Sadly, the fun(?) of Giraffe Week has to be cut short, because BW and MrBW have to go on a little journey to see some of MrBW's friends up-country. May peek a giraffe neck (not to mention a bluetooth enabled digital camera/camcorder, works in zero lux, x120 zoom) over his dry-stone wall as we're only staying about 5 miles away from there. I've told him to get the assam and batttenberg in, just in case :)
Anyway, here's an outline of what I was planning to do for the rest of the week :)
To fill the time until I return, I have a little giraffe challenge for you.
What is the tackiest, naffest, kitchest, giraffe thing available on the internet?
BW Bonus Points may be made available :)
(audience views on popularity will be taken into account)
To get you started, it's probably not any of these:
The answer, in 48 pieces, is here. It's very clever, and if you can complete it, you're a better giraffe than me. If you do manage, post your time in the comments. If you're very clever, post a screenshot too. Then we might believe you've done it :)
OK, by now you should have finished the colouring task I set earlier.
I know how much you all enjoyed it, so here's a slightly more difficult one. To help you, please bear giraffe in mind that, "Different giraffe sub-species have different patterns, but most have brown polygons on a cream/tan background. The polygons are larger on the body and smaller on the face and limbs and act as camouflage among the trees."
Bloody townies. No knowledge of the needs of giraffes at all.
Someone else has a much better idea of the sort of giraffe that is best for people like my GUILTy friends (apparently that stands for Giraffe Universal International Liberation from Trade organisation, but I didn't know giraffes were allowed in there? ;)
(just checked those links - you'll need to scroll down a bit on all of them)
Coven alarm clock: diddeley-dee...diddeley-dee...diddeley-dee...
MrBW:(translated and edited from what was actually said) It's time for me to get up.
BW: No, it's my hug time.
MrBW:Makes some sort of half-attempt at hugging BW, has far-away look in eyes. BW: What are you thinking about? Have you got lots of horrible meetings at work today?
MrBW: Actually, I was thinking of giraffes standing on their heads, their brains exploding from all the blood rushing the wrong way in their necks, stuff like that...
*giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe you giraffe must giraffe post giraffe a giraffe in giraffe your giraffe blog giraffe or giraffe email giraffe one giraffe to giraffe blue giraffe witch giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe giraffe
That was a subliminal message. To magically reveal what you already know, highlight the bit between the stars. You know that you want to.
I'm fairly certain that I must have been a giraffe in a former life.
I know this because, even now, I can sit in a kind of low giraffe position - well, actually, with my legs in a "W" shape - left leg to the left and bent at the knee, right leg to the right and bent at the knee. If you see what I mean...
I tried to lead into it last week, but my comments out and about were largely ignored :( I'm used to it :) Read the MBWLA announcement last Saturday (Contender 1) if you want to try to make sense of this nonsense...
For anyone who doesn't know, a few notes about giraffes from here (don't click that link or you may end up reading the same info again later in the week :) )
"The biggest ruminant and the tallest mammal. Very long neck with short, upstanding mane, high shoulders sloping steeply to hindquarters; long legs nearly equal in length. Male wt 2420-4250 lb (1100-1932 kg), shoulder ht 9-11 ft (2.7-3.3 m), top of horns up to 18 ft (5.5 m); Female wt 1540-2600 lb (700 1182 kg), female shoulder ht 2 ft shorter. Head tapers to point; long, prehensile tongue. Horns: solid bone, skin covered; a main pair in both sexes but female's thin and tufted; male's thick and bald on top, up to 5 in (13.5 cm). A median horn and 4 or more smaller bumps in males. Tail hocklength, with long tassel. Color brown to rich chestnut (old males darker, even black), dissected into intricate tapestry by patches and blotches of lighter hair, pattern unique in each giraffe. Scent glands: possible glands on eyelids, nose, lips; adult males have pungent smell. Teats: 4."
It may get more interesting as the week goes on...
I thought that one of the benefits of having chosen not to have children was that I would never have to face the situation of telling children that their parents were splitting up.
I thought that until yesterday afternoon.
I never expected to find myself spending half my weekend sitting hugging two sobbing, non-comprehending, heart-broken boys of 8 and 10 while their mother tried to explain, in a balanced and reasonable way, and their father contributed by occasionally muttering, "It's all your mother's fault, it's her who's chosen to break up the family." I was there on a damage limitation mission. I'm sure I was successful as there was none of the verbal or physical bullying that the boys' mother had feared. At least, not while I was there. Plus, the boys both now know that they have a non-involved neutral party who won't take sides, who knows exactly what is going on, to talk to, should they wish.
I've known these boys for three and a half years now. The elder came to me as a non-reader, who his Year 2 (top infant) class teacher had seemingly given up on, and, due to this, no self-confidence and no belief that he could ever learn to read. A few spells and some Witchy Words of Encouragement, and, in no time at all he was reading and quickly catching up with his peers. His brother also struggled to master reading, but it was quickly obvious to me that this was due to specific difficulties. So many times I heard him say, "I can't do it Blue Witch!", to which I'd reply, "No such word as can't, you can do anything you want if you keep trying just a little bit harder!" The most heart rending moment of Saturday afternoon was when the younger boy said, "Mummy, why don't you love Daddy any more?" to which she replied, "I just can't love Daddy any more." He responded with, "Well, Blue Witch says there's no such word as can't, so you'll just have to try a bit harder, like I have to with my reading!" Don't you just hate those times when your words come back to haunt you like this?
People change over time. Mr BW and I are lucky, we have evolved together over the last ten and a half years. I don't know the secret, although communication, honesty, respect, acceptance, love, togetherness, understanding and caring would come high on my list of essential qualities. Others, like these boys' parents, change in different directions, or at different rates. This happens for all sorts of reasons.
Life experiences change people in different ways. Experiences have different effects on people. Some learn from their experiences, and develop and grow. Some just dust themselves down and carry on in the same old way time after time, seemingly unable to benefit from the lessons of life and unable to modify and change their ways of thinking and behaving.
That's what had happened to this couple. One had (by his own admission) carried on thinking and behaving in virtually the same way over the fifteen years of their relationship, the other had moved on from the person she was when she was 25. They are both now 40. She had learnt from experience, and changed, he hadn't. The gulf between them was too wide because they had not talked about the growing problems between them. Sad, and in this case, irreparable.
We've had bees at The Coven for 7 years now. It is a complex craft, with much to learn. However, as is typical of us Blue Witches, we quickly built up a network of supportive contacts, went on some courses and read all the recommended books. After a couple of years (of mixed successes and failures) we felt confident that we knew what we were doing and were pleased to be told, by someone whose experience and expertise we respected, that we were as skilled and knowledgeable as many people who had kept bees for many years. "Surely not?" I said, "They've years of experience, we've just three!" The reply came, "Ah, but, they've had the same year's experience many times, you've had many years experience because you've learnt from what you've done in three!"
Thanks to everyone who took part. Your entries are too good to leave in the comments box, so here they all are. Can't resist getting my magenta pen out though. Forgive me? :)
Mr.D. (not drD)
On the principle that I was competent to keep a discrete calendar, I transferred a truly innovative warranty which benefited my grievance procedure. I thought that what occurred would affect it, but concede that if I could liaise with the other calendar, I could expedite the chance to acquire accommodation, without having to incur costs or withhold information. But I really had to practise!
BW says: Very good. Uses a minimum number of extraneous words and is completely accurate (as far as I can tell). I'm feeling generous so am awarding you 2 points.
I have been praciSing discrETE exercises in order to truly acquire a competent and comprehensive grasp of spelling. I feel I have benefited in princiPAL from your innovative list. I hope that I have not withheld, conceded or caused any grievance to affect any future posts on spelling. I wish I could work expedite into this.
