Saturday, 16 August 2014

Third time lucky?

I've just done something totally out of character - admitted defeat.  After my website was hacked twice, I've decided that life really is too short to struggle with techy stuff.  Yes, they provided loads of instructions about deleting files and restoring data, but I couldn't understand a word of it so, after several weeks and many-many cups of tea, I hit the delete button and returned to my first love - Blogger.
It seems to have improved a bit since I first used it, over eight years ago, so I'm feeling quite optimistic... at the moment. I just have to persuade my domain name to come along with me, and it appears to be a bit stubborn at the moment.  Since I can neither poke it with a fork, nor tempt it with a biscuit, it looks like I'll have to try some more techy stuff.  Aaaaargh!

In the meantime, I'm putting all the old stuff on here as fast as I can recover it from the strange backup software I'd installed, but had no idea how to get into.  Discovering that I had to unzip a gnu was somewhat daunting!  {Apparently 'GNU' is an operating system and a 'GNU Zip' is a popular compression format.  Who gnu?}

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Heart of the home

It has been said that I only have a kitchen because it came with the house.  This is not true; I needed somewhere to do the washing and keep the beer.  It is true, however, that I only have a cooker because there was a gap between the cupboards and, being of a kindly disposition, I couldn't bear the mystified horror of my friends when I said I was going to put an armchair there.
  According to the leaflet that came with it, the lid lifts up if you want to use the hob.  Obviously I exaggerate.  I've used the hob on at least four occasions over the last six years, mainly to boil water for rice or noodles, but last year I actually made two pots of jam!
  {The normal-sized mug is there to give you a sense of scale.}

I tend to use the kitchen more as a morning room than anything else.  {Contrary to appearances, I am well in touch with my inner Miss Austen!}  My kitchen table is usually full of some creative project, the sink is full of dirty mugs, and the work surfaces are full of objects that inspire me or bring back happy memories.  Next to the microwave I currently have two pretty {but sadly empty} cake boxes, a margarine tub full of self-assembly dolls' house furniture awaiting sale on Ebay, a half-finished mosaic and my old door knocker.  The chopping board is somewhere upstairs, where I was using it as a drawing board.

My beloved was therefore somewhat puzzled when I showed him my latest charity shop bargain.  "Very nice," he agreed, "but what do you want that for?  You never cook!"
"Isn't it obvious?" I replied.  "It's in case I forget where I am!"

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The old gray mare

3/6/2014   13:39:21
"The old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be..."  That song was another favourite remark of mygrandmother's, but I doubt she knew this version ... or maybe she did! However, the first part of the song is a very appropriate description of me and my household goods over the last couple of months.  {Although I didn't fall down a well; it was only down the stairs.}

It all started in a caravan in Wales {as much often does}.  The bedroom was rather cramped and, as I made the bed on the first morning, I felt my back twinge.  It wasn't that bad though, and it was a sunny day, so we set off for Beddgelert as planned.

 Picture © Copyright Jeff Buck and licensed for reuse under this CreativeCommons Licence 

Perhaps it was unwise to attempt the walk to 'Gelert's grave' but it was only a few hundred yards and I've wanted to see it for ages - and it was quite pretty.  What wasn't at all pretty was me, when my back suddenly  went into spasm and I couldn't move.  At all.

I had to just stand there trying to look casual for about 15 minutes while puzzled tourists sauntered past, before shuffling half a mile back to the car.

 Picture © Copyright Jeff Buck and licensed for reuse under this CreativeCommons Licence
It then took a further 15 minutes to actually lower myself into it, making repeated attempts whilst hanging on to the door and giggling hysterically, under the amused gaze of customers in the adjacent pub garden.  {My beloved couldn't get out to help me, as he'd had to pull up next to the wall in order to give me enough space to open the door.}  If this is getting older, I don't care for it.

But I'm not the only one who ain't what she used to be; a couple of weeks later my aged vacuum cleaner gave a little grunt and died.  I suppose I had been expecting rather a lot from her; she only cost me £20 at the boot fair four years ago and I was asking her to clear up all the mess after my new bathroom was fitted.  A week after that my ten year old printer decided to follow suit - no lights on, no-one at home.  {I bought a new printer immediately, but still don't have a vacuum cleaner.}

You remember that loud noise you heard one morning about a month ago?  That was me, falling downstairs.  To be more accurate, it was me screaming obscenities after I slipped down the bottom two stairs and my toes crumpled underneath me.  I spent the next hour in agony with my left foot in a bowl of iced water, and the next week hobbling around with a walking stick.  At least my back didn't go again.  Unfortunately, one of my fillings fell out, and I've just had to spend £174 {no, not a typo!} at the dentist.  I don't think I'll be buying a new vacuum cleaner any time soon.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Mobility matters

There are few things worse than trying to use someone else's phone.  Obviously there are many things worse, but reading and replying to a text from my friend's housemate as said friend tried to drive in convoy, at speed through rush hour traffic wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done.  It's quite an old phone, with at least three letters on each key.  I had to start again four times before I found the delete button, and where on earth is the full stop?   I have never sent such a badly-punctuated text.

