Friday, December 30, 2005

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

No more champagne
And the fireworks are through
Here we are, me and you
Feeling lost and feeling blue
It’s the end of the party
And the morning seems so grey
So unlike yesterday
Now’s the time for us to say...

Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and i

Sometimes I see
How the brave new world arrives
And I see how it thrives
In the ashes of our lives
Oh yes, man is a fool
And he thinks he’ll be okay
Dragging on, feet of clay
Never knowing he’s astray
Keeps on going anyway...

Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and i

Seems to me now
That the dreams we had before
Are all dead, nothing more
Than confetti on the floor
It’s the end of a decade
In another ten years time
Who can say what we’ll find
What lies waiting down the line
In the end of eighty-nine...

Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and i

What I wanted to do by stealing this song was to invoke the kind of hope I felt at our family New Year parties back in the seventies, I can't find a copy of the tune anywhere - well, probably if I knew where to look, I could, so these stolen lyrics will have to do. The site I stole them from didn't even credit the writers (SCANDALOUS). So I'm linking here instead - which does cite the writers (Benny and Bjorn, of course) and you can even listen to the track if you sign in.

Anyway it's time to put 2005 behind us - every year I hope that the next year will be better. In some ways this year has been great: the Artist has sold 10 paintings in 2005 and is hoping to go back to work sometime in the New Year. Arty, Daughter, Surrealo Son and the Two Year Old Genius (or Harry Potter, the Boy who lived , as he prefers to be known) are all thriving and I planetd a garden and even did some writing (thanks Cheryl, Erin et al for the encouragement).

The poor allotment hasn't been touched since September 6, but I placed a large order with Thompson and Morgan yesterday - mostly for plants so I can't just leave it or they'll all die. Hopefully the dry weather forecast for next week will give me the chance to get down there and clear the plot ready for this coming year.

Happy 2006

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Every Little Helps

So, as if our life was not difficult enough, we have now been boycotted by the Tesco delivery drivers at our local store.

You may remember, those of you who have been paying attention, that we are stuck in a 2nd floor flat with several furry things, three children of varying sizes, a bloke with a poorly leg and worse arm (according to the council "at danger of becoming housebound") and me with a bad back.

Perhaps they thought I was getting a bit above myself and didn't really deserve to have my shopping delivered. A bit posh sounding, too many fresh fruit and vegetables for someone living in a council flat with a piss stained lobby, liable to phone the helpline to ascertain that yes, you lazy bastard, you are supposed to climb the stair and DELIVER her shopping to the front door (unless of course you can make up some excuse to do with health and safety at work and then you'll have her over a barrel).

After an angry exchange via the intercom and accusations involving the sighting of a hypodermic syrringe, I called the local store who apparently knew all about it. They didn't. Neither did the local housing office, environmental services or street cleansing emergency response team who are actually the poor souls who have top go out and retrieve these things.

Another call to another bod at Tesco who apologised but said she could not compel her driver to deliver to me under their terms and conditions. She was informed that according to the City Council there had never, ever been a report of a needle and none had been cleaned up from here. She passed me on to head office who were supposed to email me. Jim (a very nice man) rang me to say one was on its way - of course none turned up. He rang back the next day and spoke to the artist who's not great on the phone when both arms work but the upshot was that the hypo - was not really the issue - it was the piss and the skanky nature of our abode - not his words - mine. He was very pleasant and as helpful as could be at all times. He also informed us that we had now been boycotted (again, my word) by all the drivers.

Now, you probably think I should be furious with Tesco. I'm not. I'm furious with the first driver who had been to the flat before and very reluctantly had had to deliver up the stairs.

I'm humiliated by the fact that the whole garage has boycotted us and in fact one of them called me "number X", our address.

In the mean time, we are back to lugging it all on the bus - there's no advantage to a cab as it would only stop in the self same plaace as the bus - to cap it all off very nicely the wheels on the shopping trolley went yesterday.

Tis the season to be jolly, fna, fna, fna.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Favourite Carol

After the soothing papfest which is Saturday night telly had become just a blur in the background, Arty Daughter had us all trying to work out which carol she was talking about.

"It's got a robin. A frozen robin. It's really sad. You used to sing it". The only thing I could think of was an awful song we learnt for a singing competition with our school choir. Which went something like this:

Robin on a leafless bough
Lord in heaven how he sings
Now the winter's cruel wind
Makes playmates of poor dead things.

Cheery, I know - great song for ten year olds to sing.

Anyway it turned out to be, after much deliberation, In the Bleak Midwinter (words by my fave rave Christina Rosetti). It set me to thinking what blogland's favourite carol was, or yours anyway.

Mine is Angels from the Realms of Glory (please note popups if you click through) and note that I prefer the traditional french tune not the American one. Which is yours?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Going, going, gone!


As I said in the last post I have, as it were, bitten off a little more than I can chew. Normal service will be resumed shortly following a large bar of chocolate and some delicious red wine.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More than I can chew ...

As is my wont, it seems I have have bitten off slightly more than I can chew. I always was a child prone to gluttony - not all the time, but if the right digestive experience was to present itself to me it was quite plausible for me to bite off much more than I could comfortably chew.

In this case it happens not to be a feast but a concordance of events. I'm sure most people would stride through them in their seven league boots but as I've only (no slaps please - you know what I mean) been a house-Sheweevil for quite a while now - I have a new job. It's very little but it might help in restoring something of my lost confidence: that or push me over the edge completely.

In addition to that, I decided it would be a good idea to take part in the writing task detailed below. So far I have managed 375 words which means I'm lagging somewhat. Yes, I've got a plot , reading Cheryl's blog this makes me feel rather smug, just no botheration at the mo. This is mainly because, three cheers and a hoorah, the Painter came home last Friday. We have also had news that we are a priority to be rehoused (DOUBLE HOORAH).

It was very weird to begin with and we were both a little, well, the only thing I can equate it to is, shy. We went to Tesco's today (his first trip out since coming home) and he said I could blog about what a crip he is but he did really well so he can go whistle. Supermarkets are a trial when your fit and healthy. I must admit I felt very protective - note to self: just make sure you are not over-protective - and one or two AHs were in real danger of a bunch of fives.

In other news, Samuel MacBeth from the first kiss story below contacted me to say he didn't remember a thing and who was I. Well Sam, I know who I am without the need to google myself (she lied). Truthfully, though, the interweb thing is a beauteous thing. Hi again Sam and thanks for the emails.

On a slight tangent, I can only commend the benefit of bedroom arranging to my mate Ally over at Ducking for Apples. Having been here for a year now and with the vestiges of the first stroke inducing wardrobes still obvious in the bedroom and us still living out of boxes and a couple of skew-wiff argos rails, the backlog of benefit paid for two wardrobes, two chests and two bedside cabinets. Get us with our hotel stylee room. The Painter thought he'd come to the wrong place so tidy and un-trippy was it. I even laid a carpet. What a boudoir.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Thanks Cheryl

For your post about NaNoWriMo. I think I went there once. No, that was Nanaimo. I digress. I've signed up as when I was trogging around the other day I had a bit of an idea. A germ. So now I too can wear my particpant badge with something akin to pride but rather more like terror.

Here it is:

Official NaNoWriMo 2005 Participant

Now, if I can only work out how to link to it you can all get one too.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday Picture

Not done one for a while. Check out affordable art at .

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A bit of a breather ...

I was going to spend the morning running about in preparation for my Mum visiting but she can't come so I can take things a little more easily. I still have loads to do because the Artist has made excellent progress since the last update and on Friday he is coming home for a few hours with his occupational therapist in order to prepare for him coming home permanently next Friday. This isn't certain yet but is looking likely.

Once home he'll continue therapy as a day patient. His leg is getting good now and his hand is slowly improving but it will be a long slog. If you can imagine (or remember) waking up after having slept with your arm in the air - you know, when you wake yourself up by hitting yourself in the face - he's got that kind of level of dexterity at the moment.

Yesterday I came home with such a big smile. I can't wait for us to be a family again.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

First Kiss

Back in the day (to irritate my absent husband, who will at some stage no doubt plough through this), 30 years ago today as it happens we moved from what I regarded as home, a sleepy little Cornish village (clicking this link will show you some really charming pictures but your ears may be assaulted by some kind of ragtime tinkly stuff) and birthplace of the Twentieth century's communications technology revolution, to the dizzy excitement of the metropolis of Falmouth.

I moved from a village school and my own clothes to a catholic school with uniform and rules and positively no swearing (no really we didn't). The school had an infant bit and a junior bit and the juniors left at a different time; there were bells and smells and Mass every Wednesday. It was also in a new building with indoor toilets and everything. Shortly before this I had even appeared on the local news in a feature about the village schools outside loo, holding a noddy picture.

I found it scary, regimented and foreign to begin with but actually grew to love that school and the people in it.

My first kiss happened in the cloak room near the girls' toilets in the infant area although as I was 7, I was actually counted as a junior. The bell rang for the end of afternoon break and it happened. Samuel MacBeth ran at me and planted one on my kisser. He looked at me for a moment and then ran off with a nervous sort of smile. I only remember being really taken a back. Kissing was for grown ups. One day I would want someone like Samuel, although not him exactly, but not here and not now. When it did happen I wanted him to be a cross between Carry Grant and Rock Hudson, to be wearing a shirt, tie and long trousers.

It made me grumpy. I didn't feel invaded or violated just thought it was a bit bloody stupid and with my milk bottle complexion and red hair, my face stayed scarlet for the rest of the afternoon. Well at least until we did our times tables and said a Hail Mary.

There, Mrs Baggage, it's done.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Parsnip Fay Weldon

To concur with a certain huffy sister of mine in the comments below the last post, I am indeed a little daft around the edges. The title of this post, however, is not a sign of that vast madness but instead a sign of someone else's.

Having a quick squizz at my sitemeter results is often quite interesting and this morning is no exception - apparently if you google the above I come up second. The question is why would you want to? This must be one of the weirder google searches I have been visited by although not the weirdest. That honour goes to zebra f***ing -a reflection of my wont to use florid profanity and of others strange predilictions. It brought up several links to photos none of which I followed. Not that I'm prudish just of a slightly nauseous dispositon.

According to the BBCs new life change programme How to Get Lucky, having a haircut now counts as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I can vouch for the therapeutic effect as by another weird coincidence I had one on Monday to cheer myself up.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Curiouser and curiouser

This next little ditty will either strike you as a weird piece of happenstance, serendipity (call it what you will or it won't.

Our local post office is quite good for dealing with straightforward things like the sale of a first class stamp or paying a bill but if you through recorded delivery books at them or present them with a request to send something to somewhere remote and exotic in under three months they tend to get a little flummaxed. Normally, though, postcodes don't throw them - them being a mainstay of the postal service.

