Friday, June 30, 2006


From this:-

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To this:-

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To this:-

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Things We Will Not Mention:-

1) The design cock-up that means one cupboard will not be finished for several weeks.
2) The complete unlikelihood of our getting tiling and flooring done in the mean time.
3) Plaster dust.
4) Saw dust.
5) How long it will take us to restore the dining room to a state I can stand to dine in it.

Things We Will Mention Repeatedly:-
1) How utterly fabulous the cooker is. Soul food? Ha! This is Soul Cooking.
2) See 1).
3) How Husband spent his day off today cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom, then restored the living room to a state I can stand to live in it, and THEN cleaned the windows. (No mean feat. Each of our house's windows has twelve, old, ill-fitting panes in it. And there are eight windows.)
4) How cute Pippi looks in the new kitchen.
5) See 1).

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Forthcoming Attractions

I'm working on a craft post about what we inherit from our parents, and how we should take this into account for our characters, so stay tuned for that.

By tomorrow I also should be able to post before and after photos of our kitchen.

Which is a good thing, because if they weren't finishing today, and I had to live in this CESS-PIT of a house one day longer, I think I'd probably take the two-man tent and abscond. I don't think I've ever fantasised about hoovering before.

*Imminent Sense of Humour Failure Alert*

Will soon be better. Soon, soon...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Tortoise Update

Beg pardon, Anne!

Susie is doing fine. Back home with the parents, eating like a horse (or at least a small, reptilian horse) and being shagged senseless by Speedy.

I tell you, that little tortoise (Speedy's significantly smaller than his mate) is a sex machine. Strong, athletic men look on him with envy....

Susie's having regular injections of antibiotics and, I think, vitamins, and the vet's very happy with her progress.

Not bad for a tortoise that spent 14 hours underwater.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Rose Madder

I'm currently up to my ears in paint (colour:- buttermilk), rather than trying to be witty on here, or, worse, sharing my neurotic kitchen-related-worries, I thought I'd keep the roses coming.

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If we get anything approaching sunshine, I may even take some pictures of the roses in MY garden. The bright orange exuberant greeting of Warm Welcome by the door, or the shy, retiring smiles of Maiden's Blush in the corner by the arbour.... There's a story behind both of them: I don't own plants, I have relationships with them.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Especially for Kate

A rose from the Alnwick Garden...

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I know I'm being a tad absent at the moment, blame the kitchen, which on Tuesday looked like this:-

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Vive la painting.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tortoise Update

The vet was giving Susie artificial respiration: she bit off a chunk of his lip.

Trauma, Drama, and Drowning Tortoises

Where to start?

When I was a child, we had a British-bred tortoise given to us. He had an unlikely velocity, so we called him Speedy. *Pause for polite laughter*. In time, Speedy became a little lonely, and we got him a mate, Susie.

My childhood memories are punctuated by the sound of Speedy getting it on with Susie, much to her boredom and annoyance. But, oh, he was a tortoise of rare perserverance... To this day, I do a mean vocal impression of a tortoise mating.

We've had those tortoises for over twenty years, and they are the most pampered, cossetted and protected reptiles in the world. We eschew the flimsy, straw-filled cardboard box of Blue Peter fame - my parents put the tortoises down to hibernate in carefully constructed cardboard pens, surrounded by a non-toxic insulating material. The boxes are then placed in a polystyrene-lined wooden crate, with spaces constructed for airways, and are then insulated in polystyrene chips before the whole is sealed with a sturdy wire mesh to prevent rat-entry.

They are fed with a variety of market-fresh fruit and vegetables, cat food, and special toroise mineral and vitamin powder. They start their year with a vitamin injection, and their first month out of hibernation is spent in the conservatory.

You get the idea. Pampered. Protected.

This morning I had a phone call from my Mum, telling me that Susie was dead. (Bear with me). Poor, poor Dad had let her out of her enclosure for one of her regular strolls about the garden, become distracted, and lost her. They searched for hours, and then hoped she would turn up for food when the temperatures rose in the morning.

Unfortunately, in the morning, Dad found her in the bottom of the ornamental stream they have in the garden, limp and unresponsive. She would have been underwater, they think, for over 12 hours.

Mostly, I was distressed for Dad. Like me, he has a fairly unforgiving attitude to himself, and like me is deeply distressed by any suffering on the part of animals, especially animals that look to us for care. Susie, I knew, had had a lovely life, and would have suffered very little, being a cold-blooded creature introduced to cold water.

