Monday, 31 December 2007

Seaside frolics

After spending the last few days more or less holed up in the house, eating like greedy fat kings and watching TV till our eyes dried up, we decided we ought to go out. To stop us getting rickets, if nothing else.

Mr WithaY suggested we head down to the coast and see if Tyneham village was open to the public. It's a tiny little place that was evacuated in about 1943 so the Army could use it for training; after WW2 ended, the Army hung onto it.

Much to the dismay of some of the former residents, who had expected to move back there, and kept petitioning the War Office about it for years afterwards. Well, you would, wouldn't you?

We walked down to the coast, which was very pleasant, watched the sea for a bit, admired the Jurassic coast (no dinosaurs thankfully), expressed dismay at all the rubbish washed up onto the beach, and then scrambled back up the muddy banks onto the path, getting covered in crud as we did so.



We walked round the ruined village which was very sad. They have put little information plaques up in some of the houses telling you who lived there, with photos of some of the former residents.

What was incredible to me was the size of some of the households. Two or three roomed cottages with eight or nine people living in them. That's all the rooms in the house, not the number of bedrooms, mind.

And not always many children, either. Some of the houses had several adults living there, in what must have been rather cramped conditions.


Still, they did a lot more of their living out of doors than we do. One little note staggered me. It mentioned that the women of the village used to walk the 12 miles there and back to Weymouth to get their groceries.

Walk. 12 miles.

Pushing prams, because that was how they lugged all their shopping home again. I would gripe about walking 2 miles to get the shopping, never mind 12. And it's hilly country round there. With a small child or two in a pram to boot.

No wonder they all looked about 30 years older than they really were. They were some tough people.

This made me laugh though.


And Mr WithaY was delighted to find these....

They look like Klingon must-have accessories, but are in fact shark egg cases. And he brought them home. Presumably to put next to his collection of whale's teeth.

Almost forgot. Before we went to the village, we stopped off at an excellent pub and had lunch. There were two old ladies having a lunch too, and were talking very LOUDLY. I assume at least one of them had a hearing problem.

One of them dropped her knife on the floor "Oh no! I've dropped my knife!" she bellowed.

"Do you need it?" asked her companion.

"Well, I think so" she said.

"No you don't. Just use your fork."

I love old ladies.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Specs before marriage

I was at the opticians again yesterday, having my eyes tested. While I was waiting for my appointment, I couldn't help but overhear the antics of a trio of elderly people behind me. I think it was a married couple and a female friend or relative.

The two ladies were examining the racks of glasses, one of them trying on pair after pair and dismissing them for a variety of increasingly interesting reasons.

The chap was sat watching them, adding his own comments like a grumpy Greek chorus, quietly enough that they couldn't hear him.

But I could. As an example:

Old lady #1: (waving huge specs about) What about these? Nice and big.

Old lady #2: Ooh no....they'll be much too heavy for my nose.

Old lady #1: Not if you have plastic glass in them. Nice and light then. (Getting bored with being in the opticians, waving them under her friend's nose) Try them on, go on.

Old lady #2: (Trying them on) No, they don't look right. I know what suits me.

Old Man: (Under his breath) You bloody don't.

I was kept entertained.

And the good news is my eyes have not got any worse, so my prescription stays the same. So I can keep using my disposable contact lenses when I can be arsed. I ordered a new pair of specs anyway, though. I have got tremendously bored with my current ones.

I popped into a shoe shop on a whim and bought a pair of boots in the sale, which I was pleased with. Reduced from 45 quid to 35, so felt like I got a good deal. (About a billion trillion dollars, American readers).

When asked by a reprobate neighbour later if they were Fuck Me Boots I had to answer that no, they are actually Get Out Of My Fucking Way Boots. Sad but true.

At least they don't have steel toecaps. And they aren't from Mole Valley Farmers.

Other news: Made a fanTAStic chicken and bacon pie for lunch today. The kitchen is back to normal, rather than resembling a Medieval banquet.

It still smells of hyacinths in there because the basket of bulbs I bought has thrived and all the flowers are out now. They are a bit warped and twisted because they got confused about which direction to point. I assume. They might just be hideous mutant hyacinths.