The new certificates of posting are all computerised and so you are sometimes faced with the "Computer says no" scenario. On Thursday we had the same thing: woman in the post office insisting the postcode was wrong, me insisting it was right. She decided to hand write the address on the receipt/certificate of posting (probably completely invalid) crossing through the computer generated stuff. There was such a queue (another one) behind me that I didn't scrutinize what she had done but put it in my purse and went to Tescos to buy succour (can you buy it?) for my family.

On Friday morning the receipt is on my desk and something about it keeps drawing my eye. I can't understand how my name is on it as I never gave my name and it wasn't on the back of the parcel. I'm trying to ignore it and phone the BA but the line just rings and rings and this thing is drawing me to it. My name is in the bit she crossed out with a dud postcode at the end. I look more closely and see it says E & F McLachlan (okay, I have an extra a) Architects. Do I send this Fiona a Christmas card or will she just think I'm mad.

Tears of A Clown

Well, baby, if there's a smile on my face it's only there to fool the public. I was forced on Friday to take drastic measures when talking to the people at the local BA. Despite the girly pink wrapper on this blog (skin - I think the cogniscenti call them), I'm not a girly girl. Or even a girly woman. I'm normally a pragmatic, businesslike and no-nonsense kind of a soul.

Ringing the BA every day to see wtf was going on took its toll, though, and when I finally got through on Friday morning and was told that contrary to what had been said on Tuesday (that the claim was on the system and was about to be paid) it was in a queue still waiting to be processed; it was in fact not on the system at all. Furthermore, there was a large backlog.

I lost it and started wailing about the fact that I now had no money to visit my husband in hospital and blubbing. The woman got the paperwork in a bid to calm me down and leafed through and came to the conclusion it was quite straightforward and would only take about five minutes to process. Cheers for that - I already knew that or I wouldn't be hassling you everyday. Anyway, she said she try and get it moved to the front of the queue. I came off the phone feeling rather aghast that I'd actually cried in front of someone not sitting next to me at a cinema re-release of Truly, Madly, Deeply or someone I was related to by blood or marriage.

Don't get me wrong, I cry at the drop of a hat in front of those very specific groups of people - I even cried at the wedding of Peter James Andrea and Katie Price last night on Sky Mix. I try never to drop my guard infront of members of the bureaucracy or to use my tears to my advantage. This is a policy I will be ditching forthwith as on Saturday morning a nice fat giro for gazillion of our British Pounds floated down and landed on our non-existent doormat. So now we're practically solvent again.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Come day, go day

Well it seems like some small glimmers of progress are finally being made. The Artist's mood seems to have lifted a little and he even phoned me last night - he doesn't even phone me when he's not stricken (some strange part of the verb to have had a stroke - Mary don't hit me). It made me smile for the rest of the evening.

Otherwise, no news on any front. Not on a garage - he'll ring you back; not on a new house - they'll ring you back; not on any money - we didn't receive your claim until the 29th -your letter says 27th - oh - and you returned my birth certificate on 20 - I don't know why there's a missing week but in any case your husband didn't sign the medical certificate we need to return it to him - exasperated remarks about the fact I'm running out of money as the WTC was stopped from 13 and I can't afford to keep going back to the hospital - sorry we can't process your claim until the form is signed.

Tuesday was a very bad day. I flooded the kitchen because I was trying to sort more paperwork out and forgot I was running the sink to wash the dishes. Had a huge row with Arty Daughter, then phoned rescue centres to have the animals rehomed.

Yesterday was significantly better and I cancelled my place on the waiting lists - I we are rehoused we would all be so gutted to have rehomed the animals.

Come day, go day.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Artist - writ large at Minigallery

John Morris
Interview with the artist

What is the first artwork you ever sold?

It was a life drawing. I was 17ish, and I had some life drawings in my portfolio from school. School? Yes, school. My school was of the "Rowing and Latin" variety, and I was part of a small, dedicated and well-resourced group doing art A-level. Our teacher (a fantastic character called Pete Dryland) was devoted to us and our progress, so he engaged a fellow teacher to pose in a skimpy bikini (I suppose I should mention that this teacher was a she) for the life drawing option of our mocks. I got some lovely pencil and charcoal drawings out of that week. (Incidentally, in order to keep 1st years out of the art room during these sessions, Pete locked the door. The headmaster couldn't get in either, of course, so out came the fags...)My parents split up and my dad bought his own house. His first "girlfriend" was a dreadful American woman who said the word "Art" in a way that made my teeth itch. She bought a bikini drawing to impress my dad. I got £20 which was less than I'd want now...

What is your favourite media and why?

My favourite medium(sic) is Doris Stokes... Seriously, though, it's the traditional stuff I was trained in: pencil, charcoal, watercolour and oil. Absolute favourite for finished work is oil, no question.I love it; the feel, the smell, the taste, the sheen, the smell, the feel, the stains on my jeans. I'm an old fogey. I don't mind that it takes ages to dry, or that it costs a fortune, or that it makes brush cleaning a nightmare.

Did a particular person or event spark your interest in art?

No, not that I can remember. I think I'm a classic case of "always done it" from aged 3 or something. I recall a horse's head, in biro, on a shiny piece of cardboard, that I did when I was 4 or 5. It must have looked like a horse's head, because my parents passed it round the suburban dinner-party circuit with some degree of pride. I don't suppose it impressed those whose tiny offspring were destined to be lawyers or dentists, but I remember I was chuffed, and I did acquire a sort of sense that this was the thing I was made for/good at/going to be etc.Later, of course, I can point to some remembered influences: my art teacher at primary school, Mrs Sparks, my art teacher at secondary school, Pete Dryland (thank you, Droopy), my college graphics tutor Tony Hemingsley (who told me at an important time, very politely, that I needed to get my s**t together), and many others, but these were signposts along a path I had been treading since I was tiny (see above).

How long does it usually take you to complete an artwork?

This is an odd question, because of course it varies. I'm usually quick, now that I'm not so intensely graphic in my style. Some things I do have to force myself to be patient with, but generally, and especially with big paintings, I love the energy that only comes from spontaneous working and the discipline that says "STOP FIDDLING !!" when the thing is finished. I've scrapped and over-painted a lot of work because I've made one brush-mark too many and ruined someting good.As I get older, maybe I'll get slower and more cautious. I don't know. Provided I'm happy with my progress I have no strong feelings about it, so my pace could easily change...

When and where did you first exhibit your work?

On the fridge at home, like everyone else...and on the covers of my exercise books at school, of course. My art teacher at school exhibited a screen print for me, in Richmond town hall, but that was for brownie-points, not money. I've sold some botanical Illustrations at country "fayres" and so forth, but best of all is a painting on the marina wall in Porto Santo (got an eye infection doing that one!).Seriously, I'm exhibiting this summer (2005) at The Art Garden in Plymouth, and on minigallery.

Do you have a favourite amongst your own artwork?

The work I'm working on now has to be favourite, I suppose, or it won't have the positive energy I want it to have. I like my fruit pastels, and I like anything I do with a woman's bottom in it (I'm good at bottoms). Apart from that, I like things in phases, going through peaks and troughs of affection and disdain for various of my own paintings. The one I can look at anytime and never feel negative about, though, is "Catch me if you can" (the giant mackerel). I've sold this, so I've only got photos and memories, but I still think it is a truly great painting. Have any of your artworks ended up in unusual or famous places?Not that I can remember, although my oil pastel drawing "Satsuma" sold this year to a lovely chap in Australia, which is a long way to send a drawing.

Who or what has been the most influential factor in your development?

Well, my mum and dad, wife, children and friends and so forth, obviously. I've had a lot of praise and support throughout my life for which I'm grateful. It's not cool to acknowledge the influence of a schoolteacher, but Peter Dryland was a fantastic bloke with a laid back, low-key attitude. He seemed to just sort of be there, while we learned by osmosis. Without him, etc. etc.More recently, I have obviously to thank my wife Fiona for her (usually) sanguine reaction to my giving up my job to do this full time. I owe her a life of some sort, I suppose.

Which famous subject would you like to use in your art?

Catherine Deneuve.

When did you first start?

I was very little. I've always known. I've run away from it and done other things, but I came back because, insofar as I believe in these things, I was born to do it.What media would you like to try out?I'm open to anything that will make the image work the way I want it to, but because I invisage things done in oil, I need to persevere with it. When I know everything about oil paint I'll move on. That'll be quite a while, of course...

Which is your favourite art gallery and why?

The ArtGarden Cafe on Plymouth's Barbican, because they are hanging my work. More generally though, the Tate in London. It's where I went when I skipped school.The real answer to this question is this: any gallery with art on the wall is always a joy to be in. I love looking at art. Anywhere.

Have you ever had an art-related disaster?

I'm having one now, but I don't want to talk about it.

Do you have a funny story related to your art?

Sorry, no. Should I have? I'm starting to feel inadequate now. Cheers.

What do you like best about being an artist?

Everything. Even not having any money, because that will change. I love it when someone asks me what I do and I tell them I'm an artist. I have the life they want.

What do you like least about being an artist?

The money thing, because it affects my family. Another thing: I really don't like sniffy galleries (you know who you are, with your sign saying "No Riff-Raff" on the door).

What is the most expensive art related purchase you have made?

My freedom, otherwise known as "giving up the day job". On a day to day basis, I struggle with the cost of paint and canvas, etc. If I framed my work then I suppose the cost of that would feature in my nightmares too.

Where do you work, do you have a studio?

I have what I call a studio. It's a converted dining room in my mother's house, but it works for me. I love to work at home (my easel in that case being a short walk from bed) but we have dogs, cats and a young'un, so it can be tricky. My studio is quiet, reasonably well lit and plenty big enough for the time being.

Have you ever inspired somebody to become an artist?

Yeah, me. Seriously, I don't know that I have ever inspired - or caused - someone to become an artist, but I like to think I am a help to my daughter, who at sixteen is off to art college and may well become a brilliant painter. (She may of course choose to be a sculptor, fashion designer or photographer instead, which would be okay. If she becomes a social worker or a traffic warden then I will wonder where I went wrong...)

Are there other artists in your family?

Not that I know of. My wife is a poet, which is an art. My daughter is a painter, but she may become something else in time. Eldest boy is a historian and other boy is two, so who knows? My dad could draw a bit, but he was a policeman mostly. My mum was a restaurateur and my brother is an HGV driver/karate instructor. So it's just me, folks. Sorry.

Describe your routine on a day when you are working on your art?

I'm starting to think this is all a bit nosey. Okay, er...get up, have coffee, get dressed (not necessarily in that order), go to work.Seriously though, I have children and dogs, so I don't get out to the studio as early as some. I don't mind that. I'm not one of nature's nine-to-fivers.At the studio I'll have more coffee and a bit of a think before putting any paint on my brush. As I've said earlier, I work quickly compared to many artists, but there's a lot of contemplation, planning and evaluation between bursts of activity. I stop work when my inner voice tells me to stop. Then I go home and spend the evening with my family. This is a "typical" day but nothing is carved in stone. Days may be similar, but no two are exactly the same.

