Friday, 28 September 2007


Harriet was kind enough to accompany me to a literature lecture today.
I can honestly say that I didn't imagine there would come a time in my life when I would go to a lecture voluntarily and also pay to do so.
The lectures had been advertised and I'd been meaning to read Jane Eyre for some time, so a lecture about it seemed like a perfect excuse and getting to learn a little extra about it afterwards was a bonus.
I didn't anticipate the additional information about the Bronte's and I'm still thinking about it. Charlotte Bronte was one of six children, she was the last of the six to die. At 39. That's just seven years older than me. The five other children all died before they reached my age. I find myself just sitting and thinking about that and the sheer tragedy of dying so young. I joke about getting old, but I feel young when people my own age, even hundreds of years ago have died.

The lecturer also read out a short passage from the book, the words of one of the characters, Helen, where she speaks of why she likes a teacher at the school she and Jane are attending. I don't remember the passage exactly but she is referring to a compatibility of language. Which isn't a term I've heard before but as she spoke further about it, I felt that it really struck a chord with me.
Sometimes someone says something to you and you feel as though you've always known it but someone else had to flick the switch to make you aware of it.
Realising why you have had so much fun talking to some people and so little fun talking to others. It's down to a language compatibility or incompatibility.
I feel it's why some authors just seem to fit us so well, even when their styles alter we can continue to appreciate their work. I love finding someone with whom conversation flows, when it's not a series of questions but a slow process of discovery.

When you have a strong love of words the language compatibility is vital. Maybe that is one reason that my loathing of txtspk is so strong, I want to converse in real words, where the language is real and full. I want to read the word 'you' not 'u', 'for' not '4', 'mate' not 'm8', but I've ranted about that before.

I had a boyfriend once who complained when I used 'long' words. If I said obstinate instead of stubborn he hated it. He preferred that I said hard to please instead of fastidious. It drove me mad, I hated having my use of words curtailed. It left me feeling so frustrated, I craved talking to someone that would understand, what were to me, ordinary words.

It's left me in a world of contemplation about how language compatibility affects us, if it has an impact on our life? Do we judge people on their language in the same subconscious way that we judge their scent?

Tuesday, 25 September 2007


Just for reference. If I think for too long about websites, how they work, html and the like my brain starts to meltdown.
I've spent the past few hours perusing the forums of cart software and it hurts my head. It's all in a language that they weren't teaching when I went to school.
php? css? ftp? what? que?
Sentences like "You need to float your image in a div" make my face do this really unattractive thing where my mouth gapes and my eyes start to cross.
I'm trying, I really am.
I'm starting to wonder if it's just all about downloading it and getting stuck in.
But then there's the matter of creating a new skin for a basic template.
And what's all this talk of getting a licence?
I think there may be more thoughts inside my head than my brain can handle. And I tend to have a vast number of thoughts being processed at any one time.
If my brain were a computer it would have turned to brown sugar a long time ago.
That happened to my work computer once, back in my dental surgery days, we had a lightning hit. I remember it turned the light bulbs black. And it turned the circuit boards in the computer to what looked like brown sugar. The poor surge protector gave up its life in an effort to protect the life of the computer, but it died in vain.
Anyway, I have brown sugar, not grey matter, inside my skull currently.

All this talk of brown sugar reminds me of popcorn, I make great caramel covered popcorn.
Butterfly brain anyone?

Monday, 24 September 2007

Feeling Patriotic

As I was driving home from Hemswell this afternoon, the grey clouds cleared, the sun came out and the sky brightened to a gorgeous blue. As i drove along the cliff the view was just beautiful, I have no idea how many miles you can see for but it's glorious.
A glint in the sky caught my eye and I watched the four shapes turn and slowly their red colour became more visible. I love that road, you're almost guaranteed a free show by the Red Arrows, quite how nobody drives off the cliff is a mystery to me. Your eyes are drawn towards the aerobatics being performed in the sky, you strain to watch them through the windscreen, then the sunroof, before scanning all your mirrors whilst your head whips round like something from The Exorcist. Then suddenly there they are, whipping up from the horizon creating a perfect smoke circle in the sky above you.

