Thursday, 31 May 2007



The plumber came round today and fixed the cold tap in the bath, after several months of chasing. He's a really great plumber, and a really nice bloke, but is unbelievably busy, so very hard to get hold of.

Hm....maybe those factors are linked somehow?

Anyway, I can now use the bath instead of having to go and wash in the pond every morning.

I predict a Lush-intensive session later on tonight. Maybe with candles. I am not a very girly girl (as my boss kindly pointed out to me today) but I think after 3 bath-less months a few candles are called for.

Oh, I am pleased.


Back in the office today, still with a feckin' huge crack in my car windscreen.

First thing yesterday I called the "24 hour" number on my car insurance, and they were lovely. Helpful. Courteous. Concerned. Intelligent. Everything you don't expect a helpdesk to be, in fact.

I was comforted by this, and when they said "We use this particular glass repair place, they open at 8.30 so will be in touch with you after that" I didn't fret. And even when they gave me the glass repair place telephone number "just in case" I still thought they were being helpful and positive.

However. By the time it had reached 1030 and no word from the glass place, I thought I'd better ring them. Just in case.

No answer.

Rang again at 11.00.

No answer again.

Hmm. Feeling less encouraged now.

Time was a-ticking on and I had been warned by the freakishly helpful helpdesk that replacing the windscreen would take "2 to 3 hours". If the emergency glass place were going to get it fixed that day, skates needed to be donned.

A third call at 12.00 and joy! A bored-sounding bloke answered. I told him I was calling to find out when my car would be fixed, a conversation which ground to a halt as it became clear he had no idea what I was on about. So, the information from the suspiciously helpful helpdesk had not yet permeated through to the shop floor then?

No, it had not.

I gave the bored bloke the reference number from the helpdesk, he went away, came back, said "Ah yes. Well, I have to wait for it to get printed before I can allocate a time for the repair."

I refrained from asking "By whom, pray? William Caxton?" in a biting tone, and said instead "Oh right. Ok then" in a sad voice, as if it was all fine.

He said "I will call you back once it's printed and tell you when we can do the job." I sighed deeply, realising that I had been wildly over-optimistic in expecting the job to get done that day, as my insurance company had implied, and said "Ok then. Thanks." before going off to eat chocolate biscuits in a depressed and mechanistic manner, waiting for The Call.

It did cheer me up imagining a team of glass repair novices carefully lettering a huge illuminated manuscript for each job though.

So. A week on Friday. New windscreen. And on the plus side I get to hang around on an industrial estate in Frome for 3 hours while they do it.

Other news. Back at work.

Drove in trying not to glare hatefully at the broken windscreen (is it even legal to drive it like this? I would appreciate anyone who knows dropping me an answer on that). The glass repair guy went to great lengths to reassure me that it was all perfectly safe, laminated glass, only one layer is busted blah blah blah, but I am not happy about it.

Why? Well, I'll tell you.

I was involved in a bizarre accident a few years ago. I was driving home from work on a very windy day. It was early in the year, February or something, and the weather had been complete shite for days: power lines coming down, roofs blowing away, cows stuck up trees, the works, so I was being extra careful.

Anyhoo, a big old truck with a skip on the back was driving along in the opposite direction, and as it was a long straight road, I could see quite clearly that a big lump of (I thought) cardboard was moving about on the top of this skip, being blown by the wind.

No net or anything over the top for safety, see. And sure enough, this big bit of (I still thought) cardboard suddenly lifted off the truck like a kite, and flew vertically up many, many feet. It was quite an interesting lesson in aerodynamics, really.

I watched it, thinking "Oh, that cardboard might land on the road in front of me...oh yes, here it comes...might even hit my car...yes....heading my way...OH FUCK!!! It's a WINDOW!"

And it was. A four foot square, metal framed, fully-glazed window. Single, not double glazed. Probably why it was on its way to the tip, now that I think about it. Landed edgeways on my bonnet (the car's, not a gaily-decorated hat), then pinwheeled over the roof and smashed into tiny bits on the road behind me.

I stopped pretty sharpish. Well, I had to, as I couldn't see anything due to my windscreen being completely opaque now, and sat there, shaking, covered in tiny shards of glass and bits of my car's trim (mirrors, lights, bits of the sunroof) that had all been knocked onto my lap.

