Friday, November 30, 2007


On bin day, one of the neighbour's dogs was out ripping up bags and chowing down. Most of the neighbours cover their bags with tarps or lean bits of wood over them to deter seagulls, but it's not a successful technique against raiders of the furry kind. Alas, the council do not provide us with bins and clearly it's unfashionable or outré to buy your own. Or perhaps they get nicked? I am the proud possessor of two bins nonetheless, one of which I put the recycling in, otherwise we'd have bags of crap inside or outside the house, neither of which options appeal.

The lid from one has gone. I do not know if it was stolen or whether it flew away.

I told the scavenging canine in authoritative tones that it was a "bad dog" and should "go home". It curled its lip at me scornfully. This made me a bit nervous for my ankles, and for the kiddie-winks so I shoved them in the car (not my ankles, how would I keep my feet on?)

I suppose it saw me as a threat to its rootling. A dog and its dinner.

I don't like it wandering about like that 'though, if it's going to have the cheek to show its teeth to me. It probably thought I had a bloody cheek telling it off, of course. From the safety of behind the car, I told it again it was a bad dog which should go home and then I think its people must have cottoned on, for it started sloping off homewards as if it had been called or perhaps heard its door open.

Dogs that wander about up to no good should be tail-waggy types or suitably-guilty skulk-er-off-erers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Non-gigs with Amy Winehouse and varicella fun

Our night away did not go to plan.


  1. we brought the receipts, envelope and brochures that came with our tickets, and left the actual tickets at home!
  2. And it wasn't as though we could nip back home and get them.
  3. Ms Winehouse cancelled her tour that very night.
  4. our son came down with chicken pox the next morning.
On the bright side, only having the crap that came with our tickets with us to prove we'd bought them, had meant whether we could get in at all had been in doubt all afternoon. Thus when we found the gig was cancelled, it wasn't as though we were counting on seeing her anyway. We had talked to the management, and they were going to let us in, we think; probably only after everyone else got in as long as the head-count wasn't at capacity. It would have been a lot of hanging about and stressing.

So in a strange way, it was a bit of a relief.

Since we did have our receipt, they could refund our card for the tickets alright on the spot, and, ah well... It's probably the best choice for the singer at the moment, and I hope she can get some time and pull it together.

As an alternative way of spending the evening, we chose Mexican food, cocktails and bars. It was rather nice and a personage of the male persuasion tried to pick me up while the husband was in the loo. Which was an ego-boost for me. Not that the guy had a chance, but you have to admire his taste (mwhahaha).

We tootled round and had a lot of fun, and it was nice to be out in a different place just together.

The hotel was rather lovely, plush even. In the morning I availed myself of the swimming pool and we had a most pleasant breakfast. Our further plans for wandering and gandering followed by leisurely luncheon and troll on home had to be abandoned when the dreaded 'child-is-ill' phone call came through. T had come out in a beauteous array of chicken pox lesions while at nursery, and they called us to pick him up, obviously forgetting the grandparents were in charge, in their terror of watery spots. We passed the message on, and got in the car. Alas, we headed home lunch-less. But T was ever so pleased to see us and gorgeous, although he is pickled.

Let this be a lesson to you all, do not go out with us. Our arrangements almost inevitably become unarranged! We did have a great time, notwithstanding.

It's a bit of a pain being confined to barracks now, for T will be infectious for a few days. After such a taste of freedom, I may go stark stare raving mad.

Well, that's my plan for the moment.

Monday, November 26, 2007

To the Winehouse

I am very excited about going away overnight to my first gig in years, tomorrow! We're leaving the children with the grandparents and pegging it to a hotel. It's got an indoor swimming pool and saunas and gym, et cetera et cetera [/Yul] (not to mention the existence of such marvels as pubs, clubs and restaurants in the vicinity thereof), so if the gig disappoints, all will not be lost.

And that's all I have to say about that.

The Vintner's Luck

This is the second of two novels I've been loaned recently by someone who had heard I was an atheist and thought they'd interest me. I'm not sure why: I suppose both feature spirituality of one kind or another. The first was The Alchemist, which was all omens and fate, and the twist of the protagonist's treasure being right back where he started. Gah.