I was hoping there'd be a great film on tv this afternoon so I could flop on the sofa in my new slippers (thanks to my lovely Mum) and veg out. Sadly the tv schedules have been utter shite, so I will probably do other stuff.

No Dinotopia! What were they thinking??

I got Mr WithaY the complete Father Ted collection on DVD and we watched some of the first series last night. It really was a superbly written show.

Off out to a party later. I shall have a bath in a bit with some of my lovely new Neals Yard smellies and see if anyone sniffs me appreciatively when I get there.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Holiday cheer

Well, how was your Christmas Day? Mine was very pleasant.

Mr WithaY scooted down to Dorset to pick up his Dad, who spent the day here with us, we spoke to all the various parents, siblings and mates over the course of the day, and ate a huge and tremendous roast beef lunch.

I made my famous Christmas Sausage Rolls* which we had with coffee for brunch.

We watched Casino Royale on dvd (we don't have Sky) which Mr WithaY's dad paid grave attention to all the way through, and at the end announced "Well, I couldn't make head nor tail of that."


For the first time in many, many weeks I actually feel properly relaxed and laid back. I'd forgotten how nice it is to just sit and watch tv for ages, eating satsumas and drinking cups of tea from time to time.

So that's my plan for today as well.

We've had a fantastically sociable time of it over the last few weeks, mostly thanks to our lovely neighbours, so a few days peacefully spent at home together is just the ticket.

I had some wonderful presents, including a techno photo frame from Mr WithaY. I am going to play with it** later. You can plug it into a data stick or a card thingy from a camera and it displays your digital photos. I love that idea.

I feel so relaxed I might even do some dressmaking over the next few days. I have tons of gorgeous fabric and a stack of patterns. I feel a creative surge coming upon me.

*Like normal sausage rolls but I only make them at Christmas.

**The frame, not Mr WithaY. Although, it is Christmas...

Saturday, 22 December 2007


Not only are we losing the village Post Office in the near future (thanks, you bastards), we have also unexpectedly lost our organic farm shop.

Closed down more or less overnight, I suspect now in receivership, judging by the notices on the shop door. What a bloody shame. They made the best brioche rolls ever.

So, half the village ameneties lost in a few days.

Bloody great. Not such a big deal for those of us with transport, but how the fuck are the many elderly residents supposed to get stamps, pick up pensions, access their savings etc without a Post Office? Not everyone is on the interweb.

I'd try to be funny about it but I am far too angry.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007


Ah yes....when you have access to a lovely birthday cake, with candles spelling "Happy Birthday", it's surprising what you can find to do.

I amused myself by creating appropriate words for a birthday party...



Or warnings about eating too much cake...


Which would make you look....


Then I came up with the alternative Seven Dwarfs....






Ok, so there aren't seven of them. But I love the idea of Drippy, Yappy, Trippy and Haypit all taking turns to wash up and none of them daring to ask Hard to do it. Because he'd KILL them.

More rodent mayhem

This made me laugh quite a lot.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Rodent mayhem

The rats are digging holes under my shed!


I haven't noticed any attempts to disguise the fresh dirt on the exercise yard, and none of them seem to be wearing suspiciously-bulging trousers, but even so.

Time to get the goons on the watchtowers on red alert.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Hurty paw II

I am typing slowly because (again!) I have damaged my hand. Did it on Sunday. By accident.

I was putting some Christmas lights up in the front garden (just a few, looped over the rose arch, nothing ostentatious) and had left a window in the sitting room open so I could feed the plugs and wires back inside.

So far so good.

Then I went to go back outside and finish off tying the lights securely. This entails opening the hall door, walking though into the porch and then opening the front door. I did all this, and the draft from the open window blew the hall door so it slammed shut on my hand.

Fuck me it hurt.

It actually made me sick with pain, a new experience for me. I thought I had broken at least 2 fingers but after an hour or so I realised that I hadn't. I have a startling deep purple streak across my fingernail and bruises on the fingertips. Looks impressive.

And I am now typing with index fingers only, just like the good old days.

Other news. Family party was lovely, although rather distressingly I found out that some of my nieces and nephews read the blog. My language has caused dismay it seems. I was previously the "good auntie" apparently. Heh.

