Blue Witch



   Saturday, May 31, 2003  
The 7th Weekly Make BW Laugh Award

This week there are 4 contenders:

(one BW Honey point each, collect 10 for a jar)

drD is doing well with the images this week. Yesterday's "The Scum" one *nearly* got him two entries. Wednesday's made me laugh (and that's what counts for this Award). drD and I are having problems seeing each other at the moment, just like Brick and I did a while ago. Must be one of those spells again. So, in case anyone else can only see his last post at Big n Juicy, here it is:

Naked Peter gets another BW point as he stumbled into the 21st century this week with his acquisition of a mobile phone:

Did you know that a mobile contains more computing power than was on board the first moon expedition? I can just imagine it...
"That's one small step... RING! RING!... Fuck off, why don't you - I'm just making the most outside broadcast there's ever been!!... MR ARMSTRONG YOU HAVE (pause) TWO (pause) MESSAGES."

And then there is Alan. Dear Alan, who produced firstly the BW Jacket Potato Award Trophy, then responded to advice and produced a lovely little Trophy graphic to which I have assumed the copyright in exchange for 5 points (blimey, that's half a jar of BW Honey, isn't it? :)

With one of my weird Witchy feelings, I stumbled over to Oddverse just minutes after Alan had got it up for the first time. The jacket potato that is. That made me laugh.

Just over 10 minutes since you posted that and I had a feeling I need to pay your my first visit of the day. And you doubted The Power of Witch?

BUT, what has a baked potato got to do with BW? :)
I can only allow 3 points for a baked potato, sorry ;)

Actually, *that* made me laugh, so you get another entry for this week, so you do get 4 points for sure and maybe 5 if you win.

And finally, Gert. Who I'd have added to my sidebar by now, if only Blogger would let me. Anyway, in the meantime, her reply to one of her commentators made me laugh.

"Gender" is a grammatical term for the way in which nouns are classified in Romance languages. It has nothing to do with the sex of a living creature. Female is your "sex". You don't have a gender. No one does.
Posted by: Peter Cuthbertson on May 28, 2003 03:21 PM

I don't have gender? Peter, I could say you don't have sex. But that would so cruel to one so naive.
Instead, I shall merely quote AskOxford - the Oxford Dictionary online, which says:

noun 1 (grammatical) classification roughly corresponding to the two sexes and sexlessness.
2 one of these classes.
3 person's sex.

3 Person's sex.
Hmm, should I take the advice of the definitive authoritative source on the English language, or the advice of a pompous little twit?
No contest.
Now fuck off, Peter, and stay fucked off.
Posted by: Gert on May 28, 2003 07:06 PM

She was having a very bad day, though, as I realised soon after.

And the winner is...

Close call, but, drD just has it. That image is a great addition to the little series I ran at the time of the Iraq war. I nearly disqualified him though for his attempts at harassing The Judge in the comments boxes. Mais, deux points drD. Happy now? :) You can proudly display The Award Trophy for this week at BnJ. Unless you prefer to make your own too?

   posted by Blue Witch at 8:05 am....  
Thought for the day:

You can't be perfect all the time.
You must be 'good enough' all the time.
'Good enough plus' is wonderful.

   posted by Blue Witch at 6:37 am....

   Friday, May 30, 2003  
Update from The Coven

BW went to have her brown and grey locks shortened this afternoon (ie to see Julie, hairdresser to BW for the last 12 years, originally working in a salon, now working-from-home for ex-clients she likes only - god nose why she still does me)

BW: Julie, tell me honestly, have I got more grey hairs now than when you last cut my hair 5 weeks and 2 days ago?
Julie: No, and you've still got a hell of a lot less than most people of your age.
BW: Julie, I'm only 6 years older than you!
Julie: I know. And I have to colour mine. Tell me something, you're good at sexing aren't you?
BW: *Do whaaaat?* Please be a bit More Specific than that!
Julie: Y'know, animals and stuff...
BW: Well, I can do humans...
Julie: *Laughs* No, with your menagerie 'n' all... (she does speak a bit 'Essex' our Julie :)
BW: I'm good at kittens, can do puppies... what had you in mind?
Julie: Well, we've bought this bunny... My friend says it's a boy and the man in the pet shop said it was a girl.
BW: Does it matter? (note, adopting normal BW philosophy applied to most situations involving gender)
Julie: Well, yer, because, well, it depends what we call it, y'see...
BW: What are the choices then?
Julie: Well, it's called Thumper, but, well, 'she' or 'he', y'know...
BW OK, lets take a look then.
Julie: *Abandons scissors*
BW: *Picks up small bunny* Well, it looks like a boy to me.
Julie: How do you know?
BW: Julie, if you don't know *that* by now, I'm amazed you've got two kids!
Julie: *Laughs* You are funny BW!
Rabbit: *Kicks, struggles, scratches BW, bites BW hard*
BW: Julie, I think you should make rabbit pie from this bunny before it maims one of your children...
Julie: But I thought you were a vegetarian BW?
BW: I'm not planning to eat the pie Julie dear :)

The D'Ove Harem

Safely installed in their dovecote now, the 3 new D'Oves are cooing beautifully.
As well they might.

1 male - in Amtrack box marked "cock" (I nearly got excited :) - white with 3 black tail feathers (the new Weiss) (much more suitable for A Witch)
2 females - one white fantail (the new Blanche), had laid an egg between 1.15pm when I gave them water and 6.15pm when Mr BW put them into their new home (excitement already - who is the father?), one like Weiss, with a couple of black feathers in her tail. I've called her Blanco (thanks to Babel Fish - but, is that correct? Do Spanish adjectives have masculine and feminine forms? I know no Spanish...)

The patterns / textures on their feathers are lovely.

We put the egg in a hastily-constructed nest (a few bits of straw and some twigs, a bit like the first Blanche and Weiss made). Hope they sit on it. Can you imagine, if it hatches... 'This Baby Ove has 2 Mummies - and a Daddy...' ;)

Watch this space for progress reports.
   posted by Blue Witch at 9:39 pm....  
BW on BB

Right, phase one of my Google experiment is complete, so I can now say Big Brother and chart the difference.

As ever, our Coven Comments:

- Davina agrees with my observation from last night; she said it was like Walton's Mountain in there.

- Davina also called Jon "a Vulcan". Agrees with my comment over at DG earlier today then.

- I'd forgotten that Jon had a twin. God help us all. If I could remember the name of the Vulcan deity, or indeed if they had one at all, I'd use it, but I can't....

- It pays to pay attention. I was thinking of my new D'Oves when the blonde one needed the dentist. I thought she was talking about a Jordan's bar or similar when she told Big Brother (get it in twice for good measure :) she'd chipped her tooth on a breakfast bar.

- I'm jealous. I want a hen that lays white eggs like they've got. Mr BW says 9 is too many and that my current 8 are more than enough. We'll see :)

Oh, and my spell for DG worked, then. His wish was granted. Anouska is out. I'm working on what the rest of you have been asking for in your blogs and emails, honest ;)

   posted by Blue Witch at 9:21 pm....  
The Make BW Laugh Award Trophy Mark II

It's always so gratifying when people respond positively to constructive criticism isn't it?

Alan, bless him, has taken note of all our comments below, and has now produced Mark II. Thanks Alan - and I hope you weren't offended by the teasing :)

I think the front honey pot looks rather like a cauldron too. Very appropriate. So, I shall stop being Mean Witch and award Alan his 5 points after all.

However, I have also warned him that as he now has 9 points, and postage to Ireland of a package that will weigh the best part of 1 kg will be rather expensive, he may not get the 10th point he needs to win when I announce the award for this week tomorrow ;)

Actually, Mr BW has just come home with a letter informing him that he has been given a rather nice (and totally unexpected) bonus, so maybe, just maybe....

Off to celebrate now, and *if* I'm not too inebriated later, I'll tell you all about the D'Ove Harem, what the Bunny did to me, and another tale of how I got a discount just by being cheeky :)

   posted by Blue Witch at 8:01 pm....  
Thought for the day:

"The human mind always makes progress, but it is a progress in spirals."

- Madame de Stael

Life gets so much easier if we give up the artificial notion that progress is linear. We make mistakes and we'll make them again (even the same ones), and it does not mean that we are not making progress.

   posted by Blue Witch at 8:25 am....

   Thursday, May 29, 2003  
BW on BB:

They're all too bloody *nice* aren't they?

I guess they've had 3 series to work the game out though.

Geek-face watering the washing rather than the veg while singing "Hotel California" was rather funny though, you must admit :)

And Federico working up to being "at fault" for them being on starvation rations next week, get a few people on-side at a time - just ever so clever.

Mr BW reckons that if they decide to rebel and not order toilet rolls with their shopping money, BB would *have* to give them some. Me, I'm not so sure. I wonder what they could use instead? ;)

And who was it made the remark about why were all the girls crying about seeing Steph's dog - "It's not as if it died in the end or anything is it?" ROFL at *that* one....
   posted by Blue Witch at 11:02 pm....  
The Make BW Laugh Award Trophy

Well Alan is clearly craving some honey, and is going all out to be the first recipient of the amazing no-expense-spared prize for getting to 10 points.

Having successfully been the joint recipient of last week's Award (and 3 points as he made me laugh twice), he was after the 5 extra points for designing the Trophy. However, I could only give him 3. Because the image looks more like something else to me than like what it's supposed to ;) (it's too hot here already to write grammatically!)

