I awoke early into that silver morning, fingers of magenta and ffff00yellow creeping over the navy horizon. Beyond the olive-coloured walls of my canvas shelter, the green forest was coming alive. Glancing through the flap, I could just make out the red and lime parrots chattering to each other, whilst beneath the canopy, in the teal half-light, black ants hurried to and fro, pausing occasionally to touch maroon feelers with a nest mate. I stepped down to the stream to wash: the aqua sparkled white(that says white) and gray, jumping and dancing over rocks that looked blue in the purple haze of dawn. Suddenly, the sun broke free of its moorings and light arrived, turning the sky a deep shade of cyan. I turned to my cauldron, and lit the fire, carefully avoiding burning my beautiful fuschia robes.
0% credit on balance transfers and new purchases for 9 months:
BW, Queen of the 0% balance transfer (nearly £90K on various credit cards at 0%, safely tucked up in our offset mortgage account, meaning we're paying about £50 a month in mortgage interest, at the moment, and the rest of our normal monthly payment is going into paying off the capital :) ) (best bit is that £46K of the total is on FD credit cards at 0%, offsetting against a FD mortgage, don't you just love it when someone screws the banks at their own game? :)) - anyway, where was I? Ah, yes....
Last night I was bored, trying to learn bloody hex colour numbers and so decided to see what new 0% deals were around. I found that the Halifax offers the best deal on the market at the moment: no interest on both balance transfers and new purchases for the first nine months. Free travel accident insurance and purchase protection cover is also thrown in, which may or may not prove useful to you. However, it closes today!
I was shocked that they gave me instant approval for a card with a £15K credit limit, as soon as I'd filled in the (very simple - 2 minutes, tops, to complete the details) one page on-line form. So, as soon as the card comes through, I shall be playing my little balance transfer game again. £15K at 0% offsetting at 4.6% for 9 months is a saving of around £520. And that will effectively go straight to paying off another chunk of our mortgage. At the end of the 9 months free credit period, I cancel the card and apply for another 0% deal. 6 months later, I can re-apply for the latest deal from the original card company. Simple. Except you have to know that you (a) won't spend the money you've got at 0%, and (b) won't forget the final repayment date.
Obviously, I use these deals to save interest on my mortgage (you have to be clever and know your various cards' T&Cs to bounce money around so you can do this though), but you could use it to save yourself money on existing borrowing (overdraft, credit card or loan etc).
You can apply here. But - remember - the offer closes TODAY.
Oh dear me. Paul the Aga service man (but not the one from the Aga Shop because they will insist on servicing them hot and they don't do a proper job, not to mention the fact that they charge nearly £200 for 25 minutes work) is in a lewd mood. I answered the door with cloth in hand, and hands enclosed in latex gloves (I was in the middle of cleaning my grids, and, as I can't bear Marigolds - or rather, their smell, use throwaway gloves, bought in bulk in Costco, for most everything). He said, "Morning Blue Witch, nice to see you again! Not interrupting anything I hope?!" And it's gone downhill from there.
After I'd finished cleaning my doors (you have to take them off, put them flat on a towel, clean the metal inside with a brillo pad, turn them over and clean the enamel outside with Astonish (the best cleaning product ever invented), then buff off with a piece of old towelling dressing gown (well, that's not essential, you could use a cloth from a shop, but I'm Recycling Thrifty Witch :)), I came upstairs to my Inner Coven to open the post (amongst the junk, the details of my dowsing course, funded by the lottery, as regular readers may remember, yippee!). As I did, I said to him, "If you need anything, just shout, OK?" After about 5 minutes he called up to me, "Blue Witch, I need something!" "What?" I enquired. "A massage!" came the reply. "You can keep dreaming Paul" I said. He actually wanted to plug in his plug in the bedroom (power needed near the boiler, which is an external oil-fired one).
Right, best get on with something I should be doing, then I'll colour a hex story as a reward. I think I'll do them over a couple of days so I don't forget the pesky numbers before Thursday.
Oh dear, Paul has just started to service the boiler which is situated just below the Inner Coven window. He can hear me tapping away (I have a 'mechanical touch' keyboard as I tend to wreck normal ones very quickly as I learnt to type on a manual typewriter and never learnt to lessen the force with which I hit keys) and has just shouted out "Blue Witch, stop looking at porn on the net and get on with some work!" All I said to him earlier was that there were too many distractions if one works while permanently connected to the internet...
You just can't get the workmen these days, can you? :)
A gem - from a discussion on the validity and teaching of various forms of code over at Ron's last night (it was so civilised there with no silly girly subjects and no porn ;) - RobL said to Ron: "Don't mess with witches its nearly October", and later referred to me as "Oh dear pointy hatted one." Although it might have been, "Oh dear, pointy-hatted one", I'm not sure :)
Anyway, there will be colouring in of Witchy Hex Stories later. Some real gems, what a creative lot you are! Thanks to e, RobL, Billy, Mark, and DG for their contributions to BW's education. A BW Point each to you :)
Right, off to finish cleaning the Aga before the man gets here to service it (it only gets done once a year when it's cold for servicing). Before you ask, he's called Paul and he's not fanciable. But there is a beautiful deer running around in the field behind the Coven, with 5 D'Oves buzzing it.
Right, I need some test pieces to code up into colours (without looking at my crib sheet) to see if I've got those 16 colours hexnumbers off properly yet (I've now sussed the logic of the 8s, so I think it's OK).
I need passages with as many as possible of the following words in, please:
white, black, green, maroon, olive, navy, purple, gray, yellow, lime, aqua or cyan, fuchsia or magenta, silver, red, blue, teal.
And for anyone who doesn't already know (not many, I know, but, I try to be a Helpful Witch), those are the 16 main web colours and, you can turn text into colour just by writing (font color="name of colour using one of the colour words") to open and (/font) to close (obviously using the 'witch's hat' tag as is normal rather than the standard bracket - I don't know how to say that without it auto-coding, I'm sure there is a tag to put in to stop it, I just haven't got to that lesson yet!).
If everywhere goes rainbow coloured tomorrow, I'll feel responsible, so use the colours responsibly, please :)
All text passages donated will be colour-coded tomorrow. BW Bonus points available to anyone who gets all 16 (or 18) words into a reasonably sensible-sounding piece of text). Thank you for your contributions :)
Good grief. I've just noticed that there have been 2 very obvious errors visible on BW (blue and magenta, this in silver hopefully...) all day (2nd post of the day). Now corrected, but, you could have told me you know :) yellow people you all.
Warning: it may be colourful round here for the next 3 days.
For this course in XHTML I'm doing, I have to learn the hexnumbers for the 16 colours that you can get by simply writing the name of the colour (in American), before Thursday. I've mastered 5: white (that's invisible cos it's white), black, red, green green, and blue. If that comes out wrong, you'll know I haven't got it at all. And I knew all those before I started, so I've learnt none of them at all. I know that there's lots of 8s involved. But, it's confusing, because watercolour painting mixes red, blue and yellow and computer colours are different. Nothing in this Blue life is simple, is it? I guess I should have known better than to try to do 2 courses at the same time.
So, I'll be practising writing using the other 11 colours. After I've done a quick bit of look, cover, write check on them, and written them all out on cards and done a matching exercise. Must practice what I preach.
Oh yes, I have to write some content this week, don't I? Bugger.
For those who've asked, yes, OK, we'll have another Blog ME! week at some point in the distant future, only I think we'll keep it to 3 days next time as 5 days was hard work, which meant that the blogs became bloglets (great new word from Ron - the man with the fastest redirect on the net - there (just click that old URL link and see!) and then deteriorated into lewd comments. Thank you Roger and the usual suspects ;)
There was a lovely, Autumn-glow light, and a mist streak over the ploughed brown field behind The Coven as the sun came up this morning. D'Oves doing acrobatics, the light shimmering off their fluorescent white wings. It's cold though, and tomorrow it will be colder as the Aga is being serviced and we have to turn it off tonight. Error. I should have got that done weeks ago.
