Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Things that I discovered during my weekend in Cambridge with Taffa, Gareth and The Builder:

Significant and Important:

If you are out on a muddy, muddy walk through a muddy, muddy field, along muddy, muddy lanes during November, you are bound to run across thistles. If you are wearing a thick, woolly jumper, those thistles will inevitable attach themselves in the form of large seed balls to your jumper. Do not, under any circumstances, when you call into a pub for a pint after the walk, amuse yourself while having a wee by plucking the thistle balls off your jumper. All that will happen is that the balls will explode and you will end up with loads of thistle seeds in your knickers and down your trouser legs. No matter how hard you try, you will never brush absolutely all of them from your clothes and will without fail be scratched when you pull your trousers back up.

If you should feel inclined to ignore this excellent advice, you will at the very least end up with a hand full of thistle balls. Do not succumb to the temptation, no matter how strong, to toss the balls into the toilet when you flush it. All that will happen is that the thistle balls will bob merrily and cheerily in the maelstrom and refuse to disappear, thus leaving the next person to surmise that you exist on a Very Nasty Diet indeed (loads of toilet paper eventually drowned the buggers!!)

Important But Not Quite So Significant:

If you are walking along the Cam during a rowing regatta of sorts, you are in deep, dire danger of being knocked into the river by mad men on bikes riding up and down the path yelling at the rowing people to “concentrate” or “Row harder” or (unlikely in the extreme this one) “Keep trying – you’re catching them” (this to a boat which was rowing into the strong, Easterly wind and was about 3 weeks behind their opponents) and not watching where they are going. The only option during the actual races is to stand still, back off the path and watch the race. Or learn to swim


Before visiting Taffa and Gaz in November ensure that you have a plentiful supply of thick woolly jumpers, ugg boots and dressing gowns for the temperatures plummet at night and the wind is brave. Plus – MAKE SURE YOU REPLACE YOUR WALKING BOOTS IN THE CAR BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME!!!!! After a couple of days of walking on the flat and in the mud and over fields and over cobbles in my work shoes, my feet were knackered, my shoes were buggered and I’ve been stiff and unable to move all day today. The backs of my knees are locked solid!

Pubs we visited for supping purposes:

The Plough in Fen Ditton, for a pint (or a glass of wine in my case) on our way to the lock on the way out. Tempting to call back for lunch during December; the Festive menu looks fantastic. Supping enlivened by a sudden cry for help from the far side of the bar. I think a radiator had erupted or something.

The Green Dragon back in Cambridge, where we had several pints to celebrate the successful completion of our walk and where we read the sad story of Alf (Alfie? Somebody) who during the late 1800s or early 1900s was fond of tippling in the Dragon and then rowing his boat back across the river and who one evening perhaps had a tipple or six too many and was never seen again. All that was ever found was his hat, his wicker basket and (I think) an oar. Occasionally people (who may also have over tippled) late in the evening think they see a misty figure searching along the river for something but it vanishes as they approach. Could it be Alf (or Alfie, or whoever he was?) If so, his belongings are now on the wall in the pub. So is his photo. And that of his missus.

Another pub, whose name escapes me which sold disgusting dry white wine which I didn’t drink. I shall not dwell on it, though Taffa and Gaz may be able to provide further details should you require them.

Places we ate:

Taffa and Gaz's lounge room, where we had fantastic souvlaki from the take away Greek place in town, washed down with wine or beer.

Don Pasquale for their fantastic, wonderful, amazing seafood pizzas. Also washed down with wine. Though I think they overcharged us. I’m not convinced that what we had really came to the total they charged us

The Eagle, for Sunday lunch, leaving poor Gaz alone and paling loitering at home, sighing and lamenting over his exam marking. Wine (and beer) quite possibly figured!

Other things we did:

The Sunday Market (again, leaving Gareth sobbing over the marking), where we bought fishy things and apples and bread and cake and Taffa bought our bathroom a present of a print of little beach huts.

Played in Lakeland looking for a cutlery drainer for Taffa. Found one, but it was £15 so we left it.

Trawl in the supermarket for suppery things; lose Taffa in the crush. Find her again outside.