So, let's see.
A sort of Ink Blot Test.
What does the image look like to you?

Do decide before you peek in the comments box.

What does the blob remind you of?
   posted by Blue Witch at 9:11 am....  
Thought for the day:

Don't wish your life away. Your wishes can turn into your life.
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:13 am....

   Wednesday, May 28, 2003  
The 3 new (replacement) white semi-fantail D'Oves are arriving on Friday. Mr BW has just spent the evening opening up the three of the six holes in their dovecote that were previously blanked off to make more room.

Now I need another suitable name. Well, I don't, but they do. I'm going to call two of them Weiss and Blanche again (hoping it's not bad luck), so I need another name for a girl Ove. The word for 'white' is a language other than English, French, or German, I think. And preferably not in something that takes Japanese (or similar) characters to write it (cos then I wouldn't be able to tell you about them easily).

Any suggestions?
   posted by Blue Witch at 10:01 pm....  
New Blogger?

Has anyone using Blogger actually been switched over onto the new version, as detailed by Ev on the Blogger home page on May 16th?

"Over the next couple weeks, we will be moving people over to a new version of Blogger. It's basically the same as the old one but should work better. So if things look different one day, don't be too surprised. "

At present I can't do a thing to anything except post. And, half the time the archives aren't working (and I haven't touched them in between, because I can't).

Two days to go until Problem Resolution Day then...
Or is that when The Problems will start?
Or am I tempting fate?
   posted by Blue Witch at 7:09 pm....  
Thought for the day:

Next time you are tempted to say that you haven't done something because you "haven't had time", think whether it would be more honest to say that you haven't done it because you "haven't made time".
   posted by Blue Witch at 7:25 am....

   Tuesday, May 27, 2003  
BW on BB
aka "11 pretty people and a cook" (copyright Graham Norton)

Mr BW reckons:

Anouska: won't get evicted - "a tart, and no straight bloke will vote for her."
Federico: "a lad, so will be fine."
Jon: "boring", top choice to go.
Scott: 2nd choice if 1st choice doesn't go.

Personally I think that anyone who can compare death to puberty as "just another transformation", albeit "more radical" should write Part 4 of "ageing" for me....


   posted by Blue Witch at 10:50 pm....  
Still no time...

I think Mr BW has been doing spells to make Blogger not work all day...
That allowed him rather than the PC to have me, which meant...

Another hectic day in The Coven Grounds.
Mr BW goes back to work tomorrow.
Only that doesn't help as I'm working all day tomorrow too. No rest for me, and I've not been a Wicked Witch.

Ah - maybe I am a Wicked Witch, because Eloon might now be dying of hunger. Soon, honestly Eloon, soon. And you can have the chilli prawn spag recipe too. Just not the onion/spinach/blue cheese noodles one that Mr BW invented tonight after being inspired by watching Ready, Steady, Cook during his afternoon teabreak. Cos that's too delish and not for sharing. Yet.

So - what have we accomplished?

- A wonderful sense of satisfaction - the plants we have grown from seeds or plugs are now almost all potted up for the summer.
- Previous year's efforts are paying dividends - many plants that we had planted and given up on have finally come into flower. Including a wonderful chocolate/maroon clematis.
- 3 new white D'Oves arriving Friday. Providing AmTrak delivers. One boy and two girls. Should be fun to see the pairings that develop. It was the breeder's idea not ours, I hasten to add ;)

Oh, and lots more.

At least the PC is well again.
James the computer man (the one who looks like Darren) came round first thing this morning. He had intended to put in a 40GB hard drive as my 20GB one had run out of room (considering I don't store graphics files on the hard drive and (thanks to BT's wonderful Broadband zoning policy), can't download music, and don't play games, that was, I thought, quite an accomplishment). However, it turned out it really wasn't necessary:

James: Do you really *need* 5GB of email files?
Me: I haven't *got* 5GB of email files.
James: Erm, you have....
Me: I can't have, as I can fit them all on on one CD when I back them up.
James: So you do back-up your data?
Me: Of course. You know me better than that! All those gems from the education forums, I couldn't bear to lose them...
James: (clicks a few buttons) Hmm... like, last backup 2 months ago...
Me: Well, OK, time flies, but I haven't received 4 point something GB worth of emails in the last 8 weeks, have I?
James: (clicks around) What's this pop3 log file?
Me: About 4GB worth I'd say....
James: How did that get turned on?
Me: No idea.
James: (Deletes 4GB pop3 log file) Right, that should keep you going for a while. Now, are you sure I can't install XP while I'm here?
Me: No. Quite sure, thank you.

Off to stroll round The Grounds before it's totally dark, to enjoy the birds twittering goodnight, watch the light fade and plan the next project.
Witches Work is never done, you know.

Update: Well, the garden was lovely as the light faded. The grass smelt, well, as grass does as the dew falls. We heard an owl. We noted that we nearly have: strawberries, broad beans, mange tout, radishes, carrots, garlic and onions ready to eat and that we do already have spinach, lettuce, rocket, and cabbage. And we disgusted the cat. But that's not something that I intend to blog about ;)

   posted by Blue Witch at 9:08 pm....

   Monday, May 26, 2003  
Too much to do... so little time...

Here at The Coven we have had 4 private fly-pasts by the Red Arrows in the last 36 hours. Each time in a different formation. Yesterday they only had 9 planes. I asked Mr BW if that was right. He said, "Well, they're hardly likely to have lost one, now are they?" Today they had 10.

And yesterday he tried to kill me by telling me it was fine to use the lawn scarifier without a power breaker in the circuit (despite the fact that we have at least 4, he didn't seem to know where they were). It wasn't. OK that was. The cable leading to the switch had obviously worn through with repeated use, and smoked briefly before bursting into flames. Bearing in mind that I cut through the power lead to a hedgetrimmer when I was 23 (before the days of power breakers being widely available) and was thrown 10 feet backwards by the shock, I really shouldn't have listened to him. I should have known. I guess I'm down to my last 7 lives now.

We're now up to our usual 6 colonies of bees again. Mr BW collected a swarm last weekend, and some stray bees seem to have arrived at Number 5, which is somewhat surprising, but rather welcome. Number 3 seems to be a champion colony - 4 supers (honey boxes) full (around 100lbs) already. Not much on any of the others yet though.

Still looking for some replacements D'Oves. Had several hot-tips, but they all turned out to be luke-warm. So, still no little white companions for Witchy.

Have spent the whole weekend doing things in The Coven Grounds, but are still a long way off being finished. Luckily Mr BW also has tomorrow off. I've also decided that the new mediterranean curved walled garden needs a mosaic on its seat. That's about a 3 square metre mosaic. Anyone know any websites with mosaic designs? Anyone ever done a tiled mosaic? No? Right, back to the squared paper then...

Oh, and we have a mangle just like that on BB. Only we use ours as a decorative garden objet, rather than a useful garden tool.
   posted by Blue Witch at 10:15 pm....  
Ageing, Part 3: Ten Years

Ten years is a long time.

It's the amount of time I've known Mr BW.

It's one quarter of my life, slightly more of his, as he is 22 months younger than me (no comments about toy boys, please ;)

However, ten years to someone of 10 is all of their life and ten years to someone of 20 is half of their life, whereas ten years to someone of 90 is just one ninth of their lives.

As I've been jesting around and about recently, I've decided that I'm now officially "Old Witch" :)

That is, I'm comfortable having crossed the line that I've been precariously balancing along for a while now. I've decided that it's OK to be middle aged. I'm comfortable with not caring what anyone else thinks, about, or of me, something I've been pretending to be, but not always been completely happy with, for a couple of years now. People have 2 choices - they can take me, or leave me. I'm not going to change the way I am to suit them. To use the old cliché, you can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself.

Luckily, Mr BW has never wanted to change me. Unlike anyone I've ever been in a relationship with before, he has always respected me (although not always agreed with me) for who and what I am. Before I met him I used to think that the Billy Joel lines, "Don't go changing, to try and please me... I love you just the way you are" were pure fiction. Now I believe that any relationship will only succeed if both parties accept that maxim. Hard fact, but true. If you "still haven't found, what [you're] looking for" then move on. Things won't change.

I think that realisation that we have crossed the invisible line must come to us all; as Mike said the other day (although I am extrapolating the meaning slightly from his original context),

"There was just no need any more. Oh, there had been, back in the day, when experiences were still being ticked off against the master list. But thinking back to those full-on days/nights/weekends of excess, all the partying and all the giddy fabulousness, I remember always being fully conscious that I was working through something. I had to go through all of it, every last scrap of it, good or bad or indifferent, to get to where I am now. That period of standard issue thrills-n-pills-n-spills: I always knew it was finite. So why go back? For recreational purposes? But I am already re-created. For nostalgia? To show that I Can Still Do It If I Want To? To rail against the dying of the light? Nay, nay and thrice nay. There was absolutely no need left within me."

After all, as Peter said last week,

One of the advantages of getting older (and - believe me - there aren't many) is that you can be as far behind the times as you want, and no-one raises an eyebrow. "What's X?" you ask your younger friends, where X can be anything from a pop group to a design house to a software application. And they're only too pleased to enlighten you. "Really?" you reply breathlessly, on receiving this wisdom. "I didn't know that! How fascinating." This mode carries you through many a conversation, and flatters your companions.

I've been pondering recently what one thing I wish I'd known ten years ago. And what thing would I, in ten years time, like to have known today?

I've found it quite hard to decide. Mike's right, there is no substitute for experience. No way of short-circuiting it. But, maybe a few clues would have been / would be helpful?