And, I've just been watching GMTV as I was told that there was to be an item on something I was interested in. So far, there hasn't been, but I've learnt lots about soap, and seen the scene where Den returns tonight. So, that's spoilt. Just cos I'm mean, I'll tell you too... Vicki tells Sharon she has something for her, she turns round and there is Leslie Grantham, looking about 90 (but not as bad as he does on the front of the Radio Times). He says, as would be expected, "Hello Princess!" And have you noticed how Vicki is rapidly losing that oh-so-fake American accent?
I was half watching the programme on "The return of Dirty Den" last night. I was amazed that not only is it 14 years since he was last in it, but that he was only ever actually in it for 3 years. Plenty of characters have come and gone since, several stayed for more than 3 years, but are less remembered. Or perhaps I just watched more frequently and more closely in those days?
And - something I'd have written about last week, had I not only been doing titles - why was there all the hoo-ha about David Blaine being made to pay for the policing of his self-aggrandisement stunt (actually, that should be self-agpetitisement stunt, shouldn't it? :) ). Surely whoever gave permission for it in the first place should have thought of that and made the T&Cs clear from the start? Or is that too logical?
Best get on with designing my 15 page website now...
Which bit you'll laugh at is debatable, but you will laugh.
During the summer, BW was talked into doing a daytime 30-week course on watercolour painting by BW's friend. 2 hours every Monday. Starting last week. Now, BW and Friend of BW have been doing watercolours together for a while. But, failing to get any better on their own, they decided that professional tuition might not make things any worse. If it made them better, so much the better.
Now, BW's friend used to be BW's secretary when BW did a job involving lots of training. Training that involved BW teaching teachers how to teach, amongst other things.
So, BW's friend not only knows the fundamentals of a good course, she also knows the evaluation criteria. She's typed up versions of both.
Friend of BW was therefore of the same opinion as BW after last week's first lesson. The tutor was ****. And the kids crèche in the background room next door did nothing to enhance the relaxing experience that BW's friend had conned BW into believing she sought and was signing up for.
BW's friend is going away on holiday tomorrow, leaving BW to face Week 2 of the Terrible Tutor on her own.
So, BW suddenly remembered, at about 5 o'clock tonight that there was homework that needed to be completed. Cover a sheet of 140 lb watercolour paper with patches of colour. Drat. "Always do your homework as soon as it is set" - just how many pupils BW has said that to over the years is a number that infinity doesn't cover.
So, there I was, sat on the sofa with Mr BW, watching Billy Connelly on tape, having eaten my very nice dinner of largely home-grown food, covering this sodding piece of A4 with burnt umber, raw sienna and veridian hue. Large jam jar of water on the floor, glass of wine next to it.... no, no, no, stop getting ahead of me! ...when, yes, yes, yes, a brush full of ultramarine (blue, it just had to be) ended up in the nice glass of white.... Blue wine? Well, there's an idea, can you put me through to the Marketing Department? :)
Contentment isn't just about being in a good mood. It's about being comfortable with yourself and those around you. While we may not have control over everything in our lives, we do have control over our attitude and our perspective. And whether we choose to be content or not.
It starts with coming to accept yourself for who you are - for both your strengths and weaknesses. Once you do that, you'll feel a greater sense of happiness and comfort each day. You'll probably find yourself smiling and laughing often and being more available to other people. You'll probably also be more inclined to take better care of yourself and pursue things that are healthy for you from eating right and exercising to having good relationships with others.
So why hold yourself back from the happiness you deserve? Start pursuing a life of contentment today! You'll be glad you did.
This week there are 7 contenders. There could have been more. Many more. Many, many more. Many, many, many more. But there aren't. But there could have been. I've had to take Witchconian measures as it's been Blog Me! Week (*message from little voice in BW's head to BW* Witchy, it's over, you can stop blogvertising now :) )
Contender 1: LaP explained what Blog Me! was about so much better than I did...
"Blue Witch came up with a brilliant idea: Blog Me. The idea is that she only list a topic on her blog and then someone else will write her blog for her that day in her comments box. This idea makes her a genius right up there with Tom Sawyer. (The chapter where Aunt Polly tells Tom to whitewash the fence and Tom talks his friends into doing it. Only, unlike Tom's friends, we do not have to pay her for the privilege.)"
"The basic idea was to give a platform to encourage other people to have a pop writing on a particular topic, and with the range of blogs taking part perhaps on a subject outside their normal range or consideration. Not too sure where RW fits into this, but I suspect in the wacky-pervy-toilet humour that is its natural home. Having said that I am capable of a serious post on occasion."
And, it has to be said, I don't think I've ever known such a lavatorial week at Ron's. I only went there when I definitely didn't need the smallest room myself, because otherwise I might just have had an accident. I was laughing almost constantly :) Shame half the comments disappeared due to a technical problem (well, so Ron said, but I secretly think it could have been a way of forever consigning Fabio's 'revelation' to the great cyber-bin. I do, however, have it stored away safely, in case Blue-Mail is ever required ;)
Contender 3: Nic's answer to Ian's Blog Me! - Which superpower would you have? (actually, the laugh is on me, because when I first read the question, I thought it was meant to be a political debate...):
"If I could make jam come out of my fingers... a bit like Spiderman. That would be pretty useful when I wanted jam.
And baddies might slip over on it too."
Contender 4: Alan knows what makes Witchy laugh. It's so easy for him, like taking honey from a Witch really :) However, thanks to his friends I now know when his birthday is. So attends voir;) (as they don't say in France)
"The closure of MSN's chatrooms in Europe.
This is a good thing, isn't it? After all, MSN's European chatrooms were responsible for bringing together a pair of people we will call Mr A and Ms L. Theirs is a sorry tale, and we should all learn a lesson from it.
Both Mr A and Ms L, using the anonymity that a chatroom provided pretended to be something they're not. She is a twice-divorced lounge singer, who was pretending that she was an actress. He is a reasonably good actor, who was pretending to be a sex symbol. And me? I took care of them both. Which wasn't easy, because when they met... it was murder.
At first, it all seemed to be going so well... theirs was a fairy-tail romance. One was a fairy, one had a tail. They appeared together in the major motion picture "Giggly". An experimental piece, consisting of two characters giggling, it was a commercial failure, but a critical flop.
Probably because they had conducted their entire relationship in the semi-public eye of an MSN European chat room, when their controversial kiss was finally due to be shown on premium-rate streaming broadband, they chickened out. One of them turned into a chicken, while the other came out.
Clearly, the closure of MSN chatrooms could have prevented this sorry tale, were it not for the fact that there are literally thousands of other chatrooms available, possibly millions, and thus this solution is no solution at all."
Contender 5: Billy was telling Elsie Blog Me! jokes. He didn't win her competition. Elsie picked someone else. I said he woz robbed. She then set another challenge - for the joke to include me. He responded:
"....well the easiest way would be to change the joke to...
bw - any questions
cacoa - do they have ice cream in heaven
elsie - do they fuckin' hell
bw - one question at a time please
...or just tell another one from the history books...
bw is a teacher to a class of 8 year olds
bw - I have just found a condom behind the radiator
cacoa - what's a condom?
elsie - what's a radiator?"
"teacher: who can give me a word beginning with the letter 'a'?
teacher: no elsie! blue witch?
teacher: can you give me a sentence with aphid in it bw?
bw: an aphid eats the plants in my garden thus depriving my bees of pollen
teacher: good. now who can give me a word beginning with 'b'
teacher: no! cacoa can you?
teacher: and a sentence?
cacoa: I am a beautiful girl.
teacher: luvverly. and a word beginning with 'c'?
teacher: no. pob can you try?
teacher: oooo, and a sentence?
pob: every time I go out with a girl a calamity occurs
teacher: true! and now a word beginning with 'd' and elsie - if you are going to say something, try not to be rude
teacher: very good...now use it in a sentence
elsie: a dwarf is a short cunt with hairy bollocks and a hairy arsehole"
Contender 6: DG's tips for a successful wedding day:
""Hold your peace. It's not funny to put your hand up or cough or shout at that point in the wedding service when the vicar asks if the bride or groom have a bit on the side they've not yet told anyone about. It's bloody tempting, but it's not funny. And you'll never get as far as that free meal at the reception if you do. The only unwanted face from the past at my brother's wedding was Tanya who he'd had a bit of a scene with on the stag night, but then she was inflatable and we didn't want to let her down."
