite to each other, dog chased cat ten feet up the drive and cat chased dog back again! I suppose he felt, reasonably enough, that trying to kick a dog when he’s hung up is beyond the pale. I suppose she was saying something like “well you shouldn’t behave like that! It’s not right”.
All seems to be quiet now. the dog got away with a couple of small scratches and is now lying on the lawn (in the shade as I decided not to give him the option of baking himself silly seing as how he’s just had a shock to his elderly system) and after prowling a bit, the cat has vanished.
(No photos I’m afraid – it seemed marginally more important to unhook him before he expired or lost an eye than to get a shot of his entanglement : )
Meanwhile, what is it about modern technology and beeps?
I am using various electronic things simultaneously – bread-maker, oven-timer, microwave, computer etc etc.
So the oven timer beeps to tell me the quiche needs checking and almost immediately there’s another beep … oops, a text message on the mobile. From the quitchen kitchen a small triple beep to let me know I can add stuff to the bread if I want (shut up!). Back to the phone, but as I turn there’s another beep in the kitchen! What? Oh, the potato in the microwave needs turning. Having burnt all my fingers I head back to the text message only to be hauled back to the kitchen by a frantically beeping oven – the quiche! the quiche! Oh no! Beep beep! The potato needs to come out and go in the oven! Wait wait – the phone (landline) is beeping!
From the dining room a mournful bloop tells me that the mobile phone is tired of waiting and furthermore, its battery is running low. From the kitchen comes a siren beep telling me that…um…er…what is that beep for?????
Eventually everything is done and tucked into the places where they need to be (that can’t be right grammatically speaking can it?) and I suddenly feel I’m missing something. I look round the kitchen, the dining room. Everything in place. I listen to the silence.
Yep! you got it 🙂 No beeping!
I got one of these today.
I am supposed to pick 12 women (who have touched my life) and whom I think would want to participate. I think that if this group of women were ever to be in a room together, there is nothing that would be impossible. I hope I chose the right twelve. My hugs, love, gestures and communications hopefully remind you how special you are. Please send this back to me. Remember to make a wish before you read the quotation.
That’s all you have to do. There is nothing attached. Just send this to twelve women and let me know what happens on the fourth day. Sorry you have to forward the message, but try not to break this, please. Did you make a wish yet? If you don’t make a wish, it won’t come true. This is your last chance to make a wish!
/”May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you./ /May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”/
Now, send this to 12 women within the next 5 minutes.. And remember to send this back. I count as 1… You’ll see why. Suggestion: copy and paste rather than forwarding it.Thanks….
As a rule, I ignore and delete them without a second thought but this one came from someone I respect and like and also, it’s a very gently and kindly written one (no overt threats or promises).
But I still can’t do it.
You see, for a wish to come true, a number of other things will also need to be true which are currently not true. Fr’instance “I wish this wasn’t so heavy”. Well the heavy thing has a certain density and mass and the gravity of the planet is acting upon its molecules in order that you should feel its weight. In order for it to feel lighter some very dramatic changes will be required, either to change its density or its mass or the gravity. Changing the gravity of the planet woud be effective but, well potentially alarming and even disastrous. Changing the density or mass of your heavy object could only, reasonably, be achieved by damaging it.
And, suppose, just for a second, that such a thing could have an effect. Suppose then that I wished for something grand and splendid – an end to violence in the world, food enough for all the children, love to spread benignly through all the miseries that there are and healing to follow. Couldn’t be bad eh? Only how can I know in what way such a wish might be granted. Universal death would end violence quite efficiently. Would all the parents have to starve to feed all the children? Love is a many splendoured and many faceted thing; often, it provokes violence and cruelty and sorrow and the healing that follows can be cruel and leave both lovers and love objects broken beyond repair.
So, ok, I know I can’t mend the world with a wish – I am simply not clever enough.
So how about something very small and simple. It’s no good. I can’t think of anything I might wish for that would be guaranteed free of repercussions which I hadn’t bargained for. No matter how much detail I add, I can’t think of everything. Wishes are fine. Wishes are part of human nature. And I’ve no objection to the odd wish coming true, through chance or kindness or some other random force – naturally. But wishes made true are a dangerous idea. And, I think, a foolish one.
