Friday, 29 February 2008

Recipe corner

I made the nicest soup ever this week.

You take the cold, gnawed remains of a roast duck, and boil it in water. Then simmer for an hour with a little bag of herbs and stuff. Add lots of black pepper but no salt.

Then, chop up a big onion and cook it in olive oil till soft and a bit burnt (assuming you answer the phone during this phase of cooking). Add a load of peeled, cubed sweet potatoes and cook them in the onions and oil for a minute or two. Then pour the duck stock over it.

You need to ensure that all the bones and bits of herbs are no longer in the stock.

I recommend using a sieve for that. Unless you want to play "bobbing for bones" in a kind of gruesome Halloween party game way.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, until the sweet potato is cooked. It's cooked when you can poke a fork through it with little effort.

Then, add some chopped fresh red pepper and simmer a bit longer.

Once the red pepper is soft, turn off the heat and stick in your handheld blender gadget. If you don't have one, get one. They are superb for making soup.

Whizz it all up till there are no lumps. Taste, add salt and more pepper, and it's ready to go.

Bloody lovely.

I added a dollop of fresh yoghurt to mine, Mr WithaY chose to adorn his bowl with grated cheese. Both options worked.

Mmmm. Soup.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Must be genuine...

I generally delete these emails without a second glance, but the subject heading of this one had thoughtfully included "This is not Spam" so I had to check it out.

Just as well. Poor man is in desperate trouble.

I will be wiring him all my bank, credit card, address and next of kin details in the next few minutes.

Sub-Committee on Finance
South African World Cup bid 2010
24 Steven Bikko Blvrd Pretoria,
Republic Of South Africa.
Tel : +27-72-587-0437

Attn: Sir,

Greetings you must be aware now that my country The Republic of South Africa won the bid to host the world cup by 2010,prior to this bid my committee was mandated to lobby the members of board of Federation International Football Association (FIFA) on selection of the country to host the world, the bidding was intensive but at the end we got the hosting right.

My committee was given the sum of $29 million dollars to lobby the members of the FIFA ruling body to make sure that we win the hosting right considering the gain that comes with the hosting right like South Africa's economy will receive a massive direct boost from hosting the 2010 World Cup, financial impact report for South Africa's World Cup bid committee shows that the 2010 World Cup will pump R21.3-billion into South Africa's economy, and creating an estimated 159 000 new jobs.

With the help the living legend of our time 87-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr.Nelson Mandela who made an emotive case for The Republic of South Africa, we got the bid without spending all the money, I and my committee members saw this as a God sent opportunity to secure our future and that of our family therefore was mandated by other committee members to look for a way to move the remaining money to a safe place with the help of a foreigner who we can trust and is ready to assist us to move the funds considering the fact that we are still members of the bid committee and in the eyes of the public.

we have in our possession the sum $21millon since we spent just $8million for lobbying. We are ready to give you 20% for all your assistance then me and my colleagues will keep 80% lf you are willing kindly reply to my letter for further directive. we will want to invest our share into Real-estate and air taxi business in your country with your assistance,bearing in mind that confidentiality is of great essences so is time in this project I will await your response.

Best Regards,

Mr.William Muyeke.

All responses should be sent to:

Just a few issues, really.

1) I am a Madam, not a Sir.

2) If I contact "living legend" Nelson Madela, he'll be vouching for you, will he?

3) Not sure what the market for "air taxis*" is in the UK. You might like to do a bit more sector research on that one.

4) A touch confused...are you actually the desk of the chairman? And if so, how did you send this email? Does the desk have an integrated IT system or what? Please explain, with diagrams.

5) you raised all this money to try and win the World Cup Bid, and did so on the grounds that it will be good for the economy...and are now going to steal the leftover money because you didn't spend it during the lobbying process? Is that right?


On second thoughts, they can fuck right off. Thieving lying bastards.