I always get this surge of immense pride whenever I see them. I can't explain it, but it makes me love both my county and my country.
It also made me chuckle that I had New Model Army's '51st State' blaring out from the stereo. I felt like a real patriot!

And, just for reference, something else chose to die on the path outside my house. This time it's a collared dove. What is it with things dying right there? It's just nasty.

Saturday, 22 September 2007


Do you want to tell this poor butterfly or shall I?

I'm not sure that it realises that, although it thinks it has hit the nectar jackpot, it has actually hit just hit a huge hair accessory...

Friday, 21 September 2007

A Night In The Life Of My Sky Box

Glen came over this afternoon and I insisted he watch Die Hard as he never had. I don't think he minded too much but drew the line at watching Die Hard with a Vengeance immediately afterwards. Understandably - I mean it's the third one, you have to watch them in order of course.
I have been borrowing Rachael's video player as mine died some time ago and have been transferring my videos to the hard drive on my DVD recorder. Which meant that my video of Die Hard was once again available for viewing. Hurrah.

So, when I reattached my scart lead to the Sky box, it lived for a little while, then died on me. Leaving me with just the traditional number 29 - no satellite signal is being received. I turned it off, killed it at the mains and left it. I turned it on again some time later and still just the same message.

I rang Sky. It's been established that I can be quite strange, but sometimes I have so much fun calling call centres. Really, I've even made friends that way. Maybe it comes from my years of working in a call centre, I feel for the poor devils stuck inside on a Friday night. So I make it my mission to be either one of the most entertaining calls or to be the strangest call. Sometimes I achieve both.

Tonight. I'm not entirely sure that the poor chap knew what hit him. But I feel quite sure he wished I'd go away and leave him alone. Which just makes it more fun.

I explained to him that I had the traditional problem with the message of 'no satellite signal is being received'. I explained I'd turned the machine off, left it off, turned it on again and it was still the same. We went through the palaver of ensuring I wasn't some random stranger trying to fix someone elses Sky box. I mean really, how terrible that would be. I again have to remember my password and wonder why I chose 'Mifford' as I feel an obligation to explain that's the name of my cat. When really they just want me to shut up so they can carry on.
He instructed me in button pressing, I followed instructions to the letter, with the occasional witty interjection. He was deadpan. He didn't appreciate it. I was funny damn it and I didn't get anything. Which just makes me try harder. I must get a reaction. I must establish a personality exists, or else I start to fear that Hollywood is right and the robots really ARE taking over.

Together we pressed buttons, we waited for a code to appear. For several minutes. Sitting in silence can be dull, but combined with staring at three dashes waiting for them to magically change into a code is really very dull. He kept reminding me that I should tell him when the code appeared. Finally, when it did, he was audibly disappointed. He said, press the blue button, then wait again for the code to appear. I asked if it would take as long, he said it was likely to, but he couldn't be sure. He told me that the code was likely to be the same, which would be a problem.

I said that I bet he was pleased he got me when he answered the phone. He said, no, he wasn't pleased at all. Which I felt was harsh, but I like to believe he misheard me.