I think that the 10 years in the future thing that I'd like to know now is what my health will do. I might then be able to take steps now to avoid whatever might be going to befall me.

The 10 years in the past thing - would probably be something to do with respecting the person I am and not letting others control how I feel about myself (my self-esteem and self-image). Or it might be something to do with how taking control of your finances allows you take control of your life, and everything else then falls into place.

What would you like to have known 10 years ago about you now? And what secret from 10 years hence would you like to learn now?

Coming up soon: Ageing, Part 4

   posted by Blue Witch at 9:28 pm....  
Thanks to those people who have tried to leave comments but found they haven't shown up. There seems to be (another) problem at Comment City, and although I am seeing them (in the emailed versions they send me - although even these are hours behind) they are still not appearing in the comments boxes. Keep sending them though, as, sooner or later, my spells will work :)
   posted by Blue Witch at 9:52 am....  
Thought for the day:

If there aren't enough hours in the day, then consider whether you are making the best use of those you have got.

Time is the one thing that money can't buy. But, this could apply to any other area of your life where you feel you haven't got enough.
   posted by Blue Witch at 9:49 am....

   Sunday, May 25, 2003  
BW on BB

Now, the one negative thing that he has ever given me is an interest in Big Brother. It started way back in 2000 with the first series when there was a character who had the same name and personality traits as a fiend (not a typo) of ours. Since that time, chez Les BWs, interest has waxed and waned; sometimes we have watched, sometimes we haven't. It's only ever been a case of watching on C4 though, so not serious addiction. BTW, have you noticed how your own addictions are never serious? ;)

The positive side of watching is that we manage to get to bed at a reasonable time (we watch in bed, as I have a tendency to fall asleep during boring programmes).

The negative side of watching is all the rest.

Also, having declared BW to be a Eurovision Free Zone some while ago, I still got 2 search engine hits last night from people looking for '"eurovision 2003" performance picture' (11th out of 12 search returns), and '"eurovision 2003" lighting' (11th out of 15 results). And, guess what, Chig, who I don't read, but who I understand from around and about has gone to all the effort of going out there, only came 3 places higher than me in that search :) Search engines do not give sensible results. Discuss.

Anyway, where were we?

Ah, yes, I was just about to say, I was contemplating not mentioning BB on BW. But, as we have one letter in common, I decided that it was a sign and I ought to. Also, I want to concentrate on the important details that other bloggers will otherwise miss ;) BB Caustic Comments from The Coven.

We fell asleep on Friday before the second (eviction nomination) programme. I only half-watched the first (working on the principle that you only need half a brain to watch BB, I only gave it the attention of half of my brain :)

But, for what it's worth, here are some of our comments. I'm not going to tell you who said what. You can probably guess ;) So, I shall use ABW (a BW) and OBW (other BW) interchangeably throughout:

ABW: Is Davina pregnant again?
OBW: Dunno, either that or she's put on weight.

ABW: Blimey, some of that furniture is a bit phallic isn't it!
OBW: Trust you to notice that!

ABW: That girl should have asked someone whether her bum looked big in those jeans 'cos it does.
OBW: That other girl looks like she's got the other BB - builder's bum!
ABW: Erm, I think that look is fashionable at the moment.
OBW: Not with me it isn't!

ABW: Those cushions and that sofa must have been co-ordinated by someone who didn't take into account the needs of the colourblind among the audience.
OBW: What do you mean? They're exactly the same colour aren't they?

OBW: OK, so they've got 6 boys and 6 girls, but they haven't exactly tried to make the rest demographically representative have they?
ABW: I thought that intelligence was normally distributed?
OBW: It is. Just not among this population. QED.

ABW: Only 6 pairs of pants? That's disgusting!
OBW: If you were going in there you'd pack 64, just in case, wouldn't you?

ABW: The Health and Safety Executive have clearly visited the BB house before filming started.
OBW: How do you know?
ABW: They've put doors at the bottom of the stairs this time, so the children can't fall down them when they're pissed.

   posted by Blue Witch at 10:02 am....  
Thought for the day:

"The most senile thing ever thought about man is contained in the celebrated saying 'the ego is always hateful', the most childish is the even more celebrated 'love thy neighbour as thyself'. In the former, knowledge of human nature has ceased, in the latter it has not yet even begun."

from Nietzsche's Assorted Opinions and Maxims
   posted by Blue Witch at 7:23 am....

   Saturday, May 24, 2003  
The 6th Weekly Make BW Laugh Award

I seem to have lost some of this week's contenders from my carefully cut-and-pasted-as-I-go-so-that-it's-not-a-mammoth-job-on-Saturday "Make BW Laugh Award" file....

I *know* that there were more than this when I last looked, but, hey, there's enough here, so let's just choose from these.

Now, I can understand that some of these might not seem funny to you. They just struck me as being funny, at the time, in the context, and sometimes you would need to have been reading the blog concerned over time to understand it. Some of them may not even have been meant to be funny, but I found them funny. They made me laugh out loud. And that's what counts :) Many other things around and about made me smile, but, only laugh aloud actually qualifies.

Oh, and, as you'll notice, I've changed the rules.
I'm now always allowing comments box funnies, not just when it's an unfunny week.

Contender 1: from Eloon at coopblog, who went on a visit to Bordeaux (although this nearly got disqualified as she admitted to having eaten horse):

"Sunday lunchtime: "We're going to drop in on some neighbours quickly" 1 hour and 5 bottles of wine we leave. I'm slightly worried about how much the Aunt has drunk, but when in France...
Sunday afternoon: "We've been invited for drinks at Hugh's...would you like to" Thank god I'm an alcoholic, a lesser mortal would have collapsed."

Contender 2: another one from a previous Award Winner, Tony Macaroni who has added this to his title:


Contender 3: from mal Steve - you do need to know that his post just before this one had been about his partner discovering he had become diabetic:

"Welcome to the all-new low-sugar my ace life - now suitable for diabetics."

It was the idea of "low-sugar" over at mal that did it for me. And I wasn't thinking C12H22O11 either :)

Contender 4: from Alan Oddverse, who, in a post about his recent trip to Barcelona mentioned that he had bought "a small bottle of wine." Now, I couldn't resist asking him, "What's a small bottle of wine? And, erm, why? ;)" His reply made me laugh:

"It was only lunch time. And to be fair, they only had small bottles of wine. And we had one each."

I think it was the way it started off sensibly, then unexpectedly changed direction.

Contender 5: sorry, but... it's Alan again:

"Whatever happened to Channel 4?

It is - to be fair - the channel that I probably watch most. Because it's full of programmes aimed at the arse-end of my personality. The part that likes to gloat. My life is better than their life. My house is nicer than their house.
My boyfriend is better than their wife."

Contender 6: La Peregrina from Santiago Dreaming (do read this blog if you haven't before, from the beginning, it's wonderful - it'll fill up a delightful quarter of an hour). To my post about ungrateful beggars, she commented:

"Here in the States begging seem to be another form of "self-employment".

And the winner is....

21:45: Somewhat delayed, sorry, blame it on the hens - little devils refused to go to bed so that we could move their ark off the main lawn (where they have been on weed and feed duty for the past 3 months) back into the orchard where they spend the summer.

... can't decide, so Alan and Steve can have an award each (as there wasn't one last week). Knowing that Eloon will probably cry now ;) I'll hopefully get the promised spag bol recipe up for her tomorrow before she gets back from frolicking in her muddy field.

Congratulations to you all! But, as usual, it's make your own award to display on your blog for the next week, or imagine it, guys. Although there are still 5 bonus points on offer for a suitable graphic... ;)

Talking of points, I've decided to be more generous with my points. It's now 2 per winner, and one per contender. Only now I don't know the scores any more, so perhaps someone who counts more than me could let me know.... You only need 10 for a jar of lovely BW Honey remember :)
   posted by Blue Witch at 6:35 pm....  
Thought for the day:

"Freedom has always been an expensive thing. History is fit testimony to the fact that freedom is rarely gained without sacrifice and self-denial."

- Martin Luther King

   posted by Blue Witch at 11:07 am....

   Friday, May 23, 2003  
The Make BW Laugh Award

Several funny contenders this week.

Result tomorrow. I haven't yet decided between them.

May even be generous and give more than one award if I still can't decide then :)
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:46 pm....  
Ageing, Part 2: The Next Generation

Something that has always puzzled me is the definition of "generation".

The Concise OED (9th Edition) says it is, "all the people born at a particular time, regarded collectively" but also, "a single step in descent or pedigree" and, "the average time in which children are ready to take the place of their parents (usu. reckoned to be about 30 years)".

Confusing stuff.

When does one generation end and another begin?

In a family situation it is simple. As one of my friends said when her Mother died leaving her as the eldest member of the family, "We've all moved up a generation."

In everyday parlance we speak of "my generation", "the older generation" or "the younger generation" - but where and what are the cut-off points? No year of delineation is ever given to divide the generations.

Recently I have finally come to accept certain things. I have become very aware that my parents (fast approaching their 70s) are beginning to look, and seem, "old". I still forget the age they actually are, because they're my parents, after all, and, up until now, I've never construed them as "old" in the way that people in the street appear old (based on all you can see - their physical characteristics). I still talk to them of "old dears" and similar, forgetting that they are as old as many of the people I am referring to in this rather crass manner. But, now, they no longer seem to be the all-wise, all-providing, all-to-be-obeyed giants that they once were. I have come to understand, and accept, that (as I was saying to Peter the other day), whatever I might think of what they did or didn't do for / to / with us when we were kids, they did the best they could, and what they believed was right. Although my opinion, having been on the receiving end of it, may differ, I do now respect that. Up until recently I resented a lot of the things that happened, or didn't happen, particularly the amount of control that my Mother demanded and assumed over my life.