As I sat there, stupidly wondering where my wing mirror had gone (answer: in the middle of the road, under a broken metal-framed window), a panicky bloke opened my passenger door, looked in at me and said "I thought you'd be dead!"

He'd been in the car behind me and had seen the whole thing. When the huge fountain of glass shot up from my car, he assumed it was my windscreen shattering, and that I would have been mashed under whatever he'd seen land on my car.

Not having my victim's-eye view of the whole thing he hadn't realised it was a window, and that the glass was from it, rather than my windscreen. No, that was still in place, although I now had hundreds of tiny glass splinters stuck all over my face and hands.

So, I rang the police who said "Oh dear" which was comforting. Not helpful, but comforting.

The truck was nowhere to be seen, the driver probably to this day being blissfully oblivious to the carnage he was leaving in his wake, the incompetent fuckwit. The nice man who had thought I'd be dead drove me home, the car got towed to the repairers and my insurance company had to foot a £2500 bill to fix it.

The thing that really REALLY annoyed me was the trail of bits of rubbish all the way home along the road, obviously having been shed by this lorry on every roundabout and junction - railway sleepers, bricks, breeze blocks...we're not talking crisp packets and cigarette ends here.

He could have killed me. If I'd been on the bike, it would have taken my head off.

Anyway, that's why I am more than a little twitchy about my windscreen having a crack in it.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007


Been to Mottisfont Abbey today, National Trust owned home of the English Old Rose Collection. It was gorgeous. Bloody huge amounts of driving though - 250 miles plus due to complex family logistics.

If you've never been there, go. It's beautiful. There are acres of grounds with a spring, which is unbelievably cold, a river full of enormous brown trout, a circle of (I think) beech trees, an ice house, the Abbey itself, and of course the walled garden full of roses.

And the cafe sells rose petal ice cream. Mmmmm.

Mum and I rode up to the garden in a little electric cart thingy. Mr WithaY elected to walk, more from the shame of being seen on the back of a tiny milk float than any real excess of energy I suspect. It was great because it meant Mum wasn't tired out by the time we got there, and really enjoyed the flowers. Plus we got to ride a tiny milk float. Like a theme park for very old people.

On the way there our trip up the M27 was enlivened by the sound of something huge and hard whacking the front of the car. A stone, we believe. And now there's what looks like a bullet hole in the windscreen and a long creeping crack below it. So I have to ring the insurance people tomorrow and pay £50 excess to get it fixed.


Back to work tomorrow after a week and a bit on holiday. Not looking forward to an early start, but I hope to get a guitar lesson organised if I can which will make the day more bearable. Better text my lovely teacher tonight and find out if he's free.

Driving along, seeing all the brilliant white, rain washed sheep reminded me of something one of my Scots mates said, years ago, after he'd been to the South of England for the first time. He commented on how fat, clean and healthy all the animals in the fields looked as he drove further and further South, remarking "I expect the farmers put all the best looking ones near the roads."

I love that idea, and also the logical extension of that, which is that there are fields full of hideous, scrawny, filthy, miserable Dorian Grey animals hidden away from the roads, concealing the farmers' shame.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Location, location, location

I love living in our village. Mr WithaY was walking over to a neighbour's the other afternoon when he spotted one of the local young mums, pushing two of her sons down the road in a wheelbarrow. They are apparently much easier to use than a pushchair.

Haven't seen that being profiled in the weekend Telegraph as a bloody "countryside" trend yet but it's only a matter of time.

We have a fab village here. We have, either in the village or very close by:

1) A petrol station, incorporating a post office and off licence. And a cashpoint, although you have to pay to get your money out. Still, it's handy if you are skint on a Friday and on your way to:

2) The pub! Hurrah! Does great food, loads of the locals drink in there and it is remarkably handy for my house. And they serve beer from:

3) The local brewery! Which also sells barrels if you're having a party, which is handy.

4) The farm shop. One of the best in the country, sells all kinds of funky organic stuff, including the truly sublime Montezuma's chocolate. Mmmm. Oh, and trout.

5) The airfield. Not something I use very often, but apparently the guys with planes find it a bonus.

6) A church. Been there a few times, very pretty, friendly and within walking distance.

7) Hills. A wide variety of hills for walking about on.

8) Woods. Bloody lovely ones, at that. Bluebells and everything. Marvellous.

