Friday, February 26, 2010

None, thanks for asking

It tickles my mischief gland that we have been invited to submit our opinions on the appointment of a new local parish priest. A slip came through the door asking for community input into the matter. It carefully states anonymous contributions won't be considered, which forethought pleases me.

Haha. 'Don't bother' is the obvious response that I feel I could get behind, while suggestions for a nice progressive female one tempt me*.

I suppose they have to ask everyone local, even those who never darken their doors, in case they're lazy Christians rather than non. Christian is still the default setting here.

I presume that active, attending parishioners' opinions will have rather more weight than the others who might be swept up in their net, crazy with potential-priest-picking-power.

* Clearly I won't reply at all, it's just amusing to me to be asked.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I very much enjoyed my second Christopher Brookmyre, Snowball in Hell. It was seriously in danger of becoming more a rant against reality tv and the Littlejohns/Clarksons of life to begin with, but the story managed to reassert itself. I liked the baddie more than I should have, and the goodies not as much, but it was an enjoyable read and he's an author I will continue to seek out.

I Am Legend was much better than the Will Smith film. Or at least I think so, I can't recall the film very well, despite knowing we watched it. I may have fallen asleep? Notwithstanding, I kept seeing protagonist, Neville, as Smith anyway, despite the book's description. Fascinating combination of vampire fantasy/science-fiction and despite being written in the '70s, it didn't seem particularly dated.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Is it two minutes?

For a long time I wanted a timer for the kids to clean their teeth, as every evening we have the same: as soon as bristle meets enamel it's "Is it two minutes yet?" on a loop.
"Is it two minutes now?"
"No, you've only just started."
"Is it two minutes?"
"No, you've only just asked - and actually brush your teeth, don't just hold it in your mouth."
"Is it two minutes noooow?"
"Is it two minutes?"
"It'll take longer if you keep asking instead of brushing."
And so on and so on until I drop through a vortex into hades.

It was a vague want that was crystallised when a friend showed me her children's ones, which were quite nice: wooden characters with little hourglasses you turn over. I never actually got round to going to the shop where she bought them 'though, and was quite glad I hadn't when the Brownies sent daughter home with a free one.

But you know, it was only a couple of weeks on, when we were back to "Is it two minutes yet?" They much prefer asking me, as though I am a human watch. Tick tock.

More like a time bomb, haha.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I wonder why, at any given time, I can fill two bin-bags with rubbish from our house? It doesn't really matter how recently I've had a clear-out, there's always more, it grows exponentially.

I have a few clear surfaces today. It'll only take the postman a day to fill 'em, I reckon. Perhaps he creeps in at night and leaves opened envelopes everywhere. I'm going to keep an eye on him, I can tell you.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Lex Loofah

I really like on-line scrabble-type games and so play Lexulous on Facebook rather a lot, as I think I've mentioned before. I used to venture onto the discussion board as well, but it's full of card-carrying maniacs.

Well, people with grudges against other posters that have evidently been on-going for many moons. One starts a call-out thread and then they swarm all over each other hurling insults, reviving old battles and nursing petty hatreds. It's quite amusing, alarming and unexpected in connection to what you would imagine to be a mild-mannered sort of game. I stopped posting as it seemed clear that side-taking and being co-opted unwittingly into someone's agenda were the only options. I hadn't noticed these undercurrents to begin with, having started joining in on the word-game threads and lexulous advice threads, but as I began to participate more, found the seamy side exposed.

There were frequently threads about poor sports, railing against people who'd called them cheats or appeared to be using word generators, and while I was posting there I always thought, "Ah, you can't know someone is using a word generator: they might just have better vocab than you, be more practised than you*, have had a lucky run of letters, or have taken a risk and surprised themselves with a word." And as for people accusing them of cheating, well, at least you know you weren't if you weren't. But for the first time ever I've been accused of cheating and I quite understand the desire to post stroppily about it**.

