Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Magpie 141


He asked if he could kiss her
(Though he didn't really know her).
She said she'd not been kissed before;
He said that he would show her.
She thought she'd found true love at last.
He'd be her life; her rock. It
Was not to be. For when he'd gone
She found he'd picked her pocket.

(With thanks to Tess at Magpie Tales for the photo)

Monday, 29 October 2012

An invaluable tip

It happened like this. Having a vague idea that you can't recycle old telephone directories, I thought I'd google it, and guess what? Not only can they sometimes be recycled (check with your local authority. They'll probably play you a nice tune while you're waiting to be transferred from extension A to B to C....you know how it is).
Or - and here's the really useful bit - you can, and I quote:
"Get creative with Reuse. Use the whole book as a booster seat: Simply cover it with the fabric of your choice and seal the seams with fabric glue or a needle and thread. Use the bulky directories to dry leaves and flowers. Shredded phone book pages can also be used as a substitute for packing peanuts, which are not biodegradable."

How about that? Just imagine. Long winter evenings making pretty covers for old telephone books, pressing your Christmas roses, or packing up all those peanuts you've got lying around. It beats a bottle of wine and a good DVD any day of the week, doesn't it?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Silly gifts

Well, it's that time of year again. Silly gifts in catalogues.

I believe there are two kinds of inventions; the kind where someone sees a need and seeks to invent something to satisfy it (eg the wheel), and the kind where some wily entrepreneur wants to make money out of desperate shoppers at Christmas.

Above, are two of my favourites for this year from the latter cateogry. The top one is a set of features you can stick to a tree, to make it look....well, ridiculous, actually. I happen to think trees are beautiful, and they don't need faces at all, but who am I to dictate to people who take pleasure in these things? The second is an "anti-snoring device". Man snores and wakes woman up. Woman playfully reaches for little red fist on a stick and bops him on the nose with it. Then, presumably, they both share a jolly good laugh. Hilarious, or what?

If you fancy either of these, I can tell you where to buy them.

There. That's a couple of difficult uncles/aunts/cousins solved this Christmas, then. Phew!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Siily questions

"Goodness! Is that the time?"
Yes. You've just looked at your clock/watch. You know that's the time.

"Is anyone sitting in this chair?"
Look carefully. Can you see anyone? No? Then it may be taken, but there's no one sitting in it, is there?

"Who can that be?" (ie at the door/on the phone. The Archers specialise in this kind of question)
Well, go and see, and you'll find out, won't you?

"Are you all right?" (to someone in flames/lying crushed under a lorry/falling off a cliff)
Well, what do you think? Does s/he look all right? No? Then GET HELP!

There are a lot of these around. Do feel free to contribute any more you may have up your sleeve.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Open letter to Jamie Oliver

Dear Jamie

You've set up your restaurant training young unemployed people. You've done schools. Could I suggest that you might now turn your attention to hospitals?

Hospital food is awful. It's like school food only far, far worse. I know there's a tight budget, but I have eaten well on a tight budget. It's possible.

Take soup. Each hospital I've been in or visited serves soup before lunch and dinner. How many people do you know that have soup before every meal? Soup as a starter is for Special Occasions. Soup in hospital - thin and unappetising - is not necessary. Have you tried languishing in bed (or flat on your back, as I was for six weeks) and dealing with soup? Many patients are old or frail. Soup is a challenge too far. And usually horrible. And an unnecessary extravagance.

Then  there's the appearance of the meals. On one occasion, I recall removing the lid of something I'd apparently ordered, and weeping. I didn't know what it was meant to be, it looked like something you might see on a pavement outside a pub on a Friday night, and there was too much of it.

Just two examples, but you get my drift (I'll save the leather omelettes for another occasion).

So. Please could you do something? You have the clout that I lack. And in the past, I have had to feed a family on very little money, so would be happy to offer some ideas. Just in case you run out.

Yours etc.

PS I write having just fetched my thin, undernourished husband after two weeks in hospital, so my facts are fully up to date.

Monday, 22 October 2012

An embarrassing condition

No. Not that kind. A different kind altogether.