Finally the code reappeared, it was identical.
He said to turn the box round and look at the back.
I did so, everything looked connected.
"Unscrew the silver connection" says Mr Sky Man.
"The aerial connection you mean?" says I.
SM: Yes, that's the one.
Me: Oops. I broke it.
SM: You broke it?
Me: Well the silver connector is in one hand and the lead is in the other.
SM: Sigh.
Me: That can't be good right?
SM: I think we need to arrange an engineer visit.
Me: Maybe I could fix it? I've shoved it back together and it looks ok.
SM: It needs to be a secure fit.
Me: It looks pretty good. I'm terribly sorry to be so difficult.
SM: Ah, I have more difficult people at home I assure you. (Aha! A personality! I knew it was in there!)
Me: Oh now really, you're just being nice, that can't possibly be true.
SM: So, let's arrange an appointment...
Me: You mean you don't want to even test my repair? I made my own TV aerial once you know and it was just fine.
SM: Sigh. Well, I think if we're both prepared to go out on a limb and risk it, we could give it a go.
Me: Hurrah. I'm reattaching.
SM: Ok, plug back in your sky box and wait before turning it on.
Me: Ok, done, oh wait, I pulled the other cables out.. there's just so many.
SM: Sigh.
Me: Ok! We're good to go!
SM: Don't turn it on yet! We have to wait 30 seconds.
Me: Ok! Not touching a thing! Honest!
SM: Press the TV button, then Sky and see what happens.
Me: Ha! Do you hear that? I have TV, oh yes. You had no faith in my skills did you now?
SM: Hmm.
Me: So what now?
SM: Well now you enjoy your programmes.
Me: Why what a good plan. I thank you Sir.
SM: Ah no, it was a combined effort.
Me: Indeed! Have yourself a splendid weekend! Ta ra!

I have a feeling that once he hung up he punched the air that with glee that he was finally rid of me. Excellent.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Animal Magnetism

I've got my old magnetism back. When I stepped out of the barn today the air was filled with birds, I think they were swifts. I get my swallows, swifts and martins confused. I think it's the martins anyway.
There were dozens of them in the sky though, all congregating on the barn roof, the air was thick with them, almost like a swarm of midges. I stood and watched them for a while, they seemed joyous somehow.

I eventually hopped into my car and headed off for home, which is a mission on that barn road, whilst concentrating on missing all the pot holes you also have to be sure that suicidal pheasants aren't waiting in the hedgerow to throw themselves against your vehicle. As I approached the final field a hare decided to zig-zag it's way along the road in front of me. I love the way it looks like they've had their ears somewhere really dirty with those black tips. I then noticed that field was filled with pheasants, maybe a hundred of them. The thing is, they're safe in the field, but upon seeing a car they feel this need to cross. However today, it was just a partridge tempting fate, the pheasants stayed put, although I think all the wild animals are in collusion. As I passed the field of pheasants and was breathing a sigh of relief that none of the pheasants sitting proudly on the fence decided to fly at the car, a squirrel ran into the road. I'm sure I heard the pheasant chuckling behind my back.

I have never been so pleased to see the main road. I set off and whizzed along. Then a lovely ginger tomcat decided that he fancied a race with my car. Why me? Why?! He was faster than my lovely Rover thank goodness but I'm not looking forward to being out on the road tomorrow.

On a random soapbox moment: I do wish the people next door had asked if I minded if they put all their excess recycling in my bin before they did it. Now I can't get all my stuff in. It's really pissed me off! And breathe....

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Bug On The Windscreen

I spent the whole weekend with my feet up. It's very difficult to live like this without a housekeeper. In a previous life I was plainly a lady of the manor.
Anyway, to rest my decidedly sore foot I decided to stop walking on it as that seemed to upset it quite a lot.
I am now completely up to date with the second season of The Secret Life Of Us, which I love by the way.
I also, finally, got to start watching Heroes. I'm loving it - I'm completely behind the times, I realise this - but that's pretty usual for me.
On Sunday I had the fortuitous timing to catch the last episode of Lost that I'd seen and the following one that I hadn't. I rather gave up on Lost, as it seemed, no pun intended, to have lost its way and not only could I not tell what direction it was going in, I no longer cared. However, a couple of questions on the TV Trivia quiz on facebook piqued my curiosity and I'm going to give it another go.

Today, as I was driving to the barn a bug landed on my windscreen as I stopped at a junction. I pulled out and it stayed there, I accelerated and still it remained. Its little wings started to shudder and its body got closer and closer to the windscreen as it clung on. As I reached the speed limit it was shaking with the force of gravity upon it. It occurred to me that that is just what my life is like. It's all going a little too fast and I can't get off. You spend half the time just clinging on as the world seems to spin out of control. I am a bug on the windscreen of life. Oh yes.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Sharp Implements

I need someone to come and cook for me today. It would appear that I am not safe near anything sharper than cotton wool.
After discussing the foot injury with my mother, bandage was advised.
In my search for bandage I sliced open my thumb on a razor.
Apparently I am trying to empty myself of blood today.
I could always order a pizza for tea, but who's to say I won't get a paper cut from the box. It's risky today.