What else did we do? Can't think. The four of us ate, drank, made merry, caroused and cavorted very satisfactorily all weekend. Was good.

And finally - eBay adventures:

The Builder has been watching some oak doors on eBay for some days now. They were sitting on £50 for 6. I amused myself on Saturday morning, listening to the election rout in Australia on the ABC and watching these doors. They were trundling along. Suddenly, about 5 minutes before they finished, the bidding exploded. It was clear very quickly that they were going to go for more than we wanted to pay, beautiful though they were. So we watched as the price galloped up and up and up and up - and everyone was pipped at the post by a brand new bidder who put in a bit of at least £235 with 2 seconds to go. Was very exciting. So was the election commentary!

Meanwhile, back at The Sidings, we were watching very intently two external doors which had no bids at all. Five minutes before they finished, we put in a bid of £10. A minute before, someone trumped us. I put in a more serious bid. Watched and watched and watched and watched. The other person kept trying to outbid us but I had put a serious bid in. Suddenly, with six seconds to go, somebody new put a serious bid in too. Fortunately, it was under ours and they didn't have time (or the inclination, but I think time more likely) to raise it. So now we have sticks and bigger sticks and doors for the planned porch. Well, we will have when someone goes to Lincoln to collect the doors

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The forthcoming weekend

This weekend coming is clearly meant by fate to be an amazing one (she says, severely tempting said Fate!)

Tabitha and Gareth are expecting visitors tomorrow for a couple of days of glee, gusto and gastronomy (and, I suspect, glugging!).

Austin and Kaori are off to Tokyo this very day for three days fun, frivolity and festivity, including a visit to Tokyo Disneyland.

Freyja is in Greensboro, North Carolina, with Julia, and a weekend of merry-making, mirth and mayhem is planned.

Lindsey and Ian are in Dunedin (though I gather their luggage is itself in Christchurch) for a weekend of whales, whimsy and whisky.

Stella and Tony are taking a late weekend next week and are off to Inverloch for a couple of days of beachcombing, barbecues and birding.

Frannie ‘n’ The Builder are off to Cambridge for two days cavorting, capering and carousing.

Poor Mark gets to stay at home, all on his own, all weekend, loitering, lamenting and lonely.

But the rest of us are leading exciting lives!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A boozy Sunday lunch

We had some absolutely glorious weather last week. We woke up on Wednesday to find the temperature was about minus 4d, the sky was clear as clear and full of stars and it was icy, icy cold. The fish pond was frozen over. The bird bowl was frozen over. Marlo was curled up in the ironing basket and looked as though he was never going to move again.

As we left for work, just after 7, the sky was a beautiful blue and the few clouds were the colour that organic, un-dyed salmon is. The fields and trees were covered in frost and, with the sun glinting on them, looked exactly like a Christmas card. It really was very beautiful.

And that sort of weather continued on all week, though the fishpond and bird bath did thaw out. Marlo, however, did not move very far from the ironing basket.

It was all rather unfortunate, then, that we woke up on Sunday morning, bright and early, to find a howling gale, persistent rain and low, low clouds. For Sunday was the day we were to be meeting Bea and Steve outside the twisty spire in Chesterfield and go for an amble around the Christmas Sunday Market before repairing to The Sidings for roast chicken with roast chicken trimmings. Hopeful (but not entirely optimistic) that the weather might improve, I proceeded with the morning’s plans. I prepared the Magnificent Chook (which I had bought at either the York or Salisbury food festival) with stuffing, prepared the veg, removed the (allotment grown) potatoes from the freezer and carried on. But after an hour or so it became perfectly clear that the weather was not going to lift and that, unless the need were dire, it was not market friendly weather. I can think of few circumstances when the need for a Christmas market could be described as dire, so I contacted Bea and suggested we abandon the market plan and just eat.

So that’s what we did. Off the magnificent, beautiful, gorgeous new table, now adorned with oak-stained beech chairs. The chicken was fabulous, the potatoes and beetroot roasted up a treat. We had peas and broad beans and cabbage and carrots and broccoli and shallots all from the garden or allotment (but mostly via the freezer). Then we had a steamed cinnamon and apple pudding with River Cottage vanilla yoghurt(think expensive and custardy) and we drank lots of white wine and we set the world to rights.