*Unless an air taxi is like an air guitar, and you mime being driven around at breakneck speed while a guy cranes his head backwards to tell you what he thinks about Issues Of The Day.

Posse etiquette

So, had a good guitar lesson last night. I am off to rehearsals with the band next week, to make sure I have the song right. I'd better listen to it on CD a few times to get the timing right.

My lovely teacher also said that if there are any other songs on the set list I fancy having a go at, I can. Excellent.

The big gig is on Saturday 8th, and Mr WithaY is threatening to "get a posse" along.

I mentioned that he doesn't actually have a posse.

"Ah, you just get one together on the spur of the moment. That's what posses are all about," he explained.

Thank goodness he's here to keep me informed.

I asked him the other day: "If you were reading my blog for the first time, do you think you'd want to get to know me?"

"Hmm, maybe," he replied. "But I think I'd prefer to meet that Mr WithaY bloke. He sounds great."

Other news: Made a fab supper last night. Slow-cooked pork ribs, soaked in that Reggae Reggae marinade. Was lovely. I also boiled up a roast duck carcass and am planning Adventurous Soup.

Mmmmm soup.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

On the plus side... DVD of Stardust turned up today.

If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend it.

So, that's at least one night this week sorted for entertainment. Not tomorrow night though because I have an outrageously early start on Thursday. Another trip to London. If it doesn't rain it will be ok, but there is quite a walk.

I'm off to Earl's Court for a change, and I always get massively confused by the trains that get me there, and end up walking bloody miles through building sites and alleys behind kebab shops.

Or is that just how London is these days?

I emailed the guy hosting the meeting today and asked if there would be cake. Heh.


Gah. Work is tiresome.

I should be free to sit around on a large comfy sofa, drink tea, eat buns and watch Futurama on DVD as and when I wish. Not having to sit on a crappy* chair in a crowded office trying to sort out hard stuff that is beyond my control in any real sense of the term.

Otherwise today is going well.

*not literally, you understand.

Monday, 25 February 2008


Not the spearmint kind. Real ones.

Have had a mate staying for the weekend so have been out and about the place, showing him the sights* and eating vast amounts of lovely food. Hence my lack of posting and general on-line activity for a few days.

In case you were worried.

Yesterday we went for a stroll to Heaven's Gate, a local beauty spot** but as it was a misty day the view was disappointing, so we walked down the path through the trees and had a gawp into Longleat. We saw:

Pere David deer
A variety of other(unidentified)deer
A raven
Oh, and I heard a woodpecker

Two of the rhinos were fighting, which was quite exciting, especially as there was a car broken down in their enclosure. Sadly there were no YouTube moments for us to capture on camera, but it was worth watching just in case.

I bought a load of new guitar strings in the music shop as I managed to break two last week. I tend to break the heavy strings too, not the thin ones which is odd. Maybe I should stop wanging them quite so hard.

Other news: Made scones. Which were damn fine.

*Salisbury cinema, mostly

**and dogging site, allegedly

Sunday, 24 February 2008


Yes I have been.

Hence the lack of posts for the last few days.


Will be back with a full and overly-detailed report tomorrow.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Lawks II

Well, I am on for my grand stage debut. The band have agreed, so I will have to go along to a rehearsal and see how it goes. How exciting.

Other news: Bro-in-law WithaY is turning up later today to stay the night, which will be nice. Haven't seen him for ages, so we can catch up on his news. I think Mr WithaY is planning to make Venison Surprise* for dinner.

I made a cake last night on a whim. I went to the gym after work (twice this week so far, no stopping me now) so was all full of energy** when I got home, and decided to find a nice cake recipe.

The one I went for is called Nigella's Clementine Cake, where you simmer some unpeeled clementines for 2 hours, then whizz them in the blender and add sugar, eggs, baking powder and ground almonds. Bake, then grate a ton of plain chocolate over the top while it's still hot.

Looks mighty fine, though I say so myself. And the whole house smells pleasantly of stewed clementines. Rather Christmassy.

