Friday, 29 February 2008

Song Of The Week XII & A Wrong Number

Every time I listen to this song I just can't help but bop around. If the camera were a little less blurry and you were here I'd be almost able to point to myself in the crowd of this video doing some bopping.
How very grateful you should be that I can't do that.
Although I might have to scour youtube for other videos of Cambridge Folk Festival and see if my scarlet hair is in evidence anywhere.

So, this week, it's the delights of The Dhol Foundation. Who I love. I love Johnny Kalsi's work with Afrocelts/Afro Celt Sound System and this is superb too. If it weren't for my total lack of musical talent I might quite fancy a dhol. But then, I really fancy playing the fiddle too. I'm not great with decisions, although my neighbours might object to the dhol as it's really bloody loud. I can't remember how many decibels and wikipedia isn't helping me, nor is google, or I just haven't been tenacious enough.

The Dhol Foundation - After The Rain:

It's a damn shame that it gets cut short, but I chose this one because I can say I was there.

I just have one of those numbers. This morning. 10am
Riiiiiiing (that's the phone - in case you wondered)
Me: Hello
Mystery Caller: Hello young lady!
Me: Hello, How are you?
MC: Good thanks, you?
Me: Um, who is this?
MC: It's your father.
Me: I think you may have the wrong number as you really don't sound like my dad.
MC: Oh, I thought you were my daughter.
Me: I'm afraid not. Unless there's something my mother isn't telling me.
MC: I thought I got the right number from my mobile.
MC: Oh well, I'm sorry to have disturbed you.
Me: I'm pretty lazy and was sitting right by the phone anyway.

Do I have an abnormally high number of people mis-dialling?

An added note, I learnt something new this week. Tagalog is a language spoken in the Phillipines. But apparently there are approximately 180 languages spoken there. This fascinates me.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

I Felt The Earth Move...

There I am, sleeping soundly when I'm sudden being shaken into wakefulness. I open my eyes in the total darkness around me, see the clock says 1am and realise not only is my bed shaking, but my room. Wait! My house is shaking. Hang on...the house is shaking??

Holy crap! It's an earthquake.

Hands gripping the duvet either side of my head I appeared not unlike this:

Mifford exhibited her usual loyalty as she ran from the bedroom as fast as her furry legs would carry her.
I was strangely unconcerned about the earthquake, not bothering to even get out of bed and just rolling over and going back to sleep. It occurs to me now that I possibly spent too much time on the earthquake simulator in the London museum.

Today, Kim and I went out for lunch, we had lots to catch up on and chat about and drove over to a garden centre that we both really like. As we drove through the village we came upon a small junction with a little red car sitting and apparently waiting. What we didn't initially notice was that the little old lady wasn't actually stopped, but rolling forward. We drew level and Kim suddenly said 'Is she going to stop?' The resulting bang that shoved us across the road indicated that she indeed did not intend to give way as the sign and road markings suggested she really ought.

So twice, in as many days, I've been bumped and shaken. And you know what?
That'll do now.

As an aside. I have arthritis. The doctor said so. And it's really bloody sore today. It hurts to type. Feel my woe.

Other random things from this week:
I was given a television, as the portable I'm currently using isn't much cop. When I turned it on, it had a languages menu which the remote wouldn't remove. So I changed the batteries in the remote. Still nothing. I changed the batteries again. Nada. I bought a new remote, assuming the first to be faulty. Well, you know what they say about assumptions. The new one didn't work either. Upon looking at the instruction booklet online, it has a photograph of an entirely different remote. Of course. I ask you!

I rented Betty Blue. On which the subtitles flickered on and off. My (very) basic knowledge of French didn't help me when the subtitles turned themselves off, so I gave up after 15 minutes.

My tights keep falling down today. Which isn't great when you're moving boxes of books.

I cut my hand washing a vase yesterday.

I cut my leg too. Not washing the vase. The cut appeared like magic.