If you could pick just three colours to work with what would they be?

Black, white and brown, I suppose, but that wouldn't have to be paint. I like Conte Crayon, pastel and charcoal for drawing, so three colours wouldn't feel too restricted. If I could only PAINT in three colours, I suppose I would choose the primaries and mix everything else I needed from those, with the white of the canvas being another colour. So there.

What is in your artistic toolbox?

Various kinds of paint, brushes, palette knives, drawing media, same as everybody else I suppose. I buy linseed oil, turpentine and brush cleaner from DIY shops rather than art shops because they're about a hundred times cheaper and just as good.There's nothing surprising here, because I'm a fairly traditional sort of painter. I'd like to be able to tell you I mix my own pigments or something interesting like that, but I don't.

What item could you not do without?

My talent. Heck, I don't know. If all I had was a pencil, then I'd just use a pencil, I suppose. There are lots of things I would miss if I didn't have them, or if they hadn't been invented: oil paint, canvas, an easel, red wine...

Friday, September 30, 2005

I surrender ...

… to ape something I said yesterday. I’ve always had a morbid fascination with those surrendered wives (well, I say always but they’ve only been around for about 10 years and only exist at all because of women’s lib). Of course, I could never be one, my mouth is too fond of being left to its own devices and beside, The Artist, would not, I think, have ever wanted that kind of responsibility.
Ours is a modern marriage, a blended family. We try to be a team and most of the time it works – The Artist has what he wants: to work as an artist and I have what I want: a third child after years of being denied (by virtue of divorce) and denying myself (that part of my life is passed – at twenty-four!!). We have no money to speak of, our car’s a c**t and we are trapped in the heart chavland. Apart from these minor problems we are for the most part happy.
Now, though, we are apart. I’m on the verge of tears often – last night at the school awards do I had to ask people not to be nice to me. Of course, they still were. I’m very afraid. Afraid of the immediate future: the possibility of being re-housed and the idea that that may well mean we are out of the frying pan and into the fire; afraid of not being re-housed and the idea of The Artist being in rehab for even longer than necessary. I’m afraid that every time this happens a little bit of what The Artist is to me is lost.
The thing I’m most afraid of is that this will happen again. I’m not afraid of having to care for The Artist but I’m so afraid of losing him.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

And in other news ...

The visit to the hospital yesterday went quite well after a shaky start. When I got there (outside of visiting hours) I was ushered away from the ward by a woman of unknown job description before I could even see The Artist. I was taken to sit in the day room to wait for the Consultant's ward round to finish. The Two Year Old Genius sat doing his jigsaws, eyeing up the TV which wasn't on and the collection of videos none of which were really his cup of tea (Bridge on the River Kwai et al).

Two agency health care assistants came in and started moaning about their pay, places they'd worked and one kept saying crap in front of the TYOG. I know, I know it was just the word crap but they shouldn't have been talking like that in front of a patient or carer (as I'm now officially known). Oh, and she was American - so it doesn't even mean the same there or atleast is more inoffensive. Really I was just sitting there feeling very vulnerable and consequently touchy. I began to think that I wasn't even going to be able to see The Artist and would have to hand his things to the ward clerk. I felt like crying and in the nick of time the smiling, northern, male staff nurse came into the room, apologised for the length of time we'd had to wait and asked if we would like to go and sit with The Artist instead.

When the consultant's (Dr N) ward round finished he came down to get me, introduced himself by his first name to the TYOG whose unusual name tends to disarm people.

The Artist said he didn't want to come, so I went with the boy genius. He confirmed they haven't been able to pinpoint the exact cause but apparently this is not unusual. We talked about the problems as I saw them and as they saw them - he was very reassuring, kind and helpful and not in the least patronising.

The bombshell was that the Artist's stay is likely to be at least 3-4 months, more if he does not begin engaging in the whole process. His age is on his side and if he suddenly becomes inspired he could be out in two.

That said they have offered to provide any support they can. They use a real multi-agency approach there and believe that support for the family is an integral part of the therapy package.

We agreed it might help The Artist if I were to visit less often, thus making him reliant on ward staff and himself for things instead of waiting for me to come in and sort things out. This has the added benfit of saving our dwindling funds and my slightly frazzled being.

God bless the NHS. Graeme, over at Incorrect use of the soap, I concur.



And in my spare time ...


When I'm not running around looking slightly more haggard by the moment, I'm just whipping up cocktail dresses for Arty Daughter's prom. She chose the dress and the fabric and of course is completely unsure about it now. I would be adding a picture of it at this point just so you could all see what a domestic goddess I am but blogger has other ideas again.

We (Arty Daughter, Surrealo Sone and Two Year Old Genius) are all going to the awards dinner and then AD is staying on for the bop, as us naval types used to call them. She's not going in a limo - just on the bus. A certain retro chic, n'est-ce pas?

Cheryl is right, most blogs seem to lurch from one crisis to another - this one certainly does. Or maybe it's not just the blog but my life that does the lurching.

What I really want is this life:


Maybe I'll become surrendered.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Early one morning ...

It's not unusual (to coin a phrase) for me to be on the computer at this time of the day but today we have an appointment at the rehab centre with the Artist's consultant.

I've been quite concerned about the apparent lack of information and arranged this on Monday. However after visiting with the Artist yesterday - the consultant spoke with him yesterday morning and it appears that they have not found the cause of the stroke - none of the tests have apparently been able to locate the new injury.

So it seems that I am going to have a wasted journey if that is all the consultant can tell me/us. Of course there are lots of questions that this apparent lack of diagnosis brings up in itself: how do we stop it happening again; is it a stroke or something else with stroke symptoms et cetera, et cetera. I feel like I'm in an episode of House. Any second now everything will start whooshing and the Artist will break out in horrible giant hives or start shaking uncontrollably.

So me and the two year old genius have to get ready and get out for the trek to the hopsital [sic] even earlier. My entire life consists of getting on and off buses at the moment.

Thanks for your comment, Vickie. Emotional lability is one of the most profound symptoms remaining from the Artist's last stroke in February. Nobody really tells you that even though your loved one is physically 99% recovered that the person you used to know may actually be changed forever. Some of the survivor stories over at Different Strokes (a support group for younger stroke survivors) indicate that this has led to marriage break-ups etc.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Monday, Monday

Well, this is as frustrating as everything else. I'm trying to insert a picture here but as usual blogger has its own ideas. It keeps telling me it's done it but voila - no picture.

Well the Artist has been moved to the local specialist stroke unit for rehabilitation. He's feeling extremely sorry for himself and his movement is limited although he can now sit and stand - a big improvement on this time last week. I've contacted just about every government and local government agency in the last week and filled in over 100 pages of forms - we need to get out of this place before the Artist can come home, basically. At least that's the way it's looking. So I'm working on that basis.

The car is sitting out the front like a huge white elephant - MOT just expired, tax just about to go, no way or where for me to move it. A known fault that we haven't been able to fix and a duff headlight. I can't even sell the bloody thing. I've applied for a garage but of course there is a waiting list - you have to wait until somebody gets sent down for fencing stuff out of theirs before they become free. I'm sure that's not actually true.

Anyway, paradise has never looked rosier - a shame it's so far away. Poesy for all of you interested is permanently on hold - was going to relaunch in October but will wait for things to settle down.

Friday, September 16, 2005

No news ...

... is not always necessarily good news. Been feeling rotten all summer, compounded by the holidays, tiny shitty little flat and no money. This week started off all vim and vigour: Surrealo Son went back to school last week, Arty Daughter due to start college on 13th. Trying to address my problems and get my head straight.

What could possibly go wrong? Well probably everything if I'm involved.

We (me and the Artist for newbies or those who need to dust my abandoned blog down)spent a very pleasant evening post Ashes (sorry Antipodes) and a lovely dinner enjoying each other's company and generally being rather silly.

We decided to go to bed to watch the very silly film (Soldier Blue) we were sitting up watching at about half past midnight. At around ten to one the Artist started rolling and lolling over the side of the bed (a sneaky tactic to avoid my advances I thought). When this had happened three times (the Artist thought it was really funny) I noticed in the glint of the TV that the residual effects from the February stroke looked much worse on the left side of his face. By this time instead of trying to sit on the bed he had slid to the floor.

I said I thought he'd had another stroke. He couldn't grip my hand. He couldn't sit up straight. He said he was fine. I called the ambulance who were there within 6 minutes.

We are still waiting for a diagnosis - the CT scan only showed the old brain injury; nothing new. His MRI results are being disappointingly elusive. Hopefully he'll have had them now.

Just waiting for Tescos to deliver the shopping and then I'll be off with the Two year old genius to the hospital.

Sorry to everyone who has contacted me over the summer - just not been able to get this or anything else into gear. Have to now though.

Love to you all. Will keep this posted.

The picture is not of me by the way - to see my naked bum you'll have to visit John's online gallery at Reclining nude with red hair is me, not the stick insect above.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Perplex City - Original Cards for sale

Not been too well - back soon, hopefully, and Poesy too.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Not in my name

Last Thursday morning started like any other for so many people. Many people left their loved ones blissfully happy, hurt, disappointed, angry, indifferent or in love not knowing that when they next saw them everything would be different.

Monstrous acts of terrorism do that: they aim to change our lives for ever; to makes us dance the same perverse tarantella of extremism that the perpetrators feel compelled to follow.

We have no defence against this - that's the point. They attack the vulnerable in mundane settings in order to make the ordinary seem impossible. They seek to cow us, to have us capitulate to there whims and will.

If we take up the petrol bomb or write anonymous vitriol and aim it at anyone who may bear some cursory resemblance (remember the paediatrician attacked because some moron thought he was a paedophile just because the two words look alike?) to those we believe to have done this, we join them.

So don't throw your Molotov cocktail for me, you are not my protector; you do not speak for me. You are the bomber on the underground. You are the bomber on the train. You are the rogue pilot of a plane. You are not a saviour, not an avenging angel. You sit shoulder to shoulder with them not me. Your hands are covered in the same blood, your soul indelibly stained with it.

When you attack them, whoever "they" may be, you are a terrorist.

I despise you for it; I reject you for it; I cast you out. You claim a collective impetus as a moral imperative. I do not belong to your collective and I reject your morality.

You are the voice of the mob; you do not speak for me.

You maim our society with your wickedness but not in my name.