I feel like I am getting a cold, which is annoying. Especially as a mate is coming over for the weekend and I have all sorts of fun day trips planned. And watching the rugby.

Sad news: Our lovely mates have had one of their cats run over. Not deliberately, I mean. By accident. He was a dear little thing, even though I am not really a cat person. Indeed, I even have photos of Mr WithaY (REALLY not a cat person) holding the little chap, which is unheard of. Poor little bugger.

Guitar development continues, am now playing 12 bar blues, albeit slowly and painfully. My gorgeous teacher and I did a passable version of Eric Clapton's "Crossroads" the other night. I did the rhythm stuff and he did all the clever bits, and it sounded pretty good.

*Venison Surprise: "Oh, I thought this was a bit of beef when I took it out of the freezer"

**Inner dolphins

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


I am going to sing. On stage. With a band, and everything.

Well, assuming they agree to it, I mean.

My guitar teacher asked me this evening if I would do it and I said yes. He wants me to play rhythm guitar for the song as well. He's going to suggest it to the rest of the band, and if they agree I will go along and rehearse with them, and then perform with them in a local pub in early March.

I am so excited. Really.

More news as it breaks.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Bee bop a lula

I have been to help some friends celebrate their wedding.

In Cheltenham.

Well, they got married late last year in the Cook Islands (look on a and this was their "everyone who wasn't able to get there" (ie everyone) celebration.

It was lovely to see them looking fab and happy, obviously enjoying life, and partying with many friends and family.

As we were waiting for our taxi outside the venue at the end of the night, an elderly couple came walking down the steps into the car park, discussing the party.

Her: Nice evening, wasn't it?

Him: Yes. Good job I didn't have my hearing aid in...that music would have blown my head off.


Our taxi driver was entertaining. He was a cheerful Indian guy who had dropped us off at the party earlier, and seemed really pleased to see us again. He was bemoaning the fact that it was too busy.

"Busy, busy, busy...all night long, too many calls, too many jobs! I don't see my wife, my children, no dinner, no coffee. Nothing. Aiieeeee."

He really did make that noise. I asked if he'd had anything to eat that night.

"No! I am STARVING!" he exclaimed, in such a wonderfully tragic way that we were hard put not to laugh. Bless. We gave him a tip and hopefully he got time to buy some chips or something with it.

As we left the hotel this morning I overheard the head of housekeeping giving instructions to her crew: "Tell me which rooms are really dirty. Sicky and that. You know."

Eww. Luckily our room was not sicky. Not when we left, anyway. And there's me thinking Cheltenham was posh.

Other news: I am planning to get a beehive. Not an Amy Winehouse stylee one, but a real one. With bees in it. The only real concern I have is what to call them all.

I was discussing with Mr WithaY where to position the hive. I suggested on the roof of the shed, so it's nice and sunny, and not too much of a danger in the garden.

Mr W: But won't that make it hard to get to?

Me: Bees can fly, dear.

I make myself laugh.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Two things

Well, maybe more than two, but I had two things I wanted to say in particular.

First thing: Found out this week that an artist I like died. His name was Mick Cawston, and he produced the most fantastic pictures of British wildlife.

He also did paintings of anthropomorphisised (sp?) animals, like foxes being poachers. They were not to my taste particularly, but they were beautifully done, and very popular.

I met him once, years ago in a pub in Devon. We were down there doing a re-enactment and were all piled into a pub. I was chatting to a mate and noticed this distinctly dodgy old hippy staring at me. I ignored it, until he came and joined me at the table.

He was very polite, made a bit of small talk, then asked me if I minded if he painted me. I realised that the small suitcase by his side was in fact a portable easel, and said yes, of course.

Well, you would, wouldn't you?

He sat there quietly, and in about 10 minutes produced a fabulous painting of me, then added a couple of others to the picture.

Not something that happens to me every day.