Saturday, 26 May 2007


...from my hollerdays.

Which, to be fair, were rather strange. CenterParcs is now full of chavs, it appears, and thus has lost even the frail and shallow pretence it used to have that it was NOT a holiday camp.

It so is.

They've added dozens of new villas (NOT chalets!) to the place, and increased the number of customers who can stay there, but the actual footprint is the same, and the facilities are still about the same size too. So what you get is more people crammed into a finite space, all trying to use the same facilities at pretty much the same time.

That in itself wasn't too big a deal because we had booked one of the top of the range villas which has a decent amount of accommodation, a hot tub on the patio, and a sauna and steam room. There was also a half decent CD player and TV and DVD player so we were kept amused while we were there.

And I took my guitar so was able to get a load of practice in, as well as play some songs for the girls to sing. I don't think any record company executives who happened to be in the area will be scouring the woods for us, somehow.

I got bollocked! Yes I did!

We all went to the Spa place on Monday night for a session. You pay about 30 quid or something and get 3 hours where you can use all the various spa facilities, turkish baths, saunas, relaxation rooms, all that malarky. Anyway, my mate Sally and I were sitting in the "Reflexology footbath" bit in the middle, along with a couple of other ladies, all of us chatting companionably.

Much to my astonishment, a middle-aged bloke suddenly came right up to me, leaned in and said nastily "Any chance you "ladies" could keep it down? All we can hear is you talking over the noise of the baths." And yes, he did say "ladies" in inverted commas.

I was taken aback, not least because he invaded my personal space (which is iffy if you're in a funky and revealing swimsuit), so I went all British and said "Oh, sorry." He glared at me and stormed off.

The other two ladies who were sat there looked astounded and said "We couldn't hear you!" and we had a short "What the fuck was that all about" kind of conversation, till lo and behold, back he came, still glaring.

"Is there a problem with keeping it down?" he asked, before storming off like a sad old drama queen.


Now I was quite upset by this, not least because I have a soft, well-modulated voice which all men love to hear (well, I think so, anyway).

One of the other girls came up with a great riposte, much later on, back at the villa, over several glasses of wine. We should have said "No. Is there a problem with keeping it up?" to him.


I also really really missed male company. Obviously the adorable Mr WithaY was pined for night and day, but I also missed just chatting to blokes. I love my girly mates dearly but by Wednesday I was starting to get selective pitch deafness...anything that got too shrill was filtered out and ignored. Heh.

So. Am back. And yeah - the "Pay as you Go" internet machines at CenterParcs blocked my access to my blog because it is apparently a site with a high porn content. I am obviously missing out there big time.

Monday, 21 May 2007


I am very excited...waiting for my lovely mates to come and pick me up for our holiday. They should be here any minute now.

Well, in the next half hour or so.

Sometime this morning, certainly.

I have an unfeasibly large amount of luggage for a 4 night stay, I have to say. Luggage pile consists of:

1) Large suitcase packed with a wide variety of clothes, shoes, swimwear including fab new swimsuit, toiletries etc. (And oh fuck - just realised I forgot to pack a hairdryer...I hope one of the others brings one) Well, you never know what the weather will do, do you? Today for example, is a bit rainy. Do I need to take another fleece? Hm.

2) Backpack with painting stuff and some carefully chosen DVDs and CDs in it, but will be used to carry stuff to the pool, spa etc, so will earn its keep.

3) Electric guitar in soft case, also containing amp leads and some music.

4) Amp - only a small one, mind, but still quite heavy. A Roland mini cube - get one if you are looking for an amp. They are bloody fantastic. Only for practice, really, but has about 6 different amp styles ranging from "Freedy Johnson" to "Megadeath" which is handy. Plus several funky effects, including phaser, chorus, tremelo etc. And all for under 90 quid. Bargain.

5) Box that Saturday night's Chinese takeaway came in, now full of Champagne, wine, chocolate fondue ingredients and a tin of lychees (for their vitamins, obviously).

Oh, and my handbag. The small one.

Yeah, my new swimsuit. I am so pleased about this...I have NEVER in my adult life had a swimsuit I liked. I have an unfeasibly big chest (great in some ways, nightmare in others) so buying a bikini was never really an option as far as I was concerned. Plus I am a bit of a fat bastard so a bikini would repel other beach goers. Soooo, one-piece swimwear for me.