Yours, discrEETly (as ever)
BW says: Good try but I think that there's one error.
Unlike this other attempt (erm, I swear I said one entry per person...) where there's... I've lost count twice... but it was bloody funny :) Guess I'll give you a point for cheating. Good job I like you :)
I woz practicing all night to make sure I truely had beneffitted and that the list would effect my spelling skiils and hopeflly my principals in general, coz I do want to aquire competant proper spelling and grammer. I conceed that sometimes greivance has ocurred and even acomodation has been witheld from me because my efferts to laisie with the dicionary (which I got from the stationary deparment, it has a waranty and a calander) were not very cleaver. My Mam said I would incure displeaseure if I don't be more inovative and that I should have of expideited to transfered my learining knowlegde. I said it did not matter really coz the key thing about working in Top Shop right is to be discrete at all times coz you see some funny things in the charging rooms.
"I have a grievance," I said to the stereotypical blonde behind the desk, "about my accommodation. If you check your calendar, you will have to concede that I have a booking for a room with two discrete beds. You've given me a room with two discreet beds. While they are truly unpretentious, this is a matter of principle to me. Therefore, I would like you to liaise with whomsoever you need to in order to expedite the speedy remedy of this situation. Either that, or I will have my bags transferred to somewhere that the staff are competent." It occurred to me at that point that I could have made a more innovative demand, such as threatening to withhold payment. But if I did that, I would incur additional expense, and nobody would have benefited. Her stony faced lack of response began to affect my calm. If she had thought to practise using even the slightest corner of her brain, if she had shown a nugget of ingenuity, it would have been a great way to acquire a new loyal customer. As I was about to kick her in the shins, however, I was approached by the hotel manager. He apologised for the receptionist's poor manners, explaining that she was a cheap Korean import, and she hadn't come with a warranty.
BW says: Good try BUT... considering the D'Ove relative (ie pigeon) abuse you admitted to, as a student, earlier in the week (that already cost you one MBWLA point, although I nearly gave it back to you for your comment, "Better to have laughed and lost than never to have laughed at all"), I am applying very strict criteria here ;) I shall allow the fact that the second piece of quoted speech doesn't start with a capital letter, as it is a continuation of the first piece and I can't be arsed to go and find a grammar book to check this. However, Picky Witch suggests that there should be either a "that" before the "she" in the final clause of the final line, or that the word "she" should be omitted altogether. You still get a point though :)
Truly, this Blue Witch does like to acquire a huge amount of comments. She wants us to practise our spelling ability. This occurred on an otherwise dull day in the calendar month of July. I thought about using a web site to expedite this grievance. But I had to concede that I was competent enough to complete the task alone. I benefited from the innovative way that my laptop has a wide screen. I was able to liaise between Word and TextEdit which had a minimal affect on me. Not able to withhold much information (it is a principle of mine) the warranty on this laptop is about to end. I just hope that I don’t drop it, it may discrete its self on the floor of my current accommodation.
BW says: Great to see new commentators taking part :) And a good effort. Very creative use of 'discrete' - although I shall have to disallow this as 'discrete' is an adjective meaning separate and you've used it as a verb (erm - I think, anyway). You do still get your point though :)
To practise my art and affect a new cure,
Withhold it so truly that pain I incur,
I concede that my grievance was often transferred,
To discrete whereabouts where the pain first occurred,
An innovative solution was all that I sought,
And all would have benefited from the relief that it brought,
I would liaise with the experts of mind, soul and thought,
To acquire the answer and expedite from the source,
It could take me a lifetime a whole calendar,
But it seems accommodation is all part of the cure.
BW says: I am assured (although not at all convinced) that this is a previously undiscovered Dylan lyric, to the tune of "The times they are a changin'". This is going to be my winner, and receives 2 points, for its creative poetical pertinence to the recent context ;)
I haven't given any MBWLA points to entrants in the Spelling Test (entries to that have now closed - thanks to all entrants, results tomorrow as I've not got time today to check all the answers and make a decision) as there were special BW points for that, and there was a distinct attempt at cheating going on to also gain MBWLA points. No names, no pack drill, but the usual suspects ;)
Contender 1: This is a bit complicated, so giraffe bear with me.. It started here, when DG wrote about a magically surreal giraffe show, culminating in them eating dry ice out of bowls, that he had seen on the way home from the pub. Yeah, right ;) I've always loved giraffes. I commented that I wanted a giraffe. The next day, on the 200th day of the year, DG put up some statistics. You can always count on DG for numerical facts. I commented, "BW now wants a giraffe calculator." To this, pop artist, an unidentified, but not unidentifiable, occasional commentator, but, I suspect, avid reader of DG, commented,
"One more statistic. Please could you tell us how many comments have been made by the doverly bee witch?"
Erm, DG, we're still waiting for the answer.... or have you run out of fingers? ;)
Contender 2:drD's summary of the BB Final Line-Up. BW especially liked the name variations and accompanying pictures.
Contender 3: Eloon "I stumbled into the London Sleep Centre this morning, thinking that once I get the tooth sorted, maybe I should seek professional help for my sleep patterns.
I think I might print that out and stick it above my bed with the tag line "that's why you can't stay the night". "
Contender 4: Nic, who made me laugh with his tale of accidental beheading of lillies, because I've mis-labelled, or failed to label, seeds I've collected from the garden so many times (btw - Value Witch Tip - use the envelopes included with junk mail for putting saved seeds in).
"So, when in doubt I leave it until it is obviously going to seed. Then I think about saving it a bit longer and growing on the seed. Then, next year I wonder what on earth all the seedlings are as I forgot to use the indelible pen again. I use the inedible one instead. Easy mistake."
This advice on collecting seeds is probably avoided (at least until next year) by novice gardeners though. Let's not go confusing him with contradictory advice.
Contender 5: drD again. His countdown to the Big n Juicy Brother final has been priceless. This one is probably the best. Read it all. I can't pick the funniest bit.
Contender 6: Ron, 24th July post (may only have been funny in the context of my Quincy reference earlier in the week, or the fact that he'd just made a post entitled "Gaffs" that I misread as "Giraffes"):
"a little reunion between those of us still in touch after the salad days of 1994-97. A time when the only thing you really had to give a toss about was what time Quincy was on and if, by skipping any proper meals, you had enough cash to get that 2 litre bottle of Boss Super Strong Dry Cider (9%) and take to ‘Boss Cider Challenge’, i.e. finish the bottle."
Contender 7: Just clicking around some blogs I occasionally read earlier in the week, I was surprised to see what I thought was Marcus getting in on the Thought for the Day line.
"I am passing this on to you because it has definitely worked for me. By following the simple advice I read in an article, I have finally found inner peace........ It read: "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started. So I looked around to see all the things I started and hadn't finished.
Great, I thought! Then I read on:
"And today I have finished off a bottle of vodka, a bottle of red wine, a bottle of Jack Daniel's, 2 pills, a small box of chocolates and 2 litres of Stella. You have no idea how good I feel.
And the winner is..... a tie between drD and drD. Phew, that's lucky then, half points are too confusing for BW and her poor attempt at a scoresheet (which I'll update and post soon).
I started writing this first thing. Just before 9am I got an unexpected phone call from the mother of two boys that I have been working with (she is 40 and has been married for 15 years). Since then, I have been with her, and her parents, trying to help her explore and find a way forward from an abusive marital situation (that I have long suspected, but never been told about until today). The long and the short of it is that, as soon as her husband gets home, I will be going to discuss with the pair of them how they are going to tell the children that she is divorcing him for his bullying behaviour. Bullying can take many forms. Despite the many years of experience with situations like this that I have, what I have heard today has made my blood run cold. In the light of everything that has happened, I considered not posting this yet. On reflection, however, I have decided to, because if it makes just one person stop and think about how they might be "bullying" another (maybe even very subtly), it will have been worthwhile.