A bit of beauty in an ugly world

By the talented John Morris, soon to be exhibiting on Plymouth's historic Barbican at the Art Garden not far from the Mayflower Steps.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Unexplained absence - explained

Sort of. The only explanation I can give is that I have been trapped in the confines of my own arse for the last three weeks. No particular disaster has befallen me - infact I've had a rather successful month in terms of the Sheweevil against the world (a gratuity of £58 from a utility company and two council workmen attending for the one problem after my cage rattling), I just haven't been able to get to grips with this. And I've missed Cheryl's meme - give it me again and I promise (brownies' honour) to get on with it toot sweet.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A pocket Full of Poesy - again

The first edition of this is now available here !!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Here's my little weed in our garden Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Last call ....

... for A POCKET FULL OF POESY. Submit your words now - no guarantee but we'd love to hear from you.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Happy Friday - Friday Picture

Happy Friday, tout le monde avec theses plus tranquils. John Morris aka The Painter. Posted by Hello

Dodge City

Posted by Hello
Just flicking through our local fascist rag (part of the Mail Group) to see if we had any marauding buffalo or anything else remotely like the wild west when I found this was our top story. The NT story which inspired me had a kind of raw integrity: nature red in tooth and claw; all the Herald's story goes to show is that I am not imagining the fact that I live in an urban cesspit of crime and, I hesitate to use the word, lack of respect for the rule of law.

Sorry to sound like Irate of Tonbridge Wells. There is not a Conservative bone in my body infact if I had to lay blame anywhere (and I believe I do) it would fall at the feet of "Make me a channel of your peace" Thatcher and her vandalism. We have become the society-free nation she promised us - it's a legacy of sorts but not one I'd want to be remembered for.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Cats: to infinity and beyond ...

In memory of Ferdie and in light of the fact my tribute post to him was eaten by blogger (not fair was deleted inadvertently by me) I found this while schmoozing over on Britblog. There I found a blog fairly local to me: Big Magpie. I don't like magpies and it is my only superstition really but I didn't find anything sinister there, instead I found this. Cat-haters are probably well advised not to visit said link and at least it's not a picture of my cat dead.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Orkney galore

This week I would mostly prefer being here. It's a property for sale on the fantastic island of Westray and for some reason instead of delighting in downtown Honicknowle I would rather be there, feeding chickens and chasing windblown dogs across a field Check out the fantastic view below. Posted by Hello

Just look at the view Posted by Hello

Bugger Blogger

It ate the bottom of my movie meme post that I worked so hard on - have had to take off all the formatting to make it show up.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Finally (Build it. Build it, baby) the long awaited MOVIE MEME

Well don't really know where to start with this but as it's turning into a huge and hidden bag of knitting wool (some of which became useful at the weekend but if darning's the sum of it's usefulness it's a shitload of darning) of a thing.

Total Number of Videos/DVDs owned:

Well it depends if you mean of the prerecorded variety or of the ever-so-slightly-illegal-recorded-off-the-telly variety. I'll have to assume that you mean a stramge fusion of the two. I own about two videos of the prerecorded type and several (I'll get no closer than that) of the other. The two are, for what it's worth, Bull Durham and Muriel's Wedding but I haven't watched them for a long time. They were bought for a time when I needed them; I also had Moonstruck and Much Ado about Nothing too. Surrealo Son would regale people by singing Sigh No More Lady, aged 5. But that was all in the life before The Painter.

We have three DVDs in the house - we got a player for Christmas from Mrs Simnel (thank-you) and the disc things were pressies too. So if you want a grand night out drop round for Postman Pat - the ABC years, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Prisoner and some fantastic wailing by Travis.

Hang on a mo, forgotten the questions - need to refer back - (just cut and paste you stupid cow).

Last film I bought:

A boxed set of early (proper) James Bond. Dougray Scott for Bond. Yay!!!!

The last film I watched:

The Dam Busters

Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:

Well, one film I have to mention I haven't even seen and it's all your fault Mrs Simnel. Poor Huffy and me never got to go and see the Aristocats at the cinema because you had the audacity to be born. I can never forget this - being
made to drink bath water is just not a good enough punishment. We had to go to the swimming pool instead and it was a school one made of plastic and it had spiders in it and I COULDN'T SWIM. It's A Wonderful Life, Much Ado about Nothing, Grease and Persuasion with the wonderful Ciaran thingy.

Annie, Mary and Ally will that do you?? I'm going to tag Huffy although her blog is not really a blog yet (I'd like to tag Mrs Simnel but she doesn't have one at all), Last Year's Man, Rantz, PhD Monkey and Erin.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Call for contributors

A Pocket Full of Poesy is launching on June 1 and is looking for contributions. Poems written in English or reviews or articles about any aspect of poetry are welcome.

Submissions should be emailed here or by visiting the site, here.

Still Life with Peasant Girl

Still life with peasant girl - John Morris Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Rosa 'William Morris' Posted by Hello

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

Well after watching the worst Eurovison Song Contest I've ever seen and generally recovering from the trauma that has been the loss of my blog, I'm feeling a bit more like writing something.

We went to the allotment yesterday and planted some of the plants from the old house: Rosa 'Jaqueline Du Pre' and Rosa 'William Morris' plus the iris mentioned a couple of weeks ago on the dandelion entry. The iris seems dormant which is unusual for this time of year but it has been the coldest spring I can remember, not in terms of frost or snow but just in the constant northerly airstream. It is not unusual for us to be on the beach in mid-April to mark Arty Daughter's birthday; not this year. Never has the adage "Cast not a clout 'til May is out" been more apt. It's a bit chilly on the willy as they say in some parts.

Aside from that, things are actually growing and I am amazed. I've been quite successful with plants before but growing things from seed is a whole different ball game and even though it's been really chilly things are growing. I'll be getting some photos and posting them here this week. This year it is just a kind of utilitarian veg patch but next year I am going to go for the whole potager effect.

In addition to this I have been linked to by a local news provider. I'm not sure how this makes me feel. I'm pleased in some ways but maybe it'll make me a little more circumspect about what I post - I don't want to become chavscum's most wanted.

It's raining again, not the normal "here, have some water" raindrops but the big fat bastard "Soaked you!!" kind; the kind of loud, in your face, gobbing chavscum of a raindrop. The weeding will have to wait. I've got a windowsill full of things to be planted out soon but they are safe and warm where they are for the moment and there aren't many slugs willing to brave the piss-stained entrance lobby or the broken alcopop bottles kindly deposited by some chavettes on Friday. It used to be that everyone stopped for tea - now it seems that you can't go anywhere without you mango and passionfruit bacardi breezer. It makes drinking woodpecker through a straw seem a bit, well, amateurish.

I am not ignoring the movie meme but I think I have been tagged by three of you now and am fast running out of people to tag back. Will get my laughing gear round it a bit later on.

Friday, May 20, 2005

More finger trouble

Well, finger trouble seems to be reigning supreme. Hello has just refused the picture I want to send so I'll try another, once again courtesy of the talented Mr. Morris. Happy Friday. If anyone has any record of the old sheweevil site can you contact me. Trying to put things back togerther is not that easy. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Finger trouble

It seems that I have inadvertently deleted the whole thing in a moment of distraction.

Normal service will be resumed shortly - I hope.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

April (part) Archive

Monday, April 11, 2005

Bronze fennel by John Morris

posted by She Weevil @ 8:50 AM 0 comments

And now for something completely different ...
When I’m not banging on about games, I spend a lot of time thinking about gardening. If you visit regularly you will know that we have just got a tenancy on an allotment. No big deal to some, I know, but we live in a flat and have been used to having a garden, so to us it is.

It’s not really a tortuous process, it just seems like it. John’s gone to get the key this morning but we did visit on Saturday morning and measure up. The plot’s long and narrow (about 50’ x 14’ in old money) but it’s got a nice open aspect and the soil looks like a good fertile loam.

The plot has been cleared as well which is a bonus and turned over. I’m hoping the rain’ll keep off for a couple of days so that the weeds don’t all spring into life. Now furnished with the actual dimensions I have spent the weekend drawing anally retentive scale diagrams and planting schemes and trying to get my head around crop rotation. We had more of a potager affair at the old house. The garden there was mainly perennial flowers – a typical cottage garden really – with fruit trees, herbs, roses some potatoes and courgettes, tomatoes, aubergines and chillies in pots.

Going from that to a garden where only 10% can be ornamental is quite a contrast but something we are really looking forward to. We are not food snobs; that’s a lie, we probably are. We enjoy good food cooked with fresh ingredients – we understand the pot noodle horn we just don’t get it that often.

Anyway, over the course of the weekend I found a great new magazine called Grow Your Own – it’s only been out for a couple of months and it looks really excellent. There is loads of info on chickens and bees (two pipe dreams) and lots of advice and information on different vegetables, including the problems of fennel as a companion plant.

posted by She Weevil @ 8:42 AM 3 comments

Geeks of the world unite, you have nothing to use but your brains

So, you must all be thinking I’m some sort of geek now. Well you would be right in a way. I think we all have a geek quotient; just some of us are more prepared to reveal it than others.

I’m at ease with this; the geek is my ‘authentic self’ to quote Dr. Phil.

I did sit for 23 minutes trying to work out what the hell Rantz was talking about in the previous entry’s comments. No, that’s a lie; I decided to blog about it instead. I will try later on, but it’s still morning here and the caffeine hasn’t quite kicked in.

Why do I waste my time on these puzzle/game/conundrum type thingies?

A number of possibilities really:

I have the mind of a thirteen year old boy and the attention span to match;
I am a thirteen year old boy masquerading as an old hag called Sheweevil and that there physiog is a picture of my mum;
I am interested in the power of the collective mind.

Judge for yourself. I found Perplex City through a site called Collective Detective (which now seems to be mainly a marketing tool), through a puzzle called Virtuquest puzzle cube. Our Colony was through an approach on here.

I’ll try not to bore you with it all but to paraphrase a friend, Millysoo (you know who you are), we don’t need to be penis-enabled or pubescent to flex the old, grey matter now and again.

posted by She Weevil @ 8:14 AM 0 comments

Sunday, April 10, 2005
Hello to everyone visiting from Our Colony.
posted by She Weevil @ 9:44 AM 10 comments

Friday, April 08, 2005
Wet Patch @ Zygote in My Coffee in May
I'm published, I'm published! Onwards and upwards. It isn't London Magazine but it's a start. This is thanks in part to the Madbaggage, you know that rambling one and to Gremlinsmom at Fanstory. It will spur me on to bigger things. Just need to go and sharpen my pencil.

Oh and here's my poem (again):

Wet Patch

You know
love has lost its lure
when the wet patch
is no longer
the romantic demonstration
of his spent love;

once it becomes
a clammy presumption
it's time to throw in the towel.

posted by She Weevil @ 8:40 AM 4 comments

Thursday, April 07, 2005
Hooray for Plymouth City Council ...
Park Services department. We got our tenancy through this morning for the allotment, backdated to 1 April. My seeds have also come and I'm very, very, unusually excited. This may be strange behaviour for a woman of a certain age, I admit it, but I don't care. Of course the weather looks pretty awful: typically British April showers with the possibility of snow thrown in for tomorrow. I don't know what the weather pixie is saying about this (she does sometimes lie) but it's looking a bit black outside. It'll probably chuck it down in a mo.