I asked if I could buy the painting because it was (a) of me and my mates, (b) bloody excellent and (c) something I had just watched him do. He said no, he wasn't able to sell it. I bought him a drink and refused to give up.

He finally agreed to give me the picture on the condition that I pimped for him for the rest of the weekend and rounded up more "interesting looking people" for him to paint. I agreed, and he spent the next two days on and off on the pub with us, drawing dozens of pictures.

As the evenings went on and more and more drinks were bought for him, the pictures became more sketchy, but you could still see he was technically brilliant.

I asked him if he'd sign the one of me, but he said "No, my agent doesn't like me signing stuff like this." I laughed, assuming he was kidding, and took my treasured picture home with me.

Months later, looking through Shooting Times, there he was, a photo in a small advert for his work. The self-same dodgy looking hippy, now named as Mick Cawston, and described as one of the finest wildlife artists of his generation.

And I have a painting he did of me. In a pub. In Devon. I am very sorry he's gone.

The other thing, much less culturally significant...

This blog was ONE last week. Happy birthday to it. And they said it wouldn't last.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Manuel's Questions

Being an idle sod, rather than use my brain to create a post, I am answering the questions set by Manuel lately.

Have you ever stiffed (no tip) a waiter when they deserved something? Not since I left college, I don't think. I was a waitress when I was young, and tips really are vital. So I try to make sure I leave something.

Have you ever done a runner? Um. Yes. Once. When I was a student and the guys I was out with staged a fight so they could then flee without paying in the confusion. And I legged it as well because I was too poor to pick up the whole bill.

Have you claimed that you had a booking when you didn't? No. But Mr WithaY and I once bagged a table in a v swanky restaurant in Paris because we happened to wander in off the street as the head waiter was deciding that someone with a booking wasn't going to show up. Bloody excellent meal.

Have you ever sent the wine back? No.

Have you ever told the waiter the food was really lovely but in fact you hated it but didn't want to hurt his feelings? No. But I am good at "That was an interesting thing to try" kind of euphamisms.

Have you ever flirted with the waiter? (male or female waiter) Um. Yes.

Have you ever had a glass of wine thrown over you during a lovers tiff in a restaurant? No.

Have you ever pocketed the cutlery/salt and peppers/glasses/toilet roll from the restaurant? Yes. Again, when a student. My flat's kitchen was stocked with stolen stuff from restaurants, cafes and the Union bar. And I was once part of a group who stuffed a colleague's broken arm cast with loot from a restaurant.

Have you ever swore at the waiter? No.

Do you fill in the comment card? Sometimes. If I have something to say.

Has your credit card been declined in a restaurant? No, thankfully.

Have you ever noticed lipstick on your glass, drink most of the contents then send it back and demand a fresh one? No. I send it back straight away. I don't want to catch cooties.

Have you ever asked the waiter to sell you his shirt? Ugh. No.

Have you ever fallen asleep in a restaurant? Yes. It was late, I was tired, much drink had been taken. And my bastard mates piled all the table debris around me so when I woke up it looked like I had trashed the place.

Have you ever taken part in a lewd sexual act in a restaurant, either with someone or on your own? No. Now wash your hands.

Have you ever demanded to see the chef? Not "demanded". I have asked to speak to the chef but only when something was so lovely that I wanted to find out how they'd made it. And to be fair, on each occasion the chef has come out to chat and been charming.

Have you ever over heard the waiter talking about you? Yes. In an Italian restaurant. They were most complimentary, if a little lewd. There were many expressive gestures.

Have you ever refused to pay for a meal? No.

Have you ever asked the waiter to send your compliments to the chef? Yes.

Has a waiter ever swore at you? Heh, not within earshot, no.

Have you ever completed the comment card with fake details and written "Topless waiters and free beer" in the Ideas for Improvement section? No, but I plan to as soon as I get the chance. One of my sisters once filled in a comment card with our home address but the name Hugh Janus. We got mail for him for years afterwards. Invitations to hold his birthday party there, all kinds of stuff.