Perhaps, then, that's what "generation" is about?

Is it about having generated enough 'wisdom' to understand and accept what has gone before?

I can remember as a child thinking that everyone who wasn't at school was really old. Children have no conception of the passage of time, or of relative ages of people. Over the years of teaching and assessing children I've had comments about age levelled at me on many occasions. "Did you have electricity when you were little, Miss?" "Were the dinosaurs really big when you saw them?"

Perspective develops, over time.
Slowly, but one day you wake up and realise that things appear a bit different.
Well, they did for me, anyway.

Coming up soon: Ageing Part 3: Ten Years
   posted by Blue Witch at 12:59 am....  
Thought for the day:

Silence is the medicine that seeps into our souls and heals us from the inside out.
   posted by Blue Witch at 12:41 am....

   Thursday, May 22, 2003  
Scene in town this afternoon

'Beggar' obstructing a narrow pathway.
Holding sign scrawled on a piece of cardboard saying:

No dog.
Not a drunk.
Not on drugs.
Hungry and thirsty.
Please help."

They're getting crafty round here, aren't they? ;)

Always sceptical about the validity of such people, and doubly so after what I saw in Cambridge a couple of months ago, and much preferring to facilitate people to solve their own problems rather than to do it for them, I politely pointed out to him that, less than a hundred yards away, there were three temporary stalls. These were giving out full-size samples of Lipton's Ice Tea (disgusting stuff, send it back where it came from ;) ), new cereal bars and breath freshener, respectively. With each sample there was also a money-off coupon. I helpfully told him that if he took the coupons to Tesco, they would take the value of the coupons off any shopping he bought.

His hissed response?

"Piss off, I want cash, not that disgusting junk, and I can't be bothered with coupons."

My response?

"I knew you were a fraud, I was just testing!"
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:32 pm....  
Ageing: Part 1

Nearly a month ago now, Mr BW's Grandmother (our last living grandparent) celebrated her 90th birthday. Now, if I live to 90 (which I'd probably prefer not to, the way things are going in the world, and the way I'm thinking right now, but, lets not get started on that yet, cos that's where all this is going to end, and I don't want to short-circuit what I'm about to write) I want to be like her. A delightful, but fiercely independent Lady, and Consumers' Champion. She still has a better brain than many people half her age, and is not scared to give her point of view, or to point out when and where people (particularly large companies) are going wrong.

Like me, she hates hospitals and has refused all offers of the hip replacement that would give her back her mobility. Despite this, and the fact that she now lives alone in a large old house, she gets around in an electically powered buggy and has rigged up all sorts of ingenious home-made gadgets around her home to enable her to cope with the limitations of her condition. When her local Tesco's was doing building work making buggy access impossible, she rang the manager and had him devise a complex system to allow her access. If a company messes her about, she is the first to be on the phone demanding that they sort it out. If more people could be bothered to complain about poor service in the way she does, then companies just wouldn't try it on and get away with it.

Had my Grandfather been alive, he would have been 90 this year too.

I was thinking about the events that people of that generation have witnessed. Just a few examples might be:

- The beginnings of flight to landing on the moon.
- 2 World Wars and many smaller conflicts
- Almost no cars to almost everyone having a car
- Spare time being filled with domestic drudgery to spare time being filled with leisure activities
- Candle and lamp power to neon lights at every turn
- 'Refrigeration' being a pantry or ice-house to deep freezers
- No voice for women to women having equality
- 'Media' being cinema newsreels and newspapers to universal access to minute-by-minute events
- Education being largely for 'rich boys' to free education for all
- Duplication of individual documents being by typewriting or hand copying to instant photocopying
- People dying from colds to major organ transplants
- Rationing of food to fast-food and coffee shops on every corner
- No plastic to landfill sites full of plastic

I honestly believe that never again will one generation experience and witness so much change, development and 'progress'.

It is so easy, isn't it, to look at an older person and forget that they were young once. To forget what they have lived through, and seen evolve. To forget what they have contributed. To be impatient with them, and to feel that they are a burden and have nothing to offer.

Sometimes I feel that older people don't always want to share their experiences, or to proffer them automatically. But, it's amazing what a few well chosen questions can open up. As we age, one of the things that decays is the connections between our memories. In many cases, the memories themselves are still intact, but the mechanisms for accessing them are unavailable. Being asked the right questions can enable people to recall things they didn't realise they knew.

At Mr BW's Grandmother's 90th Birthday Party, someone asked her what her earliest memory was. She then went on to recall things that no-one had heard before. We took my Father to Duxford for his birthday. This brought back many memories for him, and I have rarely seen him so enthused and animated about anything. It was fascinating to listen to his tales of the five years he spent in the RAF as an armourer, and later the engineering work on developing aeroplanes that he did (and we manged to capture most of this on digital video, without him being aware, which will be wonderful to look back on).

Coming up soon: Ageing, Part 2: The Next Generation

   posted by Blue Witch at 10:08 am....  
Thought for the day:

"That which does not kill me makes me stronger."

- Friedrich Nietzche
   posted by Blue Witch at 7:15 am....

   Wednesday, May 21, 2003  

A while ago I wrote about some idiotic driving witnessed by Mr BW. Well, the Crown Prosecution Service informed him the other day that the case had now been tried, and, on the strength of Mr BW's statement and that of the Mad Driver's Passenger, Mad Driver had pleaded guilty to 'driving without due care and attention.' Personally, I think the charge should have been 'dangerous driving' but apparently that is harder to 'prove' and often contested. However. I was pleasantly surprised that the CPS actually bothered to let Mr BW know the outcome of the case. Nearly makes up for my disgust that the police insisted that Mr BW went to the police station to make his statement rather than come round to The Coven.

Bearing in mind that Mad Driver caused the write-off of his own car and considerable damage to an oncoming truck (so costing his insurance company, and consequently the future premiums of all others insured by that company, a lot of money), and bearing in mind that his actions (overtaking a solid line of traffic by lane-splitting during a rush hour on a very busy road) could potentially have killed people, what do you think his punishment was?

£200 fine, £35 costs and 4 penalty points.

I *know* that it must have cost more than £35 to gather statements and process the case, and anyone could be fined £60 and given 3 points just for doing 4 mph over a 30 mph speed limit.

I think not.

It's time we had a system of driver re-education in this country along the American model. Serious traffic infringements should involve an automatic requirement to attend 'Traffic School' where you have to sit through gory videos and be shown the error of your ways. Much more likely to have a lasting affect on a Mad Driver.
   posted by Blue Witch at 3:57 pm....  
Another number challenge

I'm always totally fascinated by how frequently you can be talking to someone and discover that you share their birthday, or that your partner, or parent, shares their birthday, or their partner or parent's birthday.

So, I was amazed to discover last Sunday, that of the 5 of us helping to educate visitors to a local country show about beekeeping, 3 shared the same birthday. Different years though - last birthday they were 80, 60 and 40 38 (spoilt the pattern, didn't it!!) respectively.

So, knowing that I have at least 3 readers who love calculations of this nature, what is the probability of that?

To me (a Numerically Challenged Witch, even though I do have Maths and Add Maths at 'O' Level at A grade), logically the answer should be 1/365 x 1/365 x 1/365, but I seem to remember that it doesn't work like that in this case, for some reason, maybe...
   posted by Blue Witch at 11:44 am....  
Ah, the broomstick is sick. After just 28,000 miles it appears that the brake discs have warped. Nasty shudder when braking down from high speeds, and flashing warning lights when going fast round roundabouts (OK, overtaking tortoises on roundabouts, I admit it, I drive it at its extremes, but, what's a Frustrated Witch with no D'Oves to do for kicks? ;) I've had to wait nearly 2 weeks for it to be fitted in at the broomstick garage, and, as they had no loan cars available, one of the 'Technicians' drove me home. He soon found the problem. His comment, "Hmm, I don't think I'd have wanted to drive it like this," made me feel ever so happy about having done nearly 600 miles (most of it fast driving on dual carriageways) last week. It wasn't as if I hadn't told them of the problem and expressed disquiet about having had to wait 2 weeks for a problem with the brakes to be looked at.

How is it that small garages can fit in people who have serious problems (like with brakes) straight away, but main dealers (to whom you have to take your vehicle to stay within the 3 year warranty) make you drive around in what one of their own people later calls an unsafe vehicle, for 2 weeks after you have notified them of a problem? No, I don't think I need an answer to that. It's because they can, because you have no choice.

And if they try giving me a bill for the repairs, saying that brakes are consumable parts, I shall very politely point out to them that while I accept that brake pads are consumable, brake discs certainly shouldn't be, at 28,000 miles, so they should be covered by the warranty and clearly weren't suitable for the purpose they are intended (Sale of Goods Act). After all, in the last broomstick, I did nearly 170,000 miles on 3 sets of brake pads and new discs at 160,000 (but only as the previous brake pads had disintegrated causing the discs to get scored), so it's not the way I drive, now is it?


