Thursday, 27 September 2012

Red Eye - the diary of an insomniac

Here we are again.  1.00 am and not a hope of sleep.

This time it's the painful leg preventing me.  Not that I need an excuse not to sleep.  It has become a way of life.

There's a gale blowing and the windows are rattling, so they have been closed.  That really doesn't help much.  Lack of fresh air is not an aid to healthy sleep - whatever that is.

It has been quite a trying day, problems and tensions and truly awful weather, but that alone would not be enough to cause insomnia.

My leg hurts, but that wouldn't keep me awake if my mind could be battered into submission.

Since it does no good to lie fretting, I invariably get up, go downstairs, prowl around a bit and wind up on the computer.

Oddly the very thing which normally gives me a degree of comfort and at least the feeling of someone being around or contactable, fails dismally in the wee small hours when even the blogs are silent.

Even with the windows shut I can hear an owl hooting.  Not common at this time of the year, but at least someone is up and about.

During the evening my step-daughter rang and told me that Simon her son is coming back from Afghanistan
tomorrow (thank God).  This has been his second tour of duty in that wretched war-torn wreck of a country,
and, I believe, though nothing much can be said about it, it has been a particularly stressful tour this time,

Hopefully, if all goes to plan he will be home for a good long while.

He spent his 20th birthday in Iraq, his 22nd birthday in Afghanistan and has just completed another stint.

Provided the return goes without incident he should be de-briefed, rested and on leave in a few days.

Good news yet one cannot help thinking of the replacements flying out to fill the gaps left by this group.

There seems to be no end to this struggle.

It will make a change to be lighting a candle of thanks rather than a plea for help.

Oh joy, rain is once more battering the windows.  This drought is exceptionally wet!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

It often looks worse than it is

 Last Friday we had a really excellent rehearsal in St. M's choir of the music for this Sunday (today).

For once we had a full complement and four altos!

Nothing short of a miracle, so good did we sound.

Imagine my horror this morning to find we had 2 altos,  1 soprano plus three trebles and three men.

What a pity I thought, all that work on Friday for nothing and it is going to sound terrible.

It didn't !   In fact it sounded quite good and all my nervous fears were unfounded.

Never judge anything/one by their appearance.  I've heard it so many times but I never learn.

The up to date pictures of my leg (see last post but one), look fairly awful, yet it really doesn't hurt much at all, except for at night in bed, and is well into the healing process.

The way I shot out of church this morning, round the  corner to the taxi stand (it was pouring) and was home only ten minutes after leaving church is a clear indication that the injury has done nothing to slow mke down.

In two hours time I have to do it all again.  This time it is the Mayor's Civic Service.

I have absolutely no idea how many - or few - people will turn up, but we will undoubtedly sing our hearts out and large or small will contrive to sound better than we look.

Is there a lesson there?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Further to my recent post about recycling, I find myself with a rather delicate dilemma.

Nearly all, but not quite all, things we need to dispose of from time to time are covered by the new separate bin collections.

Advice is given as to disposing of wearable, if old, clothing (there are in addition to charity shops, recycling collections at some of the supermarkets.  Fine,  as far as it goes.

What is not so clear is how to dispose of those 'well worn'  frankly tatty items of underwear, which no-one would dream of trying to recycle.

I have in my possession some half dozen pairs of said items, along with some half dozen or so shapeless, tatty, utterly useless bra's.  Now these even when new were not the sort of items which would readily attract new owners (more Bridget Jones than Bridget Bardot), and cannot be used as dusters, and, even if they could, what happens when they are useless for that purpose.

A seemingly frivolous question (heaven forfend), but how do we legally and in an Eco friendly way get rid of them?
Serious suggestions only please ............Oh well, if you must!


Calamity Kate strikes again

This pretty picture is my left leg photographed 3 days after an argument with an aggressive plastic crate.

I walked into it in the parish office and retreated wounded 10 seconds later.
(Do you remember my saying I hated plastic?)

The haematoma collection for 2012 is now complete (I hope).

This one was the size of a grapefruit in about five minutes and the swelling has only just begun to go down.  Luckily the skin was not broken so it is unlikely there will be any serious infection.  It is just a question of waiting for the mass to disperse and spread out nice and flat (and black)!

When I was young and even when I was not so young, I had quite nice legs - though I say it myself - these days, they are veiny, skinny with thick ankles, and now even prettier, black and lumpy.  Oh the joys of the ageing process are endless.

Pretty soon, the only possible garb will be a full length cloak with a  hood - and probably a mask too.

Would you describe me a leg-end in my own life-time?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Polly's Tail

This was Polly, my parent's little farm cat, wished on her by a lovely Quaker farmer neighbour of theirs back in the 80's.

She was a matter of 8 weeks old when my father walked across the road to his neighbour and friend and collected the tiny, blue-eyed white bundle.

Minute though she was, when he brought her in to their conservatory and placed her on the floor beside his chair with food and water next to her, she made a tiny not quite miaow sound and leapt a prodigious great leap, onto his lap.

Uncertain until then how he felt about taking her on that clinched it, he was hers, completely under her tiny paw until the day she died.

My mother, less keen initially, fell also under her spell very
quickly and pretty soon Polly's squeak was law.

She loved listening to music, but when my father sang he would pick her up and she would put a firm paw over his mouth.  (A cat of taste and discernment).