A few days ago Ash at incredible.org wrote very thoughtfully about his encounter with a 15 year old lad "who clearly had issues", on work experience with him in a theatre. It's a beautifully written piece that I'm sure will ring bells with many people. It can be read in its entirety here.
I'm just going to pull out a few key phrases that seem to encapsulate many of the theories in the vast literature on bullying:
"This lad identified himself as the bullied and even pointed out that he'd wondered what suicide would be like. A few moments later he was bragging about his glittering performing career...
On the one hand we had a victim of bullying, on the other a rather cocky kid who was more impressed by what he had been involved with than what he may one day be able to achieve if he tried.
Realising that the bullying was a big deal to him, I attempted to offer him my empathy. I should point out that this lad had been spiky in the extreme during the conversation, frequently treating my comments as though they were barbed...
...it's obvious to be advised not to react, but it's a lot harder to achieve no reaction when everyone is working at you to get one. It takes two to bully, I postulated. One to bully and one to be bullied. "No," said my young student, "it takes, three - you need one to look on and be impressed by the bullying."
"Perhaps," said I, "it depends on the bullying in question - some bullies are doing it to show themselves they can exert control and so don't need an audience."
This lad was a tough nut to crack and I was tiring of his defensive accusatory tones in conversation. I finally said to him something like "Look, we're all on the same team here, working backstage. And anyway, I'm far too old, wise and bald to start picking on someone half my age." I thought this would help him. I'll never forget his reply - "You forgot to mention fat." This lad decided the best course of action was to bully me!
I was bullied at primary school, as I found things too easy and was viewed as the 'teacher's pet'; I also stood up for others who were bullied (I've written about this before).
I have also been bullied in the workplace. For being incredibly good at my job (although not immodest, of course ;) ), and for not suffering quietly those who were failing in their management and professional leadership responsibilities.
Those who are bullied are sometimes strong people (or, at least, people who present a 'strong' face to the world). Those who do the bullying often have a lot of their own unresolved issues. It's easier to bully than to address one's own inadequacies. To anyone like that, I offer one of my favourite Nanci Griffith lyrics to think about:
"Cold Hearts/Closed Minds
My bags are waiting in a cab downstairs
I've got a ticket in my pocket says I'll make it out of here
And I came by here just to tell you good-by
I can see it in your face, you don't want to know why
I made up my mind late last night
That I would leave your city behind
Oh, and love is not in question
When you're holding the answer
In your cold heart and your closed mind
You've got a cold heart and a closed mind
Out in these streets these people are angry
Well, they push and shove one another aside
Well, I worked from the heart and you worked for the money
But I paid the price for your will to survive
Chicago roars like a midwest hurricane
I see that storm in your eyes
One of these mornings when you're making your way
Just gonna wash you out with the tide
I've learnt about bullying the hard way. I won't tolerate it, at any level. As Ash said,
"It takes at least two for bullying. One to bully and one to be bullied - I am too old and wise to play either role."
Yesterday Witchy set you a challenge.
You were challenged to learn the 20 top misspelled words.
Today, Witchy challenges you to write a paragraph including as many of them as possible, used in the correct context. One entry per person. One BW bonus point (and yes, they do count for the BW Yummy Honey) for each entry, provided that all words are used correctly. Entries can be put in the comments box or emailed. Two BW points for the one that BW judges to be best. BW's decision is final, although I may ask Mr BW to help me decide if I can't.
In the course of my work I have to deal with the resolution of misunderstanding, and sometimes conflict, in order to find ways forward to help people and situations move on. Sometimes (but not often these days) it affects me at a personal level.
Diamond Geezer has written an excellent post on tolerance and not jumping to conclusions today. Go and read it, if you haven't already.
These days I type almost everything except rough notes (and I do pages of those when I'm working, because my memory is so bad these days). I find that if I write something down, I've processed it enough for it to stick in my memory, whereas if I just listen to something, it's gone the next day. I don't often need to refer to the pages of notes, but, they're there if required.
My rough notes are composed of scrawled abbreviations, and, it's fair to say, with one or two notable exceptions, no-one other than me can read them (ha - I've worked hard over the years to ensure that!). Doctors' handwriting has nothing on BW's :)
Because I'm a hoarder (from a long line of hoarders), I still have many of my school exercise books. From these I can see that, over the years, my 'neat' (that ought to be 'best' I suppose as it sure ain't neat!) handwriting style has changed very little. As someone with more than a passing interest in graphology, I know that that's probably a bad sign... but, I just never felt the need to 'experiment' with handwriting as many people do, or to use it as an 'expressive medium'. I was always more interested in the message than in the medium of communication. And getting the message down as quickly as possible has always been my priority.
I was brunged up proper though, and still send 'thank you' notes / cards to people, for example, when they've entertained or accommodated us, or given us a gift. I could e-mail many of them, but I think that an email is so easily and quickly done that it takes no effort and doesn't reflect what I want to say.
However, I've recently found that I really can't form letters smoothly any more (probably because the muscles / nerve patterns used for typing are quite different to these used for handwriting). I hate writing that doesn't 'flow' as it's difficult to read and gives off bad vibes. I hate my handwriting.
Well, that's the final Event BBQ of the summer out of the way now. Have just about finished clearing up the mess. Just how many times in one summer does a Witch have to scrub 3 grids the size of half an oil drum?
I keep thinking of a funny I heard at yesterday's (that was for our bee buddies). When playing with bees you don't actually need very much protective clothing (providing you have good tempered bees - and we do, because us BWs don't tolerate nonsense from anyone, let alone insects), but you do always need some kind of veiled head cover.
It went like this:
"Many years ago, we had a family with a 3 year old girl living next door. She used to be fascinated when my husband put on his protective gear. One day, she said to her mother, "Mummy, why does Mr Miller have a cage on his head? Won't Mrs Miller let him out?"
Them were the days, when children were polite and called adults known to them by their relation name (such as Grandma or Grandpa), or 'Mr' and 'Mrs' (for general use), or 'Auntie' and 'Uncle' (for parents' close friends). Nowadays the assumed and apparently universally accepted first-name over-familiairty from children to adults leads, I'm sure, to less respect being shown.
Not going to say any more because drD and DG have already made a much better job of it than I could :)
Oh, and in case you haven't noticed, all sites using Enetation commenting are suffering from SCS (stuck counter syndrome). Again. I can't quite remember what I put in the spell that cured it last time.
Ah, talking of spells, to the person who stumbled over here from Google looking for free witch spells to get your lover to stay the night, I have a spot of advice. Really, if you're having to resort to spells, you're wasting your time. Dump them. It's the kindest thing. Really.
"Saturday: Borrowed friends ladder, discovered bathroom window rotten, replaced rotten wood, painted window frame, good as new. Went for walk with bf , Edward and Rob along the river Lea. The pub we wanted to have lunch in wouldn't let Edward inside OR in the garden!! Cnuts. Had tuna sandwiches at home. In the evening we watched Hectors House on DVD (gift from bf along with book I've wanted for ages) and had a 16" NYC style pizza delivered by a Russian man staying here on a tourist visa.
After watching about 10 five minute episodes of Hectors House I asked Darren if he thought that the set up reminded him of anyone. He said it didn't. I told him I thought that Hectors house and garden probably look like a certain blue bloggers homestead. And that Mr BW is Hector, Zaza is BW and Mr Whizz is Kiki the frog. He agreed that there are similarities (both have beautiful gardens) but that Mr BW and BW probably take turns being Hector."