(aside - Mr BW's typo in the comment box was the most puzzling thing I had seen for ages...)
"Show tunes and muscles, blond Germans with tit-rings,
Bicep-straps, Clarin, and songs that I can't sing,
Mysterious potions that make me go zing,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Barbie dolls, Baywatch, and Carry On Matron,
Daleks and drag-queens with inch-thick foundation,
Bitching and boasting, going out on the wing,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Old-style polari and Compton Street sinners,
Nights at the, each seat just a tenner,
Dancing the fool with some boy half my age,
They're all a part of my favourite days.
Sexy straight Latins, designer black stubble,
(Just one more Stella and then I'm in trouble),
Giving advice when I don't know a thing,
These are a few of my favourite things.
When the post's done, archives gone west, Blogger's down for days,
I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don't feel so dazed.
Geezer and Diva, Dave, Darren and Karen,
Guinness in Camden, high-jinks in a coven,
Disturbingly naked in Port o' Leith bars,
These are a few of my blog's guiding stars
Posting a comment, then wishing I hadn't,
Checking each blogroll to see if I'm on it,
Telling the boss what I'm doing is work,
And internet access a professional perk.
Cool clicks, and top tips, vicarious living,
Straplines, site meters, and wishlists for giving,
Top sites I rate where the content is king,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Baring my soul to this whole blogging nation,
Flame wars and group memes (and screw enetation),
Whoring my way to a top Google rank,
(Make me your link and you'll get one as thanks).
When the blog's done, comments won't come, links don't work at all,
I simply remember my favourite things and then I feel ten feet tall."
And, just to get this in, while we're sort of on the subject, please note that ENETATION was the ONLY commenting system (including Smug Evil Ron's - what was the quote - something like, 'I think those of you using 3rd party commenting systems might find they won't hold up' - never under-estimate The Power of Blue Witch, Ron ;)) that didn't go down totally this week. My spells worked!! Standard Enetation got slow, and needed some F5s sometimes, but I didn't notice the Pro- version mucking about at all. (sorry, spells do have to start at home :) ).
I can't decide on just one winner this week. I'm in a good mood as I've just been to see my latest film (if one believes all one reads on otherblogs :)), so, I am going to adopt that most selfish of criteria and give 2 points and The Trophy for the week to each to those contenders who mentioned moi in an other-than-Blog-Me! way - so, well done to Billy and to Master Stranger.
What can I say?
There's so much I could say.
And I will say.
Not now, because, maybe despite appearances, I've hardly been at home this week, and the time I have been here I've been madly trying to keep on top of everything that has been going on in blogland and in real life. And I've neglected MrBW a bit. So I need to spend some time with him tonight.
For now, I just want to say a huge thank you to the other seven participating sites, and to everyone who has joined in.
Sometimes I get frustrated by blogland.
Sometimes it seems such an ego trip - or a selection of ego trips (I'll write about that some more too, when I've sorted it in my mind).
This week has restored my faith.
It has been a true demonstration of co-operation at its very best. A quality that I often feel has largely disappeared these days. Or, at least, has been displaced.
The Blog Me! Week whole has been so very much better than the sum of its parts.
My perception is that people have posted on topics they wouldn't necessarily have written about on their own sites.
Some have been challenging.
Some have been (at least ostensibly) frivolous.
All have been enlightening.
I have learnt a lot more about the other seven bloggers in the group than I think I would ever have learnt by just reading their blogs. It's been hard work, much harder work than just writing on BW, and I haven't had as much time to give to it as I would have liked. But, that's life, isn't it?
And, I've learnt a lot.
About all sorts of things.
In true BW style, I leave you with a 'Thought for the Evening'. This worked because we worked together.
In the best possible way.
We knew that, in the words of John D. Rockefeler, Jr:
"The success of each is dependent upon the success of the other."
I hope that others have got as much from the experience as I have.
Afterthought: In the words of Robert Palmer, who died today, aged just 54, "It takes every kinda people."
Blog Me! Day 4 (nearly there folks, one more day to go, don't give up when the finishing tape is in sight!)
Sorry I haven't lived up the the "rampant enthusiasm" (as Rob put it yesterday) and have failed miserably today to be "bouncing Tigger-like" and "giving off enthusiasm vibes (spells?)" as e put it. And thanks to FROG, who claims to have "missed your intelligent input today" (he's after me honey stocks, for sure :)).
I haven't even managed many bloglets today (thanks to Ron for that one, which is particularly pleasing to BW as they must be related to piglets, dovelets and froglets, all of which are muchly loved at The Coven).
Talking of loved things, who saw that nasty man Hugh F-W shooting white doves on Return to River Cottage earlier this week? Luckily we had taped it and MrBW was able to fast forward, but I was nearly sick. Our 5 darlings were safely tucked up in their D'Ove cote, so didn't see. Although it must be said that they were having D'Ove sex on the roof of my Inner Coven on Sunday night. I even caught them on camera doing it. Do you think that D'Ove eggs are better fried or scrambled? ;)
I considered dumping the list of what was in my PDA "To Do Today" list into a blog earlier, as my excuse for my lack of presence, but thought better of it. I have been flat out today, and have only just got back in, having (just) survived the appalling teaching on the XHTML course I am doing (one module of an HNC - BW never does things by halves and I managed to do the basic course that was meant to take 10 hours of study in 33 minutes last week, and then do the end test with 100% accuracy) in an attempt to be able to make my own new dress. Or, at least, to understand what I need to do to put nips, tucks and darts into the supplied prototypes (thank you Ron) to make it fit my perfectionist dimensions. In the meantime, it's lovely that the Blogger archives are down at the moment. I can see the point on my hat again :) And, particular apologies to e who I know is viewing through Netscape on a Mac (and to anyone else in a similar position!).
So - well done to everyone once again today, participants and guest bloggers alike. You've done us proud :)
Now then... who's got what lined up for our last day tomorrow? :)
I am well known for my versatility and willingness to give most things a go. Over the years I have done all manner of jobs. I could never, however, no matter how desperate for money I might be, work in an abattoir, or in anything connected with the killing, processing and retailing of dead animals.
They're writing me poetry (of sorts)!
They're writing jokes about me!
They're writing descriptions of me!
They're making me reveal secrets that, had I known at lunchtime that comments boxes were getting Googled (or MSN searched anyway) now, I might not have revealed...
They're taking the proverbial.
Oh it's great, I'm loving it.
I think we're all having a great time.
Do join us by giving us a quick blog?
And no links, go and see for yourself, at these places:
Just so that you are aware: Checking back on a couple of searches from today's stats, I have just discovered that Enetation comments are now searchable. Or rather, that things written in Enetation comments boxes are now coming up on searches. I've been keeping a wary eye on this, as I often bury things in comments that I have deliberately kept out of the text, and I suspected that it would happen sooner or later. The search I looked at (a MSN one) had thrown up a couple of things that I'd written in Enetation comments on others' blogs too. I know that there are a couple of other people around who do similar to me, for similar reasons, so please be aware...
Watching Return to Jamie's Kitchen last night, I was saddened by the way the kids in whom he'd invested £1.8M slowly threw away what he was proffering to them, seemingly without realising, or caring. I guess the attitude of those kids on the programme is typical of many today. What a sad world it is. Watching that programme really made me feel old. The Protestant Work Ethic seems to have disappeared forever - so many people seem to think that the world owes them a living.
Favourite excuse phrase from last night: "I've sprained my ankle in several places" (from lazy boy who didn't want to participate in an outward-bound-type team-building exercise).
Results of a government GM consultation exercise in the UK - GM Nation - are due out next week. They are expected to show widespread opposition to GM food and crops.
"The government's consultation on GM crops will reveal they are unnecessary, unpopular and offer no economic benefit," Clare Oxborrow said. "But despite this overwhelming thumbs-down, it still seems determined to press ahead with commercialisation. If this happens it will lead to extensive contamination and take away people's right to choose GM-free food."