I do like Sunday afternoons!!! Marlo, however, was not best pleased at all – when we moved him off the ironing basket and took it upstairs to the spare room!

It is, however, fortunate that I had had the foresight to take Monday off – and to persuade The Builder to take it off as well. Experience suggests that when we have Sunday lunch parties, I always trundle into Monday thinking I should have my lunch parties on a Saturday, thus allowing recovery and clearing up time. But you just can’t have a Sunday lunch party on a Saturday. It doesn’t work. So, taking Monday off is an excellent solution. I am enormously glad I didn’t have to wake up at 5:30 and get up at 6 yesterday morning. I am very, very pleased that I had the morning to tackle the washing up, in a gentle and measured manner. I am gratified that I had the opportunity to take the (whispers very quietly) 9 empty wine bottles out to the recycling box after the neighbours were up and away. Plus, it was nice to have lunch in The Rutland with The Builder and to potter about and to amble in to visit Freyja and Mark in the early evening. And I made stock with the chicken carcass and ordered some seafood for Christmas and played with the cat and mooched. Very nice.

The restaurants and cafes near Freyja are all closed on Monday evenings. We had to go to London Road where we found a Greek place which didn’t really have any veggie options, so moved on to an Italian place which wasn’t really all that exciting, but which did. Then The Builder and I and Mark all went home to our respective beds, and Freyja took a bus to North Carolina. Well, she took a bus to Gatwick, where she caught a plane this morning to North Carolina.

The Builder has bought the table some presents. First there are the 6 chairs to sit around it. Then he has bought 8 slate place mats and coasters to adorn it. And, he has bought a pine dresser to sit behind it. But let this be a serious lesson to us. It is A Very Bad Idea to try and put an £80.00 maximum bid on a dresser on eBay after 9 bottles of wine have been consumed by 4 people in the space of an afternoon/evening. It is Very Easy Indeed to misplace the . – which is significant when you are placing maximum bids on eBay!! Fortunately, we bought it for £100, so all was well. We’re picking it up tomorrow.

We had a spot of snow on Sunday evening! Then the weather warmed up, the snow turned to rain and washed the snow away.

The Builder's father has come home from the hospital. He seems to have done quite well for his little holiday. Breathing, eating and blood sugar levels are all hunky dory.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Greedy Builder (repentant)

The Builder came home early from work on Monday feeling poorly sick. He was all grey and gloomy and felt horrible. He even completely ignored the digestive biscuits I had made on Monday morning (this is seriously abnormal behaviour!!).

I went to work at Psalter Lane, came home at about half nine to find him looking much less grey but still not altogether in peak condition. Poured wine down his throat, and off to bed we went.

He woke up on Tuesday feeling ever so much better. So much so, that we went out for lunch. So much so that he chowed into a plate full of steak pie with chips and carrots and peas and stuff. And Gravy. All the gravy that came in a little jug with his pie. Every last drop. Now fair’s fair. It was his gravy. But he didn’t leave a drop, not a single drop for me to have with my chips. Not a drop. I love gravy on my chips :-( Had to have tomato sauce instead :-(

Back in July, I went with Lindsey and Ian into huckleberry Willow, a gift shop across from the Twisty Spire. It’s the sort of shop that seems to go on for ever. It’s the sort of shop I don’t go into all that often, for entering it tends to come expensive! Right at the back, they sell furniture. Amongst the bits and pieces was a beautiful, square oak table, extending when necessary to seat 6. It was gorgeous. A week or so later, I took The Builder in to admire it. He too thought it was beautiful, but we didn’t happen to have a spare small mortgage lying about so we left it. But if you’re going to take all of YOUR gravy and pour it all over YOUR chips and pie and leave absolutely none of it for poor Frannie’s chips - you must expect to pay!!!!! We went in to Huckleberry Willow to admire the table. And it HAD GORN!!!!!!!!! But it had been replaced by a bigger one, for a small mortgage plus £50. He has now bought it for me – er, I mean for the dining room. It’s coming tomorrow.