Service Manager (on phone): Erm, Mrs Blue Witch, your car is ready for you to collect, but I'm afraid we haven't been able to completely fix it.
Me: Sorry?
Service Manager: Well, it wasn't actually the braking system as we thought, well, not entirely, we've changed the brake pads and cleaned up the calipers, but the discs are fine - well, one is 0.02 mm warped, but that's entirely normal, and to be honest, many new parts are that much out of true.
Me: Precision engineering at its best then! So, what is wrong with it?
Service Manager: Well, we think it's the drive shaft. We're going to replace it anyway. Only it's quite a difficult job, and we can't do it for...
Me: Don't tell me, 2 weeks?
Service Manager: Erm... yes, how did you know?
Me: Because I know how badly you run your business.
Service Manager: Look on the bright side, it means you'll get your car washed again when it comes in then!
Me: So, what are you saying, that the fact that the outside of my car was dirty has caused you to need to replace the drive shaft when my car is 30 months, and 28,000 miles old?
Service Manager: No Mrs Blue Witch. I was just trying to be funny.
Me: Obviously.

What's a Witch to do? Other, maybe, than make them valet the car completely as compensation ;)
   posted by Blue Witch at 10:07 am....  
Thought for the day:

You need have no goals for today.
You can have some if you like, but you are allowed to have none.
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:19 am....

   Tuesday, May 20, 2003  
It is said that your environment reflects the state of your mind. Either in miniature (eg the state of your desk) or in the larger picture (eg the state of your house).

If that is the case, then I am in serious trouble at the moment.

My Inner Coven (my office, the only upstairs room at The Coven, which is basically a bungalow with an extension - which kept the original roof line - completed in the late 70s) is a total disaster area. Despite 7 four drawer filing cabinets, there is still paper everywhere, and, currently the desk drawers from my previous desk, which I recently replaced, waiting to have their contents transferred into the new desk drawers.

So, today's task for the day is to sort it all out. I'm hoping that if I do so, then the state of my head will also improve. I am not holding my breath though. I'm not really in the mood to write blogs, read blogs, or make comments. But, I'm making myself write this because then I might actually get on and do some sorting out and fill up the paper recycling box.

Recently all my spare daytime time seems to have been spent sorting out other people's messes - generally things I have ordered turning up damaged, incomplete or incorrect, or companies not doing what they say. It is so frustrating that you can't trust people to do things properly, when they say they will. (I did say yesterday that I have given up trying to fight the aging mind-set and am quite happy to turn into my grandmother and moan about everything not being what it used to be!!).

Interestingly, the downstairs of The Coven (the part that anyone visiting might see) is tidy, as usual. Just don't open the cupboards though!! (although, it has to be said, I did tidy out the large cupboard in the utility yesterday, so there was obviously some weird sub-conscious processes going on there).

So, my environment is just like me - apparently tidy and ordered in the bits that anyone might see, but a complete mess in the parts that aren't usually visible. Hmmm.
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:30 am....  
Thought for the day:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:13 am....

   Monday, May 19, 2003  
I really do wonder about some parents. 2 examples from a quick flit into town to get some essential shopping and visit the bank:

1. In the supermarket.

Child of about 8 (why wasn't he in school?) climbing in the upright chiller cabinet. Slips on a pool of water, falls, squashing some boxes of quiche. Squawks loudly. Mother says, "Shut up you little git!" to Jason. Assistant rushes up. Mother shouts at the assistant, "Get me a manager, I'm going to sue, look what's happened to Jason!" I interjected, "Erm, excuse me, but Jason shouldn't have been climbing in the cabinet. If he hadn't been, he wouldn't have fallen!" Mother shouts at me, "Mind your own fuckin' business!" I replied, in a very calm voice, "Actually, it is my business, I saw exactly what happened, so I am a witness. I will happily stand up in court in any action you take against the store and say that your child was in the wrong. What's more, your child has damaged a lot of quiches, which will now be waste. Therefore, it has cost the store, and therefore me as a customer, money." Manager bustles up. Makes soothing noises. Takes Mother and Jason off into the nether regions of the store, "To clean up and have a nice cup of tea and a bar of chocolate." Assistant shakes her head and smiles apologetically at me.

2. At the bottom of the escalator in Debenhams.

Small girl of maybe 2 or 3 is blocking the way, staring at the moving steps as if mesmerised. Not being able to get past, I say, "Excuse me sweetheart, can I get through please?" Rough looking bloke looks up from the text message he is sending from about 5 paces away and says to me, "Don't you talk to her like that, she can do what she likes!" I replied, "Sorry? I guess she can't choose who her parents are though!" (and quickly pushed past small child cos I was scared of him!).

Just what is the world coming to?

Update: I know of just one set of parents that I feel are truly brilliant. They have a boy and a girl (I have known them since they were 9 or 10, they are now teenagers), both of whom I have taught. I thought about them earlier on, when the above episodes happened. Wished all parents and all kids could be like them.

I was just sitting here feeling quite despondent (about all sorts of totally unconnected things that are really getting me down but which I can't really be bothered to even think about in enough detail to blog) when who should knock on my door but David and Maria. I haven't seen them for maybe 5 months, and, although they buy honey from us, I'm often not here when they call so they just help themselves from the box outside. Just talking to them momentarily restored my faith. There are other people who think like me!

If I think about what it is that is different, it is their values. What most people would call 'old fashioned' values. And somehow the kids haven't fallen for the media hype and commercial pressures that take in most young people these days. I'm beginning to sound like my grandmother. Strangely that doesn't worry me. In fact, I am rather pleased by it. I think that today I've finally crossed the invisible line that I have been balancing along for a few months now.

   posted by Blue Witch at 4:53 pm....  
Look, all I want is 2 white doves...

I can't seem to settle to anything until I have sourced another pair of white doves. Everywhere I go downstairs I can see their empty dovecote, and upstairs all I see is magpies and seagulls flying past. I am just too sad.

Having now lost 2 pairs since the beginning of the year, I guess I should give up, but I'm missing them. I'd much rather have doves around The Coven during the day than people, but I do need something for company.

So, I Googled various permutations of 'buy white doves' words. Most of them lead back to here at some point. No wonder I get so many hits from people seeking info on white doves. Great sales opportunity if I ever manage to find any that will (a) stay, (b) lay fertile eggs, and (c) look after the young they've hatched :)

Still haven't found any.
It's raining.
Think I'll just go back to bed.

   posted by Blue Witch at 12:13 pm....  
Thought for the day:

(This one from Mr BW and I can assure you it will be the only Eurovision reference that you will see round here :) )

Can you imagine the furore there would be if the UK entry to Eurovision 2003 was a song called "Save Your Kisses for Me" by a group called "Brotherhood of Man", with a line "...even though you're only 3"?

   posted by Blue Witch at 9:05 am....

   Sunday, May 18, 2003  
Thought for the day:

What amount of indoctrination must it take to convince someone to be a suicide bomber?
   posted by Blue Witch at 7:11 am....

   Saturday, May 17, 2003  
Quick Roundup

No, nothing at all to do with weedkiller (BW tries to be as organic as possible in the garden after all) (I reckon that last reference probably meant as much to most of you as anything to do with current pop music means to me ;) ) - I'm just too distraught with this week to write anything other than a quick roundup...

Tuesday afternoon: The complete order, organisation, timing and everything else in my life disappeared when my Palm (my spare brain) decided to die. Only 9 months old, but, refused to co-operate or respond to Witchy pleading or cursing. Rang Mr BW (great fixer of all problems, particularly technically based ones) and told him we couldn't go away for the rest of the week as it would take me hours to sort everything out. I always knew that it could happen, and I am fairly good at hotsynching it with my PC at least once a day, but I had just finished loading all the documents I needed for the time we were to be away, and updating all my lists and financial files (I use PocketQuicken so that my desktop Quicken is always up-to-date). So, I lost those.

Tuesday evening: Mr BW managed to breathe life back into the trusty Palm. I breathed a sigh of relief and re-entered all the data I thought I'd lost. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to reload all my data, programmes, shortcuts etc. Not at all like the chaos when a hard drive dies (yes, I've been there too). Went to bed early, slept badly (yet again), and woke up feeling even more tired than when I went to bed.

Wednesday: Just before we left the house, I checked the email and found someone had kindly sent BW 2 emails. The first said, "Today is a good day to die" and the second "You are too fat. You need to lose weight". Great. Thanks to that person. Although I don't suppose for one minute they are reading. Whoever you are, you are a sad person, and you are in my spells. Sauntered down to Wiltshire (via a delightful National Trust Garden), where we stayed overnight with our one-time next door neighbours and very good friends. That was the one high spot of the week. Half way through the day discovered that my Palm had died again and even Mr BW could not resuscitate it. Spent the rest of the week in chaos, not knowing which way was up as I found I could not function without my spare brain.

Thursday: Visited Mummy and Daddy BW. Tried to admire their new car, as requested, but didn't like the colour, and, sadly, anything made by Ford leaves me cold (after all the hassle and complete lack of customer service, let alone care, Mr BW has had with his Ka), even a top-of-the-range-complete-with-all-the-toys model. Mummy BW just had to point out that I seem to be turning grey by the minute. Two weeks ago I found my 8th grey hair. Now I have, shock, horror, complete patches where the pigment mechanism seems to have failed. Mummy BW is nearly 28 years older than me and seems to have less grey than me. Sigh. Must have caught it from Mr BW who claims that it is "distinguished". Think I'll just dye the lot blue and be done with it.