Have you ever played musical chairs in a restaurant, I mean asked to move more than once? Not more than once, no.

Have you ever left a restaurant because you spotted an ex? No. I have changed seats though.

Have you ever gone to a "fancy" restaurant on your lonesome? No. Too shy and insecure to do that.

Does the waiter ever make you feel inferior? No. And if they tried to I think I would probably just laugh at them for being a twat, frankly.

Have you ever said JUICE instead of JUS? Not that I can remember. But, I daresay I have done.

Do you enjoy a lovely smoke between courses? No, never smoked.

Have you ever taken your cutlery to the bathroom to polish it? Ugh, no. If it needed cleaning I would ask for fresh stuff, not do it myself.

Have you ever complained about the waiter? Yes. When I was out with a group of girlfriends and he was really leery and creepy to the whole table all night. Not flirty, not charming, just nasty and slightly intimidating. Not good.

Have you ever enjoyed a beautiful meal whilst off your mong on class A drugs? Nope, never done Class A drugs.

Have you ever stormed out in a huff in the middle of a meal? No. But I have watched with amusement while others have done so.

Have you ever slipped the waiter your phone number? No, but it has been asked for a few times. *preens*

Do you really pay attention when the waiter tells you the specials? Depends if I am somewhere new or not. If I have been there a few times I tend to know what I fancy. How dull.

Have you ever suspected the waiter or someone has tampered with your food? No. Am I hugely naive?

Have you ever met your waiter in the street, said hello, but not know where you knew him from? Not to my knowledge.

Do you get paranoid when the waiter takes your credit card? No. I am very careful about the places I let my card out of my sight. I prefer cash wherever possible.

Have you ever physically threatened the waiter? No! Although I did once threaten to break a customer's arms when I was a barmaid. They named a customer services award after me. Does that count?

Has the waiter ever physically threatened you? No.

Have you ever left a restaurant and had to go get something else to eat? No.

Have you ever reached for a slice of the waiters sugar loaf (bum)? Ugh. No. How trashy and inappropriate.

Have you ever felt the need to scream at somebody because of the noise coming from their children? Hell yes. But, being British I just do the "slightly raised eyebrows and sighing" thing instead.

Have you ever got the impression that the waiter was talking about you? Yes. In one place he walked into a pillar and dropped a full ice bucket because he was checking out my baps. I think it may have been mine and Mr WithaY's first proper date. Ahh, happy days.

Have you ever been so drunk in a restaurant, head like a rag doll and arms like lead, that you couldn't eat your meal? Not that I can remember.

Do you like your food to come "on a bed of..." something? On a bed of more food please.

Do you panic or become slightly worried when your credit card is being processed even though you know there is cash in your account? Sometimes, if it takes ages.

Have you ever pointed at the menu to tell the waiter what you want because you couldn't pronounce what it was? Heh, yes. In an Indonesian restaurant in Amsterdam, for example.

Have you ever done something so really embarrassing in a restaurant that you cant go back? Yes.

Have you ever seen the waiter pick his nose or scratch his bum or fiddle with his armpits during a meal? Did this make you feel sick? No, but yes, it would do I expect.

Have you ever told the waiter you hated your food in order to get discount but really you loved it? No.

Have you ever taken a seat in a restaurant, looked at the menu, realised you are in over your head, been forced to come up with an excuse like "Oh sorry we just realised we have to pick up our kid", and beat a hasty retreat to the nearest Pizza Hut? Heh. No. But I have left without eating because the staff completely ignored us. That has happened a few times, and now I think about, always with the same person...Bestest Mate, you are a jinx!

Thursday, 14 February 2008


Blimey. Thursday already. This week is zipping by, which usually indicates that I am busy and not too grumpy. Which is indeed the case. So hurrah.