Fucking rat is back too. He seems to be ignoring the poison in the trap, and is eating the fallen bird seed. I think I might get down to Mole Valley Farmers and buy some "Little Nipper" rat traps. I swear, the damn thing waits till the second Mr WithaY's Landrover pulls away, and then emerges, taunting me.

The other day I was in the kitchen and I saw it run out from under the shed, grab a fallen apple from under the tree and then HOP like a tiny kangaroo on its back paws, carrying the apple. Incredible.

Was bloody fast too.

Friday, 14 December 2007


Good job I spoke to my lovely Mum earlier. The big family get-together that I had on the WithaY calendar as happening on Sunday, is actually happening on Saturday.


In itself, changing the day is not a big deal, but we are going out to dinner with some of our outrageous rapscallion neighbours on Saturday night, so we'll have to scoot back home rather than stay late at my Mum's.

Never mind. Looking on the bright side...

At least we now know the right day to turn up, and won't have the dreadful scenario of the rest of the clan looking at their watches all afternoon, wondering if we've been flattened under a truck on the M3. (Look on a map, American readers....Wiltshire to Sussex, quite a long way but very pretty scenery.)

So. Have finished wrapping all the gifts, and am very pleased about that.

I am rubbish at gift wrapping. I envy women who can make parcels look tempting, tidy and pretty. Mine look like someone has thrown wrapping paper over a pineapple and then sellotaped it together with their eyes shut. Even rectangular gifts.

Other news. I am now the proud owner of a red, fur-encrusted cowboy hat. It was a gift from one of my colleagues and I had to wear it throughout the team Christmas lunch at the pub yesterday.

I might take pictures when I can face it again.

We did Secret Santa gifts. (Sorry Manuel )

Mine was really good*. In fact, I think everyone got a really nice gift. Nobody was offended, nobody looked disappointed and everyone spent a while playing with their respective presents, and showing them off to the others around the table.

The food was excellent, everyone got what they ordered, everyone ate it all and the staff were brilliant. One of the nicest Christmas lunches I;ve been to for work, I think.

The pheasant seems to have left us. I am imagining him sitting happily in a cosy corner somewhere, surrounded by his mates and plenty of food. The sad reality is probably rather different.

No sign of any bastard rats for a while too, which is excellent. The poison bait has been "nibbled" apparently, so with any luck they will all be dead and gone in a short while.

If they didn't make such a bloody mess I wouldn't have nearly as big an issue with them, but they have eaten holes in the garden fence, dug up the compost bin and gnawed all the fenceposts we were storing under the shed. Fuckers.

*Not the cowboy hat, that was an unexpected bonus.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Tagged! So excited!

Heh, I feel special now. Right, this is the iPod shuffle goes.

1) If someone says, "Is this okay?", you say: "The Right Thing" MacAlmont and Butler. Awww, that is rather sweet.

2) What would best describe your personality? "Prickly Thorn (but sweetly worn)" The White Stripes. Ouch. Yep, I can see some heads nodding at the back there.

3) What do you like in a guy/girl? "King of Emotion" Big Country. Um, no, no drama queens ta.

4) How do you feel today? "Lay Low" Alisha's Attic. Kinda apt. Heh.

5) What is your life's purpose? "No Surprises" Radiohead. God, I am such a Civil Servant. Dull, dull, dull.

6) What is your motto? "Black Night" Deep Purple. Does the fact that it's live make a difference? Just a teeny bit confused by this.

7) What do your friends think of you? "Closing Time" Semisonic. Perfect. One of my favourite songs to play and sing, and most of my mates have had to listen to me perform it at least once. Hurrah.

8) What do you think of your parents? "What I always Wanted" Kittie. Hm, interesting. Well, my Mum is completely fab, and I couldn't ask for a better one. And yes, I think I would have liked to have got to know my Dad. In fact, the thing I wished for a lot as a child was "I wish Dad would get better". So yeah. Apt.

9) What do you think about very often? "Icky Thump" The White Stripes. Your guess is as good as mine. Mental.

10) What is 2 + 2? "Motivation" Sum41. Hmm, am I totally financially motivated? Or just driven by the memory of being shit at maths at school? Lack of focus? Inability to add up? Who knows? Ooh! A squirrel!