Slip Slop

I finally got round to planting up my pansies to sit outside my front door.
Feeling pleased with myself I trundled down the drive and suddenly felt a sharp pain in my right foot. I assumed that I'd got a piece of gravel inside my flip flop and carried on with a little limp, then realised that my flip flop was more slip slop. I looked down and my pretty pink and white flip flops were a distinct shade of scarlet. A lovely sharp stone had pierced not only my flip flop, but my foot also.
I'm not renowned for my ability to cope with blood, whether it's my own or someone elses.
I hopped my way up the stairs, put the plug in and ran the cold tap, inserted my injured foot and lo and behold a scene from Jaws was recreated in my bathtub. I wasn't the greatest fan of that movie. (As my water phobia is a testament to now.)
My foot hurts damn it.


Anyone that knows me will know I have a thing for handbags. And shoes.

I like to believe that Mifford shares this compulsion as she's collecting a fair few accessories of her own.


I mean, really, how many collars does one cat need? She's wearing the pink one today, and looking quite fine. A feline needs a collar for every occasion don't you know? She likes to save the little black one for her nights on the tiles. She likes the way the diamantes catch the moonlight or something.

I have this magnet on my fridge, it says: I live in my own world, but it's ok, they know me here.
Never have truer words been spoken.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

A Skull And A Blush

Suggested titles for this post included 'A Prat And A Cat'.
I have tears in my eyes from laughing.

Last night my friend Paul called me up in a state of excitement. He has just moved into deep Welsh country and whilst out on a walk found a skull. With curved incisors. He measured the space between the eye sockets and then went to measure the same on one of his pet cats. Resulting in a difference of about 4cm. Had he found a skull of one of our resident big cats?
For the record, I believe they're out there. I've seen one, as has my father and friends. Sadly not all at the same time.
However, Paul made an appointment at the vet, he went this morning, complete with his cat skull.
Only, it's a sheep.
The teeth weren't teeth but bone. He was looking at the back of the skull, not the front. They weren't eye sockets.
Laugh? I could have cried.
He's now telling everyone his big carnivorous cat was actually a fluffy herbivore.
So he's stopping off at the chip shop to let them know, and the builders across the road, and, and, and....

I threatened to also post the recent photo he sent me of him wearing a bridesmaid dress. But I'm nicer than that, but you can take my word for it, it's very funny.

But not quite so funny as his herbivorous cat.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

A Key, A Key, My Kingdom For A Key

I arrive at the barn and go to unlock the doors, then notice my car key fall to the ground, swiftly followed by the key to my mother's house. There has been some definite key ring failure so I reattach the keys, the racking is deposited and we raise dust clouds on the barn road as we leave.
Music blaring (because you can't listen to The Dhol Foundation quietly) I pull up at my house, close the sunroof (because the windows don't work) and go to enter my house. Only there's a problem. There's no house key on my key ring.
I contemplate this for a moment, ponder the fact I'm wearing a skirt and whether I want my neighbours to see my pink pants as I climb through a window. Then realise that due to the previous incident I am without a spare key anyway. So even if I were to be able to gain entry - with or without serious humiliation - I'm still locked in.
So back into the car for the drive back to the barn, fingers seriously crossed and all the while wishing I hadn't parked where the really long grass is. Also wishing that the key were one of those bright shiny silver ones. Not something that looks like silver which hasn't been cleaned in the last millennium.
No sign of it at the barn, I realise it's going to be a hands and knees job, when suddenly, glinting at me from a patch of grass is the name of my letting agent. I forgot it had its own keyring. So here I sit, ensconced in my own home, without having shown random strangers my underwear.
Although I think it might be time to get a spare key cut. Just in case.