"Today I've mostly been shifting about one and a half tons of rubble from one location to another.
Presently I am, what is known in the trade as completely f****d. I've inhaled more dust than a city trader with a bonus. I have blisters in places I didn't realise I had places and I am sorely in need of a late night snifter or two to soothe my weary bones onward to the land of nod."
"Hot tip for all you would-be IT gurus (collectively we are known as hobbyists or, meddlers). Before buying 512 Megs of DDR to attempt to improve the performance of your friend or relatives pc, ensure it takes DDR rather than the less common, more expensive RIMM(Rambus) memory before you make your purchase. Otherwise you may find that you, like me, on top of the extra 512 you bought for yourself, have now filled all 3 slots on your motherboard, and are running with 1.5 Gigs of RAM, which is more than most of the servers at work. The upside is you will be able to boot into XP in approximately 5 seconds, and within a few days your pc will as Arnie says, 'become self-aware', and attempt to suck power directly from the National Grid. Just don't call it Skynet for gods sake. I may put a bank of LED's on the front and call it WOPR though..."
"However it will also mean going back to being paid monthly. I haven't been paid monthly for nearly 2 years now. Even when I was working as a Billing Manager for E&Y in NZ, I was being paid fortnightly. I predict a return to yesteryear's "too much month at the end of the money" where I would have to survive on a loaf of bread for a week until payday. And that was when I worked somewhere that gave us bread for free!"
Contender 5: Alan even made me laugh when he acknowledged receipt of his last prize:
"Here in Oddverse Towers, we like honey. We like honey a lot. So we were particularly pleased and surprised when today, we received not one jar of honey, but two. Finest witchy, honey. Hand made by Blue Witch, doubtless using bees.
Now, obviously I'm going to have to work hard to make Blue Witch laugh, so that I can retrospectively earn that second jar of honey, but in the mean time it is the only food that we have in the house, so I guess we'll be enjoying meals of fine honey for the foreseeable future.
Based on this, I expect us to have grown soft hair on our tummies by the end of the week, little wings should emerge by the end of the month, and by the time September comes around, we'll be bees.
Unless we're bears. Because it's bears that actually harvest the bees and turn them in to honey, and then store the honey in jars marked 'Hunny'. They do."
Contender 6: Ron again. You shouldn't laugh at someone in pain, having to have a tooth out, but...
"out comes the anaesthetic, uncomfortable but acceptable. A quick prod revealed I could still feel a little, although I must confess I think I faked it a bit to ensure he numbed up the entire right half of my body."
And who hasn't lied like this?
Contender 7: Mr Oddverse again who is heading for receipt of a beehive to keep on his city flat roof as I'm not going to be able to afford to keep sending him honey at the rate he's making me laugh :) I'll send you directions by email Alan, it'll be OK. I do gardening by email already, so I'm sure I'll manage beekeeping by email.
He wrote a weird post that I didn't quite follow, largely because of a couple of errors and some 'sexism'. I left him a comment:
"Bob and Gloria live in Southwold, a picturesque town somewhere in England. One day, Bob comes home from a hard day working in the local village shop or whatever and suggests to Gloria that they pop in to Norwich and go to an antique fair.
1. If you live in Southwold you can't just 'pop into' Norwich, it's a fair old way.
2. Antiques fairs wouldn't still be open after work.
3. Why does she get a dress and he get a drill? Talk about stereotyping.
Otherwise, it was faintly amusing, and I nearly understood the parable ;)"
To which he replied:
"1. Nowrich is, of course, a typo for Ipswich.
2. Ah, but there was no antique fair anyway. It was all a ruse.
3. She gets a dress because she wants a dress. He gets a drill because he wants a drill. Just because these things are stereotypical, it doesn't mean that people never actually buy them.
In an earlier draft, the couple were called Dave and Darren, and there were sex toys involved."
Contender 8: A late contender, from my comments last night, from aforementioned dave (also again. You were on a good week this week, weren't you? :)
"it's all 'carry on' and 'on the buses' round your way lately!
i'm busy with the pledge at the moment (thats pledge as in mr sheen not hands on heart swearing allegiance to kylie type pledge (i refused that pledge years ago and was arrested by the fashion police))."
Contender 9: And, having allowed that, I also had to allow Eloon's late attempt in my comments (cheekily made even after I'd put up the MBWLA initial announcement):
"Me! Me! Me! I'm special. I'm special bus special! *pops bread in toaster in prep for honey*"
To be honest, I'm rather looking forward to seeing how Those Vertes at The Office react to her (eventual, if and when I *ever* allow her to get to 10 points ;) prize arriving at the Office in a beehive. How green are they really? ;)
Sorry, forgot this when first posting, Contender 10: another piece of inspired DG brilliance. Just don't tell him that I bought him a Feng Shui book at a garden party second-hand bookstall on Thursday afternoon, will you? ;)
And the Winner is:
As I suspected last Saturday when I first read it, no-one was able to beat dave's Hector quote. You do need to know, though, that I've loved Hector et al since I was a Tiny Witch. Mr BW laughed too. But, not as much as me (there were tears streaming down my face). I laughed every time I thought of it for all of Saturday and on-and-off on Sunday. Sitting in the Mediterranean Garden on Sunday we kept imagining Harry, the Flowerpot Man on a ladder popping over the wall. (Oops, I'll be in trouble with Steve for mentioning Harry again - Steve's threatening to have nightmares about Harry - has even imagined what voice Harry'll be speaking in, you know!)
Well done dave. I'll add up the points later and post the current score tally file.
And, this week there is an extra award.
To the blogger in this community who felt the need to send me personal hate-e-mail. I think they completely misunderstood something I wrote, but for a reason I still can't understand because they refused to explain or discuss, or communicate further. I have a great belief that in this life you either laugh or you cry. On reading that email, with its threat to "annihilate" me, sadly, Blue Witch laughed. That person gets a Special Trophy:
Driving along in the Blue Broomstick yesterday lunchtime there was a discussion on the wireless radio about alternative words to use in place of swear words. Of course, there were the usual "sugar", "fudge", "rollocks" type ones, but also some really creative ones.
Personally, if I want to say something rude, I do. But only in the right company. I am equally at home speaking to everyone and can adapt my language (in all senses of the word) accordingly. It's called building rapport I believe ;)
I was just thinking - do any of you have any good alternatives? Or know of any?
Oooh, I'm sat here trying to write a report that should have been done weeks ago and failing miserably.
The doorbell rang. I went to answer it. There was my (unseen for ages) lovely relief postman Mark. "Morning Blue Witch, thought I'd best knock as it's a bit big to go through the letterbox today." I swear he blushed under his designer stubble as he said that. "Hello Mark!" I said. "Haven't seen you for ages?" "Regular postie is on holiday for a couple of days, so I'll be delivering for a while."
Right, I'm off to send myself some bulky packages that won't fit through the letterbox. Or some juicy suggestive postcards.... (we all know posties read postcards).
I just know you're going to think I've made this up.
I haven't. Honestly.
At the last Ladies' Group meeting, there was a problem with the raffle. More precisely, with one of the raffle prizes. We'd had a French Evening (the cheese, wine and silly games sort, not the other sort) and a half-finished camembert was put in the raffle as an extra prize. Unfortunately, the person who won it (a batty old dear of about 80, who is rather hard of hearing and the worse for a lifetime of sherry abuse) failed to understand that it was an extra prize and went home upset, believing that the person organising the raffle had eaten half the prize.
Anyway, last night, the raffle prizes had almost all been drawn when said Old Lady's ticket came out again.
Old Lady: Is it the last prize again dear? I don't want it if it is!
Raffler Drawer: No there's two prizes left, you're OK this time.
Old Lady: Save my tired legs dear and tell me what they are?