Blog Me! - Day 2: What amazingly disparate and articulate topics and posts we've had today!
Despite Blogger's best attempts to stop us this morning (I'd been concentrating my spells on keeping the commenting systems up - all the 'third party' ones are bearing up I see - ooops, sorry Ron, couldn't help myself :) - and forgot to do one for Blogger), around and about on participating sites we've had:
the modern day opium of the masses, euros, jokes, definitions of safety, value tips, time machines, peace and religion, fridge magnets, tidy minds and untidy houses, descriptions of other bloggers in the Blog Me! scheme, thoughts for the day, teenage, superpowers, paid employment or homemaking, bilingualism, cough and cold cures... heck, what/who have I forgotten? Apologies to any one / topic I've missed.
Again, thanks to all participants, readers, and bloggers. Don't be shy - if you haven't given us a blog yet, do it now - or tomorrow!
And, in case anyone has missed it at Purple Pen, this is worth a look :)
MrBW is very poorly poorly. He even came home from work early yesterday, so he must have been. I'm feeding him freshly-squeezed lemon and honey topped up with boiling water, paracetemol, and pholcodine linctus (try buying more than one bottle of that if you don't know the pharmacist personally!). Any other ideas / cures (modern or traditional)?
Well, that's been an action-packed first Blog Me! day hasn't it?
Thanks to all those who've participated, visited, blogged, commented, and put up with my little blogverts at opportune junctures :) There's some jolly good posts around on the eight participating sites, and I've spotted some new names too. Great, that's what it's all about!
Do go and check out a site you haven't been to before. And do, please, keep posting on any of the titles you'll find throughout the week on the sites listed below.
As I suspected, the one stumbling block today seems to be that the 'comments' and the 'blogs' seem to be getting mixed up. I'm not sure if having separate boxes for blogs and blog comments is really working? Perhaps it doesn't matter if they are mixed up? Or perhaps it would be easier if Co-Bloggers (copyright, Ian) were asked to put 'Blog' at the top of their posts? Or can we all work it out? What do you think?
It all started last Friday when we had a power cut just as I was giving thought to crafting my morning blog. By the time the power was restored, the moment had gone and other things needed my attention. So, I put up a list of what I might have blogged about. Later, DG was inspired to finish off my post in the comments box.
That got me thinking.
I'm a great builder on ideas, and, by the time Nic had commented, I had come up with an idea that I hoped would provide a solution to a lot of uneases I have been feeling.
I've noticed a lot of new, and good, blogs about recently (I've seen them in my stats, I've seen their links to me). I tend to read mainly from the Updated UK Weblogs list - and, in the last couple of weeks, have been amazed at how few titles on there I now recognise. I'd love to have the time to read more widely.
When I started blogging, nine and a half months ago now (amazing how time flies when...) it was quite easy to keep up with new blogs, and to get recognised and linked by other blogs.
But, I suspect that most of the blogs I regularly read, like me, are now fairly stuck in their links. I like feeling that I can keep up with all my links, and, although I'd like to read more widely, I haven't any more time to give to blogging than I already do. So, I tend not to change my links much. Which means that I'm missing out on new blogs, and that they're missing out, by not getting the ready links from more established bloggers that I did when I started. We all need audience after all, don't we? ;)
But - the only way I could see to make more time is not to blog for a while. But, if I don't blog, people won't visit any more... and... and ... and...
Ah... tick, tick, tick... Yes!
Let others write my blog and I'll write theirs!
This is a bit of fun, with the aim of getting people out and about, writing in places and on topics they normally wouldn't explore.
Between midnight tonight and midnight on Friday/Saturday, I'm going to post the usual sort of titles (or title + link, or title + link + a few words) that I normally would. And hope that people will post my blogs (in the comments boxes) for me. In return, I will write blogs on other participating sites, and go and read (and comment on) the blogs of anyone who posts a blog here.
Hopefully some non-blog-owning lurkers or non-blog-owning commentators will be brave enough to post something - no matter how short or long, all contributions will be welcome - everyone has to start somewhere!
Hopefully some of the newer bloggers will come and post on participating sites with a view to widening their own readership.
Hopefully some of the more established bloggers will give us a mention (please? :) or even a blog (pretty please? :)
Hopefully everyone will widen their circle of blog acquaintances this week, and we'll all have some fun.
If the comments systems don't hold up, we may need to resort to emailing posts to site owners and getting them to post them directly. Let's see how it goes. Advice to anyone - compose your blog somewhere and then copy and paste it into the comments, or, at the very least, use ctrl/a, ctrl/c to take a copy before hitting send, as commenting systems can, as we all know, be very unstable, and it would be awful for your gem to be forever lost in a cyber-hole.
But, if it all falls apart, despite the best laid plans, and spells, well, at least we tried. Blue Witch can be very trying, just ask Mr BW :)
Other sites where you can go to write, to "Blog Me", this week are:
BW suggests the topic, you write the posts in the comment box.
The idea started when DG kindly wrote yesterday's post that I'd given up on, for me in the comments box.
There was early interest from last night's trailer from Nic, Ron, Roger, Ian, LaP...
Just realised, I didn't make this clear (probably because it developed from Nic's initial comment!): the idea now is:
1. I will put up post titles (and maybe a link or a minimum number of words), and invite readers to write the posts for me in the comments boxes. They don't have to be long. Bonus BW points may be available for particularly good efforts :)
2. Anyone else is welcome to join in by posting in a similar way (using their own post titles) on their sites (they don't have to give prizes!).
3. Anyone doing this on their own site should post a list of links to other sites joining in to enable participants to move around. I'll compile and post a master list.
4. People wishing to participate on their sites should declare their interest in the comments box below as soon as possible and by 10am on Monday at the latest.
5. First posts can be made any time after midnight Sunday/Monday. Final posts can be made when you get bored, or when the whole thing falls apart, or by Friday/Saturday midnight (whichever comes sooner ;)
6. I'm going to try to avoid posting anything except post titles for comments. But... depending how it goes... I may change my mind... You can still post other content!
If any of the commenting systems go down, we're going to be fucked it may be necessary to resort to email and posting of emails.
Further explanation in the comments box below...
Oh - and we need a snappy title for this too:
"DIY Blog Week", "Magic writes my blog", "I title, you write"... no, none of them are quite write right... suggestions for titles below, as well, please...
As mike pointed out yesterday, this week seems to have been a particularly creative one in blogland. Those spells I have been doing to lift the malaise I was moaning about this time last week must be working. I just wish I could stop all the spooky synchronicity that seems to be a side effect.
This week there are 6 contenders. That's not going to please MrBW, keeper of the BW's honey stores, but, darling, I honestly have already pruned my initial list (mostly those I laughed at while under the influence....that weren't that funny in the sober light of day). I've also disallowed all-but-one comments this week, because there were lots of funny ones; too many to reward. And I always disallow comments from Ron's, because, with 200-odd per day, on a, erm, wide variety of subjects, something is going to be LOL funny. But, there was a gem of an exchange yesterday afternoon, between Eloon and Ian. Can't let that one get away:
Eloon: *walks into room, stumbles and falls forward, lands face down on carpet*
Ian: Let me help you up Eloon...
Eloon: No, I'm too embarrassed to move. I shall just lie here like a rug.
Ian: Eloon - if you are going to lie there, could you keep your mouth open, as if you are growling fiercely please.
Me: Grief Ian likes those nasty animal skin rugs with the heads still on. Awful :(
Ian: BW - I don't like those rugs. I just thought that Eloon could make herself useful whilst she was down there ;-)
Now the proper contenders:
Contender 1: DG: Entertaining his brother's sprogs for the weekend. Deserves to be read in its entirety, but, highlights:
"I can't remember the first time I visited London. I grew up at the end of the Metropolitan line, so being taken into the capital was almost second nature from an early age. Certainly when I was four I took my mum on the Underground on a journey to Putney Bridge because I was more sure of the route than she was (thank goodness they hadn't invented blogs when I was four - I'd have been unsufferably precocious)."