I've had it for years, but until recently, didn't know it had a name. But now I know. I have Face Blindness. I know i have this because i recently did a little test in the Times, and failed (or passed. Depends how you look on it). I don't always recognise people, or I bound up to people I don't know and greet them like long lost friends. I often have no idea who's who in films and on TV, and drive any companion mad by constantly asking "is that the baddie or the goodie?", "is that the guy who married that girl or is it the other guy?". That kind of thing.

One of my sons, B* (hallo, B!) has the same thing, which is comforting in a way, but I also feel responsible, as he probably gets it from me (he got very little else from me, as he is a clone of his father. So maybe it's quite nice really? No. Not nice. A bloody nuisance, if I'm honest).

I would love it if all the characters in films wore name badges, or different coloured hats/hair, or at least wore identifying clothing, but that's never going to happen. So I shall continue embracing total strangers, amd ignoring friends. And if you're either, please don't take offence.

I can't help it, you see. It's a Condition.

*B has just become a follower. He took pity on me being stuck at 99. We Face Blind are basically very caring people.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Old stones

We live near Avebury. There are ancient stones in Avebury. Some of them are in a circle, and some are not. People come from far and wide to look at/pray by them. At any time of day or year, there they are (the people); looking at the stones. I saw them yesterday on my way back from visiting John in hospital, in the p***ing rain, in their woolly hats and scarves. Looking at the stones.

Now, I have nothing against the stones In fact. I'm sure I'm missing something. But they are stones, and they are old, and many people think they're wonderful. But aren't all stones old, by definition? Each with its own little past?

But  the bank  -  (see picture) -  is wonderful for rolling down (if you are young. I tried rolling down a bank fairly recently, and found that at my age, it doesn't really work). And the hills are beautiful, and great for picnics, and there are some wonderful old oak trees. In fact, I really like Avebury.

Just not the stones.

(And just in case someone rises up in furious defence of the stones, please remember that (a) I have nothing against them and (b) like you, I am entitled to express my opinion. But if you like them, please do tell me why.)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A tense situation

I have wondered for many years why it is that we use the past (or maybe it's the subjunctive?) tense in some situations.

Example: you go into a shop, and the assistant asks "what were you looking for?" It's as though you stopped looking for whatever it was as soon as you crossed the threshold (which, in itself, begs the question: why are you here, if you no longer want what you came in for?).

I just wondered.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Magpie 139


"Waste of electricity's obscene.
Turn off the light! We must think Green!"
"I've got no time for politics.
 But still, you're right. Now, where's that switch?"

They turned the light off. In the gloom
They stumbled blindly round the room.
Bumped into things, and tripped, and swore,
And ended up upon the floor.

"This is no good, The answer's plain.
We'll have to turn it on again."
"No no! We can't.Had you  not thought?
We're burglars! We could get caught!"

(A very poor effort at the end of a bad week. But thanks, all the same to, Tess at Magpie Tales)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

...and now it's butterflies

Earlier this week I posted about the poor woman who was prosecuted for giving paracetamol to her cat. Well, now the RSPCA has turned its attention to butterflies.

Apparently Damien Hirst's latest opus involves a room filled with 9000 butterflies. Setting aside the "art" aspect, apparently the insects are provided with food, so that's ok. But wait a minute. Some of them have been brushed off clothing, or trodden on, and have succumbed, and the RSPCA (bless them) are very upset.

This begs two questions. Firstly, have the RSPCA really got nothing better to do? And secondly, would they be so bothered if this involved, say, slugs or wasps? My grandchildren were particularly thrilled at the sight of wasps crawling into a wasp trap at a National Trust site this summer. Where were the RSPCA then, as the wasps slowly drowned in syrup? Or what about flea powder? That probably hurts (if you're a flea), slug pellets (ditto), and those revolting fly papers?

Ah. But butterflies are pretty, aren't they? So that's it!

Silly me.

Friday, 12 October 2012

My own annus horribilis

This year just goes from bad to worse for us. It started with a family tragedy, then the death - timely, but sad - of my uncle, moved seamlessly through several horse accidents and then Titch's death, and now John has fallen and broken his hip.

Why am I sitting here blogging? Because John is in theatre, and I can't settle to anything else. Waiting is horrible, isn't it. My kids have been marvellous, insisting on coming down in relays, and I'm just sitting in a useless heap. Moaning into the blogosphere...