I enjoyed the Vintner's Luck far more than The Alchemist. But while this amazon reviewer gushes "Love, murder, madness, and a singular theology that would make a believer out of the most hardened atheist all add up, in The Vintner's Luck, to a novel that will break your heart yet leave you wishing for more" , I beg to differ. I may be tungsten coated, of course.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I can sing a rainbow

Pretty pretty rainbow, and T definitely saw it. I don't know if it was the first he's seen, but it's the first I know for sure he wasn't just saying yes to humour me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007



The best way to get over a pet's death is to replace it. It might seem a bit heartless, and you still need to have the commitment to look after the creature(s), but it works a treat as a salve.

We have swapped our hamster-keeping ways for guinea-pig-keeping ways, so that both children could choose one. Hamsters are solitary and they are also nocturnal & bitey sort of beasties, so while decent enough pets, we thought something rather bigger, more cuddly and gregarious might be the route to take this time.

I'm very pleased with them: already they are giving the children a lot of fun and pleasure. They are both rather nervous at the moment, the guinea pigs, not the children. So much so that I was only able to take an unblurred photo of the slightly bolder one, Nibbles. Bubbles seemed under the impression that having her image taken would remove her soul and scooted round at high speed, breathing "no cameras, no pictures, bloody paparazzo!"

It's a bit of a bum buying pets for the children, 'though. I don't get to name anything anymore. I used to love naming my pets as a child and came up with some humdingers, such as Honeybee Peachy Tuft, which name was longer than the hamster afflicted with it.

Rosie, Sam, Pinky and ...

My daughter is miffed with me for always referring to one of the fish as the Brain. She named them Rosie, Sam, Pinky and ... well, you can see why I started calling the last one the Brain. And now even she has forgotten what she originally called it, but she is determined not to have the Brain. She decided today it would be called Millicent. Well she didn't, but I can't remember what it was now, and anyway, it's called the Brain!

It's not fair, I don't get to name anything*.


* except my cacti: Spike (imaginative, eh?) & Drusilla.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My considered review of The Alchemist

I read Paulo Coelho's 'best-selling novel of 2003' yesterday.

It was pants.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Attenborough, parasites and icky stuff

In my internet wanderings, I came across an interview with David Attenborough at a blog called Godsnot*. I'd never thought about his beliefs or lack thereof before, and it was interesting to discover his personal view. I was gratified to learn that in his private life he has vigorous correspondence with creationists.

Awe in/of nature is sometimes cited as a point in favour of creation by god: it's one of the reasons my mother still would describe herself as a Christian. I'm not fond of the premise myself, because I see the implication being that as an atheist I don't or can't appreciate the natural beauty in the world. Which is patently untrue as demonstrated in Attenborough's case, and in mine too, since skies, seas, nature, even the much-maligned dandelion fill me with enthusiasm.

Of course the awe/beauty of the natural world is accompanied by some rather disgusting things as well, like mucus (!) and as Attenborough rather more meaningfully points out, pain and parasites. He says "I can't believe god created parasites in order to torture small children." And while my personal experience of parasites is limited to nits primarily, there are far worse and more vomit-worthy beasties out there. I'm not going to tell you about them cos if you're interested you can jfgi, like I say, I have a weak stomach!

One Christian response to this (the parasites, rather than pain, which is a whole other argument) that I have seen is that this is a 'Fallen World'. Ie. since Adam & Eve & PinchMeQuick, everything's gone down the swanny and so animals eat each other and die in tortuous ways.

It might seem a neat answer on the face of it, but what did nits and worms and nasty little bugoids of hideous aspect do before 'the Fall'? What did they supposedly do with their little gnashy teeth and burrowing through skin abilities prior to that? What was their alternative lifestyle? Or were they created just to make the 'Fallen World' that much more fun, or did they adapt post-'Fall'?

If the latter, isn't that, da-da-dum, drum roll, evolution? And if you're going to start accepting evolution when it's convenient, you might as well hold your hands up and accept the whole kit and caboodle. It doesn't necessarily kill off the notion of a god anyway, so what's the beef? The alleged microevolution/macroevolution distinction is such a red herring: what would be the mechanism that stopped a whole raft of tiny adaptions adding up to big ones?

* Question: why do I have to come across references to mucus, secretions and such, all the time? And I've seen some vagina dentatas as profile pictures and so on, and it's all a bit "ewww, my poor eyes!" Why not pretty and/or pleasant things, people? (Although I suppose I'm one to talk, having renamed myself after a noxious stench. Nevertheless, undeterred...) I've never been able to stomach all that. I can talk about bodily functions et al, but only when I'm mentally prepared for it and it's all my choice.