Went up to London on Tuesday for what I expected to be a long meeting. In the event, it was a 5 hour round trip for an hour and a half of meeting. Not a great ratio, but I was glad I was there.

It meant I put faces to names*, and got to bore the pants off them** by droning on about the project for most of the meeting. They asked lots of difficult questions and I said "Hmm, too early to say" a lot.

Still, it was useful to meet everyone, and they all promised to help my team.

I changed my usual travel routine, and took a direct train from Tisbury (look on a map, American readers. And anyone not from Wiltshire) which was excellent. I was able to chill out for the entire trip, there was no faffing around changing trains at Salisbury, and it is only a few miles further to the station from home. I even got some work done on the journey. Blimey.

I will definitely be doing that again in future. Made a huge difference to the day. And the weather was superb.

Walking from Waterloo to the office was glorious. I got to see all the various "Living Statue" people along the South Bank.

Mildly entertaining, especially the one dressed a silver wizard, ringing a small bell every time anyone gave him some money. You could sense all the other statues thinking "Bastard" every time the bell rang. Heh.

Had a really good guitar lesson this week as well. I am learning the intro (and chords) to "You Shook Me All Night Long", one of AC/DC's classics.

I was tempted to go and see Nazareth play live last night in Frome, but decided against it on the grounds that I couldn't be arsed.

Am checking out upcoming bands playing at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff though, now I know how easy it is to get there on the train.

*Not literally. Although a "Pin the name to the face" game has a certain appeal. I might take some name tags and drawing pins next time, just in case.

**Again, not literally. Well, not that I noticed, anyway.

Monday, 11 February 2008


Yes I am.

Planet Rock, one of the finest, loudest radio stations known to man is getting shut down.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Oh yes...

...I have been inundated with requests* for a picture of my motivational noticeboard.

So here it is.


I deliberately cut the top of the board off because some of the words** are not suitable for family viewing. But for a small fee, I will send additional pictures to the more discerning reader.

*1 email. But I'm not proud.

**like "throb". And "bottom."

Two go mad in Dorset

As it has been such splendid weather this weekend, Mr WithaY and I have been Out and About. In the open air. Doing stuff.

It's been lovely.

Yesterday was a Doing Stuff At Home day. I decided to wash my car, despite the dire consequences last time, and in direct opposition to Mr WithaY's views on car washing. I offered to do his as well, I was feeling so optimistic about the exercise.

He declined, on the grounds that he "doesn't want to be driving around in a big shiny Landrover." I suggested he get his car covered in green velvet for a really matte look, in that case.

He ignored me and went to clear out the garage instead. A brave man. Isn't it amazing what mice will eat?

Anyhoo. Washing my car. I spent bloody ages on it.

First, I washed it all over with the hose and a soft brush to "remove the loose dirt" as per the car wash soap stuff instructions.

Then I mixed the correct quantity of soap stuff with warm water and washed all over the car with a sponge.

Then (and by now I had been going at least an hour) I rinsed off all the soap with the hose pipe.

I stood back to admire the gleaming loveliness.

It looked fantastic. The whole time the car was wet, it looked really clean and shiny. The moment it dried, it was streaky, dull, and splattered with I know not what.

Frankly it looked worse than before I started.

I gave up in disgust and went to wash out the bird feeders instead. I love having a hosepipe with a trigger control on it.

But the Dorset thing. That was today. We got up early and scooted off to the coast. We went to Worth Matravers, a fantastic Dorset name for a village, and parked up. I was very taken with this sign:


Not here, you fool! There. There!

I also liked the giant dry stone beehive thingy.


We found the footpath, not too steep, not too muddy, and wended our way to the sea.
Please note Mr WithaY's funky stick. I borrowed it on the way back, and managed to not trip over it. Unlike him. Heh. Anyway, he went striding off in his huge boots and gaiters and I tripped along behind feeling as though I ought to have been carrying a small dog in a handbag, and wearing a pair of high-heeled, fluffy pink mules, so under-equipped was I in comparison.