But the sun is shining. That's got to be good, hasn't it?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The world's gone mad. Again.

In today's paper is an account of a woman who was "successfully prosecuted" by the RSPCA.

What had she done? Boiled puppies? Put the hamster in the microwave? Ridden a goat to work? No. All she had done was misguidedly given her cat, who was in pain, a quarter of a paracetamol tablet. The cat, apparently unable to metabolise the drag, died.

This poor woman, who was only trying to relieve her pet, had to undergo the trauma of a trial, pay £280 costs, and be given a "two year conditional discharge". And this in a country where we still keep battery chickens, and send animals abroad for slaughter in appalling conditions. Legally.

A few years ago, one of my sons was knocked off his motorbike by a driver going through red traffic lights. He suffed a compound fracture of the leg, had to have two operations, and still has a metal pin in his leg. And the driver? Her fine wasn't much more than the cat-owner had to pay, and she had just five points on her licence.

Isn't it good to know that we have sound priorities in this country of ours?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

New fridge

We have a new fridge. Exciting, or what? Yes. Exciting. Because it's shiny and clean, with no horrible wilting vegetables or bits of things I've forgotten about. So. New fridge; new resolutions:

Keep enough milk
Ditto beer (for visiting sons)
Spare butter (but only one)
Ditto marge
Maintain stock of small Coca Cola bottles (I can't stand it. My grandchildren can)
Keep a few eggs.

Hoard tiny amounts of leftovers, and only throw them away when they have grown green fur. I know they will grow green fur, and soon. I know all about green fur; I have in my time grown acres of the stuff. So why wait?
Keep spare egg yolks, in case I feel like making mayonnaise. I won't make mayonnaise. I haven't made it for years. Meanwhile, the yolks gradually harden, then crack, and are impossible to prise out of their container.
Keep a fragment of cauliflower/cabbage or similar. It's not enough to use, and it will grow green fur (see above)
Keep carrots if I can bend them. Carrots that bend are a Bad Thing, and I won't be using them.
Keep a quarter of a bottle of tonic water. It will go flat. In fact, it's probably already flat. Flat tonic water is horrible.
Hoard cheese, unless there's enough of it underneath the green fur to make it worth scraping clean. I have an enormous hunk of Parmesan that has to be scraped regularly.

There. I can't wait to get started

Friday, 5 October 2012

High spirits

They say drinking gin
Is a sin.
And whiskey can make you
Quite frisky..
But nothing rhymes
With vodka.

(Just practising)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

National Poetry Day

Today is apparently
National Poetry Day.
I am not a poet.
I cannot write of views and sunsets
Or pen a little ode to love.
But I can write the kind of thing
That looks like a poem, but isn't.
Like this.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Proud mum

My lovely daughter (who was originally a nurse and is the busy mum of triplets) is presenting (again) on the QVC shopping channel at 8pm tonight. And while she says "oh, Mum! It's not  a big deal!", I think it is, because never in a million years could I imagine being able to sell shoes on TV. So do have a look at her if you can, because not only is she a wonderful daughter, but she is kind and funny and....well, she's mine!

PS you might even want to buy the shoes...?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

My lovely male genes

Well, here's some good news. Apparently if you are a woman who has borne sons (I have three), some of the male genes cross over and lodge themselves in the brain. We're not talking hormones here. I shan't be trimming my beard and saying farewell to my boobs (which suckled said sons). But I should be able to dismantle the car, not listen, lose my socks. That kind of thing.

Well, I think this is all bo****ks. Not only do I know exactly where my socks are, but I've just totally failed to instal a new and apparently simple phone. (Husband has also failed, but he's not well, so he doesn't count at the moment). Our clever (male) neighbour is out, and lovely helpful James down the lane is busy (though he did say that his mum, who has four sons, doesn't appear to have any male genes either).

Oh, and the fridge has died.

It's been that kind of day.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Magpie 137


They found her body, fork in hand,
Beneath the window sill.
She'd said they didn't understand
That she'd been feeling ill.

And afterwards, there was much talk;
Who'd get the spoon? and who, a fork?
Alas, her friends are grieving still.
For Sally never left a Will.
(With thanks to Tess at Magipe Tales for the picture)