Wednesday 28 August 2013

Things I've learnt with/from young grandsons this week....

....include the following;

A "fart whistle" in no way resembles a fart. Upon explaining this to the woman who'd sold it, we were told that  "all farts are different. For instance," she said, "I'm a vegetarian..." (too much information).

If enough burrs are thrown at you, they make the skin itch for some time afterwards.

Children fight. All the time (I already knew this, but it was a tiresome reminder).

Boys eat. And eat. get the picture.

Boys are endlessly funny/entertaining (fortunately. I knew this, too, having three sons of my own, but it's a nice reminder).

Children ask ridiculous questions just in order to keep you talking (eg "what's your favourite letter of the alphabet?").

That there's a wonderful word for that desperate patting of pockets etc. to find things such as keys. It's called "grubbling".

That when they come to stay, they want to do exactly the same things, every time, even including having me  read the books I read to them when they were toddlers.

Sunday 25 August 2013

Magpie 183

Reggie thought that the 'place' meant the fish.
And he said to his wife, "oh, I wish"
(As he whetted his lips) "we could have fish and chips!"
But she said: "you silly old fool! Don't you know that fish aren't allowed to drive along this road?"

(Written in very great haste, but you get the drift. And with thanks to Tess at Magpie Tales)

Friday 23 August 2013

Mobile "manners"

Twice in the past week I've been amazed at the sheer bad manners of mobile users.

Scenario 1
A couple of a certain age, with (presumably) their twenty-something son, out for lunch. Couple sit almost in silence, watching son, who texts or checks his phone throughout the meal. I wanted to dunk his mobile in his drink, though of course it was none of my business (what stupid parents to put up with him. Though I suppose they did once try to bring him up, and so are partly to blame),

Scenario 2
Young couple out for lunch. Very much in luurve (by their amorous gropings), but BOTH on or looking at their mobiles ALL the time. We were with my son (his treat, in case you think we eat out every day). I'm proud to say that his mobile was not in evidence.

What is the world coming to? Sigh.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Magpie 182

Said Ed to his daughter, "I insist
That you take all that stuff off your wrist!
And that nightie's not proper.
Please, somebody, stop her!"
Said his wife, "you old softie, You're p***ed!"

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

Friday 16 August 2013

Ode to the exclamation mark (dedicated to Fran)

Fran has written a brilliant sonnet bemoaning the demise of the semi-colon. So while I'm not as clever as she is, and couldn't write a sonnet to save my life, I thought I'd contribute a little verse about my own bete noir: the exclamation mark.

The semi-colon's gone, but hark!
Here comes the exclamation mark.
Unsubtle, crass (though tall and slim),
With hobnailed boots it charges in
To give us all a playful poke:
"Come on,  now! Geddit? Get the joke?!"
In notes and letters, they'll be found.
In "funny" greetings cards, they abound.
Sometimes in twos, or even threes,
To emphasise, or mock, or tease.
"Having a lovely time!" they shout,
"The wine is strong!! The sun is out!!!"
"Went paddling among the breakers
(Now Gilbert's with the undertakers!!!!!")

This, gentle reader, makes me sad,
For what do all these EMs add?
It's time we learnt, the only occasion
For the exclamation  mark, is - an exclamation.

(Apostrophe poem, anyone?)

Thursday 15 August 2013

A friend, a picture and a book

This is, I think, my top favourite painting (I believe I've mentioned it before). It's by Honthorst, and portrays 'Christ Before the High Priest'. It's in the National Gallery, and whenever we're nearby, we go in to visit it. The weary resignation on the face of Christ, and the almost 'you know what I have to do - I've got no choice' expression of the priest  (and, as John pointed out, the 'there you are. You had it coming to you' expression of the man behind the priest, really say it all, whether or not you're a believer. The whole is enhanced by the glow of candlelight.

I had a wonderful day, having lunch with my oldest and best friend, and, on the train,  reading a book by my latest discovery (Charlotte Mendelson - her most recent novel, Being English, is quite brilliant, and I'm pleased to see that it's been long-listed for the Booker), and being mesmerised by fellow- passengers, (in particular,  a young man who ate his way through two whole packets of  cold meat on the way  home).

Do visit the picture and/or read the book if you get the chance. (But I can't guarantee the presence of the young carnivore.)

Monday 12 August 2013

A literary post (for a change...)

I always feel that starting a new novel is like meeting a potential friend. There are all the same questions: will I get on with it? Will it absorb and interest me? Or will a struggle with it (like those people you ought to get on with, but with whom you have nothing to talk about)? And then there's the missing it (or him or her) afterwards (or not!).

I have to confess that while I read a lot of books, I've forgotten the plots of quite a few within a couple of months. But then there those rare books which I shall never forget, amd which I can't bear to finish. I have to ration my time with them to prolong our...relationship.

Spirit House by Mark  Dapin is just such a novel. It's gripping, funny, heartbreaking and very very human. It's one of those (all too many) books that remind me yet again that I shall never be a great writer, but I thank heaven that there are writers like this one. Do read it if you get the chance. Sadly, I shall finish it tonight :(

Sunday 11 August 2013

Magpie 181

The decolletage of Aunt Peg
Is quite something, it's true. But I beg
You to lower your glance
When she does this next dance,
For she has the most elegant leg.

But Aunt Peg, as she tilts her white neck,
Has other ideas, you can bet.
She will dance with the others,
Ee'en lie down for her lovers;
But her sitting she saves for Lautrec.

Saturday 10 August 2013

My nursing hobby horse

Could I please point my patient followers in the direction of this post regarding the place of nurses in the current NHS crisis?

If you do read it, thank you.

Monday 5 August 2013

Things I've learnt in the past week

1. That even if I've done the same journey literally thousands of times, I can still take a wrong turn and end up near Eastleigh airport. I didn't even know Eastleigh had an airport.
2. That a chattering granddaughter can lead to inattention when driving, resulting in an unscheduled trip to Eastleigh airport (see 1 above).
3. That on a windy day, with no other horse for company, Fairfax can be seriously spooked by the following: a man sleeping in a motorised buggy in a field (understandable); dock leaves (no excuse); a butterfly (ditto); a motorbike (he gets away with this. He really hates them); ragwort (yes. Little yellow flowers, and he's a very big horse. Pathetic); smelly effluent from cattle dung (hmmm); nothing at all (this happens frequently).
4. That the best way to celebrate a three-year-old's birthday is not to invite anyone under twelve to the party. This was my small grandson on Saturday, who had a wonderful time being the centre of attention and didn't have to share anything with anyone. (Now, why didn't I think of that, when mine were small?)
5. That when a man who is known to be clumsy dons a large  apron and equips himself with a pile of old newspapers in order to clean one pair of shoes, it is far better to do it for him.

Sunday 4 August 2013

Magpie 180

Our Sidney believes himself cursed,
And he's always expected the worst.
So he quite understands
Now his dismembered hands
Have won prizes for Damien Hirst.

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