Monday, October 23, 2006

We're away today for a fortnight to Italy- my crew fortunately have both weeks off for half-term. Not a moment too soon for a holiday, we feel. We didn't manage even a weekend away in the summer, what with Hen's heavy plaster and frequent trips to the fracture clinic. See you in two weeks, then. And thanks again for your support over the last few weeks.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Every so often, I search high and low for the lasagne dish. It is a clunky, heavy, red Le Creuset enamel one, and rather too large to lose, you might think. I look in the corner cupboard with the funny door hinged in the middle. I look in the drawer with the baking trays. I even look, improbably as it may seem, in the saucepan drawer, in case Madame Sin has developped another funny idea about where something lives.

Usually, I give up and use a pyrex dish from the other side of of the kitchen.

When the Boff gets home, I ask him if he knows where the lasagne dish it.

Invariably, he says:

"Isn't it in in the lasagne dish cupboard?"

To which I invariably answer stupidly, every time:

"Which lasagne dish cupboard?"

The lasagne dish cupboard is invisble, you see, at least to me. As soon as I've at last tracked down the lasagne dish, thanks to my husband's patient directions, I promptly forget about the cupboard. It is sandwiched between the hinged in the middle corner cupboard, and the recess where the dishcloths hang, just to the right of the sink. It is not invisible to most people.

Yet I manage to forget about it every.blasted.time.

It is getting embarassing. If it were not about the same cupboard every time, I might think I were going senile. As it is, I reckon I am merely suffering from some kind of denial about the cupboard. Maybe I don't care that much about lasagne. Maybe the cupboard exists in a slightly different space-time continuum from me.

Either way, I have documented its existence here, so I should remember it next time, shouldn't I?

Friday, October 20, 2006

My coping mechanism has always been the same. Forget, move on, get on with the next thing. I am good in a crisis, and only intellectualise and think through events years later, when they gone too far away bother me any more.

Only if this became a pattern would I start to take it personally or dwell upon it.

People mean well, but I almost wish my sister hadn't sent me flowers. Although the chocolates are welcome.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tuesday night 

I'm alone on a white sand beach, leaning into the wind, my back to the Atlantic. Above me, across an immense sky, skuds a multitude of high grey cloud. The beach is infinite, deserted to the right and to the left. I'm looking at miles of dune grass, buff and grey-green, shivering and undulating in the cool wind whipping in from the sea. The waves crash onto the beach, low, but white and agitated.

It's a simple landscape, only three elements, yet stunning in its complexity- every cloud subtly different in shape and size, every tone beween paper and elephant represented. Behind me, the waves crash and recede, each one folding over and whitening from deep blue-green as it does, every droplet curling beachward in a discrete pattern. Before me, every near blade of grass gyrates in slight disharmony, yet the more distant patches move in unison, bending over, standing up again, twisting slightly as the wind does as it pleases with them.

I am alone on the beach, but not cold, afraid or unhappy. Just comforted and calm.

I tell you, that anaesthetist can come round to my house any time at bedtime. And he can bring his box of drugs with him.



What I could have done without was the theatre nurse phoning the delivery suite from about six feet away, shortly after I came round, to check on the progress of her nephew's partner's labour. That was tactful.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A (very) mixed bag 

The good news is that I'm sitting here with my first glass of wine since early August, and that I'll go riding in a few weeks with my friend Rosie.

The bad news -for there was bound to be some- is that the ultrasound this afternoon revealed that Vlad had died last week, at 12 weeks 3 days. There was a significant amount of fluid around the skull, indicating that s/he was almost certainly defective in some severe way.

I'm going for surgery tomorrow. Ordinarily, I'd have preferred to let nature take its course, but time, in the shape of flights to France next Monday, is against us there.

So I may be quiet tomorrow.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


We ate the nose prawns in a fish pie this evening, so if you don't hear from me tomorrow, it'll be because I'm either 1) conversing with the porcelain telephone, or 2) in London with Dill's class.

The suspense, eh?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

God, standards are really slipping around here. I've just had to trawl through the last week's posts and correct about a dozen typos. You could have said something...

On another note, the veneer on my front tooth fell off again yesterday- the third time in six months. I'm beginning to find this annoying and unsettling. J'accuse! my dentist of using inadequate amounts of adhesive, or of actually using the wrong stuff. He really ought to know how fix the damned thing so that it doesn't fall off all time- he's been a dentist for over thirty years. Should I sack him even though he is doing a good job on Sim's orthodontics?