Anyhoo, bought this swimsuit last week, tried it on, and Lo! I looked like "Catherine Zeta Jones having let herself go a bit" rather than "Surprisingly tall Dawn French". Hurrah!

Saturday, 19 May 2007


...apart from the crap elf story, I have been very busy with work. Got the first draft of the paper out on Thursday, so hurrah to all of us for that. And to celebrate, I am away on my hollerdays next week.

Eight birds off to CenterParcs. I am SO looking forward to it. We have rented one of the exceptionally posh villas with a sauna, steam room and hot tub on the patio. Last time we went we all crammed into it at once and had a fab (if crowded) time. We did look a lot like a Beryl Cook painting though. Heh.

Mr WithaY is remaining quietly at home, reading improving books and doing all the odd jobs around the house that I have been banging on about for the last 6 months. That's what he's told me anyway. Last time I was away for a long weekend, we went to the pub in the village and Fred the barman told me "Ooh, glad you're back - he was in here ever so much while you were away." Mr WithaY had the grace to look slightly embarrassed.

I was at home yesterday afternoon when there was a thunderous knocking and ringing at the front door. I dashed downstairs (see - that's why I keep falling down them and damaging myself) and who should be out there in the pissing rain but my oldest mate in all the world, Bill the Spill.

We have been friends since Sixth Form, so have known each other for (oh gahhh!) almost 25 years now. Sadly we don't see each other nearly as much as I'd like, him living away down IN the woods in Sussex somewhere, being a horny-handed son of the soil etc etc.

To be fair, I'm not sure what he does. I think he works in the 1930s, because the way he tells it there's a lot of cap-doffing goes on. Do people still do that these days?

Anyhoo, he was on his way to Bristol for the weekend and decided to call round on the off-chance because it was looking like a huge rainstorm was on the way. And he was right. He got here about 2 minutes after it started and stayed until it passed over. He has a new (and very lovely) enormous 1400cc Harley, as well as his older, funkier, flames-painted-up-the-sides Harley.

Damn I want another bike.

I showed off with my guitar for a bit as he'd only heard me play my acoustic, and I did him a few songs. I played Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Kind of Man" and he got all misty and choked, and said "I've known you all this time and I didn't know you could sing like that." Isn't that lovely? I was very touched.

Also (am feeling very smug at the moment), Mr WithaY said to me, apropos of nothing much "The more I see other peoples' wives, the more glad I am that I have you." Aaah. How lovely is that?

Right. Time to go and make him a cup of tea. Maybe even a chocolate-covered flapjack. Mmmm. Flapjack.

Elven tea-leaf

I am now living in fear that my sad addiction to on-line gaming might result in something like this: .

I can't see how anyone would turn "being a fantasy role play character" into "compelled to steal lingerie dressed as a rather crap elf". I mean, what was the logic there? If anyone cares to share some insight I'd be grateful.

(I mean anyone who knows about the workings of the human mind, not just people like me who go "ooh - nutter".)

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Language oddity

Possibly as a sympathy gesture to my mate damocles in Korea, the date titles on here seem to be in "foreign". No idea what the language is, other than it isn't French or German. Possibly that language they speak on the Fast Show's "Channel 9".


Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Emotional taggage

I like being tagged. It makes me feel special.

So, 7 things about me which may surprise you. Obviously pretty much anything, as all you know about me is what's in the blog. Oh, except for Spencer, who I know really well, but he will have to pretend he doesn't know me for the purposes of this exercise.

1) I am surprisingly tall. For a bird. When I wear high heels I am over 6 feet tall, which is excellent. I went to Sheffield with my mate Karen a few years ago to watch the ice hockey (Sheffield Steelers vs Basingstoke Bisons, in case you were wondering) , and we spend the afternoon before the match in Meadowhall (huge shopping mall, American readers). I didn't see a single girl my height, and very few blokes. Karen (a 5'1" Sheffield native) fitted right in.

I felt like Godzilla, rampaging among the tiny Northern folk. It made me think twice before resting my drink on Karen's head in the pub after that, I can tell you.

2) I sing like an angel. Not an angel who's ever had singing lessons, mind, but an angel nonethless. I love singing, and have won prizes in karaoke contests, which I am far too proud of.