We got to the sea. Windspit (another charming name) looks like it used to be a quarry, and there are loads of odd square caves cut into the rock.


A group of people were rock climbing up and down the cliffs. Brrrrr.


We watched for a bit but nobody fell off.

The sea is too far away, down scary cliff faces to get to, but we sat on the edge of the rocks and watched it for a while. Most relaxing.


After scaring ourselves silly on the edge of the cliffs for a bit, we trekked back up the hills (didn't notice them on the way down) to the car, and then to Swanage for splendid fish and chips.


...passing the village duckpond on the way. One of the ducks was on a mission. He kept diving under the water, trying to catch one of the goldfish in the pond. Nice symbiotic relationship there. I bet the fish are really relaxed.


And then home for tea and medals. Marvellous.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Positive thinking (and a Meme)

Been a bit under the weather one way another for a few days, and realised that I was getting a bit low. So. What to do?

I did a few things.

Firstly, had a long chat with the lovely Mr WithaY, which helped.

Did a few long-neglected domestic tasks which means I now go "Ooh that looks nice" rather than "ugh, I really need to get on and clean/repair/iron/dust that".

I also (and this was my favourite) got around to using the box of words my Mum gave me as a present ages back. It's one of those kits with a load of magnetised words to stick on the fridge. Or in my case, on the metal noticeboard in my sewing room*. It is the "Erotic Poetry" kit.

There are some very interesting words in the box.

You can get other ones. I have also seen a Shakespearean Words version.

Anyhoo. I spent a pleasant few minutes finding all the most positive words and putting them in the middle of the board. Words like Laugh, Sing, Write, Eat, Drink, Love, Friends, Family, Travel, Learn, Read, Joy.

All good stuff. And now, if I feel a bit grumpy, I take a few minutes to look at them and remember what life is about. A small thing, but I am finding it helpful.

It is also amusing to make up sentences with some of the other words. Heh.

I also decided to do a Meme.

The back story: A long time ago I was on a training course and one of the things we had to do was write a list of all the things we were most proud of about ourselves.

I managed two items.

Everyone else in the room was writing and writing, and I sat there with my short list, feeling more wobbly and inadequate with every passing moment.

When we shared some of our lists, I was astounded by what the others had written. One lady had put "Cooked a 4 course meal for 8 people." Someone else had said "Gave a presentation at work to a large group." Someone else said "Gave the Best Man speech at a wedding." And so on.

Not that they weren't achievements, but it never occurred to me that stuff like that was worth recording.

My list was "got degree" and "passed driving test". Both things are about external approval and validation. Not about me recognising good things in myself. It was a real shock to realise that I didn't see that a lot of what I can do is good, or worthwhile, or valid, even without a certificate saying so.

So. I decided to do a Meme on here.

It is a list of 7 Positive Things About Your Life.

1) I have a lovely family. Mr WithaY really does make life worth living sometimes. My sisters (and partners) and Mum are all lovely, kind, funny, caring people. The nieces and nephews are all cheerful, bright, entertaining, well-mannered and healthy. And we all love each other to bits. I know that if I needed them to, any one of them would drop everything and come to help.

2) I have some wonderful friends. Some of them I hardly ever see because life is unpredictable and everyone is busy, but I know they love me, and I do them. We are also so lucky to have such lovely neighbours and friends in the village. It has changed my life immeasurably, having so many kind, funny, geneorous people sharing their lives with me.

3) I live in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Really. It is gorgeous. I can sit in my sewing room and look out at an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty** which would lift anyone's spirits. Plus, if I want to, I can watch people coming and going at the shop and the pub, which is interesting.

4) I can sing. It took me a bloody long time to even be able to say that. But I can. And I'm pretty good at it.