Friday, October 13, 2006

That's three skirts I'm never going to to be able to wear again without feeling queasy: bought the day of Hen's arm break, I've only ever worn them feeling *unwell*, and if past experience with huss, and cabbage, is anything to go by, it could be years before I'll feel unsick near them. It is a shame-they're really nice skirts.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

If lived in France, I could work in Poland, Greece or Spain, be paid in Euros straight into my bank account or hand, and happily spend those Euros anyhwere else in the European Union.

Alas, I live in the UK, which decided some 15 years not to have anything to do with that poxy Euro malarky.

My work is by its very nature international. In fact, most of my work comes from France, and I get paid in Euros. At the moment, I have absolutely no way of receiving these cheques, other than running them through my sister's euro account and getting her to write me a cheque.

I could open a euro account of my own, but would end up essentially giving away 10% of every cheque I pay in to the bank + a yearly charge + a per cheque negotiation fee. Does that sound fair to you? It certainly doesn't feel fair from where I'm sitting.

By using my sister's account, and waiting to pay cheques in until we have a fair amount to put in, we can pool and keep to a minimum our charges, but it takes months to get my grubby mitts on my cash this way. Furthermore, my sister, who is notoriously bad with money, in constantly in danger of spending my hard-earned along with hers. (to wit, the cheque awaiting clearance at the moment because she had moved too much out of her account to honour my cheque).

All I'm saying is, how can this situation lead to the sort of employment mobility that we are led to suppose the whole of the EU wants? Why do I feel as though I am asking for the moon on a stick every time I ask at a bank about this, or get ushered into a meeting with the "offshore account" adviser, they invariably treat me as though they're expecting a million (unlaundered) quid a year to cross the account (fat chance!).

It's not often that I really feel as though I live on an island, but this feels is seriously insular and frustrating. I know that we are missing out in the UK by not having real access to the European job market.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

As an excessively indolent yet bookish ten-year old, I used to fantasise about being stuck, Katy Did style, in bed for a year, with nothing but a large stack of books for entertainment and extreme fortitude to display, before making a full recovery and being all the better for it.

Can I just say that I am bloody fed up with bedrest after less than a week? I'm getting up, obviously, but am at times as weak as a kitten (no idea why- I didn't lose that much blood). Having spent Friday and Saturday mostly sleeping, and having had a nap or two on Sunday, I should ahve been virtually back t norma on Monday. But I'm still tired.

I took the dog for a walk yesterday- the usual short walk, which is about two and a bit miles and takes 45 minutes, and bugger me if there weren't new hills since the the last time I walked it last week.

It's pathetic, so it is, and I'm going nuts, yet at the same time milking the solicitousness of my lovely mother-in-law who is in fact, bizarrely, pleased about Vlad. I haven't had to do a thing all week.

This morning's first light revealed an alien creature in the chicken enclosure. The animal bumbled around, scattering chickens before it.

Ma-in-law pointed it out first, upon returning from dropping Sim and Hen at the bus stop:

"Have you seen what there is in with the chickens?", she enquired, "it's a deer, or a foal or something."

Dill and I took a look. It was a newborn calf, still wet and wobbly on its legs, dangling its umbilical cord. It had come through the hedge, at the place we'd cleared in the summer when looking for the runaway guinea pigs.

"Ah," said I. "I shall have to nip up to Julian and tell him."

Julian abandoned the milking parlour, came down with the JCB, scooped the large calf up in his arms and put in in the bucket to drive it back to its mother. He'd noticed that the mother had calved in the night, but, as he pointed out, looking for a virtually black creature in the dark in a four acre field was a slight waste of time.

The only mystery is how, and why, the baby had wobbled all the way to the other end of the field, and fought its way through a six foot-thick hedge and an electric poultry wire, to join the chickens instead of staying with its mother. Obviously a very confused animal.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Under siege 

I think the trees have it in for our cars. We can't drive anywhere at the moment without being pelted with acorns, which is a little alarming when you're doing 40mph round a blind and narrow bend.

