Tuesday 20 December 2016

RIP Lionel Blue

As you probably know, Rabbi Lionel Blue died yesterday. I loved this gentle, humble, funny man as he did his many "thoughts for the day" on BBC Radio 4. Do watch this clip if you have the time.

In the meantime, a very happy, peaceful Christmas to everyone reading this.

Thursday 15 December 2016

Horses (but not me) for courses

Yesterday, I received a phone call from Colin*. Colin works for the agency for which I volunteer, and he does a good job, but he wants me to go on a course. Another course. The same course I did three years ago. The course which ( as far as interest is concerned)  is equal to an afternoon of paint-drying-watching. Colin knows I don't need to go on this course, but it's his job to make sure I do. Poor Colin. He too has to go on courses. We all have to go on courses, don't we? All the time. Hands up anyone who's never had to go on a course?

Once again, I shall have to learn (among other things) about fired extinguishers; that there are four kinds, and you have to pick the right one for the right kind of fire.

Picture the scene, if you will. A burning building, panic, people to be evacuated, 999 to be dialled, and you (or in this case, me) thinking: now, let's see. What kind of fire was this? Oil? Cigarettes? Electrical? Ah, I've got it! Now let's go and fine the right coloured extinguisher ("no, I'm afraid I can't help you jump out of the window. I have to find the blue fire extinguisher"). It just wouldn't happen, would it? Not least because I've only ever seen a red one.

Then there is food hygiene. In vain do I whimper that in all the years I've been cooking, I've never poisoned anyone. That in this job I don't even  have any contact with food. Colin is insistent. As a last resort ( I can see him putting a red warning sticker by my name on his file) Colin suggests I might like meeting some of the other volunteers. Yes. I might. But I don't need to. If I want to meet a bunch of nice strangers, I can trot down the road to the library; even Sainsburys can be interesting.

Colin and I part on good terms, and he agrees that since my time isn't Up until April, he will let me off until then.

Anything can happen by the time April comes. Here's hoping.

*Not his real name

Thursday 8 December 2016

What would you like for Christmas?

A gift, as seen in Gift Guides  or Gift Departments is, almost by definition, something nobody needs and few really want. Those tall bottles of vinegar with what look like small trees growing inside them;  every kind of smelly candle; cute calendars; deadful jokey novelties - in fact, all the things which are the last resort of the desperate shopper. You can spot them a mile away. I imagine even the charity shops dread their annual appearance.

In Saturday's Times, there was even a gift guide for pets. There was a doggy sweeter for £99.50 (I've never even spent that on a human sweater), a Santa's Little Helper doggy hat, catnip sushi ....you get the picture.

But what would you like for Christmas? I'll start the ball rolling: I would like one of those pretty, long pendants my daughter wears, even if it doesn't look as good on me as it does on her. Oh, and the DVD of my youngest son's wedding (he got married in May).

Now it's your turn.

Monday 5 December 2016

Toddler reflections after a weekend of granny-sitting*

1. When having a tantrum, forget the going rigid thing. It's much harder to be picked up if you do the floppy, heavy thing. No one can pick me up then.

2. Granny doesn't believe me when I say the sun has risen at six in the morning. But then, she didn't have her glasses on.

3. Granny doesn't seem to like six in the morning. Odd, that. It's my favourite time.

4. I asked her a simple question - "why is coffee?" And she couldn't answer me.

5. When she does that deep growly voice to make us laugh, she's all husky the next day.

6. If I tell her I love her, she goes all soft and gooey, and I can get away with things.

7. She has a spot on her chin and wasn't pleased when I told her about it. I thought it was rather interesting.

8. She looked quite tired when she left. I can't think why. I'm not at all tired 😃

*Reader, I confess that I was the granny in question. And if anyone knows the answer to "why is coffee?", please do let me know.