What to do first though? Well get some tools would be a good idea. All my tools as well as all my plants are at the old house. Sigh.

posted by She Weevil @ 8:31 AM 3 comments

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Even more boots

posted by She Weevil @ 9:52 AM 0 comments

Boots again

posted by She Weevil @ 9:32 AM 3 comments

Monday, April 04, 2005
These boots are made for walking ...

Not a favourite with the Chavettes, this is what Arty Daughter was given for Christmas by The Painter. Eat your heart out Julie Birchill

posted by She Weevil @ 4:00 PM 10 comments

Hieland Coos
or Highland Cows as you might also say, have been an enduring favourite of mine since I first met them in Edinburgh Zoo when I was a very little Sheweevil indeed. As far as I can tell from their website they don't have them there anymore. Let me know where they've gone if you know. Because of my thick red hair it was a pet name.

And I'll link to any blog with a picture of one on, like the PS Life blog I found courtesy of Rantz' sidebar. I love them.

posted by She Weevil @ 9:53 AM 1 comments

ol school ... gimme 30
If this means anything to you please leave a comment.

posted by She Weevil @ 9:07 AM 1 comments

A message to you ...
I wrote to Scarlett this morning:

Hi Scarlett

Just extending Earth greetings to you on your lovely blog. I've blogrolled you and put a piece about your blog on my own blog (the link below). I've got you in my bloglines too so I can keep up with all your news. I'd really love to have a look at some of your stuff in The Column; do you have a URL for this? If you need to contact us at all you can always leave a message in the comments on my own blog.

Really lovely job.

and got this reply (the auto respond email thateveryone is getting)

Hi! Thanks for writing to me. I've been receiving so many emails lately, I'm not going to be able to reply to them all, but I will be reading every one :)

as she says, she's reading everyone. Be nice if this became a bit of a conduit.

posted by She Weevil @ 9:04 AM 0 comments

Saturday, April 02, 2005
The Scarlett Kite
Yes, I realise that my various, slightly obsessional meanderings into the depth and breadth of the internet are displacement activities. But there you are.

You will also know, if you read here regularly, that I keep banging on about a place/thing/game (I can legitimately call it that now) called Perplex City.

Perpelx City is a game. To be more specific it is an ARG. There was a pregame teasy bit where they set up their staff and put the game together and gave those who were interested tantalising tastes of what was to come.

The game started in earnest earlier this year with a series of newspaper adds in the classified section of major Earth newspapers. Each add contained a snippet of an article, effectively a jigsaw puzzle to piece together. The Perplex City Sentinel went live on March 21. More tantalising titbits. In amongst the furniture, some clues. The word Scarlet spelled out in a list of personnel. And now this.

I don't claim to be the clever so-and-so that found it (Brat-sampson was the first to post it) but I bet I'm the first to blogroll it.

The site is well designed - nice and clean, lots of white space for ease of reading. The cartoonist has been busy again coming up with some pictures of Scarlett. She got a page for media links which she says she's got to update. As for looking further into what she says: she says that everything she gets goes through the Academy so maybe we do need to place a classified add, here on Earth and tell her where it is. Just a thought. Iona Rodie may also be an avenue to pursue.

posted by She Weevil @ 9:27 AM 1 comments

Friday, April 01, 2005
Weather Pixie

posted by She Weevil @ 4:42 PM 4 comments

Prince Charming, Prince Charming ...
... Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.

What is going on with the Prince of Wales? A life spent as an understudy must surely include an element of frustration. The goodwill that the heir to the throne was the subject of for the first part of his life has largely been squandered.

Is this a product of a cynical and unkind society or is the cynical and unkind society a product of an establishment who took the goodwill of the people as a birthright? It may be that the people's faith has always been misplaced and abused but in an information rich environment like we have today and with a populous that is, on the whole, to varying degrees of efficacy, literate, you have to behave with a decorum and poise in order to maintain a respect earned on the coat-tail of somebody else.

If you do things that reduce the respect people have for you don't expect it not to be news worthy. If people feel that you betrayed not only your wife but people who believed that you were a good man, fit to be King, don't be surprised if they are not interested in your personal happiness. If you live like the rabble then expect the rabble to subsume you.

Don't be surprised when they turn around and dismiss your problems with the press as a stick you have cultivated for yourself, organically of course.
posted by She Weevil @ 11:06 AM 3 comments

Thursday, March 31, 2005

March Archive

Thursday, March 31, 2005
To anybody here about Perplex City...
If you've been on the wiki you are probably thinking "Where's all the ppc stuff". This blog is at least as up-to-date as the other two. Do a Technorati Search of the site and you'll find stuff.

Oh and by the way I've just become an ARGolonist if that means anything and solved a challenge - so woot to me.

Think that should be 'truncated' guys.

posted by She Weevil @ 9:48 AM 8 comments

We're drinking my friend to the end of a brief episode...
... make it one for my baby and one more for the road.

It's still a relatively sensible time across the pond. Out across the pacific it's about time for a cup of tea and way down under it's nearly time to be thinking about a spot of lunch.

Here in dank old Plymouth, Devon, England, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, Europe, the World it's 2:27 in the morning and we are not drinking anything. That is to say I am not drinking anything. A doctor once told me that all I had to do was to learn to drink normally. Isn't that the whole point you arsehole?

The rest of the she weevil brood are abed, infact I've just heard the patter of tiny footsteps heading to Mummy and Daddy's bed, so when I exorcise whatever this is that you are about to become subjected to, there will be three in the bed and the little one will say "I don't want cubbers".

Talking to a nameless friend started it I suppose, airing our respective dirty washing over the madness you find in acadaemia. I try not to think about it often - it just seems like someone else's life. That person just about made it through university for many and varied reasons, including sole responsibility for two children, a landlord from hell and an extremely dangerous house, a court case, a fatal attraction to alcohol and meeting the love of her life - I almost forgot, and the madness of the aforesaid academicians. When she left she was vital and excited and sure and enthused. She knew life was going to get better.

Watching Jamie's Kitchen this evening finished me off. I describe myself on various blogdirectories as an erstwhile scrubber. Last year I took a job as a cleaner. They were quite surprised at me wanting the job with my qualifications but it suited me at the time. Later on their cook left and I changed roles. I worked bloody hard and I could cook them all into a cocked hat but my face didn't fit. They got the opportunity to hire the person they had wanted for the job in the first place and they sacked me. It took me two months and the threat of legal action for me to get my severence pay and holidays etc paid; they weren't going to pay it at all. Then we had the lovely saga of the house, then Christmas, the stroke, the heart and now, Jesus, I feel unemployable.

I said I'd stop doing this but I'm sorry tonight you are my buddy - so just listen a minute will you? I don't know what the hell to do, I don't know which way is up. I don't know how to make thingsdifferent: I don't even know where to begin.

posted by She Weevil @ 1:23 AM 3 comments

Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Book stick
Well this became, in my head at least, the big bad book stick. The big, guilty, bang you over the head bookstick. It almost took on the dimensions of my big, guilty bin-liners-full-of-expensive-knitting-wool-that-I-can't-bear-to-throw-away. And why would this little, unassuming meme have gotten me so wound up and angst ridden? I suppose because I'm ashamed I don't read enough. I used to read all the time. After my degree it took me three years to even pick up a book. Now I read sporadically. Thanks Cheryl for nominating me.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Well, I answered this over on Badaunt's page in her comments. I did have a kind of asexual crush on Jo from Little Women. The part where she cut off her hair was truly horrific to me and at the same time so noble. I loved her for it plain and simple. It did irritate the shit out of me the way she called her mother Marmee, though. Male crush would have to be Inspector Rebus. He's just so flawed. Please ignore the truly awful TV version and the miss casting of John Hannah - Rebus is distinctly more flawed and has obviously eaten a few more haggis suppers than John Hannah

The last book you bought is

This was a charity shop find. I love charity shops for books they are always dirt cheap and you find some interesting things that someone has cherished enough to take along rather than just bin. Anyway the book in question was Final Days by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. I bought it for The Painter because he loves the film All the President's Men. Obviously it's about the final days of the Nixon administration. I haven't read it yet and I can't at the moment even locate it we have so many, some would say too many, books in this house.

The last book you read

The last book I actually read was The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen. Sounds lofty but it was just lying around and I thought I would improve my mind. Not with this though. A very strange little tale about a man who escapes reality into a kind of Narnian attic. I suppose if Ibsen were writing it now the protagonist may end up blogging himself into obscurity instead. Translation is always a problem and I'm not sure that this edition had been done very sympathetically but it was infinitely better than Candide by Voltaire.

I had embarked on Bjorn Larsson's Long John Silver when the whole stroke situation kicked off but it was tidied up by The Painter after he got out of hospital. I hate that. I hate people picking up after me (do it yourself then, you lazy cow - internal monologue). Now I keep looking at it on the bookshelf and glaring at it like it was the book's fault.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

The first, as I mentioned over on Badaunt's gate-crashed entry would be Cohesion in English by Halliday and Hassan. I would take it to the island and really coherently (pardon the pun) demonstrate why their theory is wrong. I attempted to do this for my Bachelor's dissertation (Text: a question of cohesion). My tutors were distinctly unconvinced giving it only a 56 - the external moderator was obviously a woman of some sense as she marked it up to a 64 (that's a big leap guys, my vendetta theory seemed somewhat less bizarre when I found that out).

The next I would take would be the Norton Anthology of Poetry. This is an American publication and so there is some bias in its editorial but it is a very thorough collection of poems in English and the chapter on versification at the end is a useful toolbox for any poet.

Next I would have to take two books as one choice. I know this is cheating but the two books were bought together in a second hand bookshop. Okay, okay, I'll make them count as one each but you have no soul. They had been presented together as a prize in a race in 1911 or some such and included a newspaper clipping of the race results (YMCA Manchester Harriers v YMCA Oldham Harriers). The pair of books are The Poems and Songs of Robert Burns and the Life of Robert Burns by JG Lockhart published by JM Dent and EP Dutton (1910). I first bought a copy of Burns Poems and Songs aged 6 at a jumble sale and read it for many many years until it fell apart. To be without this copy would be unthinkable; to part the copy from its mate would be inhumane.

The fourth choice would aptly be The Coral Island by RM Ballantyne. Again this is as much about the edition of the book as the story; it's a colonial tale and as such is not very politically correct in these post colonial times but the strangeness and the beauty of the South Seas islands comes through very strongly. It would act as a kind of survival manual too and as long as I didn't have to eat long pig I think I'd be okay. The copy I have is covered in a blue/green shagreen and has thin pages. It smells, when you open it, like a missal or a hymnal. Lovely.