I cut the same hand pushing the aforementioned television into the back of my car. Accident prone? Moi?

There's a large bruise on my left leg, which also appeared like magic.

On the up side. My hair feels really nice today.

Did I mention my arthritis? Did I say it's sore? I did? Well just for the record, it bloody hurts.

There is no cake or chocolate in my house. There is something deeply wrong in the world.

Today is the very beautiful Harriet's birthday. I suggested she imagine I were black and blind whilst I did a rendition of Happy Birthday, but I'm not sure she felt the Stevie Wonder vibe via text message. Although she did say I nearly made her wee, so I think that's a good thing.

I'm just listening to some mp3's, and is it just me but does it sound like Morrissey is singing "Oh Gibbon" towards the end of 'My Love Life'? Either that or I've been watching too much Monkey Business.
And, having just gone to that link I see that Jim Cronin died last year. I had no idea and feel strangely sad about that. He must have still been so young.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

A Flurry Of Photos

After a very early start this morning I wasn't really ready for the world so curled up on my sofa and watched a movie, which finished around 10am. Finally feeling ready for the day I looked out the window and decided a walk was definitely on the agenda.

I headed out over the fields and was surrounded by the song of these and these, both plentiful in the skies, which were filled with cotton clouds.
After the fields, it's a world of trees and the birds were strangely quiet, with just the sound of the trees groaning gently in the strong winds. I love that all of the fragile snowdrops are out, their white bobbing heads encouraging the advance of spring.
As are the daffodils, which, whilst blurry are still gorgeous. Next time I really must remember to take my camera with me. I love my phone and most of the time, the photographs come out reasonably well in my distinctly unskilled hands, but it would be lovely to get even better. There are so many opportunities for pictures out there.
The knotted, twisted trees beg to have their photo taken. When I hear that low groan of their branches it always makes me remember the trees in The Lord of the Rings. I imagine them talking to themselves and each other, naturally wondering what they're saying. Wondering if they welcome the birds nested in their branches, or feel the same way as we do when a pigeon blocks our chimney with his abode.

This one feels as though he's been brought to his knees, and yet remains distinctly majestic. Is that possible anywhere else but nature?I think this is the treasure tree. Somewhere out there is a map that has this tree marked upon it. It has an 'X' for marking the spot, and that's definitely an arrow lower down, so somewhere off to the right, is buried the loot. For sure.
Does anyone have a spade?
So, is a wooden horseshoe as lucky as one that actually has graced the hoof of a horse? What is it about the horseshoe that makes it lucky? I should like to know!Check out the local wildlife! It's cool huh?Look at the snail trail!Last but not least, arriving home, pink faced and windswept and happy to see the lovely weeping willows that have made their home along the side of the village beck.

As an aside, I had a super time at the gig of the band below, as always. The pub was packed to bursting but so very friendly. At one point in the evening a chap dropped onto the bench next to me, turned and said "Is it always this good in here?" And you know, yes, yes it is. Whilst it's a very popular pub, it also feels a little like a well-kept secret. It's the venue of my music quiz, which is legendary, there's also jamming sessions every Sunday, and general quizzes, it's just a great place to chill out and chat. I'm starting to feel a need for a pineapple juice and lemonade, although when the barmaid knows that to be your drink of choice you may need to question the frequency with which you frequent the establishment!

Friday, 22 February 2008

Song Of The Week XI

I'm going to see these guys tonight. I've seen them a few times and they're always great fun. It's a local band and I first saw them when they were supporting Hayseed Dixie here.
It seems like ages since I saw live music, although it wasn't that long ago that I saw Mindy Smith....

Anyway, here are the Slimline Papas:

Sunday, 17 February 2008


I just turned my head and noticed that the sky is on fire.

It's beautiful out there isn't it?

Friday, 15 February 2008

A Last Word On Valentines

Well, not one word exactly, but a link to some words that sum up my own sentiments very well.