Raffle Drawer: Well, there's a packet of scented floating candles or a large pot of cream. Leftover I admit, but definitely unopened. (aside, to those standing nearby - we won't be making that mistake again, after the fuss you made last time...) Old Lady: Is it a pint of cream?
Raffle Drawer: Yes it is.
Old Lady: Oooh good, I'll take that then, my pussy loves cream.
Younger Ladies: General laughter Another Older Lady: (also in all innocence) Ahhh. is it a boy or a girl, your pussy?
Old Lady: Neither, it's been done you know.
Raffle Drawer: (definitely NOT in all innocence) Now then, who's going to get the last prize? Who's got a use for these candles?
(No, Eloon, you're wrong, they're totally the inverse of ladies-wot-lunch ;) )
At 4.45pm I finally got hold of the lady who'd offered me 3 extra gazebos 'in case of inclement weather'.
At 5pm the heavens opened. Thunder, lightning, torrential downpour. I thought the next Flood had started. My spells could not compete.
At 5.30pm Mr BW arrived home, an hour earlier than normal, having left a top-level important meeting in mid-flow, "In case you need some help". Sweetheart.
At 6pm Extra Gazebo Lady arrived with her husband. He is 62 and has a grey ponytail and often walks around his farm in just tight Speedos in the summer.
At 6.05pm Mr Tight Speedos (wearing a barbour on this occasion) and Mr BW (in his work shirt and trousers on this occasion - he's got waterproof skin after all) put up 3 more gazebos and got drenched.
At 6.55pm the sun came out and stayed out.
At 7.05pm the first person arrived.
At 10.05pm the last person went home.
In between, The Ladies enjoyed a very nice BBQ and the garden; I kept having to smile politely at their effusive compliments and write down the names of plants for people (some I made up or wrote in scribbly writing cos I couldn't exactly remember them); and Mr BW (just to show The Ladies what a lovely Mr BW he is) got the BBQ going and ready to cook in record time with the bellows from the front room, did the ironing, took some photos, ate the equivalent of 3 Ladies' Supper Portions and then reposed on the cushions under the parasol by the pond with a very large whisky (in fact, it was so large that I thought it was a tumbler-full of ginger ale) and August's Country Living magazine.
Mr D, Alan and Dave are having a "mine's bigger than yours" contest in a comments box several posts down. So, I'd better set the challenge officially:
What's the longest word with 4 letters?
I was going to blog about something else, but, given that so far today I have accidentally posted my car park ticket in the paying-in machine in the bank, dropped a bowl, twisted my ankle, and that it's currently raining (with 50 people expected in two and a half hours and I haven't yet got hold of the person who offered to lend me 3 more gazebos), I think this is a safer option...
Right, that's the garden all sorted for the arrival of the entire contingent of the local ladies' group for the 3rd Event BBQ of the season tomorrow night (deliberately not writing the full name of the group as I often get asked to help them set up the PCs they have inherited from their children / grandchildren and it's always the first thing I get them to type into Google as an 'example' of what can be found, and I really don't want them visiting, thanks very much).
Last year someone remembered to get the wine but forgot to get the soft drinks (no, not me, I'd have remembered the juice purely so there'd be more wine for me - for once, I don't have to drive anywhere, so make the most of it, plus, if I'm slightly merry I don't mind so much when someone falls in the border, or the pond, or drops one of my best glasses, or takes a huge lump off one of my best plants - "it's just a little cutting" - without asking). I think they were amazed when I opened my larder and, without blinking, produced 10 litres of assorted fruit juices. Pile 'em high when they're cheap is my motto. I'm Value Witch after all. So, this year, I decided to avoid the problem by getting all the drinks myself. Oh, and making coleslaw for 50, as well as scrubbing 50 potatoes. Thank god for the Aga. 50 potatoes in the top (hot) oven is the only thing I've ever done in it that makes the temperature drop out of its normal range. I don't think I'd even get that many potatoes into a normal oven.
The thermometer here hit 34.8 degrees this afternoon. There are 1000s of near-microscopic insects that bite like mad and I was reduced to taking a Piriton tablet (antihistamine) this afternoon as I was swelling up so much. I hate taking that kind of thing, and rarely do it, so now feel like a zombie.
And, faites vos jeux - is it going to rain here tomorrow or not? And, if so, before or during the BBQ? And is the farmer going to cut the 400 acres of wheat behind us that looks ripe tomorrow? And if so, before or during the BBQ?
If those last questions are too hard for you, there's always Dave's wordy challenge just below this.
Having spent 3 hours (each) watering/ preening the garden, Mr BW and I settled down to watch BB and drink wine. As usual, I finished my wine first.
Me: Do you know, I've finished my wine, I've been bitten all over, I've got hard skin on my feet, furry legs and I've just picked a scab and made it bleed.
Mr BW: Me too.
Mr BW: Would you like some of my wine then?
Me: Mmm, please.
Mr BW: I'd rather you took the glass with the hand that isn't covered in blood BW...
We made him yesterday and he's scaring hell out of me every time I look out of the window (a bit like the male mannequin who used to be a fireman that we have in the loft), so here he is, reposing on his living willow seat (the D'Ovecote is out of the picture to the right btw):
His face came from Hampton Court last week, and his hat, arms and legs are the old pots that I inherited from my Grandpa. His hips are a pot that I had lined up for something else, but DG and Mr BW had already got them in place before I noticed, so I didn't dare say anything. Actually, Harry isn't quite finished as he has to have a sempervivum ruffle planted in his chest pot tonight.
The Flood is over and the ark has landed. Noah lets all the animals out and says, "Go forth and multiply."
A few months later, Noah decides to take a stroll and see how the animals are doing.
Everywhere he looks he finds baby animals. Everyone is doing fine except for one pair of little snakes. "What's the problem?" says Noah. "Cut down some trees and let us live there," say the snakes. Noah follows their advice.
Several more weeks pass. Noah checks on the snakes again. Lots of little snakes, everybody is happy. Noah asks, "Want to tell me how the trees helped?" "Certainly," say the snakes. "We're adders, so we need logs to multiply."
I am reliably informed that you probably need to be 39 or over to have had personal experience of this phenomenon...
Hands up all those who did maths using a slide rule?
Hands up all those who still have a slide rule?
Hands up all those who still remember how to use the thing?
Just exactly how much are C4 paying Jon to liven up the House?
At least it's got me watching again. Now that those shallow girls Tania and Lisa have gone. Or half-watching, anyway. That's about all I can manage.
BW on Sunday
The Flowerpot Men (or rather, one of them) got added to the Hector's House image at The Coven this afternoon. The hottest afternoon of the year. My thermometer hit 31 degrees. Here's an interesting fact about Bill and Ben:
"Bill and Ben Origins
Hilda Brabban wrote three Bill and Ben stories which were broadcast on the children's radio programme Listen with Mother in 1951. The television version, adapted by Frieda Lingstrom, appeared a year later.
Hilda Brabban originally wrote the stories for her younger brothers, William and Benjamin, who were always getting into mischief. If one of them had been naughty, their mother would shout: "Was it Bill or was it Ben?" - which became a catch phrase of the series. Bill and Ben's companion, Little Weed, was Hilda's youngest sister Phyllis; and the colloquial term for Bill and Ben's strange language, "Flobadob", was based on what the boys said when one of them broke wind in the bath.
The BBC paid Hilda Brabban just a guinea apiece for her three original stories; but she never received a penny in royalties from more than £2 million made by BBC videos of the series. "Freda Lingstrom always denied having heard about my stories," she recalled. But she did not really mind and took great pleasure in the television series: "My enjoyment was in the writing," she said. She was highly amused in 1996 by reports that Wakefield District Council was considering backing a plan to erect a statue in her honour at Castleford, where she had lived as a child.