3) I want to see the Northern Lights. I really, really do. Every time I've been to the North of Scotland I've spent ages gawking out of windows, hoping, but never got lucky. One day I will got to Tromso and see them. I will.

4) I've gone right off Magnum. Formerly a band I loved; since I have been learning to play guitar properly I have realised that they are in fact rather terrible. Damn. And I can't admit that to Mr WithaY or my lovely guitar teacher because they will both gloat and redouble their attempts to make me learn bloody Pink Floyd.

5) I am dreadfully, dreadfully lazy. I am. I like my job very much, and enjoy doing it well, but have crippling attacks of "can't be arsed" at regular intervals. Luckily I am able to disguise them until they pass and I get my enthusiam back. And I have great colleagues who keep me motivated when I get spiritless and listless, doing my celebrated impression of a dying Romantic poet, laying around and moaning languidly, waving people away with a lace hankie clutched in one pale, thin hand.

If I was independently wealthy, never had to work again, no social commitments etc etc I would morph into one of those people who have all their food delivered, buy all their clothes via mail order, get all their social interaction through the internet and TV, eventually being craned out of the house by the fire brigade, after they demolish a few walls.

6) I often fantasise about running other drivers off the road, sometimes flamethrowering them afterwards for good measure. Bastards.

7) I believe I can do absolutely anything. Really. I have very few fears (grounded in reality, anyway, werewolves and zombies are a different issue) and this leads me to take risks sometimes. Usually I don't get very badly injured. It comes as a genuine shock to me when I try my hand at something and am crap. I have a real sense of injustice and am aggrieved about it for ages afterwards. Heh.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Tagged! How exciting!

Ooh - never been tagged before. I feel special now.

Right. I'll do the "5 places to eat" one first, I think. In Bath, because it's the one of the very few places around here with a wide range of foody choices. So, places I like:

(In no particular order)

1) The Fishworks. It's a fishmonger. WIth a restaurant attached. If you don't like fish, you really won't like it here. It's next to the sausage shop, so a bit of a bonus there. IF you like sausages, of course.

Mr WithaY and I have been there a few times and it's always bloody great. Had the best starter EVER - some hand picked (dived? harvested?) scallops seared and served with lemon oil. Very simple. Amazing. And then a HUUUUUGE bowl of fat prawns cooked in lord knows what. I ended up with bits of prawn shell all over my faace, in my hair, up the walls. Superb.

We went there for lunch for our wedding anniversary a few years ago, not long after after we'd had our beloved dog put to sleep and it made us both feel better than we had done for ages. I can't think of a higher recommendation, really.

2) The Moon and Sixpence. In a courtyard behind the Podium, not obvious from the street. Lovely fairly posh food. I've been there a couple of times (and once I wasn't paying - is there anything better than a free meal?) and it was lovely. Beautiful place, gorgeous presentation, nice staff, and a bar upstairs so it was lively, rather than being a "hushed" eating place.

3) The Firehouse. I think it's part of a very tiny chain, as there's another one in Bristol somewhere. They do a pretty small range of food but the half a chicken and mesquite fries is fab.

4) Mai Thai. Down Manvers Street, not far from the police station. Top notch Thai food, very small restaurant, beautiful Thai ladies bring you glorious food, and you can stagger a few hundred yards to the railway station to get home. Marvellous.

5) Sally Lunn's. Go there for tea and Sally Lunn buns. It's like being in someone's house, but you have to pay for a cup of tea. Mmmmm. Buns.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Summer, deplorable lack of

It is bloody FREEZING today. I feel quite cheated after the glorious hot weather of last month. It's wet, it's cold and it's very very gloomy. Miserable.

Still, as the annoying bastard on the local radio station said this morning "Well, at least the farmers will be pleased." I'm glad for them. Perhaps they will all go out for a celebratory 15 mph joyride so I can enjoy watching their rear ends for hours. Like yesterday. Although, to be fair, it was very mildly entertaining watching huge fat sparks being kicked up by the giant chains dragging along the road behind the tractor.

You have to take your entertainment where you can find it, round here.

I hate our local radio station. It advertises local firms we already know about, with a rotation of about a dozen adverts so you hear them all at least twice a morning. The only reason we have the radio alarm tuned to it is that our reception for everything else is virtually non-existant.