"Reality TV for the first time: "And, on your right, David Blaine in a box." The highlight of our sightseeing trip down the Thames was the opportunity to see a man suspended from a crane, previously glimpsed only on satellite TV back home. The Tower of London slipped by unnoticed as everyone gawped at the scene on the opposite bank. Beneath the bearded hermit stood an ocean of onlookers, a biblical crowd gathered to watch their Messiah, although somehow more 'Life of Brian' than 'Jesus of Nazareth". Our captain sounded the boat's horn and we all waved. David waved back. "He must be so sick of this boat," remarked our tour guide. Just so long as we were contributing to the charlatan's mental torture, I was pleased."
"There is sometimes a darkling pleasure in conforming to malign stereotypes.
This morning, like a good urban Guardianista, I filled the cats' water dish with French mineral water.
Granted, we are currently without mains water. The bottles of mineral water came, o joy, from the back of a lorry. After Sunday afternoon football on the common, I wandered over to the car park in the middle of the green and took my quota of 12 litres from the man on the flatbed."
Contender 3:Gert. This one has to be read in its entirety. If there was ever a post that made me think, "Ah, not just me then!", that is it. If anyone knows why podgy women wear tops and trousers that don't meet, and lardy men go around without shirts in public places, please let me know. It's often revolted puzzled me.
Contender 4: Lovely to see him, back, and on good form, Brick commented over at DG's (on the flashmob post):
"bunch of people turn up for a brief period at a pre-arranged time, mill around together and then disappear in different directions ... sounds like our office"
Contender 5:Alan's obviously getting close to the end of his last jar of honey ;)
"In this way, there is only one brand of mayonnaise. Others try to be like it, and fail. Most resemble the excruciatingly unpleasant "Salad Cream", which has cherry tomatoes everywhere gently rolling across plates to avoid it."
Contender 6:Mr 2-Agas. Again, it's another of those personal connection ones... I used to cover the schools in the area around here:
"Until around 1973, when the level of chalk erosion forced the National Trust to fence it off, anyone was free to clamber up the Cerne Giant. It was, of course, our favourite walk. But oh, my poor mother...
"Here's his foot! And here's his other foot! And here's his leg ... and here's his other leg. OK: you take the left leg, I'll take the right leg, and I'll see you when we reach his ... what is this bit, Mummy? I can't work it out."
"That's his tummy, darling."
"But it's got all funny lines on it..."
"No darling, that really is his tummy. Come on, quickly now..."
"I know! I know! Why don't we stop and have our picnic here for a change?"
"No darling, I don't think so. Let's climb up a bit further and sit on his face like we normally do, shall we?""
As I said to him, sub-conscious early conditioning must have operated :)
And the winner is... couldn't decide... in other weeks any one of them would have won... I've narrowed it down to two - so we'll have a joint winner this week, Gert and DG.
Thanks to all contenders for amusing me, one point each, two to my joint winners, and the opportunity to display the trophy on your blog for the week. Or not, as the case may be :)
Oh yes, nearly forgot, bonus BW Point to Ronfor making me laugh for reasons that it's best not to mention. Sorry to mention that again Ron, but, as a sweetener, congratulations, you now has the requisite number for a jar of delicious BW honey :)
Just had a power cut for 2 hours. Got some useful things done. Like, polishing the kettle, cleaning the fly killer (for the first time this summer, there were a gazzilion dead flies and wasps in it), a heap of filing, then I considered defrosting the freezers but thought that was too daft as I couldn't be sure when the supply would be restored.
The electricity went off just as I was deciding what to write about today. Choices at the time were:
Brent East by-election won by 29 year old short woman
My experiences at my local college yesterday (I was shocked at the 20 yard long line of smoking 16 and 17 year olds through which I had to run-the-gauntlet to get to where I was going - why is the message about the risks not getting through to kids of this age?)
Ryan Air boss banning staff from using internal email and claiming it saves 3 hours per person per day
New figures on the use of ecstasy (half a million users every weekend)
The claim on BBC Breakfast this morning that every drinks company new product campaign has a budget greater than the entirety of the government's drug education budget
The worst driving I have seen this year (if not in the last 3) from a mid-50s man in a dark navy 2.5 V6 Vauxhall Omega registration Y959 NRO. Had it not been for my, and another driver's skill, he would have killed himself and maybe us too, yesterday, late afternoon
But, the moment has passed.
Can't even be bothered to go find some links.
It's DIY on BW today if you want more info. Sorry.
I don't usually do this, but I just wanted to add a bit more to today's TFTD, because it seemed relevant in a week in which lots of bloggers around and about have been writing on their art. This comes from the book 'Listening to Your Inner Voice' by Douglas Bloch (1991).
"A short time ago, a friend handed me the following credo. It read:
This is the artist's dream:
To receive the inspiration to create,
To share that creation with others,
And to be totally supported in the process.
I asked him to explain further. "It all begins with inspiration," he said, "an inspiration that calls us to create. Once the inspiration is received, then we can bring that vision into 'the world as a song, painting, book, invention, new business-or any other tangible form.
"After the creation is born, it needs to be shared with others. No one creates in a vacuum. It is only when the vision is successfully communicated to its intended audience that it truly comes alive.
"Finally, the artist needs to be supported for what he does. If he has made a positive connection with his audience, the support will come - financially and emotionally. And while it may not always be there immediately, it will ultimately arrive. This is where the artist needs to trust and be patient."
This dream is not just the artist's dream. It is our dream as well. Through work or play, job or family, vocation or avocation, you can experience the joy of creating, sharing, and being acknowledged. Experience this creative process and you will never grow old in spirit.
Have you ever known an artist or dreamer who "retired"? "
More and more companies' HR Departments are checking job applicants' claims against information in the public domain (especially on the internet, on sites such as Friends Reunited, and even, I'm reliably informed, blogs).
The accepted format for CVs has changed considerably over the past few years, and, I suspect, is likely to change further as we all catch up with the 'American Ideal' (sic) of not listing personal details such as age or marital status.
Some 'authorities' on compiling CVs would already have you omit any details about your interests out of work. Almost as if you're not expected to have time for any, or to want any.
Nevertheless, this "Other Interests" (call it what you will) section may soon be the only opportunity left to engage in a little boasting that is probably fairly non-checkable.
So, imagine it becomes commonplace to include a short sentence of "My Proudest Accomplishment". What would yours be?
I think mine would be the day back in the mists of time (probably about 1989) when I happened to be in a multi-storey car-park in South Somerset. It was a market-day lunchtime and almost full, so I ended up having to park on the roof. As I got out of my car, I realised that there was a person balancing precariously on the parapet. Those were pre-mobile phone days, and, in that part of the country, few people even had car-phones. There was no-one else around. I thought about just walking away (other people, arriving after me, did, and not one other person tried to intervene to help). It took me nearly an hour, but somehow I talked the young man into not jumping. Just as he'd finally come away from the edge, and just as I'd just opened my car door so he could sit down, a WPC turned up. I can't remember a whole lot about how I did it, or even how I opened up the conversation. But, despite all my personal accomplishments of an academic, professional or any other nature, that remains my proudest moment.
Addendum: Nic's comment in the box has made me think - this wasn't intended as a 'beat that' type exercise - everyone has their own 'Proudest Moments', for their own reasons. My second proudest moment would probably be the first time I went rock climbing and managed to overcome my sheer terror at getting up a vertical granite face. I've always loved abseiling, but it took me a lot of guts to trust those I was with enough to put my life in their hands and get myself to the top.
Woman on the radio that I heard on the way back from town: "Larger people shouldn't wear oversized clothes. If you're large and wear badly fitting things, you don't just look like a tent, you look like the whole Bedouin camp."
The people in my local town have obviously been heeding her advice. In the 29 degree sunshine I once again saw rolls of visible midriff fat popping out of the 10cm gap between top of overly-tight leggings and overly-small cropped top (whatever you call those, I have no idea?) on the women and large slabs of flab, mostly covered in tattoos flopping over the top of cut-off jean shorts (ditto nomenclature?) on the men.
Given the choice, they should have stuck with the tents. I'll be pleased when it turns cold again.