My fifth and final choice would be 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith - don't even speak about the various Disney travesties - please read the real thing with paper pages. It would inspire me to find a way home.

My book stick nominees are the weird and wonderful Rantz, Ally over at Ducking for Apples and of course the other Ali over at Alastair Campbell. (He won't answer - too busy running the election but I'll chuck the stick at him anyway.)

posted by She Weevil @ 11:34 AM 10 comments

I have been very lax over the Easter weekend. Could this be because the Weevil was busy making her Easter devotions, all gongs and incense. No, sadly not. Just been exceedingly slothful.

Bloglines feeds haven't been working properly either, so blogdom seemed eerily quiet. Thanks Rantz for leaping to my defence yesterday. My rude visitor (yesterday's comments) was in fact my lovely mad sister. She's been doing all the running around with mum because she lives nearby. She is lovely. She thinks she's funny. What is funny is that you can't make a Simnel cake with hate in your heart: it just won't rise or cook. The marzipan will act like some kind of weird insulating blanket/Duvet thing. You will end up with a Simnel pancake.

I have another sister. She is also mad and when I don't mention her and tell her she's lovely she gets huffy.

posted by She Weevil @ 9:02 AM 1 comments

Sunday, March 27, 2005
Lionel Ritchie and ....
... the Comedones.

And their hit single "Squeasy like a Sunday Morning". Please do not click the link above unless you have a strong constitution and are not easily shocked.

posted by She Weevil @ 3:34 PM 3 comments

Friday, March 25, 2005


posted by She Weevil @ 11:43 AM 2 comments

Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?
Well for some time now I've intermittently told you about the loss of my lovely garden when we moved and how difficult I found it.

We applied for an allotment as soon as we moved in but we were put on a waiting list. Yesterday we got notification that we've been allocated a half plot and so I snapped it up. Just in time, too, with the growing season almost upon us.

So I spent a very pleasant evening trawling through my lovely Thompson and Morgan catalogue and find lots of yucky, I mean lovely, vegetables to grow in the garden. Yes thta's right I love growing them and garden fresh are as good as it gets but I'm not the world's biggest vegetable fan - give me a lump of meat and I'm happy.

Here's what I've got coming:

Bean : French Bean : Purple Teepee
Bean : Broad Bean : Express
Courgette : Salad Collection
Lettuce : Freckles
Carrot : Fly Away F1
Broccoli : Summer Sprouting Wok Broccoli
Squash : Winter : Avalon F1Hybrid
Lathyrus odoratus Astronaut Mixed
Lettuce : Colour Shades Mixed
Giant Strawberry Maxim - 6 Plants
Herbs : For Windowsills

I'm going to get some seed potatoes, onion sets and tomato plants locally as I've left it a bit late for ordering; needless to say it feels like Christmas not Good Friday.

posted by She Weevil @ 10:59 AM 7 comments

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Twenty-three reasons to blog about Alastair Campbell

Most of the following are personal impressions or taken from

Woman of a certain age find him oddly appealing yet at the same time vaguely irritating
He has red hair - he is not a ging
He has a strong aversion to Piers Morgan
Rumours that he was a riviera gigolo persist despite the fact that he bangs his fist and pouts about it
Brusque and northern
On the wrong side of the Blair/Brown divide (apparently there is no such thing)
The Painter alleges that he is the lapdog of a tyrant
He is a devisive character
He very nearly advocates the kicking of King Charles ... spaniels
He runs marathons - the man's a nutter
He supports Leukaemia Research
He was played by Jonathan Cake in "The Government Inspector"; hunky but not like the real deal
He wasn't daft enough to join the Wrens (or female enough for that matter)
He read modern languages - I think the ability to speak another language is cool in anyone. I only speak very bad French and even worse German.
He doesn't apparently like dogs; does he like cats?
The thinking woman's Sean Bean
Almost as sexy as the thinking woman's John Prescott (Gordon Brown)
Sexier than the thinking woman's David Icke (Tony Blair)
Spells Alastair with an internal A but no D
The name Campbell comes from the gaelic: twisted mouth
Alastair is an anglicised form of the gaelic form of the greek

posted by She Weevil @ 1:51 PM 4 comments

Over on the Alastair Campbell blog
"To anyone who caught that Politics programme yesterday I warn you to ignore the advice given by Derek Draper about tactical voting. That wanker suggested voting Lib Dem or even Tory in marginal seats to try and get rid of Tony. For starters why the fuck would you want to get rid of Tony? It would be a very dangerous idea to vote like that as the Tories could get in by the back door or even worse we could end up with Gordon Brown as PM. Do not think that the British people would be that stupid to heed someone like that’s advice anyway. " Alastair Campbell (apparently)

Still haven't made up my mind about this. In some ways it doesn't matter whether it's him or not. Makes for (or would if more people were looking at it and commenting) quite a nice sounding board/unofficial focus group. I think there's just me and Cheryl so God help him!!

posted by She Weevil @ 8:48 AM 1 comments

Monday, March 21, 2005
Perplex City
Just another of the things I fill my mind with in order to almost completely shut out reality seems to have begun in earnest this morning. Following an email from announcing the launch of a new ARG Perplex City. They send us all to who have the article from which all the clippings collected from the Earth newspapers over the past few weeks and the bits from Dinah and Alice too.

At the moment there seems no way to subscribe - if YOU know how please let me know or the forum at unforum.

posted by She Weevil @ 11:18 AM 2 comments

Fanstory ... again
Well the other reason I've been quiet on here is because I've been over on Fanstory. Contrary to popular opinion, I can't mop the floor and wash the windows at the same nor can I write on here and on there.

I write my drivel here and I put my self-indulgent drivel over there. It's all Madbaggage's fault. She started it all. This weekend we both ran into a lovely chap on there with quite firm opinions about most things in the universe.. Here's what he had to say about a piece I'd written:

"This was a decent piece of writing, but there simply wasn't much of a story. I think this could be developed much further. Good job overall. Below are some suggestions. XXXXXXX

"... then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink." I wouldn't capitalize these words (unless they are in that actual book)"

I did respond that it wouldn't have occured to me to misqote Keats, at which point the conversation stopped. I welcome anyone's review; he just has all the social graces of a teenage boy. Funny that.

What is a freshman in high school?

posted by She Weevil @ 8:48 AM 2 comments

Monday, Bloody Monday.
Been quiet all weekend on here. Probably cos Rantz shamed me over the backups thing. Well to understand my pathetic justification, I guess you had to be here. No, I don't mean here in our delightful (and only pissed stained on the outside) local authority flat. No. And not even walking a day in my shoes is close enough. You have to be right here, inside my head, to get it.

Saturday mum phones me. Not that unusual. She's won the premium bonds - only £50 -better than a poke in the eye. When I ask her how she is - she says not so good. A few chest pains. Bronchitis? No, and pains in her collarbone and down her arm.

I try telling her that taking an aspirin and having a sit down isn't the best plan of action but she' a bit pigheaded. She tells me she'll phone the doctor in the week and make an appointment. I know this is the best I'm going to get out of her for the moment.

I phone Sunday and she's had another two episodes in the night and one in the morning. I try and persuade her to call the doctor. Apparently she won't get an appointment at short notice. Anyway she's got grow houses coming by courier from Argos - she couldn't possibly phone them and put them off. She assures me she'll phone as soon as they have been delivered.

I sit pondering the conversation, wondering why she told me in the first place (she doesn't like to worry people and normally keeps things to herself); thinking about dad up on his cloud glaring because he doesn't actually believe e in heaven or the afterlife, yet here he is stuck on this fluffy construct waiting for everyone else to join him (morning, dad, BTW). I phone her back and say "You know you are having a heart attack, don't you. The doctor's surgery will have to see you if you tell them what's wrong." She tells me of course she knows she's having a heart attack, she's not stupid. Gets quite irritated and goes.

More pondering. A discussion with The Painter. He mutters things like "fucking ridiculous" a lot. I ring my sister and then my godmother, all the while thinking she's never going to speak to me again. Thankfully my godmother and her other oldest friend both go to see her and I get a phonecall at lunchtime to say they are off to A&E. Dribbles and trickles of information - has she, hasn't she? Apparently she probably has had at least one heart attack but they won't be able to confirm until later.

I phone the hospital this morning to see how she went over night and I get to speak to her, sounding better than she has done for ages. She even laughs when I tell her the treadmill they are going to get her to go on this morning has nothing to do with her heart condition - it's attached to a huge dynamo and powers the whole hospital (well, she is my mum - someone's got to laugh at my pathetic attempts at humour). She's still convinced she's going home today - she's still worried about the Argos parcel and her seedlings, but hey, she's in the right place.

I kept my promise Dad.

posted by She Weevil @ 8:04 AM 6 comments

Friday, March 18, 2005
Ain't no mountain high enough
So - I've been quiet for the last few days. Not really quiet, you just couldn't hear me screaming and swearing at the computer. It started with an infection of the viral variety which I thought I had quarantined and dealt with, an hour long conversation with a very nice techy guy at AOL and a format of my hard-drive.

This was not as straight forward as it sounds as my desk is (or was) somewhat like the Scafell Pike of paperwork. It did actually look like somebody had taken an office's waste paper and tipped it on the desk but I knew where things were (okay, I knew their general location). Included in this melee were, somewhere, operating disks et cetera, et cetera, all necessary for the afternoon's events. The external CD writer that we have with this clockwork powered pile of pooh is of course not connected. It sits like a little shrine to house dust under the desk in the vain hope that someone will actually one day attach it to the computer and make it useful again. There are a number of reasons why this hasn't happened and they are all down to my dreadful manana state of mind. NEVER DO TODAY WHAT YOU CAN PUT OFF UNTIL TOMORROW.

For the benefit of those of you visiting from North America or anywhere that has lots of mountains, Scafell Pike may not seem much more than a bump in the ground; I grew up in Cornwall, the highest point of which is Brown Willy - no, really, it is, height 1375 feet.

Nonetheless, it was not working. I was forced to try and get the collective detritus of four verbose individuals and their accounts on to three floppy disks. There are some of you out there who have probably never even used a floppy disk. Trying to do backups to them has always been a pain. Yesterday was no exception. To back up My documents was going to take approximately 380 disks. I had 12. They were old and reformatted but I was going to give it a go. After disk number five had successfully finished and prompted me for no six, the floppy drive decided it didn't like the disk and asked for another. Apparently I took too long complying and computer said no. The backup stopped and I was left with five disks full of meaningless crap.

I changed tack at this point and started breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable chunks. This, as has emerged, has been somewhat successful apart from (bien sur) the accounts. I backed these up individually and on coming the restore them, the backup software tells me there is no catalogue on the disk - task aborted.