Now we just need some chairs! We do have chairs, but they emphatically will not go with a beautiful oak table. Ideally oak chairs would be best, though they are very expensive. Pine would do! And a dresser. I need a dresser. There is a built in one in the kitchen, but it is full. (What do you mean, I clearly have too much china?)

Now I want to decorate the dining room to make it beautiful enough for the table!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mick, The Builder’s father, klopsed on Friday. In his chair. Kerplunk!

Gwen had to call a 999 ambulance. And they spent ages trying to revive him. And succeeded. And then he klopsed again! So they took him in their ambulance to the hospital – which fortunately is only about 5 minutes from where they live. I don’t know if there were sirens.

Gwen rang The Builder at about lunchtime. He rang me. I made arrangements to be covered, if need be, on the Saturday. But we were going down on Saturday evening anyway and Gwen said there was no pressing need to go earlier. So we hung fire and trundled down on Saturday evening as planned, staying in the Bridge Farm B&B where we usually stay.

We had a fair run down on Saturday evening, stopping at a motorway services with an M&S Simply Food, where we bought the makings of a picnic. We got to Bridge Farm at about 9, smuggled in our picnic, and passed a pleasant couple of hours eating chicken and salad and drinking wine. Then to bed, nice and early.

And even then we slept late! Norma brought us a tea tray at 7:30 – and I was pretty much asleep until she knocked on the door! Usually we are the first down to breakfast. On Sunday we were the last (she only has three bedrooms). It was still a lovely breakfast, even if it was a bit later!

We had decided to drop into Salisbury before doing anything else. However, Waitrose doesn’t open until 10 on a Sunday and we were much too early. So we went for a drive along a little road which runs through Coombe Bisset, Stratford Tony, Bishopstone, Alvediston and on to Berwick St John, where we stayed with Lindsey and Ian in the summer. Was a lovely drive. There were lots of birds, many sheep, some strange cows which looked a lot like saddleback pigs with curly, fluffy hair, and two pigs. Really enjoyed my Sunday morning drive! Then we headed to Waitrose, rushed in, rushed out to avoid a compulsory 2 minute silence at 11:00 (It was Remembrance Sunday *and* the 11/11. I don’t mind observing a two minute silence – but I won’t be told by a supermarket, no matter how up-market, that I *have* to). Then we went back to Bridge Farm to the shop, where we did observe the silence. Then we mooched on to Gwen and Mick’s place.

The intention had been that we would come down and take them out for Sunday lunch at the Yew Tree, which is a nice little pub in the next village along. The doubt had been that Gwen was off to the hospital last Wednesday for a cataract operation and she didn’t know how she would feel. Mick, of course, had avoided going out with us by collapsing. Gwen decided that lunch out was better than cooking it for herself, so we ambled off – only to find that the Yew Tree had just ONE table left that was unbooked. I grabbed it very hastily! We had wonderful roast beef. The Builder and Gwen had apple crumble. I had another glass of wine. Then, given that it was too early to go hospital visiting, we went back along the road from Coombe Bisset to Berwick St John to show the strange cows to Gwen. She didn’t know what they were either.

Driving back to Salisbury along the main road, we were buzzed by a buzzard!!!!! Huge great big enormous thing, flew down at an angle, missing the windscreen by millimetres. How it didn’t hit us is a mystery. I can tell you, though – I have no wish at all to be in a car with a smashed windscreen and a trapped, very pissed off buzzard!!!!!!! The grand total of birds of prey was 1 kestrel, hovering over a field, one sparrow hawk sitting regally on a fence post and one buzzard that was trying to dedd us. Oh, and a heron, stood autocratically in a small river. But that, of course, is not a bird of prey. Unless you are a fish!