Hilda Brabban's brothers, Bill and Ben, made successful careers in the greengrocery business; Ben died several years ago, but Bill and Phyllis (the original Little Weed) are still alive."
If you ask him nicely, he may post a picture of Harry. "Why Harry?" I hear you ask. Ask him that too. It was his idea. Or guess...
We were chatting and lounging around in the new Mediterranean Garden. Kept imagining a ladder with a pink nylon overalled frog popping over the top though :)
I just knew that someone in blogland was writing about me today. Correct first guess. It helps to be a psychic Witch. This made me laugh so much. It'll do as a Thought for the Day. Every time I think of it I shall laugh.
Alan sweetie, you'll have to go some to wrest this week's 2 points away from dave :)
And WHY is it that Blogger ALWAYS swallows posts when I have typed them in directly and have something else on the clipboard so don't do control/a control c? WHY? Can't redo it now (too much to do for this afternoon's next Event BBQ) so you'll have to wait till later. Sorry.
23.30 OK, so now we have dispatched the guests, I am left (after 9 hours of drinking (which started with the slush-puppy-chardonnay that had inadvertently got left in the freezer on Thursday)) trying to co-ordinate my fingers enough to tell you that the winner is, once again, Alan. For his comment yesterday to my Controversial Witch?" post. Comment 6. But more Alan? I am concerned? Or were you hard up when you were a student? ;) Or is there something that we should know? ;)
In other weeks I might have laughed aloud more. This week has been particularly trying and although I have smiled a lot at what's been around and about in Blogland, it isn't quite the same. Plus all that ffff00 at the end of the week has quite given me eye-ache. Talking of Witch which, watch out for an amazingly spooky-co-incidence post on that subject early next week.
I had intended to write a bit (and I did the first time round, before Blogger swallowed the post (tell me, where does Blogger put all those disappeared posts?)) about IQ in itself being a very sterile concept, that needs to be considered alongside such variables as individual motivation, opportunities, contacts, culture, social expectations, group pressures etc - but then I thought better of it.
That's the right comment Last night's BBQ was - hot. 29.8 degrees at 7pm when we started. One of the guests said, "Ah, so that's what that structure you've been building into your hedge that the whole village has been talking about is! A Mediterranean Garden. Wow!"
Our genius is recognised :) (or rather, all Mr BW's hard work and patience with me when firstly I made him remove all the gold coloured 1 inch tiles from the seat mosaic, then made him paint the lower wall section magnolia, then terracotta and then repaint it magnolia to match the rest - and the house). However, I've not been at all convinced that it is completely and exactly right. We totally failed to find anything to fill a blank piece of the back wall at Hampton Court earlier this week. But, now BBC Breakfast News have come to our inspirational aid with their new random block background. There I was at 7.30am this morning taking digital pictures of it. And now Mr BW is outside recreating a version of it with left over mosaic tiles. In preparation for another BBQ Event tomorrow afternoon / evening. For which I've made summer pudding. I love summer pudding. With fruit from the garden. In fact, more than half our meals this week have been totally composed of food we've grown ourselves. So satisfying.
Event BBQs are so much better than Open Gardens for P&G (I've repeatedly refused to do Open Gardens as I think it is an unbelievably bad security risk). At BBQs you have a captive, invited, audience who only say nice things :). When the ladies' group come round (that's next Wednesday this year) Mr BW usually sits in my Inner Coven (that is, upstairs in Workville) with the window open. And revels in the comments. When you've spent 8 years working on it, designing and constructing it, from scratch (and as cheaply as possible, just because I love the challenge), it's nice for it to be appreciated. Sometimes we're too close to it to really appreciate what we've created. Plus, as another of last night's guests said, "I bet you only sit and enjoy the garden when you have people round." True. The rest of the time we intend to, but it turns into a deheading expedition, or a "I'll just do that while I'm thinking about it" event.
One of my favouritest books of all time is Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene. First published in 1976, it was still a seminal text when I came to study psychobiology in 1981.
So, I was delighted to see that DG has done a lovely post on human population in honour of today being the UN's designated World Population Day.
I was tempted to stick this idea in his comments box, but thought better of it. Mustn't upset my favourite blogger, now must I? ;) It's something that's been knocking around in my brain for a while, but I've not given it much detailed thought, so bear with me while I integrate the old thoughts with the new data in a reductionistic way. Simple Witch me. And logical?
The population of the world is now over 6 billion.
DG tells us:
"Humanity reached its first billion in 1804 (gap of 123 years) its second billion in 1927 (gap of 33 years) its third billion in 1960 (gap of 14 years) its fourth billion in 1974 (gap of 13 years) its fifth billion on 11 July 1987 (gap of 12 years) and its sixth billion on 12 October 1999."
"1 in 5 people on Earth lives in China and 1 in 6 lives in India, each with a population of over 1 billion.
The 20 most populous countries in the world are China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Nigeria, Mexico, Germany, Philippines. Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Ethiopia, Thailand and the UK.
1 in 900 of the world's population lives in London . Back in 1930, it was 1 in 250.
More than 1 billion people on Earth are between 15 and 24. Another 1.8 billion are under 15. More than 95 percent of them live in developing countries."
1. The population of the world is expanding fastest in developing countries where there is neither the infrastructure nor the financial resources to provide good enough education.
Result = the global gene pool dilutes.
2. While the population of the UK continues to grow apace, particularly in London, more and more of our most highly educated people are choosing not to have children (or to have only one child, so not actually replacing themselves).
Result = the national gene pool dilutes.
3. More and more people from developing and oppressed countries are coming to the UK (and producing children at a faster rate than the indigenous population).
Result = the national gene pool dilutes.
So - where does this leave the human race, long term?
In a mess, I'd suggest.
If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it will always be yours. If it doesn't come back, it was never yours to begin with.
But if it just sits in your living room, messes up your stuff, eats your food, uses your telephone, takes your money, and doesn't appear to realise that you had set it free... You either married it or gave birth to it. ;)
My spells worked correctly, for once, and I have managed to get selected for the TypePad beta 2 trial. Typepad is, basically, the idiot's MovableType (from the Movable Type people). I told them I'm an idiot, so I got selected ;)
Blogger is impossible on a slow connection, and I just can't bear unreliable things. I firmly believe that you get what you pay for in this world. Blogger is personal publishing on the cheap. If anything costs nothing (or not much) then you can't expect to be able to complain about the service, or to get quality support in a timely manner. Let's face it, Blogger gives you exactly what you pay for. Plus, having stats, comments etc all in different places makes for more complexity than is necessary (or good) for a Simple Witch. I know I could sort things out to be better than they are at present. I know it doesn't work properly in Netscape. But, being a total and utter obsessive perfectionist about most things, it has been a good challenge for me to leave it very imperfect.
Actually, this has not been totally by choice as, for months, for some inexplicable reason, I was unable to change my own template. With the advent of New Blogger I can now do my own alterations, but, every time I do so, either the comments or the stats code messes up. The archive has lost half of April and all of May, despite republishing (although on a date search the posts are still there). I just don't have the level of skill needed to do what I want, and I don't have the time or (more truthfully) inclination to learn. I've had enough. I'm defecting.
I've just been playing with TypePad it and it is sosimple it is unbelievable. Just as well as Mr Wiz (great solver of all BW's defective coding) has just gone on holiday for 2 weeks!! Haven't yet worked out if I'll be able to export the last 7 months worth of posts from here to there though.
I'm not actually allowed to say anything positive or negative about Typepad as it is still in beta. But it looks promising. As soon as I have some time I'll play a bit more and then publish the address of the new site. I intend to run the 2 blogs in parallel for a while. Not least because TypePad hasn't yet announced it's costing structure. However, the cost of reliability and reduced frustration is priceless as far as I'm concerned. I'll keep you posted.