It didn't help that calls were coming in at the same time from passengers in the other vehicles we were travelling with.  We lost the lead driver early on, as she was following her satnav and turned off unexpectedly.  "Tell them not to worry," my friend said, "I think I know the way.  Oh, and you'd better call the others so they don't panic either."  That was all very well, but my friend had dropped her phone in a pot of paint some days previously, so you have to hold it horizontally and speak into the end - but then you can't hear what the other person is saying.  It also didn't help that the other person had two very vocal lambs in the back of her vehicle and we had two dogs in ours.

At least we all had our phones switched on, unlike my beloved.  His defence?  "I wanted to save the battery, and I didn't need to speak to anyone."  My response? "That's why you nearly had nasty pizza instead of nice beef chow mien.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Weigh me down

It's true that I haven't always had good relationships with bathroom scales; my last set embraced the grunge lifestyle and left home to live in a skip a couple of years ago.  I wasn't put off though.  I quickly opened my home and heart to a new set of scales; Max Morrison - a pale, slim, efficient type.  Rather like the android secretary of a Bond villain.  I should have been warned, but I reckon everyone deserves a chance.  And Max has done well in the warm and caring environment of my bathroom.  He even put up with the dust, with only the occasional reproachful glance in my direction.

Sadly, all has now changed, and I think poor Max has had an emotional crisis.  While my bathroom was being re-fitted, I moved him into my bedroom and tucked him cosily away under the bedside table.  Now he's refusing to go back.  This morning I wiped his face, then stepped on to weigh myself.

 Wow, 8 stone 13!  I haven't been 8 stone 13 in years!  But I knew that, whatever Max said, I'm not 8 stone 13 now.

I took him back into the bathroom, set him down on the new tiles and tried again.  Oh good grief, 10 stone 13!
 That, I have to admit, is more likely, but I've been on a diet for a fortnight so I had the feeling he was not being entirely honest.

I took him out onto the landing, where he said I was 9 stone 1.

 Pleasing, but less probable and I wasn't going to give in to flattery.  Besides, it would be most inconvenient to leave him there as I'd be falling over him all the time.

Now I do know that altitude affects your weight, so I took Max downstairs.  {You do actually weigh different at sea level than you would on top of a mountain; not much different, but I felt it was worth a try.}

Apparently I'm only 8 stone 4 in the living room.   Time for shock tactics, so I dragged him into the kitchen, where he looked round in terror and blurted out the first number that came into his head, which happened to be 11 stone.
I can only assume that poor Max has either had a breakdown, or has decided that he prefers carpet to tiles.  I will try to placate him with new batteries, and see how it goes.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Grandma said...

"Eeeew, too much information!" my friend remarked, when I mentioned that I'd had 'a lick and a promise' this morning.

 I only meant that, as my bathroom's out of action at the moment due to being refitted, I just had a quick wash at the sink instead of my usual shower. How times change.  Not just the daily shower instead of the weekly bath, but the expressions we use.  That particular phrase was a favourite of my Grandmother's, but in her case it did often refer to an actual lick, as in, "spit in your hanky and let me rub that dirt off your face".

My Grandmother used a lot of strange expressions, now I come to think about it.  "He's as queer as Dick's hatband," she'd say, meaning that someone was what I'd call mildly eccentric.  {In the days when that's what the 'Q' word actually meant.}  I never found out who Dick was, or what his hat looked like, but as she wore some pretty strange hats herself I longed to see it.  An expression that mystified me completely, though, was the condemnation, "fur coat; no knickers". 

 How on earth did she know?  It's not like a fur coat is a flimsy garment, given to revealing all in a light breeze, or getting caught unexpectedly on passing gentlemen.  And if you were wearing a fur coat, it was likely to be in order to keep warm in winter. Surely you'd want substantial layers of clothing on underneath as well?  Perhaps she meant that a fur coat was so expensive that the poor lady couldn't afford knickers too.  But she had a fur coat herself!  And many knickers, with long legs, that fluttered merrily on the clothes line every washday.  A variation on that theme was, "red hat; no knickers".  Did my Grandmother have x-ray vision?  Was the whole thing just coded messages to Granddad?  I will never know.  I can only wonder what she would have said about someone in a fur coat and a red hat.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Briggate Buskers

I was in Leeds on Sunday, for the first time in forty years, and the changes for both of us have been considerable  - apart from retaining a tendency towards the Gothic. 
 Everywhere looked so different!

 Picture © Copyright AndrewCurtis and licensed for reuse under this CreativeCommons Licence 

The only buildings that looked familiar were the Arcades, and I'd forgotten all about them until I went inside.  On reflection though, I didn't spend much time in the city itself when I lived there, as I didn't actually have much to spend at all.  No change there, then.   
 No harm in looking though, and there were so many fabulous shops to browse in... Oooh, Wilko!  Primark!  {Oh dear.  I really should get out more.}
 Picture © Copyright Stephen Richards and licensed for reuse under this CreativeCommons Licence 

Another thing that hadn't changed was the great atmosphere.  Leeds Varieties  isn't just the name of a theatre, it's a way of life!  There was so much to see and do; I'll have to go back again soon.

What really made my day was the buskers.  Not the Salvation Army Band, surprisingly good though they were.  Nor the line of six or so brightly-clad bongo drummers, although their music was more to my taste.  No, the best music in the city on Sunday was provided by a couple of lads in the middle of Briggate - a joyful drummer on a box, and a guitarist with the best voice I've heard for a long time.  I would have taken a photo but decided that, as they both appeared to be under 18, it probably wouldn't be a good idea.  Shame really, they deserve to be noticed, and I wish them success.