In addition to my post earlier about spooky coincidences, I then had similar thoughts to Gert about the thing I'd least like to lose (ie my engagement ring), about 2 hours before she posted on the subject.
Just now, on the way back from town I suddenly started wondering how many people's partners read their blogs. First blog I read on turning the PC back on is asking just that question. Go and push 2-Agas buttons...
We didn't have TV at home until I was about 7 or 8. I can't remember exactly, but it was a conscious choice by my parents. Even after that, viewing was restricted, although having been brought up to occupy myself in other creative ways, I never found that a problem.
Until comparatively recently, my brother never got round to getting a TV. I think it was the kid he got, then the lodger, that made him finally give in. As he lives in the US, he's still got nothing to watch :)
I could easily live without TV. Especially as the £116 for the TV licence is due in the next 13 days. As it is, we rarely watch anything 'live', as, particularly in the summer, we are often out in the garden until very late. We usually have a catch-up session in bed on Saturday or Sunday mornings. That is, we watch the week's TV, fast forwarding through the trailers, adverts and titles.
I hate hypocrisy. Some occurring elsewhere in blogland at this very moment. To paraphrase: it's fine for us to explore ways to make money out of porn on the net, there's shedloads to be made, but I don't want my brother / sister acting in it..." Bollocks. Everybody is someone's brother / sister/ daughter / son, whatever. If you wouldn't want your family to be involved, then don't you be, at any level. Producer or viewer. (I hasten to add that the banter is all very light-hearted, but it is a theme that oft-comes-up, and it annoys me).
And, the ultimate, similar, hypocrisy is reported in The Guardian today. Madonna has banned her children from watching TV. As is said,
"Perhaps Madonna is hoping that by turning her home(s) into TV-free zones, she is somehow protecting her children from the evils of society. This, of course, is the woman who invited her daughter onstage to witness the Spears/Aguilera MTV pash-in: the same lady who showed off her oral sex technique in her 1991 film In Bed With Madonna, said "fuck" before the watershed at the televised Turner prize awards in 2001 and once released a book composed almost entirely of shots of her badly shaven crotch."
And how much money has Madonna made out of TV? I guess she must think it's OK for other people, and other people's children to watch though...
Firstly there was Saturday, when I went back to get my RAC card, on a whim of a funny feeling, before going out on the bike. Then, as I've already said, I had a slight, erm, mishap involving an adverse camber and an attempted right turn at too steep an angle, and ended up needing to call them out.
On Monday the heating/Aga oil was delivered. I always have the 2,500 litre tank topped right up when the price is good (and, it's the cheapest it's been for 3 years at the moment). You have to give them some idea of roughly how much you think you'll need when you order. I said about 1700 litres. For some unknown reason, the tanker driver asked me whether I'd like to hazard a guess as to exactly how many litres it would take to fill the tank. I decided to play along with him and held my hands, palms out, up to the tank and concentrated. "Yes, I'm happy that I'm correct, 1700, give or take a few drops." He set the auto-fill dispenser on the tanker to 1500 litres, then squirted in the rest until the tank was brim-full. The only gauge was on the tanker, and, until he walked the 20 metres back to it, he had no way of telling the amount of oil that had been dispensed. He had started the pipe rewinding and I was putting my potting compost containers back into place (the tank is hidden in my potting / nursery area) when he reappeared, looking paler. "You a witch or sommat?" he said. I looked quizzically at him. "It took 1701 litres. You said 1700, plus or minus a few drops." I just smiled.
While surfing aimlessly the other day(as we bloggers do, don't we?), I stumbled upon some information about someone I was at school with and remembered that last time I was in contact with a friend who went to the same school, she said that she'd love to know what happened to her. I pasted the link into an email, added her address, and saved it in 'drafts' ready to add a message and send it. I kept meaning to get round to it, and also wondered, in idle moments, if the email address I had for my friend would still be current. Amazingly, yesterday afternoon, I received an email from the same friend, via Friends Reunited, saying that she'd been trying to get in touch with me, but that her direct emails to me had been returned (she had an old address for me).
Then, last night as I was turning off my PC, I wondered how many minutes of free NTL calls I had left to use before my month end of 21st (and who I might ring unnecessarily to use them up to get my Value Witch money's worth). I also thought that I hadn't been in touch with Mr Wiz much recently, and should send him an email, but that I was tired and it could probably wait until the morning. I'd closed down everything except the email, and had my mouse hovering over "Start" ready to shut down as soon as it had finished its last check. What should pop into my in-box but an email from Mr Wiz telling me he'd found a really good deal on telephone call charges and was I interested?
There is, actually, one much more sinister and serious thing, but I'm not going to write about that, because it's worried me a lot over the last few days.
On a lighter note, as everyone must (surely) know by now, Blogger hates BW and obviously wants her to stay badly dressed forever :) Blogger won't let me make changes to my own template. Therefore, my new dress is still in production. Needs to be finished by the end of the month or my head as well as the point on my hat will disappear when the next archive line gets added in (in IE anyway - I had to uninstall Netscape on my PC cos I couldn't bear to look at BW through it anymore :) (pedants - through or with?)
So, I can't (easily, without emailing code around and asking someone else to post template changes for me) alter my blogroll either. Given the dormant state of some of it, and some blogs I'm now reading that I want to add, something had to be done. So, I did a few spells..... And, guess what, Brick is back today. Yippee! Pop over and re/acquaint yourself. Give him a wall-m welcome back :)
Update: That last spell has worked exceptionally well - drD and La P are back too!
The amazing profits being made by supermarkets really annoy me.
First the supermarkets force local shops to have to close down (with the exception of a couple of village shops, a few bakers, and a couple of butchers, there are now no specialist grocery shops within at least a 10-mile radius of The Coven). And, then, supermarkets have carte blanche to charge whatever they like and engage in price-fixing.
Tesco's announced half year profits up 17% to £628M this morning. Mind you, I'm not responsible for any of Tesco's profits. Following past bad experiences of appalling customer service on several occasions, I have to be desperate before I will shop in there.
I'm not responsible for very much of Sainsbury's profit either. Great believer in stocking up when things are on offer, me. Loss Leader Queen, me. They know I'm not one of their 'easily tempted' customers too because they never send me the vouchers that other people I know receive. I once rang up about this. I was told, "Ah, those vouchers are for a carefully selected sub-section of our overall demographic and I'm afraid that, at present, you don't fit it."
I was approached by the Manager of my local Sainsbury's last week (they know me as a 'discerning customer') and asked if I'd be prepared to become part of their "Focus Group Team". I asked what the perks were. He looked shocked. "Erm - we hadn't thought of that!" he stuttered. I told him that when he'd decided he could call me. I've not yet had a call.
What? They expect me to give up my free time, not to mention skills and expertise as a professional moaner consumer watchperson (and someone who has mystery-shopped Sainsbury's - and other supermarkets - in the past) to help them with improving their customer service, for nothing, when they're making profits of the size they do? Ha bloody ha.
The thing that I found most surprising about the Tesco results was that they are claiming a 37% increase in clothing volumes and a 4% share of the overall clothing market in the UK. Presumably this is 4% by cost rather than volume as I don't see how else it could be measured. That's one hell of a lot of school uniforms - or whatever else they might now sell (I've never looked as none of the Tesco's near me has a clothing section), isn't it?
When I was a kid, I can remember the kids who had clothes from Tesco being ridiculed. How times change.
10 years ago, MrBW came back from his exhibition in Amsterdam with a shocking tale (or so he thought, we'd only known each other for a few months then). He'd been 'forced' (so he said anyway) into smoking dope, but, purely to appease the curiosity of an American customer. I can't remember what I said, probably "Oh, right", next subject, or something. At that point it became crystal clear to me that Mr BW had had much less of a mis-spent youth than me. He then explained how he's had to pay for the treat, but only so that his boss (who'd also partaken) could sign off the receipt on his expense claim form. That's always amused me, Mr BW and his boss and a customer smoked dope, in Amsterdam, and the company picked up the tab ;)
Anyway, last night, Mr BW returned from Amsterdam, from the same exhibition. Complete with a large Gouda but no new toys;) Apparently no time to go shopping this year. Probably more to the point, he was in charge, and didn't want comments from any minions who might happen to notice.