They run a "feature" called "24 Hour Recall". This consists of the inarticulate, lame-witted DJ and his shrill, self publicising, painfully dull female sidekick having a long discussion about what they both did in the previous 24 hours.

Spoiler: It usually involves watching TV.

Well, cheers. I can get a decent critique of last night's essential viewing by reading the TV review in the on-line Telegraph, without having to tolerate the banal and tiresome "wit" of those two chimps.

It is wearing beyond words. And the REALLY sad thing is that this "feature" gets trailed throughout the show as a big incentive. I wonder if they're both proud of their careers in showbiz. Heh.

We can barely pick up Radio 2 in the kitchen, and not at all upstairs, which is a bit of a blow. Mobile phones can ju-u-u-ust about squeeze out a text message. Eventually. I have had texts arrive anything up to 72 hours after they were sent due to the sporadic and shite nature of the signal. We had to cave in and buy a satellite dish just to pick up terrestrial TV - before that we couldn't get BBC 2 or Channel 4 very well, and Channel 5 was nowhere to be seen.

Still, we now get access to all the free channels (I like BBC 3 and 4 especially) and also tons of radio (Kerrang for example) which can be entertaining. The only downside is that you have to listen to them via the TV system, so you can't really hear them in the kitchen.

A neighbour brought round a DAB radio a while ago for us to try as she was delighted with the service, and we were keen to get it too. I set up up in the kitchen and watched the "strength" meter thingy climb to a splendid 12. I was very pleased until my neighbour pointed out that her signal strength is between 90 and 99. Arse. She only lives a few hundred yards away but it seems we are in a "shadow". All very Lord of the Rings. The other side of the road, a simpler time.

Which reminds me of when my middle sis moved in with her boyfriend (now husband, morality police). He didn't have a TV, and after a year or so Sis decided that she would get a small TV and video all-in-one thing, so she could watch films whilst doing the ironing. (Top household tip - The Birdcage is a great choice).

So she got a little TV and video, then wandered up to the local video rental place to register. She filled in all the forms, got her card and was about to leave when the chap behind the counter said "Just moved into the area?"

"No" she replied. "Just moved into the 20th century." Heh.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Wet weekend

It has been pissing down almost non-stop since Thursday morning. We went out in Bath on Thursday night for beer and curry and got bloody soaked walking from the car to the pub.

I had no idea what had been going on in Bath city centre. It's been flattened!

I mean I knew there were all these plans in the pipeline for urban regeneration stuff, new shops, better parking (about bloody time too), removal of shite 1960 "architecture" and so on, but it looks like one of those old newsreels of the Blitz. Without the bombs.

The whole bottom end of the main drag through town is gone, surrounded by huge hoardings decorated with optimistic artists' impressions of how great it will be once it's finished.

We didn't really stay to look for long as it was pissing down, but I will go and have a good poke around soon. I think I'll go in on the train though, as half the car parks have vanished as well.

Other exciting weekend news. Um. None really. I made a cake today. Cherry madeira, if you're interested. Not too bad, but not one of my best. The whole baking thing was enlivened by a dramatic tumble down the stairs mid-bake though. The beeper timing thingy went off and I dashed down to check, and was too clumsy and inept to make it down without incident. So now my knee, wrist and ankle all hurt like hell. Nothing broken, but some great bruises.

We went out earlier today and the roads are quite scarily flooded. There were cars having to creep along in the middle of the road to avoid being under water. Hope it clears a bit before the morning.

Oh yeah - my car was leaking on Friday! Bloody rain coming in through the (I think) sunroof. Bollocks. Better check that tomorrow.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Unlikely, but sadly true

My youngest sister told me this story at the weekend. And I believe her, because this kind of thing happens to my family...

She was working as a carer for (I think) Scope, and they had taken a bus load of their clients out to Portsmouth for the day. She went to the toilets with one of them, and they needed to go into the "disabled" cubicle. Which was in use. So they waited. And waited. And waited.

After several minutes with no sign of life in there, Sis knocked politely on the door. There was a muffled "I'll be out in a minute" from inside, and then a few more moments of silence.

Eventually the door opened and out waddled a bloke in a huge, heavily padded seagull costume. He squeezed past Sis and her companion, nodded politely (beak and all) then left the building.