For now, it's off to do preparation for the first of the summer's BBQ Events...
I love going to events like Hampton Court Flower Show. Because then we can come home and feel smug and self-satisfied :) More on that anon as I am very tired and seem to have caught rather a lot of sun.
Every summer we host a number of large BBQ events for various local groups. The first one is tomorrow evening. We are going to be busy...
I must just tell you a left-over Mummy BW story from their visit to The Coven last week.
As a Small Witch I was never forced into anything religious, largely because Daddy BW is pretty agnostic (he would say atheistic, but my observations beg me to differ on his behalf). Mummy BW did not go to church while we were living at home, largely because the local Vicar was an alcoholic. He could be spotted coming out of the local off-licence with 2 bottles of Woodpecker on a daily, if not bi-daily basis. "More wine for Communion, Vicar?" people would tease him and he'd just nod and stumble off home (150 yards away) to drink it.
Anyway, since retiring and moving to the West Country, Mummy BW has decided to become a regular church-goer again. In not quite 4 years she has so far seen off 3 Vicars. The latest exit was related to me thus:
Daddy BW: Did your Mother tell you she's disposed of another Vicar recently?
Daddy BW: It was quite sad really. The new woman...
Me: They put a woman Vicar into your bigoted rural community? Brave soul!
Daddy BW: Ah, but she was blind and had a guide dog.
Me: That explains it then.
Mummy BW: Do you know, the final straw came when your Father was vacuuming the knave.
Me: Do what? [*thinks* Daddy BW playing that sort of game... no... surely not... Oh... yes... nave. Silly me] Dad in church, and cleaning? You worried your time is nearly up Dad and you're hoping a bit of good behaviour at the last hurdle might make up for all these years of doubt?!
Daddy BW: Actually, I was just helping your Mother out.
Mummy BW: And you know how bad my back has been Witchy Daughter.
Me: So, how did Dad hoovering the nave get the Vicar the sack then?
Daddy BW: Well, your Mother complained because it took me all morning.
Me: So? Cleaning churches is a soul destroying job...
Mummy BW: Actually, me complaining that the cleaning took so long because of all the dog hair was just the excuse they needed to medically retire the poor woman.
Me: You complained about guide dog hair? And the poor woman lost her job? Have they never heard of the Disability Discrimination Act in your part of the world?
Mummy BW: I don't think that applies in this sort of situation. And she was really pleased apparently.
Who said Americans have no sense of humour? Or that Americans in positions of power have to find ways of justifying their own existence?! (sorry LaP, you are a rare exception, IME.)
I can understand copyright infringement. But I can also understand when something is more likely to raise awareness of a brand name than harm it. The laws of common sense, not fat wallet should apply here.
So, into the cauldron today, I'm putting...
Update 11.30am: Mr BW reckons that we've all fallen into the trap set for us: cash-strapped publishing company harnesses The Power of Blog to give it free advertising. OK, negative advertising, at the moment, but research shows that the positive and negative spin on brands fades in memories faster than the awareness of the brand itself...
People who comprehend a thing to its very depths rarely stay faithful to it forever. For they have brought its depths into the light of day: and in the depths there is always much that is unpleasant to see.
I keep having trouble with bananas. I only like them large, hard and green. I'm just not one little bit interested in soggy black ones. This time of year they seem only to last for a few hours before they are inedible. There's only so many banana loaves or banana milkshakes a Witch can eat, so, once they get past their best, they tend to become compost (hens can't eat bananas you see, so this is one foodstuff that has to skip a stage in The Coven Composting Process) .
After we'd been to Sutton Hoo today, we popped up to Southwold to practise being old and retired (but, twenty grand for a beach hut?!!). After the second ice-cream of the day, I was persuaded to buy Mr BW a stick of rock. I can't abide rock, not least because it has 7 different E numbers in it and smells horrible. However, it kept him happy for, oooh, 15 minutes.
Anyway, we happened to see a jar of banana curd in one of those lovely little gift shops you get in such places. So, when we got home, I proceeded to make 3 jars of the yummy stuff with the past-their-best bananas. A bit like lemon curd, but with bananas. I have a feeling that one of the jars might get stirred into some double cream and frozen. I rarely eat ice-cream, but once I get started, I have to eat enough to need to stop. I'd post the recipe, but I'm sure I'm the only one who would ever think that it was a good idea to make some.
And the sunset tonight - all blue and red and grey flecks, looking like they were being sucked down a plug hole. Magic.
Apologies for the lack of the MBWLA this week. I thought I had one contender, but when I looked again at it I decided it probably wasn't that funny and might be construed as offensive. So, no award this week as my foul mood could not be permeated.
Mr BW and I are totally, totally exhausted at the moment so are having a few days of recovery / catch-up time now we've got rid of Mummy & Daddy BW (I managed a record 41.5 hours before Mummy BW annoyed me; progress).
Mr BW is currently making blackcurrant jam in my cauldron. We've got tickets to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on Wednesday. I may or may not write things in between.
A whole day of Mummy BW revisiting all the old haunts she knew as a small child - graves, houses of grandparents, beaches, windmills, play areas...
Back to the proletarian roots of the Blue Witches...
Makes you think though, the sort of transformation that our family (like many, many, others) has undergone in the last 2 generations. I think it's all about expectations. People nowadays expect to do better in life than their parents did. Where will it end?
For many people we know, this apparent 'better' is funded by mountains of debt. I could never do that. Would those ancestors be proud of us, or would they feel we've 'sold out'?
And that bloody parking sensor. Remind me never to get one. "Beep......beep......beep......" (you're a yard from the nearest object, "Beep...beep...beep..." (you're a foot away from the nearest object), "Beep.beep.beep" (you're an inch away from the nearest object", "Oh shit!" (you've hit the nearest object). It's quite given me a headache, and, as far as I can see there's no way to turn off the annoying noises that car makes at every opportunity. Who actually needs an audible warning to tell them that their car has gone into reverse? I hate unnecessary extraneous noise.
And Dave wants to know"Is there going to be a "Be Nice To BW Competition", then? Maybe we could store up points to be cashed in when we find ourselves dumped outside the village hall?".
Yep, OK, what's on offer? How nice can you be to Witchy? ;)
Very short of contenders for the MBWLA tomorrow (actually, I only have one so far as I've been in a foul mood for most of this week and even Billy Connolly himself, in person, would have had difficulty making me laugh) so here's an opportunity...
It's off down their Memory Lane. Quick trip down the A12 and back to all their teenage haunts. I'm just hoping that they're not going to be disappointed. Things have changed a lot. I have such a bad visual memory that I hate going back to places I've lived before as the new image over-writes the old one. Still, their memories, not mine. I was only an egg at the time.
Mummy and Daddy Blue Witch arrived just minutes after I got in late this afternoon. She rang me on her (used three times a year) mobile and said, "Just to let you know Witchy Daughter, we're just coming through The Village, so get the kettle on, won't you?" She likes tea like dishwater. I get 3 cups out of every teabag when they are here. My cup, good, strong assam, Daddy BW's cup, sort of medium but with blue milk (as opposed to the red milk we have and the green milk Mummy BW has), and then her cup. Even on its third usage the teabag is only allowed to stay in the cup for 10 seconds. I'll dry the bag I used earlier in the bottom oven of the Aga overnight. It'll be fine for another few uses tomorrow. She's given up on trying to make me use a teapot. I have 4. Purely for decoration.