Have a read over at Carrie's Musings.

I hope you don't mind the link, Carrie!

Song Of The Week X

I possibly have a predilection towards female artists, I'm not sure why, it's just happened that way. I do still have my love of male artists too, after all Loudon has a huge piece of my heart. It's just that I seem to own more work by women.

I saw Ani Difranco many years ago at Cambridge Folk Festival, I've said this before but one of the things I love about the festival is that I will know a number of the names on the line-up but some will be completely new to me. This is easily for me the best way of discovering new sounds that I love because, as a general rule, the things I enjoy just never get played on the radio.
Anyway, Ani was one of those artists that was completely new to me. I remember being right at the front for her set and was blown away, I thought she was excellent, she's got some great tattoos too! But more than that, I loved the lyrics, ranging from personal to political and back again. I quoted her here some time ago and there are so many other lines I love too.

Give this one a listen and afterwards I'm going to force a handful of choice lines upon you...

So here goes with a handful of lines:

"Just do me a favour,
It's the least that you can do,
Just don't treat me like I am,
Something that happened to you." - Adam & Eve

"I found religion in the greeting card aisle,
Now I know Hallmark was right,
And every pop song on the radio,
Is suddenly speaking to me,
Yeah, art may imitate life,
But life imitates TV." - Superhero

"And you won't hear me surrender,
You won't hear me confess,
'Cause you've left me with nothing,
But I've worked with less." - Dilate

"Some people wear their smile
Like a disguise
Those people who smile a lot
Watch the eyes." - Outta Me Onto You

I could go on and on, that's just one album. Truly excellent with words and I envy her, although I have no desire to be a songwriter! But her songs are more than that, they're poetry and more.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

I said just a few posts ago that tulips and daisies were my joint favourite flowers and there's little better than a spring bouquet in my humble opinion. I love that there are so many buds in there, waiting to open and just get more and more beautiful.

They make up for the lack of cards.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008


I love peas.
And Brussels Sprouts.

As a child I would eat both, readily, and I still do.
I used to even eat the pods of the peas, I just couldn't get enough.
And I'd take my sprouts raw, frozen, any way I could get them.

The season for peas is not yet upon us, I've got, in my estimation about three months before Sainsburys starts stocking their shelves with peas. Well the ones still in the pod, which are my favourite. Sainsburys are always first with peas, I don't know why this is, but I know that once they have them I only have to wait a few weeks before they're in all the others too.

There's a point to this (which is rather unusual for me).

I got peas this evening! A bag of fresh peas, in the pod. All mine. I will not be sharing, I shall selfishly be eating them all to myself.
When my mother said she had a gift for me, I had no idea it would be peas!
Peas you hear! Three months early.
I've eaten some, I want to save the others for tomorrow, but you know, the longer they're off the plant, the less sweet they become. So I'm torn between savouring them and eating them while they're at their best.

Oh the decisions...

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Black & Blue

The world of a synaesthete is a strange one. Not to them, but to me. I cannot quite manage to imagine hearing, tasting and smelling colours. And yet I think there are times when our lives do exist in a portion of that.
When our days feel black.
When our souls feel bruised and we are filled with a taste of black and blue.
Feeling blue is more than sensation, it has a taste. Bitter, sour, rank.
But the sensation is there too, sharp but numb.

A cloud of colour surrounds you. The darkness that you are ensconced within as you try for sleep takes on a different edge. The pale ceiling glows at you through the darkness in the room as you lay, staring heavenwards, hoping that your mind will clear of the torrent of images, thoughts, stresses and sadnesses that flow so unchecked. You will it to stop, for things to become serene. That you won't have to climb from the warm bed with its new sheets you love so. That you won't have to open the drawer which contains those magic pills the kindly doctor prescribed for you so that sleep will always come. The magic pill will force the tide of sleep to come in and you will welcome it. For the respite until the morning.