And when Sis got back to the bus nobody believed that it had happened, and made fun of her because they'd taken so long in the toilet. She said the worst thing was spotting the seagull man in the distance, handing out leaflets but by the time she called anyone else's attention to him, he was out of sight as the bus drove away.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007


Oh yeah - as part of my monumental (so far) 3 day sulk, I changed the wallpaper on my mobile.

It was a very gloomy picture of Stonehenge, taken from the car window as we drove past one day in the rain. Now it is a picture of the very beautiful Shell Bay in Dorset, taken on a gloriously hot day last summer.

And you know what? Just doing that has helped cheer me up.

So hurrah for sunshine and blue skies. Which feel pretty bloody far off today. It's freezing.

Less grumpy...

But still unusually crabby, nonetheless. Ah well.

Work has been busy today. Met the new head of the team we're working with, who is very clever and knows loads about the area we're trying to write our plans around. Which, thinking about it, is probably why he got the job. Anyway, it's great to have someone around who I can run to saying "What are they TALKING about??" from time to time. And I had a very cheerful discussion with my boss this morning, which evolved into having lunch and chatting, which I enjoyed.

My lovely guitar teacher isn't coming over tonight, sadly. Band practice. Huh. They don't sound like they need much practice, but I suppose they ought to meet up sometimes and decide what they're going to play at their next gig. Still, I was very good last night and did an hour's playing which included lots of bloody barre chords. How is anyone supposed to play them properly? You need fingers of steel and hands like a mutant tree frog. Gah.

Ah well.

Oh yeah - I got gesticulated at this morning by a couple of (I assume) builders in a van. I was waiting for a gap in the traffic at Stonehenge (where the cats meow) and when I didn't pull out directly into the path of a huge high-speed juggernaut bearing down the A303 towards me, they made rude gestures at me from their van. I felt like getting out of the car and walking back to explain that I drive a fucking diesel 4x4, not a Maserati that does 0-60 in point something of a minute.


Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Dazed and confused

Gah. Bloody virtual reality. It's far more complicated than real reality. Typing is so useful for so many reasons, but sadly it is crap for any kind of emotional exchanges.

Unless you use those bloody smiley face things which I hate.

Interesting how the default setting on the internet is "sulky teenager". Well it is for me anyway.

Other news...been raining today. I was working at home doing a presentation which I got drafted successfully. Pleased about that at least. And in the office tomorrow to continue with our huge looming deadline.

And now it's bedtime. The glamour.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Bike envy

My sis and her mate arrived last night on a huge 1000cc Triumph motorcycle. I am now green with envy and have decided that I want to get another bike. I fancy a Kawasaki Zephyr - they look like the old Zs but with better brakes and electrics.

Mr WithaY is of a similar mind although he yearns for a Triumph tourer. So. Two big 4x4s AND two large bikes in the WithaY household. Ha! Take that, Environment! Well, we'll probably both get killed fairly quickly (statistically likely, I believe, anyway) so our plundering of Earth's bounty would be relatively short-lived.

I sold my leather jacket about 5 years ago, and binned my crash helmet after I dropped it a couple of times, as it was no good any more anyway. I feel the need to go to a few bike shows over the summer and check out how much a decent jacket and helmet would set me back. I kept my funky Judge Dredd stylee boots, so don't need to get new ones.

Ooh. I'm all excited now.

We did some gardening after they left this afternnoon. Filled the green wheelie bin with weeds and the front garden still looks rank. Mother Nature mocks our paltry efforts, as well she might. Still, the sweet pea has some space to breathe now and we finally decided that the hydrangea (sp?) had had it's chance and failed to impress us, so out it came.

Mr WithaY has arranged to go out shooting with a mate tomorrow - he will be leaving at 0400. In the morning! Gah! We're off to a party tonight so I guess he'll be driving (no cider for him) and we won't be stopping there late. But I AM taking my Strat. Played it after we got back from the pub last night. My sister's mate was dead impressed. But he had been drinking.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Musical genuis, proximity to

I have just had a hugely successful guitar lesson. Am confident that I will be able to play Nickelback's "How you remind me" before too much longer.

My gorgeous teacher is bloody marvellous. He did make a bit of a face when I said I wanted to learn it, but when I waved the "ripped from the web and therefore possibly wildly inaccurate" chords in front of him he couldn't refuse. Heh. Bless him. He keeps trying to sneakily teach me Pink Floyd and I keep thwarting him.