11) What do you think of your best friend? "Transylvania" Iron Maiden. Heh, brilliant. Hello bestest mate.

12) What do you think of the person you like? "Shot by Both Sides" Magazine. Oh lordy. Yes, we have shot each other more than once. This is a bit scary now.

13) What is your life story? "Look Away" Big Country. Yep, lack of attention at key points, gawping into space, missing stuff....sounds like my life right enough.

14) What do you want to be when you grow up? "Laugh Out Loud" Robert Cray Band. Excellent. I wanted to be a writer. Or a journalist. But a comedy personage would do nicely, ta.

15) What do you think when you see the person you like? "Letterbomb" Green Day. Now, is this because they are potentially a deranged terrorist? Or maybe I am? Or perhaps its just too close to Christmas. All that extra post.

16) What do your parents think of you? "Desire" U2. Awwww. I know my Mum loves me. More than my sisters. (Hello sisters. Get your own blogs if you wish to argue. Heh.)

17) What will you dance to at your wedding? "I've Been Thinking About You" Londonbeat. What a great song. And yes, I suppose we were thinking about each other a lot on our wedding day. No dancing though...too extravagent and heathen by far.

18) What will they play at your funeral? "Nine Hundred Miles" Show of Hands. Wow. A superb blues-y track. And another one I like to sing. Perfect.

19) What is your hobby/interest? "Been Caught Stealing" Jane's Addiction. Hm. Well, I am not a professional thief, I suppose.

20) What is your biggest secret? "Deaf Forever" Motorhead. This made me laugh out loud. Explains my cloth-eared guitar playing, at least.

21) What do you think of your friends? "It's OK" Fine Young Cannibals. No, better than just ok, surely?

22) What should you post this as? "Good Thing" Fine Young Cannibals again. Not sure what this question actually means, but the answer works.

Sunday, 9 December 2007


Remember I said about going to Lidl? Where they sell amusing sausages?

Well, they also had a load of interesting pasta in yesterday.

I went a bit overboard.

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So, if you are coming to dinner chez WithaY in the near future, expect it to be pasta-based.

Schoolboy error

Decided to make scones earlier today, as it's such a shitty rainy day.

I thought "Nice cup of tea and a warm scone, just the ticket...I'll make a batch and it will all be lovely."

So far so good.

I made a batch of scone mix, which did seem a bit stickier than normal, but I popped it in the oven and made a pot of tea, waiting for the lovely scones to be ready.

I got butter and jam ready, and some little plates.

Everything was looking good.

Right up until I took the fuckers out of the oven.

Oh the horror, the horror...

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Unfeasibly heavy.

Almost as if some fuckwit had used plain flour, instead of self-raising flour.

After I had moaned and whined a bit, I made some more. With the correct ingredients this time.

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Much nicer.

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And, for comedy purposes, a side-by-side comparison.

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Saturday, 8 December 2007


We've got a visitor. He seems to have taken up residence in the front garden for the time being, under the Vibernum (sp?) bush.

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He looks pretty grumpy, and is limping like a pirate, so I wonder if he's been winged on a shoot somewhere. He's safe enough in the garden though.

We have some other visitors in the back garden too. Not as cute as the pheasant, and a lot more destructive.

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(Image nicked from here )

After months of picking the buggers off one at a time from the Window of Doom, Mr WithaY finally agreed to put down some poison.

So, a jolly trip in the pissing rain to the ironmongers, where he bought a huge box of Rat-B-Gone and I got some blue hyacinths in a basket. And some Christmas-tree-shaped biscuit cutters. And a sparkly candle.

Its a great shop. Everything you need, and then some.

Also went to the opticians where he was getting new lenses for his diving trip in January. I amused myself by trying on lots of glasses (one pair at a time, not all at once like Professor Branstawm ). Found some I may get after Christmas. I'll keep you informed.

While I was sat waiting patiently, flicking though one of the many magazines in there (and I noticed they all had small text - how cruel) a woman and a small boy came in. They were greeted by one of the staff, then sat down next to me to wait their turn.