We got to the hospital, got to the ward – and found that Mick had escaped! The ward was full of grey, sickly, little men, looking very poorly. Mick came back in a wheelchair. Did he look grey and sickly and poorly and little? Did he heck! He looked all sparkly and shiny and cheerful! A fraud he is. A fraud! I think he just fancied a bit of a holiday on the NHS surrounded by pretty nurses! It seems he had been hypoglycaemic. They did manage to fix that but nobody is entirely sure why he became hypo in the first place, and they can’t stabilise his blood sugar levels. They are still all over the place. But while he is in the hospital they can keep it more or less under control, which I suppose is why he looks quite perky. I think he is getting a bit fed up of being held captive though. And I’m sure Gwen is getting tired with all the hospital visiting. He didn't know what the striped cows were either, based on our description. But I do! Thanks to Google Images, I have discovered that they are Belted Galloways. (http://www.belties.com/ It was the black ones we saw)

And so home, via Barb’s for afternoon tea (tea and scones – very civilised on a Sunday afternoon!) and to drop a few things off. We had a good run home, given that we left Salisbury at 5pm on a Sunday afternoon. And found Marlo lying along the back of the armchair in the dining room, exactly where The Builder had left him on Saturday afternoon. The only evidence that we have that he had moved at all (and it is purely circumstantial) was the presence of a dead mouse on the kitchen floor, which had not been there when The Builder left!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Update on my MP4 player

They did lose it again, you know! The Builder and I called in on our way into Sheffield this morning. I presented my card. The man hunted. (At least there was more than one man this time). He hunted some more. He looked puzzled. Another man was hunting for another parcel for someone else. He was looking puzzled too. The man came back and asked me what I was expecting. I told him, and explained that I had called on Wednesday, the package was missing, then someone had rung the following day to say they had found it. Ooo, said the man. I wonder if he set it aside somewhere. Ambled off. And came back not only with my MP4 player, but with my birthday diary from Tony and Stella. I had wondered why the collection card had ticked both that the packae needed to be signed for and that it was too big to fit through the letter box. It was because there were TWO packets :-)

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Royal Mail has lost my MP4 player :-(

I've been trying to learn a little Japanese so that I can talk to Kaori, other Japanese friends of Austin's and any stray passing shop people, train people and, well, Japanese people that we may run across when we're visiting him next April. I've borrowed a language kit from the language collection at work and been beavering away, learning how to say "hello" and "it's a nice day" and "I would like a pizza and some orange juice" (very useful that last one, in Japan!).

The Builder has been working this week in Dronfield. He leaves at around 6:30, which is much too early for me, even for a lift to the Dronfield station - I'd have to wait about an hour for the train; not all the Chesterfield to Sheffield trains stop in Dronfield. So I've been going in on the bus and the train and coming home on the train and The Builder meets me there and we then head wherever it is we’re going (usually home, sometimes to Sainsbury, occasionally out). Excellent time for learning Japanese, waiting for trains, travelling on trains, hanging about on bus stops. So I put one of the CDs from the kit on my MP3 player. And that was OK, but it’s very fiddly on my cheap little device to listen to the same thing over and over again. A new, less cheap device was called for. One with buttons and things. So I hopped onto eBay and found a nice little MP4 player. Not an iPod, so not £140+, but a Samsung, so only £30. Nice one.

It was posted off to me, and on Saturday when I got home from a hard day in the Salt Mines, I mean Adsetts Centre, I found a card telling me that a registered package was awaiting me at the Sorting Office in Chesterfield.

Yesterday I went to collect it. The man looked in the relevant box. Nothing. He looked in a cupboard. Zilch. He hunted out the back. Nada. He looked in the box again. Did I actually get the card on Saturday? I sure did. He hunted all over all over again. In the meantime, a queue was forming behind me. A long queue. An increasingly fractious queue, muttering about Royal Mail cuts and lack of parking and few staff and stuff. The man came back. “I can’t find it,” said he. An entirely redundant comment. It had been obvious for some time that he couldn’t find it! He has photocopied my delivery card and taken my number and is planning to ask our local postie what he’s done with it. I hope it’s the right postie he asks – we have a couple who deliver in Tupton.

So no Japanese learning for me for now. And it’s Thursday again, which means that Midland Mainline are on strike again and who knows what chaos there may be on the trains. Would have been a fantastic chance to listen to a few odd words.