I remember in school, one of my so-called friends used to point out in assembly the boy with his finger up his nose every single time. Every single assembly he spent with his finger rootling about and every assembly she scanned the crowds for him, just to point him out to me to make me bilious. Scarred for life by that, I was, scarred for life!

How come it took me years to realise she was no true friend?!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CSWhy Mihammy?

I rather like the CSI programmes, whichever series. However, Tuesday's episode of CSI: Miami just stretched things far too far. I'm forgiving, I have stretchy woolly suspenders of disbelief. But... Identical triplets who conspired to kill a husband (who didn't know his wife was one of triplets) and mistakenly killing his look-a-like (who routinely substituted for him at social functions), but of whom they knew nothing?

Oh please!

This was then followed by the one about an illusionist killing his staff and adoptive mother in ways similar to tricks he was performing.

Oh please.

I know the twist and the unusual method or situation are part of what makes CSI fun, but I'm not keen on the utterly silly. I'm sure the series could be interesting without being quite so daft.

And if Horatio turns moodily for the camera and poses with his shades much more, I may even switch over to something else.

That'd show him.

The hazards of Heat and the hunt for Makka Pakka

I nearly bought a sleb gossip magazine today.

In order to obtain a hand-puppet of Makka Pakka (don't ask), I was in the unhappy position of being amongst magazine racks in a so-called newsagents, when I saw three separate titles claiming that they had the real story of the break-up of Ziggy and Chanelle. Two claimed that he dumped her and a third argued vociferously that she dumped him. There may have been captions about chainsaws and splattered blood... or I may have imagined that part.

For a fleeting moment I contemplated purchasing one (or more!) of said publications: after all, I needed to know what happened with their relationship. Who dumped who?!

Then I came to my senses and remembered that not only do I sincerely loathe Big Brother and all its little Frankenstein-monster/munchkin-creations and do not care about their love-lives, but I have a raging snobbery against such magazines. It probably all fits under the same umbrella indeed - anti-BB, anti-sleb, anti-fashion, antifreeze.

Although perhaps snobbery isn't the right word, because I don't look down on them wot loikes that sort of thing. Everyone's allowed their frivolities, especially me. As long as they have the decency to be just a little shame-faced about them*, just as I am a little of my frivolities (which don't usually include sleb stuff, more run to computer games and trashy (and good!) s-f).

The impulse to buy Heat or something like it came as a bit of shock to me today.

What next? Am I turning into a woman**?

*Actually being wholly unashamed and brazen works too. I'm not fussy.

**This last line is meant to be funny, since I am a woman.***

***I am only explaining this line as it amuses me to do so. ****

****I could go on and on like this, you know. *****

*****But I won't.

Classy bird

When we lived in cities, the pigeons were truly flying rats and not pleasant to look upon, often missing toes, making me wince in sympathy. Plus their plumage ("Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, isn't it, eh? Beautiful plumage!" [/Monty Python]) has a dullish metallic shine to match the dullish metallic city.

We've gradually moved out into more & more rural areas, more by accident than design, and while pigeons feature largely in ornithological observation, they seem a better class of bird.

In our last house, it was wood-pigeons hanging around outside, coo-cooing and flapping about (as you do when you're a pigeon). Now they were altogether more plumptious, scrumptious and looked pretty darned edible. You wouldn't eat a city pigeon, would you? Well, I wouldn't. They'd taste of petrol and MacDonalds.

Now we have collared doves, which must surely be a step up again. Perhaps even going beyond looking rather like dinner to looking almost too good to eat.

What's this obsession with eating pigeons, you may be wondering?

It's past lunch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Break ups

A propos of nothing much, I've been considering classic clichéd break-up lines.

The number one has to be:
It's not you, it's me. It's just great, I can see no flaw in that one at all. You say it to a person and they know, they know exactly what you're about, without any further ado: even if they're a Big Brother contestant they get your drift. You probably deserve a glass of wine in the face for using it, of course. Apart from that being a dreadful waste of wine. And a cliché in itself.

I love you, but I'm not in love with you. That's just rubbish, isn't it? It's probably the most pants break-up cliché there is and makes me want to sing Howard Jones' "What is loooove anyway?" Which you wouldn't want. Not because it's a terrible song (although it's debatable, I suppose) but because I'm a terrible singer.