Smarter Than I Thought

All of these little flies are driving me mad. I don't know where they come from. I do know they like hanging out around my bananas. I am wishing all manner of death upon them but still they appear from thin air.
So, I bought a Venus fly trap. I positioned it right next to the bananas. And how many flies have been fooled into walking into those gaping mouths? None. There the plant sits, all of its mouths gaping like a nest of hungry chicks and the flies avoid it like the plague.
I mean surely the plant is supposed to smell better than a bunch of bananas? Aren't they flies supposed to be unable to resist the temptation?
Apparently not, either that or they're smarter than I thought.
So last night, I found myself attempting to catch flies in order to feed them to the plant. I didn't want the poor thing to lose heart! Maybe it was starting to doubt its fly catching prowess and was losing confidence. Turns out that fly catching is harder than you might imagine, they're swift little devils. But still, the lucky plant is digesting two little flies as we speak. The other mouths still gape. I hope it does better than this in the wild.

On another note, I'm waiting in for a friend to drop round some old library storage. I'm unnaturally excited by storage. But that might purely be the sheer quantity of books I'm trying to house.

Sunday, 9 September 2007


Rachael and I took a little trip out yesterday to Belton House and it was really lovely. I don't remember having been there since I was at primary school and my, what a long time ago that was!
As my lovely car has been off the road for a while it was good to give it a good run and blow the cobwebs from the engine. I managed to make it there and back without incident, which is no mean feat as it's not that long since the exhaust dropped off. I was even organised enough to check the oil and tyre pressures. Anyone would have thought I was doing some sort of long haul trip!

It was free to visit the house yesterday - and free is always one of my favourite things. We picnicked on the grounds, looking at the south face of the building and the sheer scale of it is just amazing. The sun was shining and cricket was being played on the oh so green grass.

I hadn't appreciated that Jane Eyre had been filmed there and it was quite interesting, having just read the book, seeing the rooms they had used and having the memory clear in my head for the scenes in the book where the drawing room, library and so on had been used for the filming. I didn't see the televised version of Jane Eyre and having enjoyed the book, I'm not sure that I want to. I'm never sure if it will be able to match all the images I had created with my imagination.
Sometimes I wonder if it isn't better to see the movie first and then read the book. Years ago, when I first saw Dances With Wolves I went and bought the book afterwards and found it made parts of the film make more sense. But when Lord Of The Rings was released I wanted to read all the books prior to seeing them on the big screen and was left with a disappointment at all the parts of the book that were missing from the final cut.

Anyway, as per usual, I digress, the house was glorious and yet it was so hard to imagine a family living there in relatively recent history as they only left in 1984. Generations of the same family lived there for over 300 years, that blows my mind. Naturally I was a little taken with the libraries, I wanted to take the books from their shelves and smell their pages, I love that scent of old books. I loved that all the shelves were numbered and could have spent ages perusing the shelves, if only you were allowed to touch. Those National Trust folks, they're pretty strict about the not touching rule. Spoilsports.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Misheard Lyrics

I was just listening to Al Green - Take Me To The River and I remember hearing it in the movie The Commitments. I was sure that the words were:

Take me to the river and watch me drown.

Seemed like the weirdest choice of lyrics, but now I know that it's 'wash me down' it makes a whole lot more sense.

I'm a genius, me.

The Sound Of Music

Well, not exactly The Sound Of Music, but these are a few of my favourite things:

Fresh flowers, from the garden (or your mother's garden whilst she's out of the country). A house isn't a home without flowers brightening up the place, or at least it doesn't feel the same. I like coming home and seeing them in the window as I walk past, or coming into the room and smelling them. They make you smile always.

I can't remember what they're actually called, but the ones that look like giant daisies? I love those. Daisies really are my favourite flower. Closely followed by tulips.


So through the world of technology I am being blackmailed.


It's a bit harsh!
Everyone knows sprouts are much better steamed.

Along with peas they're my favourite vegetable you know, yes I am that weird.