Marlo is a very odd cat. We had bonfire celebrations all weekend. Bonfire night was actually Monday but there were parties and fireworks and things on each night of the weekend, plus on Friday. I had Marlo shut inside, catflap locked. He was not impressed. Not impressed at all. He batted at it, pushed at it, miaowed at it, threw himself at it. I resisted letting him out for the fireworks were loud and bangy. Then I realised that when he wasn’t trying to escape, he was sat in the window watching them. I gave up and let him out. And he spent several happy hours on each evening sat outside on the “lawn”, patio or table, watching the bonfires and the fireworks. That cat has no fear! Except for of window cleaners, ladders, long squeegee thingies and chammy cloths. But not, oddly enough, of pails of dirty water. Strange beastie.

A couple of weeks ago, they had a lovely Toast & Marmalade casserole on eBay. It was Blue Toast, of which there are not many pieces and it is now a discontinued line. I have never seen this casserole anywhere. I knew the collectors would be out in force. I collect Toast & Marmalade china, both the standard black and the blue variety, but I am not properly a collector. I won’t pay silly prices for things, and I do use them once I have acquired them. No sitting about in locked cabinets at my place! The collectors did indeed come out to play and the dish went for just under £90 (plus £10 or so postage and packaging). Needless to say, I didn’t buy it! However, something went wrong and it was re-listed. I have been watching it, idly. I stopped watching idly when I realised last evening that it had 12 hours to go and was still sat at £50 with the reserve not met. I watched it with interest. Today, when it had 20 minutes to go I put a bid on it, expecting to be knocked out the way by collectors rushing to acquire it. They must all have been at work in places where access to the Internet is not quite as ready as it is here, for my bid of £56 not only reached the reserve – but was the top bid. Hooray!! I might make my Christmas seafood bisque in it in celebration (I use my Toast & Marmalade stuff but not for everyday. Christmas is not Everyday!)

So I am a happy Frannie. £56 plus a tenner is much more reasonable than £90 plus a tenner.

Oooh. And even more happy. The Chesterfield Sorting Office has just rung to say that they’ve found my parcel!!!!! HOORAY!!!!! I said I would go and collect it on Monday, but there might be time if we leave a few minutes early to pick it up on Saturday. They are open after 7, and I don’t need to be at Psalter Lane until 09:45. Excellent. I hope they don’t loose it again :-S I had to buy an iron after they lost it the first time! Can’t afford to keep buying new household appliances every time I go to visit the Sorting Office

Monday, November 05, 2007

Goodness me, but it was a palaver getting home on Thursday evening. Midland Mainline trains are on strike on Thursdays at the moment, I don’t really know why. So. I thought I’d catch the central train which goes about 15 minutes later than my usual Midland train. I don’t usually catch it because it’s the Liverpool to Norwich train, used as a commuter train given the time it runs, and it is usually very crowded.

Freyja dropped into the library just as I was leaving with some very overdue books she had out on my card. We legged it down to the station, where she hived off to go to the Spar for supplies, and I legged it to the platform (I am always running late for trains!) ¾ only to find that the train was delayed by 15 minutes. So no need to hasten Freyja on her way. Tried listening to my Japanese CD, but the platform announcements were too distracting. #The train got later. And later. When it eventually did arrive, it was only two carriages long. And full. There were more than two carriages worth of people on the platform :-S And, of course, not everyone who was already on the train, got off. We squished on (there would have been more room if they had taken off the snack trolley, which couldn’t move anyway!). But even so, the train pulled away with people waiting forlornly to board, their noses pressed up to the door. I fear there was nearly a riot (I was on the train at this point), both on and off the train. The Central trains often do only have two carriages, but that particular one often has three. And they must have known that the Midland Mainline trains are on strike on Thursdays and that that particular train would be over-subscribed! It’s enough to drive you back to the car! (Except that where I would park the car is an interesting question. All the places I used to park it are residents’ parking only now. I’d have to park outside Freyja’s place and take the bus. Or walk).

Uncle John has come back from the Van Hospital. His operations appear to have been successful. He seems happy enough. He got back at lunchtime today, ready, I hope, to take The Builder for a hard day’s buildering in Dronfield tomorrow, and was lolling about in the driveway when I was leaving for work. Thus making it hard for me to leave, but I managed to squeeze out. I have been working both days this weekend. Gathering money for Jersey, Christmas, Japan, Melbourne, Japan. Though I don’t suppose one weekend’s worth of overtime will actually cover all of that, lucrative though it is. More Saturdays are in the pipeline. Happily, only one Sunday. I know they pay well, but I doooo like Sundays off.