You take the pill. You wait for it to work. Wonder when each of the thoughts clamouring for your attention will slowly be pushed aside as the depth of sleep swallows you. And you hope that the dreams tonight will be happy, free. Carefree.

And when the waking world finally, once again, becomes the one you inhabit, you hope the colour changes.
That the black recedes, that it doesn't fade to blue and that the loneliness is gone.
But it's just another day to live through. To exist in. And it's not quite enough.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Song Of The Week IX

I love Disney. I do.

I remember crying at the end of Beauty and the Beast, sitting in the cinema and wondering if it wasn't a little tragic that I was crying over animation. But then I guess people had been crying over Bambi for years before.

At some point Disney made it acceptable for adults to go and see animation without feeling it necessary to borrow a child as an excuse to go. I think Aladdin was one of those movies that made it ok.

I love this song and invariably when I'm making cd's for the car this one ends up on it. I do remember many years ago, making tapes for the car and after a night on the town, friends and I would drive around singing Disney tracks at the tops of our voices. I know more words to Disney songs than will ever be cool to admit to.
So here it is, Friend Like Me from Aladdin...

Thursday, 7 February 2008


More of the random...

I'm unbearably ticklish.
On my knees.

I am not even slightly ticklish on my feet.

Yes, I am a freak of nature.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

As If By Magic...

I turned the shower on this morning and while it warmed up I popped into my bedroom to brush my hair, makes it easier to comb through after you wash it, don't you know.

I walked back into the bathroom and Mifford was patiently sitting with her back to me, staring at the shower curtain as she does most days while I shower, waiting for me to re-emerge and give her her own shower of attention.

I don't think she realised that I wasn't actually in the shower.
I called to her and she jumped over a foot in the air in fright.
It might be wrong, but I laughed. I laughed so hard I had to sit down and catch my breath.

The look on her face clearly said two things:
1, How the fuck did you do that? You were in the shower and now you're behind me? How is that even possible?
2, You're laughing at me? I will not forget this indignity. I will save this moment and take revenge at a later date. Then we'll see who's laughing.

I'm a little afraid.
And yet still laughing to myself.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Flowers, Facts & Valentines

Looming on the horizon is yet another celebration that I have little love for. Which rather ruins the point of it I guess.
St. Valentines Day is growing ever closer, I really can't be alone in my lack of love for this event can I?
What's to look forward to? Brown envelopes with bills dropping through the letterbox instead of lovely red envelopes with SWALK stamped across their rear? Hmm, I see no fun in brown envelopes at all, they only ever contain bad news.

And I realised it's absolutely ages since I was sent flowers. In fact it was back in the days I worked at British Telecom, answering calls from customers less than cheerfully advising me there was a fault on their line.

I remember chatting one night with Colin, one of the resource managers, when he spotted a gentleman on the CCTV monitor at the front door. The gentleman in question was bearing a huge bouquet of flowers and Colin dashed off to catch him before he gave up ringing the bell.
I sauntered back to my seat, inwardly cursing the lucky receiver of the bouquet. I put my headset on and took a call, yet another cheerless customer unlikely to be thrilled by the weeks of delays BT were suffering with.
Colin finally reappeared with the bouquet in his arms, breathing heavily from the run down the flights of stairs.
All heads turned in his direction as one and all watched to see who would be the lucky recipient. He headed towards my bank of desks, looking me straight in the eye and grinning. I had a customer rambling in my ear and I pointed at my chest in that farcical manner whilst mouthing 'me'? My eyebrows were acquainting themselves with my hairline as I put my customer on hold and took the flowers from Colin.
They were beautiful and I was glad of all the envious stares from around the office as my smile threatened to tear across my cheeks.

That must be ten years ago now with only one bouquet delivery in the meantime. Is it that guys don't send flowers any more? Or is it that they don't send them to me?!