Besides, finally, I have this conviction that change cannot be made by wishing. It can only be made by doing. It’s easy to imagine that, what with swift communication and the wonders of modern technology and all that, ‘something could be done’ so easily and quickly, about all the ills of the world. But we should know by now, the more wonderful and quick and astonishing and effective a thing is, the more it leaves a detritus to be dealt with behind it.
No. No wishes. No magical aid for us all. Just as it was never true that we’d all end up rich if we just sent the chain letters on their way, it’s equally not true that if we could suddenly make wishes come true that would make anyone happier or better off.
Meanwhile, I wish you all peace and contentment and a good night’s sleep 🙂 It’s only a wish. There’s no great, magical, womanly power behind it. Just the small and ultimately satisfactory power of knowing I mean well to you all.
Btw, if you’d like one yourself, let me know, I’ll send it to you : )
Let’s all have some shall we : )
and while we’re at it, let’s have some fun
And Salad Soup : )
This is a discovery I’ve been thinking about making for some time and today, I made it. Both the soup and the discovery.
It’s very very simple (like all my favourite discoveries but unlike many of them, it works!)
You’ve got this big bowl of left over salad see, and maybe a little bit of tomato salad on the side and if you’re very lucky, a spoonful of last night’s parsley sauce. So you put some oil in a saucepan, fry and sweat the salad a bit (I doubt if it matters what’s in it – well, hardboiled egg might not be so good). Then you add the tomato salad with its juices and marinade and stir in the parsley sauce (I have to say, that’s a real bonus) top up with not too much water and season a bit, bring to a simmer for ten minutes or so and then whizz it up with a blender. If you need a bit more, you can add some stock.
Now I have to go and cook curry.
The whole area is littered with warning signs about imminent road closures. A couple of weeks ago, we were closed while some parts of our road were repaired. Last week we were closed again while other parts got their turn. What was odd about it was that they repaired two non-contiguous* sections of road the first time and then the next time they did the bits either side. But with a different surface. So now we have a gritted section followed by a tarmac section followed by another gritted section – and so on. And what made it all the more interesting for us was that one of the joins is at the end of our drive. Well whatever the reason, the whole of our road is now smooth and, in places, nearly twice the width it used to be which will make passing other cars much less stressful to us and our tyres and suspension.
Both of us used to work at the Road Research Laboratory a long time ago which may have encouraged us to criticise the fact that they most certainly didn’t dig out the top two layers of road surface to expose the bulky stuff at the bottom but just scraped off a tiny thickness of tarmac before laying a single thickness of new tarmac and grit. And while it looks wonderful where they’ve widened it for passing, it surely won’t be long before the nice new surface sinks into the old potholes and ruts underneath. And indeed, may even fall off the road altogether into ditches and gullies since the widening has damaged a good deal of turf and hedge, along the banks, beyond repair. We’ll enjoy it while it does last though : )
Meanwhile, I’ve noticed at least four other sets of road closure notices set for different dates and I’m trying, quite unsuccessfully, to keep the dates in my head so I won’t spend too much time having to follow unsuitable diversions around the countryside over the next two months. (I’m always completely convinced that no official diversion follows a sensible route)
On my way into town today I was interestingly delayed by the most enormous slow lorry. There’s a bridge, somewhere along the main route from the M4 into Newbury which isn’t big enough for enormous vehicles and every so often, such vehicles are diverted along the B Road. It seemed quite impossible that this one, which looked as though it was as big as a house (in fact maybe it was a house!) could possibly be persuaded to fit round some of the bends it had to pass but it did. Also it seems improbable that the twisty little B road is a better alternative than the main road.You see that thing on the bend that looks like a wall? That’s it. Not its side but its back!
*thanks to photoshop for giving me contiguous. It’s a potentially useful word. I’m going to have to look it up though because I’m not sure what is the difference between congruent and contiguous. But I like them both.
I’m cooking fish and chips. Trout grilled with horseradish and almond butter and chips in fact. Mmm! I love fish. And drinking Retsina which is a taste I acquired in Greece a long time ago and passed on to Barney when we went to Greece for our 25th wedding annniversary.
Earlier today I needed vast amounts of coffee in order to outhink both my laptop (which refused to come to life – my fault – loose plug) and the Lenovo ‘help’ site which wasn’t. At all. Helpful.
