Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Meet the newest member of the Purple-Boff family: I bring you Goofy. No, it's not his real name, either. Sorry.

He is at present living in an animal shelter, where he was abandoned when his previous owners decided they could not afford to keep him. Since they decided that on the 17th of August, despite having 6 and 10 year-old children, it's my betting that their holiday dog-sitting arrangements fell through.

Still, their loss is our gain. Also Goofy gets to live in the country rather than in central Exeter. And, since he is 20 months old, he already knows basic commands, he's house-trained, he's extremely friendly, and altogether a very lovable dog. We still have to pass our home-check, but he's ours after that.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Today I have mostly been finding out about polish. Apparently, the best way to make proper beexwax furniture polish is to melt together 10 ounces of beeswax and 1 pint of turpentine. Apparently my method, which I like to refer to as "the steep learning curve" was rather slow compared to actually weighing and measuring the stuff.

Apparently if I had measured and weighed, I would not have had to add that ingot of lovely beeswax to my first, rather sloppy attempt. I then would not have ended up with a Vesuvius of hot polish with a deceptively hard crust, through which a curious finger may poke a hole too easily. And if I had not poked the polish before it was set, I might not have ended up with a spray of hot beeswax all over my hair and favourite sweater, discovering the instant the stuff set firm that it needed more turpentine. A lot more turpentine.

And I would not, nearly a week later, have still been pulling out tufts of hair gummed together with beeswax. I have to pull my hair together in a pony-tail to avoid looking like a mad hickey who has not yet discovered the use of the comb. I'm thinking of ironing my hair under some blotting paper. It worked for the sweater.

Buzz off! 

I believe that I may have mentioned once or twice before before that we live next to a field of beautiful cows. Accordingly, my lovely friend Zee, who spent two weeks here last summer house-sitting, decided to give us a fly repellent as a house-warming present, chiefly because she objects to my new-found skill at vacuuming flies out of the air in the kitchen (damn her- I was getting quite good at it too).

I can remember feeling emotional at the despatching of flies, chiefly as a teenager, when I didn't want to have anything in common with my mother. "Even a fly has a right to live", I'd wail languidly from the sofa, as she rushed around with fly-spray.

Twenty years on, as I see the nasty filthy little brutes' feet walking all over every crumb left behind after tidying, all I can see are the packets of germs and dung clinging to each of their SIX legs. If I didn't kill them, a cow, one of the most peaceful of herbivores, would probably swat them with her tail. I don't want to kill every fly- only the ones clever enough to find their way into our house. It's not fly genocide, but numbers control.

Besides, I'm not sure that the fly repellent device works on flies, although it works very well on the children, who can actually hear the high frequency squeal it produces, and will not go into the kitchen without covering their ears firmly. I think I may just get that vacuum cleaner out.

If one had the choice between Tiscali, BT, Bulldog and Wanadoo, amongst several others, as ASDL providers in a rural area, which would one choose? At first glance Wanadoo seems a good option, but what is their broadband track record like? We used to have Freeserve dialup before we went away, and apart from a glitch over cancelling the account, which was ultimately resolved (and refunded in full), we never had problems with them. Freeserve were taken over by Wanadoo some months ago. So, what of them?

Like a virgin 

[crisis of confidence] I'm not sure I can remember how to blog.

I mean, what are you all going to find interesting (not that that ever stopped me before)? Why did I blog? What did I blog? [/crisis of confidence]

Friday, August 27, 2004

Woohoo! I'm online! It may be beastly dialup, but it's ONLINE! Thank you everyone. Now I suppose I shall have to think of something to say. Or perhaps I'll just drop in on my chums to see what they've been up to. It has to be more fun than unpacking the tenwelve boxes that The Heroic Boff collected yesterday from Chatham Dock. Apparently the docks were fascinating- I miss all the best junkets...

Sunday, August 15, 2004

I seem to be having trouble with publishing. Has Blogger perchance been infiltrated? Can anyone apart from me see this?


I can't believe our adventure finishes tomorrow. This time on Tuesday, I shall be unpacking in our house, after being nomadic for over a year.

How is all this affecting our dear little ones? you cry. They are absolutely fine, even if Sim has taken to sleeping on the floor, "because he can't get comfortable in a bed".

The Boff is OK too. He actually went back to work, in a manner of speaking, last week, at his conference in Portland in Maine- a mere six hours' drive away from here. We've come back from Maine with a new doorbell- you have to see it to understand, so as soon as it's up on the wall, I'll post piccies.