Let's just be friends. Yeah right. Not bloody likely, you sack of shit.

I just need some time to find myself. Ahem. Code for I'm a pretentious tosser and need more time with my mirror.

I think we need to see other people is code for I've already slept with all your friends and I'm working my way through your relatives, one(or more) of whom is threatening to tell you so I thought I'd get in there first.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Midsummer's Night Dream

We had a night of culture for once, this weekend. We went to see a production of Midsummer's Night Dream at the theatre. It was Tim Supple's version, performed in a number of Indian and Asian languages as well as English, with acrobatics, dance, martial arts and amazing spectacle: it was absolutely brilliant. I loved it. Purists would probably hate it, but I thought it was a refreshing and exciting take on the story.

I suspect that if you didn't know the Shakespeare you might have had a hard time following what was going on, but frankly you should know the Shakespeare and I have no sympathy.

Plus you could have read the synopsis in the programme. Lazy git.


poor Tommy Thomas, I knew him well, Horatio. Poor chap he always loved larking and now he’s dead. It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, [/Stevie Smith]. His heart stopped? Ah well, sometimes it's god's way of telling you you're dead [/Mrs Overall?].

We shall have a hamster funeral this afternoon. The corpse has been decanted into a Black Magic box for the occasion: it's suitably sombre in colour, although a bit larger than strictly necessary.

Last one had a toilet roll tube...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Scurvy survey

I did a survey today that asked if the media is too liberal and various questions about immigration and so on.

It seemed a bit unbalanced and leading to me, why not ask if it is too rightwing as well? Or give a choice as to which way I think the media is slanted, instead?

If it wanted particular answers, I got them all wrong.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Belatedly annoyed

An ex-boyfriend of mine came up in conversation with my Mum last night, and she told me that he'd phoned her up to tell her how awful M was. This was years ago, but the first I'd heard of it.

Now of course, this fellow's behaviour is somewhat explicable, given I rather brutally dumped him for M and had treated him rather badly throughout the relationship. I was a great practitioner of the Wonder Stuff's "don't let me down (gently)" school of break-ups.

Apparently he said M was a druggie and a sexual prevert "contaminating our precious bodily fluids" [/Dr Strangelove] and a nasty piece of work and a terrorist and a deadbeat and a fraudster and a whoremonger and a ... well, you get the picture...

...and I may be exaggerating slightly.

But honestly, what on earth did he think he'd achieve? I was an adult, living away from home. The only thing he could possibly have done was create a rift between me and my Mum, had she not had the sense either not to believe it or keep schtum anyway. You can give advice to your kids once they've grown up, but it's best to be wary of interfering in their relationships. Picking up the pieces afterwards is usually all there is. As if my Mum didn't have enough to worry about!

Anyway, over a decade later, 'though it hasn't all been plain sailing (but then what ever is), M and I are happily married with two kids and no drugs or semtex in sight, so I'd like to respond with an
"in your face!"
and some vigorous v-signs.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Respecting people's beliefs is something one hears a lot about and sounds plausible in theory. In practice, I'm not so sure.

Is it perhaps saner to differentiate between the person and the thing to which they subscribe? Is saying I think what you believe in is a pile of old wank, the same as calling that person a wanker? I would say not, although I wouldn't expect anyone to thank me for either statement!

But things like blowing people up, or genital mutilation for example, are not what I would call respectable activities and I'm very disinclined to be respectful there. I'm also not that what you might say impressed (ahem) with the Jehovah's Witness belief with regard to blood transfusion, which of course has been very much in the news today.

As far as I understand it, the full facts are not yet in and it's possible that she would have died even had she accepted blood, but it's probable that this unfortunate woman's refusal of transfusion contributed to her death. It's a tragic story - she was young and had just given birth to twins, and leaves a devastated husband and other family. Such a waste.

Of course there was no real alternative to letting her have her way on the issue; the idea of forcing someone to accept treatment is repugnant.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Crealy great adventure park

The Cornish half-term is through and I will be a little sad when S is back to school. Sort of glad too, for the temporary cessation in hostilities over sofas.

We went to Cornwall's Crealy this week, and it was good. It has a couple of "big rides" and a lot of climbing frames and slides, of the kind where one has to sit within a hessian sack, like a Maris Piper.