However, as I mentioned Valentines is looming and I'm sure the sale of red roses is about to rocket. I might be strange, (Ha! No might about it!) but a random fact is that I hate red roses, they smack of a lack of imagination, they smack of a last minute gift and whilst I'm sure that's not always true I've never liked them.
I had a date once and the guy in question showed up with a bunch of red roses and I immediately felt that it didn't bode well. I was right, by the way.
They just don't work for me.
Now yellow roses? That's a different kettle of fish. I think they're lovely.
Although, and here's another random fact, daisies and tulips are by far my favourite flowers.
I've always carried a secret (not so secret now) wish that a date would turn up with a tiny posy of freshly picked little white daisies.

But then I still have a stone that was given to me, simply because its finder thought it was beautiful and made him think of me. I'll never forget how ridiculous he said he felt buying a jiffy envelope to send a stone in.

I've been given some truly wonderful gifts in my life and it's the ones that you know the other has given because they know you'll love that count the most I think.
Damn it all, at the end of it, despite my reluctance to like Valentines Day, I'm an old romantic at heart after all.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Song Of The Week VIII

On Tuesday evening I popped over to Manchester as a friend had bought me a ticket to see Mindy Smith. I first saw her perform at the Cambridge Folk Festival a few years ago and thought she was wonderful.
Her beautiful voice takes my breath away and the lyrics to her songs are stunning.
On Tuesday she said that sometimes you hear a song and think that it was written specifically for you, I feel that about a number of her songs and it was wonderful to be able to get to one of only three dates she was playing here in the UK.
It was a small, basement venue and it suited her perfectly. I like the intimate gigs, where you sit literally feet from the artist and where everyone is respectful as they listen quietly. I hate it when I pay to see an artist and am forced to listen to the yelled conversation of the people immediately behind me.

I digress, as always, so she's song of the week and this is such a very, very beautiful song, written about the death of her mother, but applicable to so many situations.

I hope you love it. It was hard to choose just one.

I read a review about her once, and I paraphrase, but they said what a shame it was that for someone so young she had experienced so much trauma and heartbreak, but what a benefit to us that she has written such deeply touching and personal songs about those events, for our lives are the richer for it.


I'm really quite ridiculous. I'm addicted to the game of Scramble on Facebook and find myself in the live rooms frequently. I feel this determination to get onto the leaderboard, which features the top ten players. But every time I do I get freaked out and stop playing until I drop off the board.

That's nuts right?
Yesterday I was staring at the board and typing away, word after word after word, feeling quite smug that I was finding a steady stream when I realised, out of the corner of my eye I had, by some freak of nature, hit the number one spot. I immediately stopped typing until I'd dropped down!
Just moments ago I made it to third place and had to close the screen down when I'd officially had the best result ever. Why is this?

The chat window within the game is always filled with conversations, and nine times out of ten the conversation revolves around the fact that those on the leaderboard must be cheating.

This intrigues me. Why is it that, as soon as people are seen to be better at something we must assume they can't possibly be capable of such feats. We're happy to accept that if we tried to compete in the Olympics that the likelihood is we'd be beaten shamelessly in every event, but in something simple like a Boggle-style game we can't conceive that someone might just be good at that.
There are a number of videos on youtube evidencing the fact that these people type so fast and recognise words at such speed it scares me a little. I touch type, but I make frequent mistakes when I'm trying to enter the words and end up repeating some and neglecting others.

At the end of each game when the list of words that would have scored appears there are usually a huge amount of words that I don't recognise and I've always felt I had a real passion for words. Whilst my vocabulary is some distance from an impressive level, I like to think it's decent, but as from the last game, words like; miaoued, mabes, geoids and beedi have never been used in speech. Indeed, I have no clue what they mean. With the exception of the first one, which I have suspicion about.

Anyway, I have to deal with my obsession. My desk is littered with papers, and on each is scrawled word combinations, so that I remember to get them all. Such as: teas, taes, seat, tae, tea, eat, ate, tae, eta...
Oh good god, I really must get out more.