So if I'm quiet again for a few days, think of me in my stout climbing boots, pushing on towards the pike, bar of Kendall Mint Cake in hand, in a valiant attempt to rebuild my life and my big box of cookies.

posted by She Weevil @ 8:52 AM 3 comments

Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Paddy's Wigwam ...
They speak with an accent exceedingly rare; meet under a statue exceedingly bare and if you want a cathedral we've got one to spare ...

Over on the Perplex City forums, there is an amount of debate about where this picture (the one in the top left-hand corner) is. There is, it has to be stated, also an amount of discussion as to whether or not it is important.

The candidates at the moment are London or Liverpool. It was considered to be London for the longest time but someone pointed out that the two small barely visible bits on the skyline might be St John's beacon and the Metropolitan Cathedral (affectionately known as Paddy's wigwam).

If you know where this view is, where the picture was taken from and where the missing cube is please just leave a message here or on the forums mentioned above.

If you don't know what I'm talking about but would like to, go here. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by.

posted by She Weevil @ 4:46 PM 3 comments

Boy(s/z) in the hood ...
I can't pretend that I know where the hood is.

In my mind it has something very vaguely to do with Will Smith but that's about it as far as locating it into time space or anywhere else the person that tidies the hood away at the end of the day might have put it. I know that a lot of the young men around here seem to think they come from or are going to the hood. I didn't know that I was (should that be woz?) currently living in the hood and I don't have anything in my wardrobe that approximates the requisite item of clothing (a hoody).

The yoof round here have a lot, in a wide variety of colours of grey; they only appear to wear the hoods up if they are also wearing a baseball cap. I'm not sure where these come from or why they are here. As far as I can elicit, on the large green in front of my asbestos tower there is very little evidence of any kind of sport at all. Once in a very blue moon you might get a couple of lads knocking about a football of the association variety but more usually there's just a lot of schlepping, spitting and swearing. Certainly no evidence of any kind that they have the slightest interest in or knowledge of the noble sport of baseball (sad sham that it is of the nobler sport of rounders). Speaking of the NRA, there's another nice link to it over on coppersblog. What? It's not a link to that NRA? You mean there's another one? To do with guns? Why would a British police officer link to that?

I read him quite often. He never fails to meet my expectations.

Back to the asbestos tower. We got a letter from the council.. They are conducting a stock condition survey. They have discovered asbestos in properties like ours but only in the living room and airing cupboard ceilings. Don't worry. Nowhere we really use.

Having been part of a stock condition survey a number of years ago, I do know that asbestos in situ is per se nothing to worry about. You only have to worry about it if is in poor condition or has been disturbed or damaged. There's a hole in the corner where someone who either didn't know or didn't care about asbestos exposure has drilled a hole for the TV aerial to come through and there was that patch in the middle that was a different colour to the rest. I could become paranoid but what would be the point? Needless to say we won't be doing anything to the ceilings.

Back to the yoof in the hoods. They may not play baseball but they do enjoy word games. I know this because they practice their post-modern version of hangman at the foot of our stairs. They may not have actually coined a new verb but they have kindly brought it to my attention.

To meat: as in Gemma Cop is gunna get meated. I presume this is not a spelling lapse or an erroneous use of the verb to meet. I assume that Gemma Cop has not arranged an assignation with any of the hoods.

I have my own presumption about what it means and it offends me. I presume that because the term has not yet made it to the dictionary (OED please take note) that it does not count as graffiti of an offensive nature and that is why it is still there.

If anyone does know the exact location of the hood perhaps you could let the yoof down stairs know. That way they can go back to kicking footballs and tin cans and stop spitting, swearing and stealing cars and remember that they live in Plymouth, err, Devon.

posted by She Weevil @ 12:44 PM 0 comments

Monday, March 14, 2005
Something yummy this way comes
As if I needed an excuse to talk, think, dream about food, I am carefully minding my own business over on blogexplosion when I stumble across these heavenly delights: Southern Kitchen. Delicioso!

posted by She Weevil @ 1:20 PM 2 comments

Happy Monday
I have been neglecting you. So sorry. Quite caught up with Fanstory and got a bit lost on here. That business with the blogger comments was a real bummer. Don't they realise that these things interrupt the flow, destroy the synergy.

Anway, in an attempt to recapture mine, I've been doing a bit of blogging this morning. That was the intention anyhow. I got as far as Present Simple and became a bit blogged down. Quizzes and riddles have always done it for me and this was a game with words - even better. It may surprise you to learn that my favourite prog is University Challenge. What an old bore.
Complete silence is the rule and you can only give an answer if it is an attempt at the right answer - unless it is a maths question when anything goes because after Paxman's first three words my head has begun to swim around as though full of candyfloss. I can hear Rantz calling Social Services as I type - yes the children have to sit in complete silence!

Inhumane, my arse.

But on the a note of international co-operation, is it only Britain that still has UC. I know it was invented in America; is it still running? I could google it but why when I've got you lot to ask? Oh, and who's your host? Consider it a starter for 10.

posted by She Weevil @ 12:03 PM 2 comments

Friday, March 11, 2005
The roll of the dice ...
I was reminded yesterday, whilst trogging through the blogosphere over on Blog Explosion, of the concept of living by the roll of a dice. I was surfing through the random pages, at times appalled, amused, abashed and afraid, when I came across a page where a man posted about a blog poll to decide his wife's hair colour. Normally at this point I would link to said blog in the manner that is expected in blogdom but I can't find the link. I'm sure I bookmarked it but can I find it? No!

Whoever you are, wherever you are, I'm sorry - if anyone knows leave a comment and I'll cite the blog properly.

My imagination was taken by a person using blog polls to decide their life. I'm sure this would have occurred to Luke Rhinehart if he had written his book now. If a girl can sell her virginity in order to pay her way through college, surely someone will decide to live by blog survey.

Any ideas for an initial survey?

posted by She Weevil @ 1:23 PM 3 comments

Wednesday, March 09, 2005
A new thingy ...
Thanks to Spud King over at instantmash for the nifty little gizmo in the side bar (yah boo sucks, Madbaggage, you mock AC stalker). He was the first to respond to my request for interviewees and the questions are trickling into my head as we speak.

posted by She Weevil @ 7:20 PM 7 comments

Tuesday, March 08, 2005
A legend in her own lunchtime ...
Thanks to Melinama over at Pratie Place for setting me the following, rather daunting, questions.

1. Tell us about your love of obscure industrial folk music. Start with, what is it?
I was fortunate, or unfortunate depending on your pespective, to have been brought up on a diet of the work of A L LLoyd, Ewan MacColl and the collected works of many other folk artists who made music about the lot of the working man and woman in our (British) industrial past. These records were loathed by my two sisters and not really my mum's cup of tea but I loved them. I like lots of folk music but these seemed to be about something tangible, not gypsies and princesses. I was especially taken by the number of women's working songs there were. We think of women working outside the home as being a twentieth century phenomenon; that just isn't true.

Many of the songs that I particularly like are songs of weaver-lasses and I'm particularly partial to a bit of Gaelic mouth music. Much of this is words and sounds put to a heavy beat to aid the women as they made the tweed.

If you want to hear any of the stuff I'm talking about look out for albums called The Iron Muse, Steam Whistle Ballads and an artist called Isabel Sutherland. It is an acquired taste but I acquired it and sing the songs to myself and to my children.

So break my heart and make it sore
So break my heart my dearie
And I'll lie in the cold green ground
For of single life I'm weary.

2. I see you like plastic surgery programs. Have they inclined you towards or against getting some yourself? What do you think about plastic surgery?
I have always been fascinated by medicine and I suppose that's where my interest started - I will watch anything factual and medical. I'm a bit sqeamish when it comes to rhinoplasty and liposuction but most procedures just fascinate me.
I suppose it's the psychology behind it that also fascinates me - you se people who are sometimes quite disfigured being given the ability to be somewhat less remarkable. Again you see people mutilating themselves. If young girls didn't starve themselves maybe they wouldn't "need" breast implants.
The only thing I would contemplate is breast reduction. I have no problem with my body really (it could be a bit smaller, it could be a bit firmer, I could make it that way I just haven't) the problem I have is with men talking to my boobs. I am 6'2" and they are at eye level for some men, I suppose. It's difficult to be cogent when someone is staring at your tits. Apart from that no I wouldn't have anything done - I like me as I am.

3. In "This is the She-Weevil's Lot" you described some zig-zags in your path. I think of this also as the "That's Good, That's Bad" syndrome - sometimes the thing you think is going to be great is awful and vice versa. Do you have another example?
My grandmother had a saying that what was for you wouldn't go past you. It's a fatalism that has been useful in seeing my life as on the whole positive - I could see it - and have chosen to on many occasions - as a catalogue of disasters. If I do this it negates the good things in my life. They are not numerous but their value is immeasurable.

I am lucky to be alive. At 18, while in the Wrens and whilst very drunk, I climbed 4 storeys of scaffolding attempting to get back into my room in Wrens Quarters because I had forgotten my key. When I got to the top someone had shut my window and I had to climb down again. The whole WRNS thing was a disaster in so many ways. It was supposed to be a safe environment - it was what I felt I needed at the time but with hindsight it very nearly brought about my demise.

4. You haven't written about The Painter for a while. How is his recovery going?
I think the phrase is up and down. I haven't written so much I suppose because I feel a little more self-conscious now. He's sitting behind me as I write and perhaps he won't like being discussed. It was cathartic before - maybe I feel like I'm not so entitled to that catharsis now. I don't know. His recovery has slowed. That in itself is an adjustment we didn't appreciate we would need to make. He started getting better; we assumed he would continue. He has reached a plateau and that is a little difficult to accept.

5. What question do you wish I had asked you? You get to choose number five.

You're so ravishingly beautiul, Sheweevil, and obviously so talented is it possible you just sit at home and write this stuff for the love of it?

So in the spirit of the above if there are any willing victims (max 3) out there just leave a comment and I will endeavour to be as searching with you.

posted by She Weevil @ 7:50 PM 3 comments

Rose study - calm.

posted by She Weevil @ 1:05 PM 0 comments

It's a zebra-fucking-crossing-you-eejit ...
You get some wacky types here in blogdom and they often say some weird and sometimes frightening things. But on the whole they are a sfae distance away, somewhere undefined on the other side of some plate glass (or perhaps , if they are snazzy gadget jones' and they have no children to put their fingers through it, they have one of those plasma screens). They are unlikely, however little they think of you, to run you over in their car.

But if you should venture to Tescos - sorry Relishthecontinental buddies but it is just around the corner and I don't drive - and you have too much shopping for 1 1/2 adults and a TYOG to carry and the bag handle on the cat litter to stop you smelling like pissy old cat woman has just broken, say you just happen to be standing at the zebra crossing waiting like some road aware pack mules to cross, you would think that the genteel looking chap with his wife in the natty little silver grey hatcback would stop, wouldn't you?