Mr Treasure the computer man said using the laptop on the mains connection with the battery still inside it is why the battery no longer works so I thought I’d get a new one. Of course, my laptop is an expired model and they no longer make batteries for it. Still, by the time I’d got to the hair tearing and got – to- use – a- phone- and- speak- to- a- real- person stage, I had managed to establish the model and type and serial number and battery part number and allllll kinds of other useful information. So my phone calls (two of them because naturally, the first one was necessary for them to discover and then explain to me that my computer is obsolete and I needed to phone a parts site. Which, of course, was part of the useful information I had already discovered) were unusually swift and efficient and now I’ve paid out my arms and legs and ordered a new battery. It’s still a bit cheaper than buying a new laptop!
And yesterday, a friend who’s moving away, returned to me a very old and somewhat battered camera. It’s an Agfa Billy Record – apparently. There’s a bit of a passion among photographers for film, preferably with holgas and mamiyas and polaroids and such like but still, I thought it might be worth having a go with the old bellows! (that reminds me – I need to stick a little bit of tape over a crack in the bellows.
So tonight, I carefullly loaded my nice new 120 film (very simple compared to the modern stuff. You just attach at one end and clip in the roll and shut it all up and then wind for what seems like a long time till a number 1 appears in the little hole on the back. Remembering to turn the light off first in case light leaks into the roll. Quite fun so far : )
And today I tried it out. Being film, I’ve no idea what I’ve done – except that I definitely double exposed at least two shots out of five? four? So far.
Now I’ve got to do yet more tidying and shopping as we’re having another barbecue, for only seventeen people this time. I think the sun has gone to Barney’s head. He wants to do it again????? Well it’ll be fun. And there willl be sausages. Mmmm 🙂
Eldest told me off for editing comments to make my replies. I can see what he means in a way – editing someone else’s comment could be considered rude. And as he pointed out, now wordpress has a reply box.
Well I used it for a while and then all I could see in my side bar was comments from me which I don’t like! Naturally, I like to see comments from you all : )
So I’m just saying, editing your comments isn’t intended as rudeness – just to make my response personal to you who came and spoke to me. And I don’t, of course, edit your actual comment at all – just add my reply at the bottom. And also, I didn’t think anyone so far has been offended : ) But just in case….
We have a curious relationship with our local pub. When the old place was bought up by a TV celebrity chef it was almost turned into a restaurant pub but the locals made a bit of a fuss about losing their old, friendly pub and the Celeb made promises that he’d keep things welcoming for them.
It was all a bit rocky for quite a while with people abandoning the pub altogether and other people continuing to use it but complaining bitterly about anything they felt wasn’t welcoming enough. However, what with our youngest working there, first as a barmaid and then gradually working her way through the hierarchy until she was effectively front of house manager, Barney made friends of all the pub staff. Particularly the kitchen staff.
As a result, our table gets a free, big heap of roast potatoes every Sunday afternoon and all kinds of tasty goodies on a Friday evening – the other day he told me not to give him too much to eat before he goes out on a Friday because he won’t have room for all the salt beef and pickles he’ll get offered!) I’ve no idea if Mr Celeb knows exactly how much free food goes to keep his regular, old locals happy but it certainly works. And when chefs leave (which they often do) they always seem to leave a message to ‘look after Barney and his mates’. Because it’s never long before Barney is deep in conversation with the newcomer about food and cooking and life and knows his complete life history and a plate of some kind of ‘leftovers’ has started arriving on Sundays and fridays.
Anyway, the current front of house manager (Jean Marie, usually called Bain Marie by the locals) is leaving and he asked if we would play some music in the afternoon for his last day. So we gathered together a couple of other musicians who weren’t on holiday and sat in the pub garden and played assorted blues and folk and jazz for what seemed like hours – actually, it was, four hours*! Barney made Bain Marie a chocolate tart which vanished amazingly swiftly, and we got free and delicious pizzas and free drinks (as well as the roast potatoes). Not bad at al**l!
I do hope Bain Marie has passed on the message to the new person!
Last week, we were there on the Sunday afternoon too. A different group of musicians were playing and it was all very pleasant and sunny and relaxed. A number of people expressed interest in my camera and one or two of them even picked it up and took a shot or two.
Rather good ones what’s more!
Nice coffee they do here.
Youngest was rather taken with the cello
And the fiddle player
So, not to be outdone I took the odd pic too : )
Anyway, today came and I suddenly realised I hadn’t heard from my friend whether or not she’s coming today. There were postponements and rather inconclusive emails. So now I don’t know whether to make lunch for her or not. How extraordinarily stupid of me not to check!