Friday: Spent the day at a very interesting training day just outside Taunton in Somerset. Was amazed at how relaxed the participants were, compared to those at the courses I usually go to (largely London / home counties area). Usually, at every break, people are retrieving messages and speaking into their phones as if their lives depended on it, smoking madly (also as if their lives depended on it), dashing around like headless chickens, jostling for coffee... Here, I didn't see a phone, or a person smoking, people smiled and talked in a relaxed way to each other, and the catering staff were efficient, pleasant, polite and middle-aged women for whom nothing was too much trouble (compared with the normal spotty kids who mostly don't speak any form of English that I can understand). At sometime during the day I knew that my long-term future was not going to be where we now live. Well, I've known that for ages, but, having now lived here for 12 years, I am getting rather too accustomed to putting up with it. I lived in the South West for 9 years after finishing university, and loved it. The only good thing about moving away was that I would never have met Mr BW if I hadn't.

Friday evening: Having spent most of the week working out how I was going to get John Lewis at Bluewater to provide me with a new Palm rather than spend 6 weeks waiting while my dead one was sent off for repair, I found that I needn't have worried. There was no question of it being repaired, just an apology, a replacement, and another 2 year warranty (yes, you heard correctly!!!). That is what I call excellent customer service. I was commenting to Gert the other day that I like JL because of the entertainment value (plenty of Mr Humphrey-esque characters around), they will always price-match goods, and give an extra year's warranty on electrical goods. Plus, if you have a Barclaycard, you can get an additional free year of warranty too (ie buy electrical goods in John Lewis with a Barclaycard and get 3 years of warranty for no extended warranty cost). Anyway, while waiting for them to get the replacement Palm from the storeroom, Mr BW strolled over the the 42" plasma screen displays. He's coming round to my way of thinking it seems, so maybe there is an upside to this episode after all :)

Saturday: Busy soring out the bees for the show tomorrow, so didn't have time to find anything in blogland to make me laugh, so no "Make BW Laugh Award" this week. Which gives scope for 2 next week :) Sadly, for some unknown reason, the D'Oves have deserted us while we were away, leaving behind their two babies, who, of course died. Can't understand it - doves will never dessert their young. Best guess is that they got caught up in the local farmer's annual pigeon cull. I am really, really, upset about this. I had spent so many hours getting them tame (one even landed on Mr BW the other night), and loved watching them fly past my window as I was working.

BTW, thanks to everyone who contributed a question. Once the Show tomorrow is over (that involves getting up at 6.30am on a Sunday), I will have a chance to answer them all. Oh, and please do a sun-dance for tomorrow's weather to improve too.

   posted by Blue Witch at 8:23 pm....  

Someone who has emailed me at the address in my sidebar has a new virus (W32.HLLW.Fizzer@mm). Info and removal instructions here. It was only discovered on May 8th, so even if you have virus protection, unless you have updated it recently, it could be you.

Do please check, because you've unwittingly sent me 6 copies already, and although my virus protection system is set to update every day, so I haven't been infected, it is annoying on a slow connection as the files take ages to download. Thanks.

Not everyone knows the trick to ensure you never unknowingly get / spread viruses, so, here goes:

Set up an address in your email address book that will come top of all your addresses, but be a fake address that cannot exist (eg 000000@virusfool.con). Then if you get a virus which tries to send itself to everyone in your address book, the first copy it tries to send will be to the false address, which will bounce and alert you.

This has not been a great week..... No time to write more at the moment as I have a Massive Display for a Massive Country Show tomorrow to sort out (in the pouring rain, great).... but I thought that virus spread prevention is important.

   posted by Blue Witch at 9:53 am....

   Friday, May 16, 2003  
Just got back from being away.
Learnt a lesson while away.
Don't get too dependent on things, cos you won't cope when they aren't there.
More tomorrow...
   posted by Blue Witch at 10:35 pm....

   Tuesday, May 13, 2003  
Ask Blue Witch...

I'm off for a few days on an Advanced Spelling Course (well, a course on advances in spelling, amongst other things, anyway). Then back to organise a Massive Display at a Massive Show on Sunday, for which I am singularly unprepared (although Mr BW has his side of things well under control, as usual, luckily for me :)). But, as I've done it several times before, I'm sure it will be alright on the day. Probably.

So, in the meantime, and to fill time, I'm sure there must be loads of things you'd like to ask me...

I'm not going to answer the usual "All About Me" type questions - that's strictly pick it up as I splurge it out as we go along stuff, sorry ;)

But, if there's a question or topic on which you'd like to see if I have an opinion, stick your query in the comments box and I will answer as best I can, when I can. No limit on subject matter, as sensible, daft or *whatever* as you like; those Google hits are beginning to amuse me more and more after all :)

And if anyone sees any contenders for the 6th Weekly Make BW Laugh Award (original funnies or funny phrases in blogs only, no links count, comment box funnies might do if there's nothing else), do also drop it in cos I've only got one thing in mind and I seem not to have got that right, so it probably can't count, and I'm not going to have much/any time to read blogs before the Award has to be bestowed on Saturday. Ta :)
   posted by Blue Witch at 5:57 pm....  
A couple of hours after I'd written the bit on Thea Gilmore yesterday (hasn't anybody other than me heard of her, or are you just all being too polite to tell me your real opinion? ;) ) I happened to be out in the broomstick again and heard what I at first thought was a punk era track I didn't know (a mighty rare occurrence!). I think they said that it was number 15 in the album chart?

Brilliant lyric in the 'Riot Girl' track, "Emergency, call 911, she's pissed off at everyone." Might just make it into my Top 10 of "That's Me!" favourite lines that one :) (other contenders, off the top of my head, and having given it no thought at all, particular lines from "Too Much Too Young" (Specials), "Rebel Rebel" (David Bowie), and "Angie Baby" (Helen Reddy); one day I'll blog this properly.... one day.... ).

So, the group are (OK, so you all know already, I'm a bit slow on most music post the mid-80s, you should know that by now :) ) Good Charlotte. Formed in 1996, claiming the Smiths and the Cure as influences. Oh yes. I could hear it! (I was nearly tempted not to link to that because they insist you sign up to view the site and I am totally against that sort of invasion of privacy).

Looks like I'll be spending some more money on CDs, doesn't it? Now then, is it in the current CD-Wow £6.99 selection? :)

(Update: sadly not, but this lot is (and there's some bloody good stuff there too)).
   posted by Blue Witch at 11:28 am....  
Question for the day:

The Tories have a policy.
No, that's not the question, really, as I am assured by the BBC Breakfast News that tis true.

Tory Spokesman (I was making tea, unloading the dishwasher, folding the dry washing and clearing up after Mr BW who had been jarring honey, at the time, so didn't pay much attention to who he was) claimed that when they got into power, they would abolish tuition fees for higher education. And also abolish "Mickey Mouse courses". As soon as he'd said it, you could see that he wished he hadn't, as he then had to deal with repeated questioning on which particular courses he had in mind. "Different people will have different views" he tried to counter.

So, what do you consider to be Mickey Mouse university courses?
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:35 am....  
Thought for the day:

Say what you mean. Mean what you say.
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:19 am....

   Monday, May 12, 2003  
Just occasionally I hear a song by an artist I have never heard of that sticks in my mind for days. I've finally had a chance to look up "This Girl is Taking Bets" by Thea Gilmore today. Thea's own website is a disgrace, so I'm not going to link to it. However, I agree with the reviewer, "Her lyrics are edgy, witty and often reminiscent of Elvis Costello, with clever rhyming imagery and stories to tell for those who listen." (I still love Elvis Costello, even after all these years - I once had the pleasure of a half hour talk with him, back in the late 70s) "The single "This Girl Is Taking Bets" in particular contains some memorable lines: "This girl is the snowfall where the spring should have been/ She's the stains on the pages of a top shelf magazine/...This girl is the rainbow in the dewy eyed stares/ She's the name tag on the toe/ Of your long dead love affairs...." The other lines that stuck in my mind were: "poetry and prozac" and "cocaine and kodak".

Witchy can't do music downloads, thanks to BT, and I'm loath to buy the CD (Rules for Jokers) on spec - does anyone have any thoughts on Thea Gilmore? Is this track typical of her music?

   posted by Blue Witch at 3:28 pm....  
I was just following a link from a link from a....
You know how it is.

Found this which nicely links to my last post (which probably nobody understood except me, and even I'm not sure ;)

Further up the blog, there is this, which I liked:

"Emotional Blog Reading

Blogging is a real-time social sport. Real-time writing, real-time reading. On the writing side, I, like Doc Searls, have tested positive for AKMA. On reading side, there is a whole other set of categorizations to describe the different way people read blogs:

T-people: Title readers, rarely follow links, make quick opinions, probably RSS too many feeds
D-people: Deep readers, follow all links, think carefully about the blog, rarely comment
Q-people: Questioners, read quickly, follow most links, assimilate information, and comment frequently"

Oh I'm a Q, definitely. Even if I don't click the links I always hover over them. And I just can't shut myself up, can I? ;)
What sort are you?