You would be wrong. You would be left shouting "It's a zebra-fucking-crossing-you-eejit".

Never go down to the end of the town if you don't go down with me.

posted by She Weevil @ 12:31 PM 2 comments

Sleep deprived ...
Another day dawns oyster grey and I feel I have spent the night in a large, padded, floral boxing ring with Mike Tyson. That really is a horrid thought. In reality, though, I have not spent the night fending off advances from The Painter (I practice not being very good at fending) but struggling with the eel-like creature we call the two-year old genius.

He has moderate to severe eczema and at the moment is technically "flared up". Since he was born I have had two (count them) nights of unbroken sleep. Normally this doesn't bother me too much. The constant state of knackerment is just the price you have to pay for having a wonderful, funny child who just can't stop scratching. This morning, though, when I woke up with a start and realised that the two-year old genius (TYOG) had reprogrammed the alarm clock and that the two older ones were going to be late for school because they were going to miss their bus and they were going to become vagrants and live a life of misery, I realised that maybe what I needed was a good night's sleep.

Of course, when I tried to rouse the troops, Surrealo Son was already up watching something very British on UK TV Gold. This is against the rules, bien sur, but there he was, oblivious to the rest of the family in the land of nod, carefully assuming his pipe and slippers position and watching Keeping Up Appearances or, ironically, As Time Goes By.

Does everyone function as dyssly as we do?

posted by She Weevil @ 9:20 AM 0 comments

Monday, March 07, 2005
Everything in the garden is lovely ...
Thanks to Rantz the kind people over at Relish the Continental's foody forum, I am just about able to keep up some kind of interest in gardening. I am trying to let go of my old garden: if I can't change waht's happened then there is really no point in worrying about it is there?

But it is very weird not having soil under my nails. We are waiting for an allotment but where we are obviously gardening is more popular, or maybe the allotments are more popular, than in the inner city where we lived before. We're not exactly in the burbs here, more in the sprawl - Plymouth is a very sprawling small city.

This time last year I had just put in potatoes and had sown lettuce (that were later all eaten by the voracious snails) salad onions, tomatoes, chillies, aubergines and courgettes. Courgettes I recommend to everyone I grew them in large pots and they work really well as ornamental plants they have large exotic looking foliage and lovely yellow flowers. They are very prolific so long as you keep taking the fruit off them. The tomatoes were excellent too and we have a over a dozen jars of spiced green tomato chutney that will remind us for years how delicious they were.

My favourite crop were the potatoes. I grew a red variety - I think itwas an Arran or a Pentland but can't quite remember - sorry. When I dug them up they were the colour of radishes. If you like vegetable to taste the way they used to plant your own potatoes. You can grow them in a tub if space is a problem but grow them. Nothing tastes better than your own patatoes pulled from the earth and washed shortly before cooking.

Try Thompson and Morgan for seeds of all varieties. They ship internationally and usually offer excellent value, customer service and freebies. Try David Austin for roses and Claire Austin for perennials, especially irises.

posted by She Weevil @ 9:50 AM 1 comments

Normal service has resumed ...
... So this morning blazing row with AD and The Painter with me stuck in the middle like some pathetic referree. Just missing the little flag and the whistle.

Oh yes, and the book of rules. The one that says you shall not tell your step-dad to FO. The one that states you shall not end a comment to your step-daughter with the phrase F you. The one that states people who have just had strokes should not engage in neck-vein-popping arguments with anyone. The one that states that sheweevils will go into meltdown if it all doesn't just stop.

She (AD) is about to go into meltdown anyway. The GCSEs are almost upon us and if history has anything to teach us at all, it is that the mood that is becoming more and more apparent, the brooding darkness (a bit like that bloke from the Darkness shrieking) is going to deepen before a new dawn breaks. This will be shortly after the last exam. Sweetness and sunshine will reign supreme until mid-August when the exam results come out.

Do I just grit my teeth and bear it?

posted by She Weevil @ 9:08 AM 3 comments

Thursday, March 03, 2005
Another clue
Fethy Po Fyliel An Gwarry Ha Tra Nahen translates as"Win or Lose, The Game and Nothing Else"

posted by She Weevil @ 12:05 PM 4 comments

Fanstory is an experience ...
Thanks (I think) to Madbaggage for pointing me in the direction of Fanstory (linked above). She is quite reticent about her own proliferation on there. I literally haven't had time yet to read her work; the first I came across had an estimated reading time of 15 hours and the children needed food. I will be going through it all with a fine tooth comb, well what would you expect from a She Weevil.

I agree with the baggage that much of the poetry on bloggs is a bit suspect and I'm happy for you to include mine in there too. You don't put your stuff out there thinking that everyone will think you're a genius, or even a half-wit. You put it out there mostly because you like it and hope others will too.

Some of the criticism has been very interesting but one in particular stands out. On a piece entiled Sonnet, which can be found by clicking the interesting link above, I received the following:

"A sonnet has three quatrains of twelve lines total, four lines per quatrain, and then an ending two line couplet. I'm not sure if you have the right format here for a true sonnet, since you have 16 lines. Some decent imagery in it, though few may know what a tarantella is. I guess some of the words could be changed around to make it more coy, or move it along better. Those three syllable words seem to get me stuck in places. It is still a decent start. I would write it out and iambicly check it to see if there is a a-b-a-b type of relationship in the syllables"

My response was polite and to the point in a Sheweevilly kind of way:

"Thanks for your remarks. I can only count 14 lines which would make it a sonnet. It is written in iambic pentameter and for those who don't know what a tarantella is maybe they should write and read with a dictionary, I do. Actually the form of this sonnet is an Italian or Petrarchan (c.f. Petrarch) which classically comprises an octave and a sestet. As far as the rhyme scheme goes it's fairly free form. I am sorry you have problems with the three syllable words, the only thing I can think of is a difference in pronunciation? Perhaps a difference in cadence between American and British English? Thanks for your input. I would feel really stupid calling something a sonnet if it wasn't."

Was I too hard?

posted by She Weevil @ 9:44 AM 3 comments

Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Cheating today
Not much time to do anything today. Hoping to hear that the painter is coming home so got to have a bit of a shuggle here. Anyway, tear your thoughts away from my domestic idyll and get your laughing gear around this:

... the little number quiz.
1. 747 JJ
2. 60 SIAM
3. 1963 AOJFK
4. 3 BM
5. 12 IIAF
6. 50 WTLYL
7. 20000 CWKTRW
8. 14 LIAS
9. 24 HFT
10. 57 HV
11. 1066 BOH
12. 101 D
13. 3 STH
14. 42 MOLTUAE
15. 7 DS
16. 7 WOTW
17. 100 CIAD
18. 14 DIAF
19. 666 TNOTB
20. 1666 GFOL
21. 999 EWSP
22. 52 PCIAD
23. 15 MOADMC
24. 1314 BOB
25. 29028 HOMEIF

The prize for the winner is a signed photo of La Sheweevil; the prize for the runner up is three of the signed photos. It has been posted before but no-one was reading then (or not many). Which clever dick will be the first to get them all?

posted by She Weevil @ 7:29 AM 13 comments

Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Walking with my dad ...

A post over on Present Simple inspired this post. Walk down from the cottages on the harbour wall towards where it doglegs. Instead of following the dogleg, in the outer corner where it turns to cliff again there is a little flight of granite steps (careful, quite slippy when wet). Now take your two daughters, both under the age of 5, for a nice bracing walk up the cliff.

Seems like madness to me now but he used to take us for miles to give my mum a break and tell us about the flowers and the animals and the birds. If you look at the top of the picture, you'll just be able to make out a small square building. This is the former coastguard lookout and is near the spot where Marconi made his first transatlantic radio broadcast.

Thanks to Cornwall Cam for the image

posted by She Weevil @ 1:38 PM 3 comments

Perplex City
For all you browsers from Britblog who have arrived here hoping to see something enlightening in reference to Perplex City, since Sente sent the email my husband has been very ill (see Gutted) so I'm just now getting back to it (he's quite a bit better now).

I have posted a bit of wild speculation on the unforum today and I'll probably get trouted or moved or moderatedly reprimanded by Wishi-san. At least I'm trying; it's only a game not a matter of life or death, after all. Or like, football, is it much more important than that?

posted by She Weevil @ 12:14 PM 0 comments

Colour bar
The man in the bed next to The Painter in hospital has a problem with colour. This first became apparent when he refused the fibogel they offered him. It wasn't apparently orange enough: "I have Fibogel Orange, not that muck." "I've got some on the trolley, you can have that" offers the nurse helpfully. "Is it orange? It's gotta be Fibogel Orange! That's not the orange stuff. That's why I haven't been since I got here. My bowels haven't functioned."

But then he really started. "I asked that doctor today. That Indian one" the nurse nods, "the dark skinned one". The nurse isn't really listening by now and who can blame her. "She's got halitosis." This has the nurse's attention "I don't know, I don't think" starts the nurse. "That's what they used to call it. Halitosis." The nurse, a little taken a back retorts "well, she works hard, gets a bit dry and thirsty, maybe ..." "the other one with the blue and the yellow stripe works hard. She hasn't got halitosis" counters the old man. At this point The Painter leans over and says "He called her a Pakky to her face earlier, she didn't bat an eyelid. She's very nice."

"When can someone take me downstairs for a smoke?" asks the old man. Apparently smoking for 70 years have done him no harm whatsoever. If you discount the stroke that put him in the hospital bed and now means he can't go down in a lift four floors unsupervised. Or if you ignore the ventolin inhaler on his night table and the little covered dishes, one with his false teeth and two others containing the frequent and noisy sputum samples he produces. And of course his Colgate-fresh breath. No harm at all.

posted by She Weevil @ 9:57 AM 0 comments

Do you, or don't you ...
like marmite? Not that it's important or anything it just seems to provoke strong reactions wherever this question is posed.

If you don't know what it is, click the link above and it'll take you through to an explanation. Don't like to be guided in your surfing? Just put marmite in a search engine then. Sod you.

Me, I'm in the "get me a strigil quickly so I can clean my tongue" camp. No equivocation here.

The Painter, may the Lord forgiven him, once brought me a sandwich (well, no he's actually done that more than once but on this particular occasion); I had asked for pate and bit distractedly into it while tippety tapping on this thing. The next thing I'm aware of is my tongue protruding from my mouth and not being allowed to return to its place in there. It seemed like my body was spontaneously rejecting my tongue. That couldn't be though could it? No, it was an alien substance and it was hidden in the sandwich: cheese and marmite.

After several minutes gesticulating and trying to speak and not to gag, a glass of water was obtained and the offending article had been hastily removed never to return and I suspect never to be served again.

So do you love or loathe?

posted by She Weevil @ 8:31 AM 6 comments