We went on Thunder Falls, which little T enjoyed, but S cried because she got wet.

Raging Rivers went down ok with T the first time, but the second time I rode with him instead of M and we went down the wavy slide instead of the straight-down shute. He reckoned nowt to it, and cried. S had gone with M, and she was crying too. The whole getting splashed with water thing obviously did not equal fun in her eyes. Although it is October, the weather was great and warm, so it's not as cruel as it may sound to duck our children.

Big rides aside, the children had a great time. The Megaslide went down particularly well, althought the adults found it a bit exhausting after several thousand climbs up the thing, since T is too young to go alone. The coming down was great, of course. It scared the wotsits out of me the first few times, as it's been a long while since I rode a slide and I'm not sure I've ever been on one that high anyway. My legs were all jellified, wimp that I am. I was much more afraid on that than I was on Thunder Falls. Still, I persisted, so my determination for the kids to have fun outweighed my abject physical fear, so hurrah, harrumph and ahem.

The Pony Express ride was fun although since M took T and S rode alone, I felt a bit daft once my horse left the station and wondered why, as an over-grown woman, I was indulging such foolishness as to ride a fake horse round a track. Especially given I had to strategically arrange my skirt to avoid giving raunchy eyefulls to unfortunate on-lookers. I displaced my general and specific embarrassment by taking lots of pictures of the others as I jiggled up and down on the mechanical beast.

We did have a very nice time and there were plenty of things that we didn't get round to seeing, such as the heavy horses.


I was bored with my blogging name, so I have changed it.

This has been a public service message of a rather uninteresting nature.

Diseases you can live with

While I don't think I could be altogether comfortable living with the clap, I shall never think of bad breath nor scum in quite the same way again.

Sofa so bleeding marvellous

Now this is a perfectly acceptable piece of furniture. Whether you like the colour or not, it is inoffensive. It's not the kind of sofa that is going to jump out at you and vomit on your shoes. It's not the kind of sofa that sits in a corner, farting loudly and shouting racist remarks at the television. It's not obscenely loud, it's not excessively large. It doesn't dominate the room saying 'I am sofa, hear me roar' and interrupting you when you're trying to describe how to set the video through elaborate metaphor and semaphore in order to tell you a long involved and very uninteresting tale of two goats and a rice pudding.

Yet at every turn it is spurned, rejected, despised. It goes unnoticed, unloved, ignored.

Its very slightly bigger brother is the one who gets all the attention, fought over more or less constantly. That sofa is apparently the comfiest, the best for driving and parking cars on, the best for eating crisps and shedding a million crumbs on, the best for resting open water-bottles on, the best for everything. If there's a shriek downstairs while I'm upstairs writing nonsense in my blog, the cause will be some injustice of the sofa. Either some movement caused a car to roll out of position, or there isn't enough room for two children. They are gigantic children, you see, and their personal space boundaries stretch galaxy-wide and are surrounded by electrified wire and highly tuned alarms.

The other sofa also happens to be a lighter colour.

Cowboy builder

Bob the builder seemed extraordinarily surreal this morning. He and his machines were in the wild west on holiday. There's willing suspension of disbelief... but somehow that was a bridge too far. He must be raking it in to be able to ship his crane, roller, dumper-truck, cement mixer and some scarecrow over to the US for a holiday.

There was also singing in it and the opportunity for a song about cowboy builders did not go to waste, which was obviously a highlight.

Except Neil Morrissey should not be allowed to sing.

Something should be done.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bit wet

Flood was a really terrible movie. It ticked all the formulaic disaster movie boxes, with the ignored obsessive scientist finding redemption, the family/relationship rift sub-plot, the oh-so-wrong big-bug. It was extremely predictable and the special effects weren't up to scratch.

Begbie was not very convincing as the hero. I couldn't believe in the storyline about his fractured relationship with his father nor why his mother died broken-hearted over his father's obsession: how did it supposedly manifest in such a way as to destroy his family? All a bit "huh?" And the wrecked marriage too, sort of tacked-on to make the emotional situation and love interest angle complicated & intriguing, but failing miserably.

The only refreshing part of the movie was that all the characters' motivations were good, that greed and pr concerns took a back-seat to doing the right thing in the end. Which was nice.

Is that what you'd want to view

I'm really love-love-loving the work of the Flight of the Conchords after having being introduced to them through NWM's blog.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.