Less so, where her sense of smell was concerned.
As I've said before, and illustrated by the pictures above (top two), she was addicted to sniffing my father's slipper.

She was a great climber and loved to climb on the rose arches in the garden and swipe at the hair or my father's hat as he passed.

Sadly she was injured (we think by a car) and her beautiful tail had to be amputated quite early in her life, and her balance was never quite as good again.

Her favourite place was in the greenhouse where she would curl up in the warmth for hours.  The third picture shows her 'hatching' the tomato seedlings under their cover of netting.

She was friendly with Sextus the feral from the farm until he took too much of my father's attention, then she would attack him and chase him back over the road.

She developed cancer at the age of about 15 and was finally taken for her last visit to the vet by my grieving parents who never really got over her loss.

They played host to many more cats from the farm over the years, but never gave a permanent home to any other cat but Polly.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

AAAAAAHHHHrachnid 111

No picture this time, just a brief shuddering update.     The 3inch diameter charmer I met on the stairs and evicted was, as I half suspected, merely a cousin.  4 inch diameter original, black, massive and malevolent, was in my office paper bin this morning.

I picked it up unsuspectingly intending to vacuum behind it, and there 'it' was.  Huge horrible hairy and just waiting for me.   I picked up a file from my desk, covered the bin and flew downstairs, opened the front door (in my underwear), and shook the bin to dislodge the beast.  It sat grimly covering most of the base of the bin.

Torn between sheer terror and the fear of being seen half-dressed by my neighbours, I turned the bin upside down and legged it back into the house.

Later, much later, when I have found some courage (and finished dressing) I will lift the bin and look but not very hard, for the inhabitant.

Immense relief that there are now two huge spiders outside rather than in, is tinged with apprehension at the thought of further 'family', being in residence.

Can I have ny medal please?

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Oblique approach or Looking at the World through the wrong end of a telescope

This image has been used before in a blog.  It was meant then to demonstrate how agile I was at the age of 29.  This time it seems appropriate as an illustration of the way I appear to view the world.

Never one to accept anything visual or verbal at its face value, I have always sought and sometimes found. other explanations than those which were more easily acceptable.

As a child, my father often described me as "the only man in the regiment in step".  A rather weird concept, but one I fully understand.

Sometimes in these politically correct days, meanings become clothed in layers of obfuscation as people struggle to offend no-one.  Blunt, plain-speaking is seldom appreciated at its true value and the vast bulk of the population slowly drowns in a sea of platitudes as what is being said disappears in the mist.

Even when very young I found that what was said was often not at all what was meant, and I found that listening to the tone rather than the words, looking closely into the eyes of the speaker, rather than the mouth was quite a good way of divining meanings.

Later this became a distinct disadvantage, as the inability to accept anything at face value turned to cynicism, and I found myself seeking meanings which simply were not there.  This in turn produced a very strange way of responding to comments, since I always replied to what I felt rather than what I heard.

If someone wrote to me (remember letters?), I would invariably read between the lines and even now, when reading a blog for instance, it is always difficult for me to comment on what is written.  Much easier to remark on what I think was intended.

In recent times (the past 30 years or so), I have heard this described as lateral thinking.  Whether in fact, any thinking at all is involved, or whether it is simply a 'bloody-minded' determination to misunderstand, I really am not sure, but it makes life interesting, if difficult at times.

Not so  much "the only man in the regiment in step" as someone in a different regiment entirely.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Saving Time

This morning I caught my usual bus at 9.08 am, to St Mary's, a journey which normally takes around 12 minutes.  This normally results in my being about five minutes late for morning prayer.

This morning as I got off the bus I could hear the church clock striking 9.30.  Too late for any of my usual morning mood-setter, not even the pater noster.

The reason the entire grumbling, stressed, disgruntled bus-load was late was that the bus company, in its wisdom, has installed a time-saver machine which will read bus passes at a glance, thus doing away with the need for tickets.  Only those (on my usual bus about two) people who have to pay for their tickets will need a ticket in future.

As is so often the case with the introduction of new time-saving technology, the process took about four times the normal length of time.

Apparently the machine was devised as a national not a local initiative and nationally, bus passes/concessionary cards of any type are not valid until after 9.30 am.  In Buckinghamshire they are valid from 9.00am.  So when offered a card the machine rejected it as invalid.

After the first 10 or so passengers had 'enjoyed' the explanation from the driver and then about 10 minutes late he took to waving passengers on board with resigned expression and a "don't bother with your pass, the machine is not working".

Our payment cards (debit or credit) used in stores and shops are supposed to save time, though often a weary "the computer is slow today" will accompany the process.

Twice a year we indulge in the particularly British folly of 'putting the clocks forward or back' in order to save yet more time.

Recently I tried my first-ever shop on line, a terribly involved process which took around half an hour to complete, even with the help of a neighbour.  Since I pass other grocery stores every day and only have to pop in and buy a couple of items which takes about five minutes, I won't be repeating the on-line experiment.

Even if all the gadgets which are supposed to save us time actually did so, what I wonder, are we supposed to do with all that spare time?

Personally I would prefer fewer hours in the day, then time would not hang so heavy on my hands.

My wristwatch by the way, is never changed for British Summertime, and is therefore right for exactly half a year, after which it leaps forward an hour for some odd reason.
Still, I know it will be right again in 6 month's time.