There is also a link to a quiz (groan?): What Blogging Archetype Are You Most Like? I particularly liked the question:

"What is the tone and style of your blog?
- Incisive and critical
- Detached and matter-of-fact
- Personally revealing and unapologetic
- Insightful, respectful and philosophical "

And the result it gave me: "You are smart, savvy, interested in why people do what they do, enjoy questioning yourself and are not balding." :)
(not balding, no, but I *have* just noticed another 3 grey hairs... ;)

   posted by Blue Witch at 1:20 pm....  
I was just catching up on a few blogs before writing about Tom Jones at the London Arena yesterday (I wasn't quite sure of the slant I wanted to put on that - and was trying to think of a way of expressing some very disparate thoughts about it that are in my head...) and in so doing read NB Peter's piece on Seroxat, and anti-depressants in general. My take on that (as someone who has both suffered (suffers) and is professionally involved in the area), as hastily typed into his comments, is:

"Much as I agree with your sentiments Peter, we live in a world where more and more people are 'depressed' and demanding a quick fix. And one where it's acceptable and almost 'trendy' to be on one anti-depressant or another (creeping Americanisation again).

There are fewer and fewer positive (non-drug) resources (and longer and longer waiting lists) for GPs to refer to. They have to do *something* to get people out of their surgeries and give them some glimmer of hope that things can be different.

Preying on this gap, there are more and more quack therapists around who charge huge amounts of money, often for very little that is helpful, and sometimes even downright dangerous.

You know my view - meditation not medication (I qualify that by saying for *most* people - and in the long term). But, getting people to believe that the answers are all there for them, if they start viewing and doing things differently, is *so* hard. It needs time and space and support. Most people lack 1 if not 2 or 3 of those. And therein lies the problem, or the cause and effect (affect)."

Somehow, that view exactly summed up the feelings I had as I came away from the concert last night.

Yes, Tom Jones undoubtedly does still have a brilliant voice.

Yes, he is a charmer, although I felt he bordered on the banal or insensitive at times (for instance, a particular comment about 'money' that I can't remember exactly so won't try to paraphrase). Plus the beard didn't suit him (think George Michael in a few years).

Yes, the stage show was very cleverly put together (2 large screens which juxtaposed extremely good camera shots of the live performance with footage from the past (when he actually moved rather than swayed around the stage), excellent lighting, clever introduction).

Yes, the 11-piece backing group were excellent - particularly the saxophonist and the two Gwen-Dickey-like female vocalists.


What an interesting audience and what a strange venue (you know that people-watching and consumer protection are what BW does best ;)

The average age of the audience was either 21 or 59, depending where you looked.

The average weight of the audience was either 7 stone or 16 stone, depending where you looked.

There was no feeling of the "togetherness" or "atmosphere" that you normally get at large concerts.

Most of the people seemed dead miserable. Or as miserable as dead people. Same difference.

Most of the audience looked uncomfortably dressed; even the stick insects had rolls of fat popping over the top of their too-tight trousers and I've never seen so many women with tattooes in one place. And I really can't understand why some women insist of cramming their feet into ludicrous footwear with knitting-needle heels or acutely angled toes.

Most of the audience seemed unable to survive for 5 minutes without either:
(a) a bucket of candy floss or popcorn
(b) two bottles of Smirnoff Ice or Reef constantly in their hands
(c) a disgusting looking hot-dog (probably made of dog)
And constantly walked up and down the steep wooden tiers of seats, in the dark, to replenish their stocks (had they heard of Health and Safety in that venue I wondered?).

The average age 21 contingent seemed to prefer talking loudly all the way through, or sending text messages, to listening.

The average age 59 contingent either consisted of two mutton-dressed-as-lamb women (hairspray, cheap perfume, fishnet tights and tops, all at least 2 sizes too small), or woman plus greying cowering husband, or groups of past-it once-Essex-girls from Dagerrrnham (think char-ladies from Fords, alwight?).

My overwhelming impression was that they all seemed so unhappy.

I started watching their faces. I started wondering what it was in their lives that made them look like that, feel like that... want to pay £28.50 to go to see Tom Jones on a Sunday evening (BTW, it was OK for £7, but I'd have felt ripped-off if we'd paid full-price - and at least, one day, when he dies, I can now say, "I saw him in 2003", which I can't with Frank Sinatra etc).

I got to wondering how many of them were taking anti-depressants, heart medication, other prescribed medication...

I got to wondering why the average age 21 group needed to be constantly talking among themselves, drinking alcopops or playing with their mobile phones all evening to have a 'good time', and why the big treat of the week for the average age 59 Dagerrrnham ladies was a nasty hot-dog ("I'd av ad the chips an all only they din't look up ter much")

And then I read Peter's piece that I mention above. And somehow it all made sense... Well, to me anyway :)

   posted by Blue Witch at 11:50 am....  
Thought for the day:

"When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong."

Oscar Wilde - The Critic as Artist
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:56 am....

   Sunday, May 11, 2003  
Thought for the day:

Practise politeness. Not for the benefit of others, but for the ennoblement of yourself. It doesn't matter if the receivers reciprocate (which they usually will) or not - you will feel better for your niceness.
   posted by Blue Witch at 10:19 am....

   Saturday, May 10, 2003  
The 5th Weekly Make BW Laugh Award

Sorry for the delay in announcing this week's award. Yes, I can see that some of you nominees have been visiting with increasing frustration.... but Mr BW needed me in the garden ;)

The Mediterranean Garden is nearing completion; the floor is now tiled, and the majority of the pots are now planted. If anyone has any blue glass bottles going spare, I could use them; I haven't quite got enough and the thought of having to drink Harvey's Bristol Cream to get some more is too much, really.

Mr D'Ove nearly bit my hand off as I tried to take a photo so you could all see his two ugly offspring, so, sorry, no photos for the moment, as I value my digits too much.

So, finally - the contenders:

dave's image of Edward I's forefather. He's a dog. Edward, that is ;)

DG's cigarette packet health warnings.

drD's admission about shirts (what is it with bloggers and shirts?) doing it for him - I think it was the bit in the middle, "When you've been brought up on the Marks and Spencer guide to sensible-middle-aged-dressing-for-the-young anything sans St Michael is a big step into the unknown," that really set me off... (entry is Monday 5th's - drD seems not to have mastered individual post links).

But no, I'm going to give this week's BW Award to Tony Macaroni "A genuine diamond geezer, salt of the earth type and all round nice guy, and a fantastic DJ to boot," according to his mate and promoter drumfan, who brought him to my attention (go bang on his door too, he's a nice guy and still in the important counter-watching phase, bless ;) - despite him taking the name of my favourite blogger in vain ;)

It's Tony's very first blog, and had me nearly choking on the cup of tea I was drinking at the time. . . If you can prove to me that you have never felt as he describes (you may have to change the gender according to your particular preference) then you can have a bonus BW point too. Remember, you only need 10 to secure a jar of delicious very limited edition BW honey. Well, it's The BW's Bees' honey, actually, but...

Actually, if I was being honest, DG really made me laugh most, but, he's already had the award once, and he's had 882 visitors this week (as at 19:00), so he doesn't need the publicity, or the encouragement, now does he? ;) Plus, I usually give him one when I'm passing anyway ;) and I might be a bit jealous ;)

BTW Tony, you can design your own award cup and display it on your blog all week. I keep trying to get someone to make a nice image for me so that winners don't have to DIY, but no-one has accepted the challenge so far, even though there are Bonus BW Points on offer...
   posted by Blue Witch at 9:36 am....  
Thought for the day:

"Be not afraid of growing slowly. Be afraid only of standing still."

- Chinese Proverb
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:20 am....

   Friday, May 09, 2003  
BW and Mr BW are happy to announce the safe hatching of their two latest eggs at some time during the day. Mr and Mrs D'Ove are very proud of Baby D'Ove 1 and Baby D'Ove 2 :) We are now a 4 white D'Ove family. Await the sales link in the sidebar.

   posted by Blue Witch at 8:54 pm....  
Anagrammatically yours

I think if I didn't live in The Coven, I'd like to live in a box. Or rather, comments boxes. If I could be bothered, I'd love to chart the topics and conversations that hop around, with different people joining in, most of them only seeing part of a conversation. Plus, you never know quite what is going on underneath all the layers, what private (real life or email) conversations you are missing out on. It's quite entertaining actually.

So, the latest I've been perusing - anagrams. Just because I did it ages ago and buried it away ready to build on it on a day when I had run out of ideas (erm which looks like it will never happen - remind me I said that in 2 years time, won't you?), here's what "Blue Witch" will transform into:


So, which 3 do you like best?
   posted by Blue Witch at 5:28 pm....  
Well, I never thought I'd be doing this and It Is Unusual, but...

Mr BW seems to have got his mitts on 2 tickets to see Tom Jones at Docklands Arena on Sunday night. Usually £28.50 each, these tickets are just £7 each, and the money is going to the local hospice, so it seems a Value Witch bargain. Not to mention the further opportunity to get myself some free new lingerie (no, I wouldn't, honestly - probably ;) )
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:47 am....  
Thought for the day:

"Life is simply a mauvais quart d'heure made up of exquisite moments."

Oscar Wilde - A Woman of No Importance
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:36 am....

   Thursday, May 08, 2003  
Thanks to NB Peter for bringing to my attention that, 2 days after I gave up on him, and deleted him from my sidebar (that took 4 attempts as Blogger template hates me, hence why we're still in the Old Look, non-anything but IE compatible, Coven), the man from Iraq is back, via a friend.

Compulsive and sobering reading.
   posted by Blue Witch at 9:51 am....  
Talking to myself

Was just over in DG's comments and I noticed the following: "it's embarrassing to make comments on your own blog. If you were German, you'd be guilty of SelbstbeBlogsprach."