The boy started messing about with the camera machine thingy - the one you can take on-screen photos of yourself with to see how you look in different glasses. He started off just pressing the buttons and making stupid faces.

Fair enough. I mean, I'd been doing the same thing myself not five minutes earlier.

But then, bored with this, he began messing about with the Zoom function, and jumping back from the camera, each time getting nearer and nearer the racks of glasses behind him.

Eventually, inevitably, he jumped back and crashed into one of the stands, knocking all the glasses to the floor. The woman (I assume his mother) leapt to her feet and rushed over saying "Oh! Have you hurt yourself?" To which the little oaf replied in a fake-sad voice "Yes, I have rather hurt my back."

I was dumbfounded.

In fact, I was sorely tempted to give him a sharp ding round the ear and say "And now your ears hurt too. Sit down, stop causing trouble and wait quietly."

However, I decided an afternoon being questioned by the police for assault and battery was not likely to be much fun, so thought better of it. But it was so, so tempting.

And then that bloody woman clucked and fussed around him, checking his back was alright (yes of course it is, he's faking it and is hoping not to get into trouble you stupid fool) before half-heartedly picking up some of the glasses. Gah.

And then we went to Lidl. I love that shop. If you've never been, go. They have more amusing sausages than is entirely reasonable.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Oranges and lemons

Continuing with the (apparently dull) satsuma theme, a colleague was sat next to me today, his laptop bag left open. I looked, looked again, and spotted what looked like about 50 oranges in there.

I commented on this, and he said "No, only two oranges. The rest are clementines." About ten pounds of fruit.

He then proceeded to cruelly mock my satsuma that was on my desk, eloquently comparing his brighter, bigger, rounder, nicer-smelling clementines to my rather sullen, greenish, lumpy and frankly Frankenstein's monster of a piece of fruit. I believe the expression "I wouldn't touch your satsuma with a ten foot pole" may have been used.

I would have wept with chagrin, but he gave me one of his. And it was much much nicer than mine.

Other news: Sold my Strat yesterday.

I have hardly played it since I got my Les Paul, so it just sat there day after day, looking sad and neglected. My lovely guitar teacher told me about one of his contacts who was after a decent guitar, and gave me his number. I rang him yesterday and asked if he'd like to come round for a road test. So to speak.

He turned up as arranged, and then played the bejeezus out of my Strat for half an hour, making me feel completely rubbish and inadequate. He decided to buy it, and I am pleased it's going to someone who will do it justice.

The down side is that I now feel like all the time and effort I have spent on getting to the standard I have has been wasted and I might as well give up and admit I will never be any fucking good.


Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Actually... know what I said about satsumas? Forget that.

Had the world's nastiest, sourest satsuma, and then had some Quality Street chocs as it was someone's birthday.

No contest.

Health and efficiency

One of the things I like best about this time of year is the easy availability of satsumas. They are the perfect office desktop snack. You can eat as many as you like in a day (within reason) and they add an aura of health and wellbeing, especially if those around you are scarfing down pies and crisps, the bastards.

And they make the office smell nice.

Have had a couple of very busy days at work so far this week, which has been fulfilling. I was feeling pretty good this morning, after a good night's sleep. Went to the gym after work yesterday and did a fair bit there, which always helps.

That feeling of wellbeing and contentment lasted right up until I bumped into a mate in the coffee place, who after doing the "Oooh, haven't seen you for ages!" thing said "But you do look tired". Arse.

I plan to work at home tomorrow as I have a huge daunting document to read, and when I sit at my desk reading people assume I have no "real" work to be getting on with. They walk past and make hilarious remarks about how I obviously need more to do. Ha fucking ha.

So, will do it at home, which also saves me 70 miles of driving.

Talking of driving.

Was lucky enough to watch a superb piece of idiocy this morning on the roads. A BMW and a Volvo 4 by 4 thingy. They were having a race, I assume. What a spectacularly great idea. On narrow, high-hedged, unlit, unlined country roads, with tractors, dog-walkers, horses and cyclists around every corner.


Other news: Christmas is still coming and I am still not nearly ready.

Sunday, 2 December 2007


Isn;t booze great?

I think so.

Apart from Hungarian wine which is fucking terrible.