Also, they are collecting in such huge quantities on the drive that unless we can manage to rake them all up, they will take root and our house will look like Sleeping Beauty's castle by 2008. Which is exactly how I feel- the sleeping bit, I mean.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


The Boff is on the phone, telling his mother about Vampire Baby (henceforth to be known as Vlad, thank you LaP). It is highly likely that she will Freak with a capital F. It may well be the last time we hear from her.

*goes back to chewing fingernails*

Friday, October 06, 2006

So here is what happened in the night yesterday. The evidence must have suggested to Madame Sin that I had been murdered and disposed of by The Boff.

What actually happened was that shortly after posting about the bleeding, I went upstairs and gently woke up my slumbering husband. He leapt out of bed, gazing in horror at the literal bloodbath in which I had changed various garments, and headed downstairs to ring the medical services.

I lay down in an attempt to stem the bleeding. The next thing I heard was a crash, followed by silence. I thought that maybe the dog had knocked something over, and expected to hear The Boff tell him off. What I heard was only silence, punctuated by the tap tap tap of the dog's claws on the tiled floor of the hall.

After about a half minute, I decided something was not right, and headed gingerly downstairs. Reaching the landing, I observed that my poor husband was lying face down in the hall, telephone directory behind him, phone beside him, absolutely stone-cold fainted, the dog staring at him with a faintly puzzled and concerned expression.

It transpired later, when he'd come round, pressed a bag of frozen prawns to his bleeding nose and a cold flannel to the back of his neck, and recovered a little, that he'd been feeling faint while trying to make the call. After sitting with his head between his knees for a while, he'd decided to bring the phone up the stairs to me instead. It's just as well he hadn't even reached the second step, because he could have hurt himself far more.

As it is, his head luckily hit the ground inside the study, carpeted over a bouncy wooden floor. He is sporting the most disgusting-looking carpet burn on his chin, nose and upper lip, but otherwise seems fine. He declined medical treatment when we reached A & E. Poor man. I guess maybe I should have woken him up a little later. He's never very good in the middle of the night.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Vampire Baby strikes again 

This to reassure you all straight away. The little vampire is still swimming away, oblivious to the fact that since 3am this morning I have bled more than an average stuck pig (TMI alert- clots, big ones, no hope given by any doctor examining me, yet Vampire Baby waving little arms and legs defiantly on ultrasound scan, looking disgustingly healthy).
Now the puzzle- you have to imagine the scenario- I garantee it will be less weird than reality:

"I reach the house a little later than usual, about 8:30. I ring the doorbell, instead of Her, it is He who answers the door. He looks haggard, and what's more, he has the most disgusting-looking shiny red nose, with a graze on his upper lip.

Just inside the front door, on the left, is the study. There on the study floor is an area of around 2 square feet, covered in drops of blood, and drenched in table salt. The table salt pot stands next to the patch. When I ask Him about the blood spots, he says he had a nose-bleed.

He seems in a hurry, and rushes out with the youngest child as soon as I arrive, promising to return to drop me home at lunchtime.

There is a pile of bricks in the garden, which most certainly was not there last week, and the people carrier is inexplicably backed onto the lawn.

The only recent sign of Her in the house is some rinsed out clothing on top of the washing-machine, bearing faint traces of blood.

I do the best I can with the blood spots, Out damn spot, Out! and clean the rest of the house. At lunchtime, true to his word, he returns and drives me home.

But doubt remains. What really happened here?"

2:20 am. I'm up, insomniac. I'm at my laptop, and I've just started bleeding heavily again. I think this is it for this little one.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The most news-worthy event of September, here in our tiny corner of the world, is that the unpleasant little troll with designs on our church is back. This time he has very subtly modified his plans to avoid digging up too many WW1 veterans for parking space, and has made vague inraods into protecting a little more of the internal fabric of the building.

On Monday, I attended, and spoke at, the Parish council meeting in WideRiver, the village of which ours is technically dependent. I was given 4 minutes maximum to make my case, which I did.

Later, the delightful new plannning officer on the council, and a fresh young face on the block (I was also amazed and delighted to see a twenty-something girl there as the most recently co-opted member), made an impassioned case for our church. He must have been convincing, because the council voted uanimously to reject the application, and made us feel that they were very supportive of our cause, and would offer any advice and support they could.

We are not out of the woods yet, but it is a step closer towards reclaiming the church as a village space.

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