Nearly time to go home. There are lots of fireworks outside. Bonfire night is actually tomorrow, but most people are having their celebrations yesterday and today.

Austin has a new friend. Her name is Kaori (which I think is pronounced something like Kah-oh-li, but all run together). I had a very, very brief typed Skype with her last evening, via Austin. It had to be brief – for a start off it was something like quarter to 2 in the morning in Nagoya. Secondly, I only know about 20 words in Japanese, most of which are mutually exclusive in a conversation – Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, for example!

Friday, November 02, 2007

In defiance of the health warnings .....

The Builder threw a brick at the cat and bonked him on the head!!!!!

He's been re-doing the front yard (this should really be on the garden blog!). So far he's taken out the "rockery" by the back gate which was filled with ivy and now he's concreted over the hole.

Yesterday he turned his attention to the front wall.

You can (just) get the car or the van into the "driveway" but I find it difficult (you have to drive up over the kerb and I can't reverse it over with such a tiny space allowance. Then, when trying to reverse out, I can't see the front step or even the wall particularly well). I realise we can't move the telegraph pole which really makes the space narrow, but we decided that it would be easier to manipulate the vehicles in if we took away the step and cut the wall back. So this is what The Builder was doing yesterday. Supervised by Marlo.

Marlo then disappeared, as Marlo is wont to do.

A bit later, as The Builder was chopping back the wall, a man walked past with a rottie on a string.

Suddenly - there was a kerfuffle. The rottie shot into next door's drive, barking and growling and making like a Hound of Hell. Marlo shot from where he had been lying in the sunshine next to Debbie's car (so unseen by The Builder) and right into the path of the brick that The Builder was lobbing in the direction of his rubble pile. Bounced on his bonce, it did. So there's poor Marlo, spitting and snarling and stunned, all fluffed up and agitated. And there's the rottie on the end of his piece of string, all snarly and growly and hunting for the Evil Kat to Kill. And two men all bewildered and a-bovered, trying to sooth their animals.

Fortunately, neither animal came to any harm, so that's ok.

Tabitha tried to dedd her bunnies, too. Came outside yesterday morning, to find their hutch had toppled off its leggies and collapsed onto its wire front, trapping the bunnies it what was, to all intents and purposes, a dark, enclosed box. She was heading off to London for a meeting so couldn't do much, though I think she did pick the hutch up so they could at least see out! I think they have now forgiven her for just setting the hutch upright and legging it to the station!

It's nice having a freezer full of stews and casseroles and soups. We had lasagne for dinner last night (in defiance of that World Cancer Scaring Body that wants the whole world to be stick thin and eat lettuce leaves) made with beef and mushroom stew that we liberated from the freezer a few hours in advance. Took no effort to make! Oh - and we washed it down with liberal quantities of white wine. At least, I did. The Builder went to sleep, exhausted after his cat bonce bonking exercise and stayed asleep for most of the evening.

The World Cancer Scaring Body has caused a right kerfuffle. Mostly people are scoffing. At the WCSB and their silly conclusions and recommendations, as well as at their food. It was oh so, oh so tempting to get the wherewithal for a fry up ready for tonight! Instead, I restrained myself and took some low fat, low salt chicken, ginger and spring onion sausages out of the freezer. There will likely be liberal quantities of white wine with the sausages too. And cheesy mashed potato. Made with butter! And gravy. I may yet take the bacon out of the freezer!

Actually, I know three people who have had unpleasant breast cancer episodes in the last two or three years. They are each of them stick thin, take loads of exercise, drink little or no alcohol and are vegetarians. Sigh. No hope for me, then!

I have a lovely new, pink, stripy cardigan. I look remarkably like Bagpuss. It's very cheering. (The pink, stripy cardie; not looking like Bagpuss, though there's nothing wrong with that either.) A colleague gave it to me because someone had given it to her, she didn't much care for it and thought it was the sort of thing that I was likely to wear. She was right!