However, the positive side is that I now have two possible dinners for tonight, all prepared in readiness for either lunch with friend and not having enough time later to make this evening’s dinner or friend not coming and therefore dinner tonight and tomorrow!
Further positiveness is that yesterday I took myself and a pair of seriously frayed trousers, of which I am very fond, up to the ‘sewing’ room and sewed them up. I suspect this is a thing that happens mostly to fat-legged people but the fraying was all around the top of the inner thigh! Indelicate and not a good place for swift safety pin repairs! And you know what? They actually look better than they did before. However, I mustn’t get any fatter or they also won’t fit any more!
Yea, and while waiting for friend to arrive (or not as the case seems to have turned out), I sent Eldest a whole lot of very useful information and replied to several other emails, which were hanging around, and made a shopping list.
Now I’m going to go and shop!
See you later : )
*A fairly exhausting four hours since either I was carrying the tune or trying to pick up tunes played by Dave and Richard, our companions, who are both excellent guitarists and know a phenomenal number of blues and jazz stuff. Thing is, blues songs tend to sound pretty much the same when you don’t know them and Dave kept nodding at me to take a solo! I had to make a number of wild guesses at what the tune was supposed to be!
**What’s more we had a fan! An elderly Irish gentleman was made very happy by any irish tunes we played and kept coming over to ask for more. And was, how shall I put it? Charmingly complimentary about my fiddle playing. In a very Irish way, I think he very nearly kissed me goodbye when we left : )
So said my Mum, often. Sometimes a trifle plaintively.
I have to show you this. It may be the funniest thing on Utube ever
Ok so it’s 01.17. I’ve spent an hour worrying about Barney’s vanished website, an hour looking through old drafts for posts and as a result of one of them went out in the dark (as you do) with the dog and nearly fell over the new road works outside the house. Nutmeg also nearly walked into a road works sign.
So much for my non-wizardly night sight and his nose.
Then I looked at AVG (which keeps irritatingly inviting me to upgrade from good but free to even better but expensive and doesn’t have a ‘don’t send me this message again‘ box) and realised that it hasn’t done a scan since the new computer was set up. Wasn’t even intending to do any. It’s doing one now and is nicely scheduled to do some more.
Then I sent Eldest an email about the vanished website with a lot of coded information about passwords and then deleted the bit about passwords because emailing passwords is not sensible. Even when they’re so heavily disguised that even Eldest probably wouldn’t understand what I was on about.
Then I worried about the cat, my little tabby, who’s getting so thin you can almost see through bits of her. But she still eats like a horse, catches the odd mouse and runs acrosss the garden after me with her tail in the air like a scraggy litle bottle brush and her coat’s silky and she looks happy even if she does sleep a lot more than she used to.
Then I worried briefly about Barney’s tooth (the one he had out) well not the tooth so much as the gap. Actually I think it’s healing ok judging by the relative amounts of woe he’s been expressing but he does have a swollen jaw, poor love.
Then I tidied the kitchen.
So I thought, hey I could go to bed early. (at about 12.45) After a quick look on Flickr to see how my latest post is doing in the critique site. And Ooh! There was mention of making diamonds out of lumps of coal! Which is a very poetic way to say the edited version looks a lot better than the original. And then I thought I might just write a new post for a bit. Now it’s nearly 02.00. And that’s how it is that I usually don’t go to bed at a sensible time. First I worry a lot and then I decide I deserve a break and then it’s very late.
Oh well. AVG has finished the scan. The computer is ok.
Later, while brushing teeth and wondering worriedly, how long it would be before that top, back right-hand one has to come out and whether we’ll ever get a new boiler which would cost the earth but save us lots of money and be better for the environment as well and moving on to the continuing need for replacements of old things, how long before we’d really have to get another car, I suddenly remembered thinking, much much earlier in the day, how extraordinarily lucky we are. And realised that all this worrying is just a way of trying to prepare myself in case our lucky, contented, enjoyable life should suddenly take a nosedive. After all, stuff happens.
Well, a bit of worrying probably keeps you on your toes and doesn’t hurt. As long as you remember to enjoy each good moment as thoroughly as you can.
On the way to the Fairy Pools
*there used to be some old saw, plainly nonsense, which went
“early to bed and early to rise
mkes a man wealthy, healthy and wise”