But there were plenty of tears for Dad.

I told Mum that Susie wouldn't have sufered, mentioned that cold-blooded/cold-water thing, and told Dad it wasn't his fault, and could have happened to any of us.

Half an hour later, I get a text.

"Susie's alive! She's at the vets."

God is good.

Mum, musing at that 'cold-blooded/cold-water' thing, had put Susie in the sunshine, and examined her. Whereupon she gasped for air, and started moving.

It's early days to be 100% relieved, but we're hopeful. I have, of course, researched tortoise drownings on the 'net, and find it's very common, and remarkably survivable.

Fingers crossed for Susie, the amphibious toroise....

Saturday, June 17, 2006

If I had a hammer....

I would take it AWAY from Husband, because HE CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH IT.

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What is it with men and demolition jobs? Picture the scene: loud crashed and bangs as Husband reduces the hapless kitchen cabinetry to sheets of broken chipboard. Watching his energy and dedication, I am moved to speak...

"Uh, darling?"
He rips a door off its hinges. "Uh-huh?" He picks up the hammer again.
"How are you going to put that door back on again?"
BANG! CRASH! "What?"
"That door. Back on again. How?"
Picks up a really big screwdriver in one hand, hefts the hammer in the other, and grins maniacally. "Why would I want to put it back on again?"
"Because that's the cupboard we were going to keep for the utility room."
"Ah." Prods at splintered casing with screwdriver. "BLAST!"*

Nine hours later, the kitchen is no more, and we've even stripped the wallpaper. For the next two weeks I'll be cooking on a camping stove and in a microwave.

Did I mention I hate microwaves?

* Ever watched Family Guy? Husband and I have taken to shouting, "Blast!" like Stewie at every suitable opportunity.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Ballad of Sandy the Electrician

He's just a friendly sparky,
But he seems much more than that.
He never gets all narky
When I switch this switch for that.

He never curses worse than "ow!"
We think he's rather nice.
He's connected this old cooker now
Not once, not twice, but thrice.

He washes up his mug of tea
He sweeps away his crumbs
He shares his lunch with cats, for free
And when he's called, he comes.

He's come out on the weekend
He's visited at night
He saves us from a bleak end
When the wiring isn't right

His prices are patrician,
But we agree with that we're told:
Our Sandy the electrician
Is worth his weight in gold.

(This is what happens when I diet at the same time as getting an old kitchen ripped out and a new one fitted. You wait till I get started on W W Builders, the happy gas man, or Stephen Tyler the Tiler.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

In Comments....

I'd post something new, but Kate and Dee are talking about vengeful naked Sicilians, and I don't want to distract them.

(See comments of last post.)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The wanderer returns

Mmmmm. That holiday was fun. *g*

Everything I expected, and a little more silliness and refreshingly childish behaviour (like soaking each other playing around the Alnwick Garden water features).

Kate H, I'm sorry to say that only a couple of roses in the Rose Garden were in bloom, but I breathed deep of one of them for you - a soft, fresh scented one, with an overtone of apples.

We've returned to earth with a bump, though - over the next three weeks our kitchen is being ripped out and redone (the installers turn up on the 26th, but there's building work to be done before) and we're in the process of packing up and dismantling. I stupidly forgot to take a 'before' picture, but I've just taken a 'during' one which will do.

I also have an MA assignment due in a couple of weeks, and believe me, I haven't forgotten the writing...

Hoo boy. June is turning into a rather crammed month.

What's occupying your mind this month?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Dream Holiday

Some people's dream holiday involves searing their skin on a crowded beach, some stay in luxury hotels. Some hike into the jungle and measure the success of their vacation by how many bugs they had to remove from their groin area.

Slightly more sane holiday-makers take short breaks in historic cities, get aboard a yacht in the mediterrannean, camp in the New Forest or climb in the Lakes. Some go whale watching, some go to Disneyland. Some take to the Caribbean, some trek in the Arctic.

Probably my two favourite holidays with Husband so far are the time we rented Pilot's Lookout (a tiny cottage with three rooms on top of each other, accessed by ladders and trapdoors) in Mousehole, Cornwall, and the time we camped at Hollows Farm.

But close runners up are the two times we stayed on the Northumberland Coast. Thundering cliffs and windswept beaches, brooding castles and historic villages, good food, good fun, and time spent with Husband. I wouldn't swap it for those crowded beaches, or luxury hotels. Or, indeed, the groin-bugs.

We're off there again tomorrow evening, and I can't wait!

What's your ideal holiday?