"Enjoy the red light district this year?" I enquired (not that I was particularly interested in the answer). I'm not sure that there was an answer to that question, because he'd moved on the telling me that they'd had an Argentinian meal ("What? Corned beef?" I enquired), and shock horror the seven boys in the exhibition team had ventured into GayVille. I think I'll stop the story there. Because those who've been will know the rest, and those who haven't don't need to know. Really ;)
Mind you, I am concerned about one member of Mr BW's team, who snuck off early on his last day, having been expressly told by Mr BW that he wasn't to. He apparently left while Mr BW was answering a call of nature, saying that he had things that he "needed to do". Mr BW is unsure whether or not said person was the main instigator of the previous trip to GayVille. A verbal warning might be forthcoming, apparently. Personally, I think a trip to the company Occupational Health Department might be more in order, but....
Quick, get a post on top of the several risqué ones further down, Ron reckons that you, my audience, aren't ready for that sort of stuff. Personally I think he misjudges, or deludes himself, but....
Washing Machine Man turned up to mend my broken washing machine. My diagnosis was correct, and they'd even manged to send him with the correct spare part. He changed the door lock and sensor. Said that the part alone would have cost £88. Thank heavens for Barclycard's free extended warranty. But - how can they justify £88 for just one small part, when a new washing machine would only cost perhaps three times that? Talk about living in a disposable world.
Anyway, I got him round to talking about dishwashers, so that I could express my annoyance at the fact that the little wheels that make the baskets run backwards and forwards all seem to come off after a couple of years use (I now know of 4 people who have had this problem with Zanussi dishwashers). He said that I'd need to buy a new set, cost £23 + VAT for the set. I showed him Mr BW's problem solution - a series of metal washers, glued on to the supporting nipples, to keep the wheels in place (that's a technical term, I'm told ;) Washing Machine Man was impressed.
But, I got a good tip from him - I hate cleaning out the powder drawer of the washing machine. Either the tablets or the conditioner gung it up and it gets slimy and nasty, even black and mouldy, and is soon impossible to clean perfectly, even using an old toothbrush (yes, Value Witch does keep them for fiddly cleaning jobs). So - what they recommend is, remove the drawer from the machine, then remove the front of the drawer (little clips underneath, push and pull), then put the rest into the dishwasher. Perfect cleaning, no effort or pain.
My, my, what an education it is in Ron's chatroom. Unabashed (like me) by being called a prude by Ron (20 years ago I did a whole course unit (including hands-on (or ears-on) clinical practice) on sexual dysfunction at university - having sat in a clinic and listened to some people's problems, I stress that I could never be called a prude - and I hasten to add that I am not linking the two subjects, despite what it might look like from the thread, I'd had a couple of glasses of wine before the debate started last night and wasn't thinking entirely rationally), Ian has just posted the latest robotic gadget to challenge Ron's sybian....
Oh good grief. Ron's found an on-line guide for skeptics (although I'd prefer to spell it sceptics). This is "A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions (and how to think critically about them)".
Not content with stealing the cloth for my new dress, for his own site, he's blatantly put up a link with a page on witches :)
"Today, the typical witch is generally portrayed as an old hag in a black robe, wearing a pointed black cap and flying on a broomstick across a full moon.... Hollywood, on the other hand, conjures up images of sexy women with paranormal powers such as psychokinesis, mind-control, hexing, and an array of other occult talents." I'm a Blue Witch, sexy probably only to MrBW (hopefully), my hat is currently flat, and the only hex I know anything about is the code for colours (and that's debatable too).
"The witches of Christian mythology were known for their having sex with Satan and using their magical powers to do evil of all sorts." Now there's an interesting thought ;)
"There would also be obscene dancing, a banquet and the brewing of potions in a huge cauldron. The banquet might include some tasty children, carrion, and other delicacies." Now there's a good use for children (but do see my entry from yesterday on cannibalism). And eating D'Ove rellies? Never. But things in cauldrons? Definitely, all the time, particularly in Autumn. We've nearly run out of jam jars actually. I'll have to go and stand by the bottle bank and accost would-be-recyclers.
"My guess is that witchcraft and sorcery were for the most part brewed in the cauldron of sexual repression and served up as a justification for the public trading in art and literature, if not in life, of Church-created, sanctified, and glorified pornography." Wow!
"Whatever the psychological basis for the creation of an anti-Church with witches and sorcerers joined with Satan to mock and desecrate the symbols and rituals of the Church, the practical result was a stronger, more powerful Church... Being accused of being a witch was as good as being convicted. To deny it was to prove your guilt: Of course a witch will say she is not a witch and that she does not believe in witchcraft." BW makes no comment :)
Right that's a 2 page letter of complaint to the RAC about yesterday's debacle completed. Written is such a convincing way that my final request for a refund of my year's subscription seems such a small price for them to pay. My usual rule of thumb is that letters of complaint should be polite, concise, constructive and preferably not more than one side of A4. I could not get the sheer terror of 67 minutes (and a threatened 90-120 minutes had I not done some acting) at the side of a busy A- road, with no protection and cars passing at 70-80mph, into one page.
I expect I'll just get the standard letter quoting percentages of satisfied customers and including a phrase along the lines of, "On this occasion we are sorry that we failed to meet our advertised 40 minute response time target." I fully intend to escalate my complaint if so. We'll see.
A bruise about the size of a football has appeared on my left shin (I didn't feel that last night). It's making moving about quite interesting.
One of Mr BW's little golden barb fish obviously died between when I fed them yesterday morning, and this morning when I fed them again. They didn't all crowd round the food as they usually do. Closer investigation revealed that they'd been snacking on their friend's corpse. All that's left now is a few spiny bones.
It brought to mind something I've often pondered.
I've never understood how people lost or stranded in remote areas (eg after plane crashes) can eat the dead bodies around them (often raw). I have no problem with the ethics of cannibalism - after all, a dead body is just a shell, and of no further use to its previous owner. It's just that I know that I couldn't actually do it, no matter how hungry I might get.
Maybe it's because I don't eat dead animals that I find the idea of eating dead humans so repulsive?
- Cleaned every pair of shoes I ever wear (that's 3 pairs then - and I don't expect a certain person to understand that ;)
- Sterilised and degunged the Airbath (with the special solution and special tablets that cost £27 each, I wrote it on the bottles so that I remembered not to do it too often)
- Eaten a whole battenberg (luckily only a standard size one)
- Picked the ripe tomatoes and beans
- Watered every plant in the garden
- Read half of a new children's book by one of Mr BW's friends (I'll blog that later in the year in The Witch Guide to Christmas Presents - solve all your 'difficult' christmas presents in one read)
As it was a wonderful afternoon, sunny and bright, perfect semi-Autumnal weather, I decided to go out for a ride on Black Beauty.
I had a need to see some sea.
I get these needs every now and then.
The only sickie I ever pulled while I was teaching was back in 1987 on a day when I needed to see sea and not kids. I still feel guilty about it.
As I was about to leave the house, I had a sudden *need* to get my RAC card. So I did. Luckily.
Maldon isn't really the sea, but it's nearly sea, and probably almost the nearest bit to The Coven, so I aimed for there. There's some nice bends needing some careful positioning to make best use of them, and I love the challenge. Having had a wander and my fill of tall mast sailing ships and sea (but particularly small uncontrolled children), I decided to head for home.
The bright light wasn't being kind to my detaching vitreous jelly, and I was having weird left-eye distortions, so I decided to turn round from the route I'd picked (a very busy east to west road) and instead do a cross-country south-to-north route where the sun would be less in my eyes, and there would be less traffic. Unfortunately, the road I pulled into to turn in had a very adverse camber, and I somehow manged to drop the bike (at zero mph), in exactly the same manoeuvre as the only other time in the three and a half years that I've owned it that I've managed to drop it (and that was on Day 1 of its Brand Newness).