From his point of view I suppose two bingos in three moves looks suspicious but he has no idea how chuffed I was to have spotted those! 'Placated' and 'coattail' are not unusual words, (while I would be tempted to hyphenate the latter usually, it seemed worth a go) and both words were the products of my own dear brain assembling the letters. It was a bit of a slap in the face when I'd been quite pleased with myself. They were not on big scoring tiles either, just your basic bingos scoring in the 50s: not as though they were on triple word scores or anything. So he could have pulled it back if he'd continued the match: a high-scoring bingo of his own or even a well-placed two-letter word can totally turn a game of Lex.

The man is a total stranger and him thinking I cheat shouldn't bother me. And it doesn't, much, just a tiny tingle of irritation down my spine.

* I used to be amazed by Countdown contestants' ability to spot words, but I know there are memory tricks (well, rather skills) that speed up the process. Certain combinations of letters you can learn and just practice.
**Hence posting here stroppily instead! Which is infinitely better, of course.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Good egg

Well, democracy really didn't work and we ended up staying in nursing our colds and, er, cleaning the oven.

Say what you like about my bloke*, he's a well-rounded fellow (and that isn't a euphemism) he mucks in with whatever needs doing: he'll cook, he'll clean, he does childcare as well as being the main breadwinner. It's a lot more fun cleaning the oven when both of you are taking it apart and scrubbing various bits.

* I wouldn't recommend it really, haha, it's just an expression.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

This indecision's bugging me

Running a democracy is tricky. We came up with twelve options of things we might do tomorrow and the children voted.

Eight options have two votes, so we're not really much further forward. Where I went wrong was letting them vote that many times clearly, when it should be one child one vote. It's simple. Or a ranking system perhaps, preferences 1 to 5.

Government is not easy. And it's hard being the dictator when you're not bothered.

I demand a recount.

Friday, February 05, 2010


I was laid out in state on the sofa having been suffering some hideous stomach thing, when the cat came to soothe me. Or something. More like knead bread on my stomach.

Having been discouraged from this, he proceeded to find other places on my body to stimulate pain: I'd been ice-skating for the second time ever earlier that day and he had a real knack for finding places to stand that I hadn't even realised had hurt before. It's a gift.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Oh and the Pope can bog off. Oh dear, my right to treat people unfairly's being infringed upon!

"Archbishop Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "I think (the Pope's) words will find an echo in many in our country who are uneasy that perhaps one of the unintended consequences of recent legislation is to drive religious belief and practice into the sphere of the private only.""

I think it does belong in private.

Anything I can do

Today I am trying to think of things that I am good at. This ought to be a positive exercise, but I have a feeling I'm going to come up short.

OK, I can read books (I know, I'm starting off with the very basic and self-evident!): I read fast and hopefully have good reading comprehension.
I can write using decent grammar and spelling. I can be quite lazy here and informally, but can write comprehensible sentences if I so choose.
I type with reasonable speed, but can't touch-type.
I can draw and paint ok, but nothing amazing.
I can sew and machine sew adequately, but not beautifully.
I can cook: nine times out of ten it's passable to good.
I can ride and drive horses, but haven't for years.
I can knock up a small table or an animal run, but it's not going to win any aesthetic prizes.

I can be annoyed with Matthew Wright when he offers me the choice between Tiger Woods and John Terry (man who is serial cheat or man who cheats with wife's best friend)... Hmm Matthew, how about neither!
I can be distracted by the tv.

I can problem-solve and bodge.
I can swim, but averagely.
I can cycle, but have trouble with the gears.
I can garden a bit, but tend to get bored halfway through the year.
I can do a bit of DIY and interior decoration.
I can chop wood and light fires.

Hmm, a bit weary of this for the moment, but I may return to this post.

Monday, February 01, 2010


School buses round us were having a high old time on the icy roads today.

The secondary school children's bus crashed at the bottom of the hill before the stop in our village ... and my children's bus also crashed en route to us. I don't think either were serious, fortunately, just enough to have them out of commission.

I hope that's it for today 'though as the school is having a trip out to go ice-skating, ironically. Let's hope it doesn't come in threes and the only ones shooting over the ice are the children (in appropriate clothing and fully supervised ;)).