I often put stuff in my comments box that I don't want Googled, or afterthoughts (like today). There's also the bonus that if there is a number after the 'comments', then people click the box thinking someone has said something witty... and, finding it's only me mumbling on more, they then add something, when they wouldn't otherwise have done so. Well, that's my theory anyway, and I'm sticking to it :)

The psychology of comments boxes is my new idea for a PhD (to be honest, I have these ideas for PhDs regularly, so just humour me, I'm still getting over not taking up the offer + grant to further research my 3rd year dissertation into memory that I was given at 21). As Peter said over at Steve's the other day, "It's pretty clear that comment boxes are where it's at these days. My proposal: abandon blogs and just have comment boxes all over the place."

What is wrong with commenting on your own blog?

I always say, if you talk to yourself, you don't get silly answers. IMHO, of course :)
   posted by Blue Witch at 9:19 am....  

I was trying to find out the rule about using apostrophes with acronyms or abbreviations. Despite having scored full marks on the apostrophe test over here a couple of months ago, I never know whether to put 'CD's' or 'CDs'. I eventually found this guide. It also cleared up whether one should put eg '50's' or '50s' when referring to decades. For those of you who can't be bothered to click the links, either is acceptable, in either case.

The guide has also got some very interesting other facts on commonly muddled words. No comment is needed from the person who discovered that I didn't know the difference between 'discrete' and 'discreet' recently ;)
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:32 am....  
Thought for the day:

Regret is an appalling waste of energy. You can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in.
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:15 am....

   Wednesday, May 07, 2003  

Well, you nearly had the chance to hear BW on R2 today. I got a phone call mid-morning from a researcher asking if I would be prepared to do a 2 minute phone interview with JV giving my professional views on smacking children. I declined. Largely because they weren't offering money and I could see no possible benefit to me in it :) but also because I couldn't be bothered to think about whether I had any views on said subject. I never have to resort to thinking about hitting children - one Blue Witch Paddington Hard Stare usually silences them for several minutes :) I happened to be driving around when the feature was broadcast, and they'd obviously rung lots of people all loosely connected with the area. I even knew two of the people personally. I was jolly glad I said "no".

I did a lot of driving round today, and happened to catch the Miles Mendoza Website of the Day spot on Steve Wright. A site dedicated to people who insist on wearing sandals and socks. Something that must be a uniquely British thing? I fully expect the site to crash later, given how large the photo files are, and the volume of traffic likely to land there...

I also bought myself a new cauldron. A real one, that bubbles and steams! I've wanted one of these since I first saw one at the Chelsea Flower Show 3 years ago. The unit produces vapour which looks like dry ice using an ultrasonic unit that vibrates water to create a cloud-like mist. They were half the price they were last year (way cheaper than any of the prices I'd previously found on the net), so I treated myself. It will be perfect for the new Mediterranean Garden. As far as I can see, the only positive thing that has come out of the war in Iraq (you'll need to be a careful and regular reader to understand that one ;) ) I bought a nice terracotta olive jar (cauldron) for the unit to float in. Mr BW will hopefully be able to drill a hole in it for the cable... if it doesn't work I guess I'll have a lots of bits of crock for the bottom of my plant pots.
   posted by Blue Witch at 5:53 pm....  
Value Witch

In a blue and white striped mood today, so here's a lovely link which lets you find out where all the bargains in the supermarkets are. You can find, for example, all the products currently on offer in a given supermarket, or where an item you specify is cheapest (great if you're having a party and want to buy some cheap booze etc etc). If you register and list the products you buy regularly, they will e-mail you and let you know when and where those items are on offer, BOGOF, 3 for 2 etc.

Here, for example, are all the places where beer and lager and wine and champagne are on offer at the moment.

I was having a conversation with someone the other day about the concept of "value" and she laughed at me when I said that I always stock up when things that we use are good value. I pointed out that if I buy 40 items a week in a supermarket and save just 10p on each (which is probably a very conservative average), that is £4 a week, or £208 a year. Apply that sort of saving to all areas of expenditure and it soon mounts up.

I don't spend ages messing around with shopping (shopping for me has to be quick, no-fuss and no queues) or shop in the cheapest supermarket (I like Sainsbury's and hate Tesco's and Asda) either. But I do make use of Costco and Aldi (for certain things they are better than any big chain supermarket, but, as with everything in life, you have to be selective). And I always have a list. Or rather, 5 different lists, one for each place I shop, all neatly in my Palm, and close at hand when a purchasing opportunity arises. When something has nearly run out, it goes on the list. Saves time, saves hassle, and means we never run out of anything. BW likes simplicity :)
   posted by Blue Witch at 11:27 am....  
Creeping Americanisation

The concept of gated communities amuses me.

I can see the sense of it in blocks of flats, but, why would anyone need to live on an estate of large new houses with a barrier and uniformed guard to keep people out? For goodness sake, you wouldn't choose to live 3 feet from the next person if you were a people-phobe, surely?

Last time I was in Las Vegas, I went to visit a friend of one of the friends I was with. He lived in such a community. The fact that he had 14 motorbikes decorating his home (and another 9 in his garage) and a TV bigger than most cinema screens didn't impress me much. What impressed me less was that the obese, gum-chewing, guard initially refused to let the 3 of us in because we happened to be on motorbikes. That was in contravention of 'The Rules'. So, the person we were visiting had to walk all the way to the gatehouse to sign us in. Kind of defeated the purpose we thought...

I know of 2 new small developments (both in Suffolk) which are gated communities, with a full-time person sat by the portcullis. Complete 'power' for someone who would otherwise be doing something less powerful one can presume. One of the communities has 5 houses (probably £400-500K price-bracket, so, nothing staggering). The 'privilege' of having that guard watching over them must cost each household at least £8K pa, in real terms (with on-costs and after tax). Value for money? They obviously think so.

In the US, gated communities usually have restrictions on such things as who can occupy them, how often you have to cut the grass and re-paint the exterior, what plants you can have in the garden and how often they have to be watered, how many vehicles you can have on the property at any time, what colour and design the mailbox can be etc etc. What a way to choose to live.

The concept has come to the UK. Well, to Scotland anyway. Breakfast News this morning reported on a new development, Firhall, in Nairn, where children are not allowed to dwell. Creeping Americanisation.

OK, so there have been developments for the over-55s in this country for some time now, but, developments where children are only allowed to visit? Surely this is discrimination? If someone built a development and said that, for example, no disabled people, homosexuals, or pakistanis could live there, there would be an outcry.

I can see the attraction of child-free areas. Let's face it, we live in one, and my plans to ensure we are able to buy the neighbouring property when its current elderly occupant dies (and so prevent the ingress of juniors) are well advanced. However, I do worry about discrimination too.

   posted by Blue Witch at 9:26 am....  
Thought for the day:

Every once in a while it is important to give ourselves time to stop to assess what we are doing and see if it is what we need to be doing in this life. When we are not doing what we need to be doing, no-one is happy.
   posted by Blue Witch at 7:24 am....

   Tuesday, May 06, 2003  
Thought for the day:

"We teach people how to remember, we never teach them how to grow."

Oscar Wilde - The Critic as Artist
   posted by Blue Witch at 8:23 am....

   Monday, May 05, 2003  
Just another manic Monday...

Only just totally dark here. Wonderful sunset, warm outside, made the new Mediterranean wall feature seem quite, well, how it is meant to be. Even had our dinner and a nice bottle of 1997 Cotes de Rhone (a cheapy bottle, hidden in 'The Cellar', exported from France, shouldn't have been that good and lasted that long, but it did :) out there. The Wall is still not quite finished, but Mr BW has been working his socks off rendering and painting while I spent yesterday in bed recharging my batteries, and it's looking great. I even managed to get out of bed today and up to the local garden centre to procure a bargain or two (Value Witch can never resist a letter that says "Dear Mrs BW, as a privileged customer, please visit us this Bank Holiday Weekend and buy lots of BOGOF offers, and receive a free large tub of plant food if you spend over £10"), and then to plant up some of the many fuchsias (my favourite flower - as no-one remembered below :( ) that I 'obtained' during last week. Things are progressing nicely.

But - I am concerned. Blanche and Weiss are occupying separate bedrooms in The Dovecote (actually, according to the books, strictly, it's a 'polecote', but I bet most of you will have little enough idea about what a dovecote is (you need to click 'dovecote' in the LH bar, stupid website that is), without confusing you :) - and, I hasten to add, having seen the prices listed, Mr BW *made* our D'Ovecote as a 40th birthday present for me, and it's much better than anything in that link) - is this normal D'Ove behaviour just before hatching time? I don't expect you want to know about the maggots that emerged from the previous D'Ove (unhatched) eggs that I removed when they deserted them, and put on the shelf in the utility... suffice it to say that they are now ex-maggots - some Dettox'd away, some in a jar, now in pupa form, waiting to, erm... hatch... and what will emerge?
   posted by Blue Witch at 10:01 pm....

...the musings of a SAD psych(ic)

Whinge, moan and lecture are what Blue Witch does best...

email: blue-witch [at]

Philosophy of The Coven:
Wisdom begins with questioning. Sanity begins with "No."

Preoccupations of The Coven:
- Quotes
- Spelling & smiling
- Value
- Education
- Environment
- Memory



Blue Witch

Blue Witch's familiars:

diamond geezer
my ace life
coop blog

the brick
big n juicy
spell cnut
these moments that I've had
those wonderful people

somewhat, muchly
troubled diva
mad musings of me
a blogs life
bacon cheese and oatcakes
burnt toast
invisible stranger

rogue semiotics
santiago dreaming
language hat
rons world

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