Anyway, I picked it up, decided that there was very little damage, and tried to restart it. No joy. No electrics. Shit. These things always happen when Mr BW is away. Prodded around, found that the right indicator and brake lever had redesigned themselves, in a more pronounced way than they had three and a half years ago. Bugger. Decided that a call to the RAC was in order, as I was stranded on the side of a main road - very busy, very fast, but also in the middle of the country.
It took nearly 3 minutes for the control centre to answer my call. Scottish 'Matthew' said that he couldn't hear me. Of course not you ****, I'm stood by a main road! Could I get back into my car to speak to him? Erm, no, I'm on (or rather off) a bike...
I gave him good location details. I was exactly 8 miles form Chelmsford, 2 miles from Maldon, on the A414, by a small side-turning called "Lodge Road", it said so on the signs. I told him exactly what the problem was - no electrics and a right indicator touching the steering column so that it couldn't move.
12 minutes later he called me back asking me how I was spelling "Maldon" because he couldn't find it on his map. I suggested to him that he was unlikely to make the RAC's advertised call-out times if he'd only just worked that out. He assured me that as a woman on a broken-down bike on the edge of a major A-road, in the middle of nowhere, I'd be a priority.
13 minutes later Mr BW rang. How does he always know when I'm in trouble when he's so far away? I tried to be calm (I felt far from it, with traffic doing 70 to 80 streaming past me, right next to the road), and reassure him that I was fine.
47 minutes later another control centre bloke rang me to tell me that, even though I was a priority, it would be another 45 minutes to an hour before they could get to me, as the nearest patrol was miles away, the other side of Colchester. At that point I decided to use my am-dram skills. Oh, and mention that I felt very vulnerable, likely to be attacked as dusk was fast approaching, and was about to make a call to my friend, a reporter on the local paper, about how bad the RAC's Premium-Cost service was.
6 minutes later, a patrol man was on the phone, asking where I was, as he'd not been given a good location. He was 5 or 10 minutes away.
At this point, another biker pulled into my side-road to see if I was OK (nearly an hour on, with probably close to 1000 vehicles having passed me, this was the first person to stop). He was very sweet, jiggled the fuses, and got the electrics working again.
Mr BW rang again to see if I was OK.
RAC patrolman arrived.
I couldn't help making a sarcastic comment.
He said that he'd been parked up just 5 miles away, but had only been given the details of my problem 10 minutes before. I explained what had happened so far. He nodded sympathetically but said that he daren't comment lest I complain to 'Head Office' but that he heard the same story several times every day.
In 5 minutes he'd realigned the indicator, with the help of a spare fanbelt, a lot of brute force, and a couple of swear words. He's also disclosed that he was biker, had a liking for Bandits and wasn't going to recover me home (as I asked, it being rather late by now, and me having hurt my back pulling the bike back upright after it had initially fallen). He'd also asked me if I usually drove a sports car. That amused me, and I apologised for being such a girlie biker. He told me he'd follow me back into Chelmsford, onto my road north to home, just to check that I was happy.
I can't fault him, he was lovely, but the RAC Control Centre need to sort themselves out. Needless to say Value Witch will be going elsewhere for breakdown cover next year (sadly, as only the RAC or AA will cover motorcycles as part of the basic subscription, it is likely to be to the AA).
Motto: The RAC ARE CRAP, don't pay the extra for what is supposed to be a better service, it isn't. About 5 years ago, when Mr BW still had a company car (before he took the money instead), I broke down in his company vehicle, in the middle of nowhere, on a cold winter evening. The RAC, who provided service to the company fleet, told me that it would be a 3 hour wait then. No heating, zero degrees, in the middle of nowhere, a woman alone. I had other breakdown cover, in my own right, and used them instead.
2 experiences of bad service by the RAC is enough to make me believe that they can't deliver, unless threatened (like today). Pathetic. You have been warned.
From where I'm reading, there's a definite malaise in Blogland this week. I do have 3 contenders, but I think it's back to laughing at "that's just like me" comments this week.... Which probably won't be funny to many other people, but, since when have I cared about that? :)
Contender 1: Ash(ooh, I do wish he'd add comments):
"A weekend of attempting to face up to who Ashley Frieze really is. At the moment it's hard to say. I can say the following, though:
I've gone through one set of batteries on my new toy - a remote control classic style green mini... and I've been shouting things like "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off" and "Hang on lads, I've got an idea"
I spent nearly as much time making a pointless (but amusing) song as I did grudgingly tending to my garden
My freezer management is poor but I have attempted to deal with it... I now have a bunch of tupperware containers with home-cooked goodies in and I have ditched a number of things that should have been consumed many moons ago.
I would much rather waste my time on the internet and listening to my silly songs than get a small work-related task completed
I have no control over my sleeping habits.
I am a haunted man - sometimes my thoughts stray to where they should have no need to stray. I don't mean in a spooky or slightly-mental way. I just mean that I have one or two things that I tend to start chewing over, without realising it... usually during gardening. Which is a good reason never to do any gardening.
It can be exciting having things in the freezer that are unlabelled, since you only have an approximate idea of what they are before you defrost them. This excitement is somewhat diminished when you only have a limited number of things in the freezer and they're all the same.
I may be becoming freezer obsessed.
Okay. So, my freezer contains:
- Ice cubes
- A tub with carrot/swede mash and mashed potato with spring onion
- 3 portions of Ashley's Bolognese sauce
- 6 portions of Ashley's Apple and Rhubarb crumble - 1 from the previous batch
When you read blogs like this on other people's sites, you usually feel that they're dull and pointless individuals who should think of something more interesting to write about than the contents of their freezers. I don't see why you should think any differently of this post. Perhaps it will be interesting one day should I choose to write my memoirs. I can picture it now:
Around September of 2003, I became very interested in freezer contents - it was probably a latent response to an old "The Shamen" song - "Ebeneezer Goode". I remember the lyrics "He's a good, he's a good, he's Ebeneezer Goode". I had lampooned them thusly - "He's a good, he's a good, it's Ashley's Freezer goods". Of course, I wasn't to realise that, some ten years later, my freezer goods would hold such great significance in my life. Perhaps the obsession was also fuelled by the need to put off completing a document that I'd attempted to edit over the course of nearly three hours and had always found an excuse not to start work on. Indeed, the urge to go and defrost the freezer suddenly became a strong one.
I don't think it would be a million seller if I did that. I really must get that document finished. Perhaps I'll just surf a bit longer...
Not just me then Ash? (I have 3 freezers that currently need defrosting and sorting.... and a report and a research proposal that need finishing....)
Contender 2: Gert, who called me a spelling pedant yesterday! As I said to her....
Me, a spelling pedant, with the way my overly- fast typing comes out in comments boxes? Now *that* is funny :)
"Lifts are perfect for flirting. You get to meet a random selection of the employees who work for your organisation, not all of whom are as ugly as the photo on their identity badge might suggest."
Tis just possible that DG has seen Mr BW's work pass. One day I'm going to disappear it that so that he has to get a new one. It's a really nasty picture.
And, Changeling Leprechaun might have got a point or two if I'd been able to read what he'd written after he'd metamorphosed yesterday. Colour discrimination against Visually Impaired (due to detaching vitreous jelly) Witches cannot be condoned :) (please tell me that I'm not the only one who hates it? Better still, tell him :)
Update: I've just been to check it and, despite telling me yesterday that the green was staying for at least a week, Changeling Leprechaun has now changed the background to pink. Well, it might be white (no colour), but as I have my monitor set to give a default background colour of pink when no other is specified (as it's easiest on my visual system), I can't tell. If it is pink, it is spooky because it is the *exact* default shade that I use. No, I think it's white, it must be. Except for Brent's comment, which confused me into thinking it was pink. Oh, yes, I'm confused. But, thank you Alan. Sadly, you still don't get your point, because things are rarely laughing-out-loud funny the second time around. But, the Moving piece was quite funny, Nic thought so anyway, so you can have a mention as a consolation prize. What, you're not consoled? Well, tough titty, you should have thought about that before, as Mummy BW is fond of saying :)
This week's winner (sorry for the delay, blame the RAC, post coming later) is... Ash. Congratulations, and if you pop by, hope all my apostrophes are in their correct places :)