They bought a new car a few weeks ago. Every possible gadget you could wish for. Now they're scared to drive it. Moans earlier about the cruise control ("It brakes when you're going down a hill and you start going over the speed you've set it at" and, "When you're going up hill it changes down unexpectedly"), more moans about the parking sensor ("I'm scared it'll let me hit something") and now, wait for this,
Daddy BW: Have you got a CD we could take when we go out tomorrow Witchy Daughter? We haven't tried it out yet though. It takes 6. You know, there's a letterbox in the dash but the gubbins are under the passenger seat."
Me: So, how do you fill it up then, lift the seat cushion?
Daddy BW: No, I think you feed them in the postbox and they end up in there somehow.
A few seconds later, I'm telling Mummy BW not to constantly leave her phone switched off and then recharge it, or it will mess up the battery. We got onto talking about moving SIM cards between phones. I knew I was talking Russian as Mummy BW's eyes glazed over before she declared, "I don't think my phone has a SIM card."
Oh, and I forgot to say yesterday. Special offer in our local market (held by ancient Royal Charter every Wednesday and Saturday), black baby dolls. Notice scrawled by the chancer selling them, "Special price for non-ethnic area £3.99". You should have seen the old dears tutting away. Hilarious.
Attention all you London Townies
(Thought for the day in disguise :) )
As of last night, one Yours Truly Blue Witch is I.C. the Village's efforts to accommodate any of you people who are shipped north-eastwards in the event of a National Emergency. Emergency Planning Witch me. 3rd level assistance (1st level = police, fire, ambulance and coastguard (??); 2nd level = local medical staff; 3rd level = Witchy + local Women's Group)
It's quite scary, really, the Emergency Plans that They are making for you. But I'm not allowed to tell you about them. Just In Case. Suffice it to say that you won't be gong further east than Colchester for the first 48 hours. And after that. Well. You'll have to wait and see ;)
It will therefore be my decision whether, when you are released into our Countryside from your *cough* mode of transport out of the City, you are allowed into our glorious Village Hall, and, if admitted, whether you then receive a camp bed, a blanket and a cup of tea. And, as I am one of the few people in the Village who have a Basic Food Hygiene Certificate, I will also be making your sandwiches. There is an instruction booklet on how to do *that*, you will be pleased to know. And only people with the right certificate are allowed to help feed you all. Can you believe that?!!
Be afraid, be very afraid, but, most of all, be nice to me :)
I am totally disgusted by what I witnessed this afternoon. A long funeral procession (hearse plus 3 following black vehicles, plus perhaps 15 other vehicles) was trying to get over one of the major roundabout junctions (5 exits, 3 major) in a nearby large town. There are now traffic lights on this roundabout, and they are often slightly out of phase, as today.
Consequently, the 4 official cars of the funeral procession were left in the position of blocking one of the exits, even though they hadn't jumped the lights. A tarty looking woman (all bleached hair, sunbed tan and manicured claws) in a 4WD (that had obviously never seen any off-road use) containing 3 kids wearing the uniform of the most expensive local prep school, who wanted to use the off slip, sat and hooted and gesticulated at them until the traffic lights changed and they moved off so she could exit the roundabout. I just could not believe it. Nor I think could anyone else. We just sat and shook our heads.
I followed her up that road (I was going that way anyway), and, had the traffic ground to a halt as it often does, had the full intention of jumping out and giving her a piece of my mind. Not that it would have done any good...
There are too many people like that round here. Pots of money but no breeding, as I always say to console myself. Actually, probably pots of debt, if the truth be known.
Just for a change ;) (the warning is in the sidebar, just haven't done too much for a while; decided it was time to do some again)
I know NThelL caches serving cold food versions often prevent me from seeing people's blog updates for hours when I jump off my sidebar. Therefore, now that Mike has managed to fix it for those of us who failed to do it on our own to get listed (I'm in the mood for rubbish sentences - don't worry, I shan't be going on again all day today, I'm going out soon)(thanks again Mike!) on the Updated UK Weblogs page, I'm generally using that to visit you.
And I've noticed that some of you (as far as I can see, only (some of) those of you on Movable Type) seem to ping their system every hour, even when you haven't updated. No names, no pack drill. I'm sure you know who you are. And it's annoying. Unless you republish every hour to add or remove a full stop from a previous post? Why?
Mr BW is never one to stand by when things are annoying me. So, bless him, he tackled the only one of my list which he could do anything about, and took the bull (aka the neighbours) by the horns and went round to see them to spell out the T&Cs of future house-sitting services this evening. I've been trying to work out who bounces in here off the same server as me. I now suspect it could be them...
If so, the cheese stinks (but will, no doubt, be lovely) and the wine has gone a long way towards making me feel better about the previous lack of thanks. So, it is appreciated folks.
But, Mr BW could really have done without the near hugs and kisses for the fact that your hanging basket stayed alive. Of course it did, we have about 200 pots, tubs and hanging baskets of our own, all of which survive until the first frosts every year. It's just a case of switching on the tap to the hose regularly enough... Comprenez? ;)
I'm going to make a list of everything that comes to mind that is annoying me right now. Then I might be less annoyed about it. Or able to do one spell for the whole lot. Feel free to ignore.
1. Next door but one (150 yards away) neighbours
Regularly bugger off to their chalet in France whenever there is good weather, leaving us to look after their house, cats, pond and garden. Roughly 30 minutes per day - this time of year that is 30 minutes taken away from doing our own garden stuff. Always leave the dishwasher full but unwashed (so it smells), the fridge full of milk and other perishables, the pond full of blanket weed and the pond filter almost blocked-up (so we have to clean it out or the fish die from lack of oxygen), the cats in need of water (they have this weird bottle system that they leave almost empty and covered in green algae), the cat food tin in need of being filled up from the large bin, the greenhouse unwatered for several days, the hose to do the watering rolled up, all plants needing deheading or they will stop flowering, the bin needing putting out. OK, so, fine, we get through all of that. But, when they get back after 7, 10 or 14 days, they never even bother to pick up the phone (let alone come round) to say "thank you". Worst thing is, the last people there were really good friends of ours and the garden was wonderful. Now the garden is a sad shadow of its former self and the house feels sterile and uninhabited. Hope they piss off to France permanently, soon.
2. Someone who I have known a long time
Someone for whom I have regularly and repeatedly done huge, enormous favours, and been hugely and enormously supportive through all sorts of messes he's got himself into. I ask him for one teensy one in return and the information (despite 2 gentle reminders) is STILL not forthcoming.
3. People who ring up at unsocial hours
I moaned about this a couple of weeks ago. This one continues. May have to consider unplugging the phone between 9pm and 9am soon. Anyone who needs us urgently knows other numbers to ring on. Problem is remembering to plug the phone back in during the day.
4. Enquirers from the website
I answer a lot of email enquiries, on a voluntary basis, on a subject which regular readers will guess, but it's irrelevant (and I don't want Google sending enquirers over here). I probably spend 2-3 hours a week doing so, and, although I have a lot of "ready made" replies now, it still takes time, and sometimes some research, or scanning of paper info, to come up with the exact info to help them. If one person in 100 bothers to hit "reply" and say "thanks for the info" it's a miracle. If someone answers a query I email them, I always do a quick reply, because it costs nothing and I'm sure makes them feel appreciated.
5. Nurseries who are careless when labelling seedlings
Because of the number of annual plants I need to beautify The Coven grounds, I buy plug plants and grow them on, rather than full-size plants. This year, the cerise and magenta pelagoniums I bought have all turned out to be bright red and wrecked my colour scheme (which was to have been plum, purple, cream and cerise/magenta). I'm such a colour-perfect person that it's really annoying me every time I go out into the garden. Short of pulling all the offending plants out (and leaving holes) there is nothing I can do about it.
Hmmm. That list wasn't as long as I thought it would be. Now on with the spell.