This week has gone so fast. I've been in the office every day for work and it's a fair while since I've done that. We've made great progress on our huge looming deadline and I am confident (again!) that we will make our target date. Plus we had a team lunch at the pub today and most of us knocked off after that, so I was home nice and early.

Good job too - the Friday before a Bank Holiday...the A303 was a feckin' nightmare. Lord knows what it's like at the moment. Nose to tail between Andover and Exeter probably. (Look on a map, American readers).

I amused myself by listening to thrash metal. I assume that's what it was, anyway..not up with all this new stuff, being a sad old git. Anyway, it was very loud, lots of bass, lots of shouting. Perfect traffic jam music.

My youngest sister rang while I was having my lesson. She and a mate are apparently coming over and staying the night. They will have to sleep on the futon in the study as Jim is in the spare room, and I think it would be a bit crowded with three of them in there. Even if one of them is my foxy little sis. Not sure if they're here for the weekend or just the night or what. Anyway, it'll be fab to see her.

Usually when we get together it is in a house heavily infested with small children so the conversation is limited. I love them all dearly but it doesn't make for very deep discussion when there are four of them mungoing about, playing on their PlayStation (or is it an X box? I have no idea), trying to show me new stuff, texting their mates, fighting (the boys, anyway) and demonstrating their newly-acquired football skills in the middle of the floor.

We're of to a party tomorrow. I am taking my electric guitar as requested by the host. Mr WithaY had to relay the request and it clearly caused him some small twinges to say "Ian wants you to bring your guitar to the party tomorrow." And I had the delicious opportunity to ask "Electric or acoustic." Great. (Electric, by the way.)

I plan to drink cider and make a lot of noise. Hurrah!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007


Someone sitting in a car outside is listening to banjo "chase music". Heh.


Well, my car is fine again. When I got to work yesterday morning the central locking worked. I locked and unlocked the car several times to make sure, and yes, it was fine. Current theory behind the whole "locks going on and off while driving for no reason" phenomenon involves water getting into the electrics and causing mayhem. The nice chap at the garage was very understanding when I rang to cancel my appointment with him and the "fitter" who he'd arranged to come over to sort it out for me.

Mr WithaY is gloating. He has a long-held theory that washing cars is (a) pointless, (b) bad for the environment (all that water!) and now (c) fucks up the electrics.


Work is very busy at the moment. We have a huge deadline approaching, but once that's over I am off on holiday for a week with my lovely girlie mates. Can't wait. My shopping list so far consists of Champagne, chocolate and loo roll. Well, what else do we need? Crisps, maybe. And Tequila. Oh, and some apples. Healthy living. I might write a lifestyle book about it.

Sadly my gorgeous guitar teacher isn't coming over tonight. He has a cold too (not caught from me, mind) so I will have to practice on my own. He sent me a stern email telling me "no slacking". Heh.

Jim has disappeared off for a few days, I think he might be back for the weekend, but am not sure. The house feels a bit strange now, we'd got used to him being here. I want to get on and decorate the spare room once he moves out. It's all plastered and everything, just needs painting. And then that's the whole place redecorated. Hurrah. It's taken five and a half years but the place is unrecognisable. And that's a good thing. I don't think I'll ever forget the stench of the dark brown hessian wallpaper in the sitting room, impregnated with lord knows how many years of nicotine and filth. Gah. Everything was brown. Paint, walls, even the windows. Not now though.

I did a tiny, completely pathetic bit of gardening last night. Pulled up about 5 weeds, then Mr WithaY got home from work so we cooked supper and chatted instead. However, I will get the flower beds in the front garden weeded over the next few days. It looks very pretty from a distance, like a proper cottage garden, but it is a bit rank if you look at it closely. We have tons of borage in flower - if we make Pimms we'll be fine. And the roses look like they are about to burst into flower too, about a month early.

I am having huge problems with Second Life at the moment which is very annoying. I will defrag my laptop tonight and see if that helps, but I've had more and more problems with the game since Chrsimtas, and it's virtually unplayable now. I emailed the guys at Linden Lab who run the help system and have had a "thanks for your query" email back, but nothing else which is a bit crap. I am pining for my lovely on-line mates.