We fly tomorrow evening out of Toronto, landing at lunchtime in Exeter, so if an Air Transat airbus bound for the UK falls from the sky, would someone (Alan) please nip in here and switch the lights off? Thanks. Nervous flier, me. Dill and Hen managed to catch a whole documentary on The Discovery Channel about a very near disaster involving an Airbus flying from Toronto to Lisbon, so they're totally neurotic as well. That's my girls.

Back in Devon, our computer arrives back some time after next Sunday, so you may not hear from me again until we've picked it up, organised the broadband connection (he- 1.5 miles from the nearest node or whatever it is- weep, BW!) and found a spare moment. About ten days, I reckon. Alternatively, there's always public libraries. Anyway, normal service will resume in about ten days. It's been a lovely summer, with rather too much going on to be able to blog it all, but as usual, I daresay you'll get it all anyway in dribs and drabs.

We're leaving behind many people who have quickly become good friends here. Thank goodness for email. I shall miss Canada.

Saturday, August 07, 2004


And now our stuff seems to be in mortal danger, since the morons at the warehouse have decided that our 2.6 cubic metres of stuff is actually 4.53 cubic metres (a cubic metre either way, who's looking?), and that we owe them 300 CDN more. Lucky we have our stuff packed in shipping boxes, with the volumes clearly marked on the sides, in both metric and imperial measurements. Does anyone smell a rat?

Shipping stuff seems barely worth the bother. Once they get their hands on your things, though, they are free to do what they want.

Just as we are free to set up a website detailing our mistreatment at their hands, and linking as often as possible to it on bulletin boards to do with shipping, and spread cute little flyers around Montreal warning other people of our troubles with Shipping Firm X...


On another note, my MA application to Exeter seems to be proceeding smoothly, despite various hiccups which in a more bureacratic country would have barred me from the course already. I happen to be 3000 miles away from my degree certificate, I have not yet turned in my references since they are sitting in Devon waiting for a covering letter from me, and the course leader is leaving the country just as I land in it, returning a week after the 31st of August application deadline. The course leader has emailed me asking if we can meet up some time after the 9th if September for an informal chat, although he can foresee no problems with my application.

Thank goodness for the British way of dealing with admin...

Now back in Montreal, where we spent yesterday packing up, taping shut, and conveying our multiple boxes of stuff to a warehouse in Lasalle staffed by Neanderthals who'd never hear of us or our stuff. We may never actually see our things again. They're probably cracking open the boxes as we speak, chucking things gleefully over their stooped and hairy shoulder, eating towels and chewing on rollerblades. Not to mention the computer.

But I digress. We were all really excited to get back to Montreal, which we bizarrely did a day early. There always seems to come a time on a long trip which has taken one to many different places, when you suddenly and without preamble become weary of travelling. We reached that stage on August the first, realising all of a sudden that we really couldn't think of anything else we wanted to do.

Young M was keen on seeing her parents again after two months away, we were in New York State in one of the worst campsites of the trip, a mere five hours away from Montreal. I think it was the loud rave until 1 am in the neighbouring ranch that did it for us, although the state of the loo block and the desertion of the place would probably have got us in the end.

So we're back in our "home" city, and it feels very odd. Montreal feels like home, yet we leave it in a few days with the knowledge that it might be a very long time before we return. And I feel glum.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Well, well, well...

Since my last hurried words from Cape Hatteras, much has happened. We've been to Washington, seen the White House (from the outside- you have to make appointments months in advance with your Congressman if you want to admire its garish interior), the Capitol, various of the excellent Smithsonian museums, which apart from their educational qualities, offer a fully air-conditioned place to which one may escape on a muggy afternoon.

We also had the excitement of having our car broken into on the street outside our hotel, in full view of our fourth-floor window, on 12th street. Within spitting distance of the White House. I ask you, does that sound like an administration with a grip on the small stuff? And why-oh-why did the police not bother to come? Oh. You think they might have had bigger fish to fry? Well maaaybe... I do still think they might have sent out an FBI swat team, given how close we were to their building. Oh for some zero tolerance!

On a positive note, nothing was stolen, since we had left nothing of value in the car. On the other hand, the b@st@rd actually went through our collection of CDs, and didn't take any of them. So now I'm paranoid. Just what is wrong with our taste in music? *pats The MacGarrigles, Schubert, Cabrel and Dido soothingly* (by the way, is it very wrong of me to like Dido?)

We're now in Philadelphia, which I suspect is lovely when it's not crawling with plain clothes police. I'm sitting blogging in a Vietnamese grocery which offers Internet access as one of its services, at $3 an hour (rather an improvement on the $15/hour in Washington, I think you'll agree). Who would have thought that in the land of Bill (Gates), it would be so hard to find internet access? Certainly not me...

Tata for now...

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