5) I am becoming a half decent guitarist. Which is fab. See item 4. And I adore my Les Paul. Although, I tried a 12-string Rickenbacker semi in a music shop in Cardiff and fell hopelessly in love. Am saving up.

6) This blog. I thoroughly enjoy writing it. It acts as a sort of diary for me, and has introduced me to some great people as well. I started doing it for my own amusement on MySpace almost a year ago, and it has evolved into something which I am now very fond of. And rather proud of. It isn't saying anything clever, or making any great insights, but I love that people read it, and tell me they enjoy it.

7) I make people laugh. And it has taken me the best part of my life to realise that it is a valuable gift. I laugh at my own jokes because, hell, I make myslef laugh too. No bad thing, surely?

Right. Taggage:

John at Cognitive Malfunction
B.E Earl
Peter Kenny

*Why I still call it a sewing room when it is at least 3 years since I did any proper sewing, I don't know. Should be the Guitar playing/Working/Frittering away life on the Internet Room.

**and a petrol station. Heh.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008


This morning, being a kindly soul, I toasted a soda farl (look it up, American readers) to share with Mr WithaY for breakfast.

I toasted it just nicely, put some butter on it, then addded a little honey. Mmmm-mmm.

Mr WithaY came into the kitchen and I said "Would you like half a farl with honey on it?"

"Um, not really" he replied distractedly.

Fair enough. I ate my half, packed my lunch and went back upstairs. As I was getting ready to leave for work, Mr WithaY came upstairs too, looking a bit odd.

Mr W: "Did that farl have honey on it?" (Ha, he obviously ate it after all.)

Me: "Yes."

Mr W: "Odd combination."

Me: "Not really, they aren't savoury."

Mr W: "They are if you put Marmite on them."


Saturday, 2 February 2008

Geeky, I know

As mentioned previously, here are some photos from my recent trip to Cardiff.

If you hate other peoples holiday pictures, or Doctor Who, better head off for a cup of tea or something. Seriously.

The Doctor Who exhibition was great fun. It's not particularly big, but it is very well laid out so it takes a while to get through it, and they give you a clipboard with a quiz* on it to make sure you read all the information about each exhibit.

Anyhoo, there was the Tardis, rotating on a plinth, hence the wonky angle.


There was K-9. Aaaah. Memories of my wasted youth.


There were the horrible aliens who ran on clockwork, no idea what they were called. Sorry.

Doctor Who aliens

There was a Dalek. This was actually quite scary in real life, probably because it looked exactly like they do on TV, rather than just a costume worn by someone.


If you were wondering what those little knobbly things are in front of the Dalek...

Terracotta Dalek

Of course! Terracotta Daleks. For taking with it to the next world, one assumes.

There was a Cyberman. This bit was good because they were playing a VERY LOUD recording of the "clong clong Cybermen walking around" noise. Brrrr.


Other stuff:

I saw this rather charming statue of a dog in the Bay area. Isn't he lifelike?

Bronze dog

So, why, why, does the dog in this sign just round the corner look nothing like any kind of dog whatsoever?

And what has it been eating?

It's crapping firewood!

Get it to the vet, someone!

Dog sign

Plus, now you know the Welsh for No Dog Crap, which is bound to come in handy at some point.

*I won a sticker. I'm so proud.

Friday, 1 February 2008


That's what I went and bought today at the butcher's.

Mmmmmm. Pork.

I am planning a lovely Sunday lunch in celebration of the safe return of Mr WithaY from the shark-infested depths of the Red Sea. He's not back yet, and I'm not entirely sure if he'll be home tonight or tomorrow, so I thought a nice Sunday lunch was a good plan.

And I am off to the pub in a bit. One of our lovely neighbours just rang up to ask if I would like to join them for a drink.

So I will.

We had a snowstorm this afternoon for 20 minutes or so. It went from being clear sunny glorious weather to being dark and snowy, then back to clear and sunny in a very short space of time.

It has been bloody cold though. I had 3 extra blankets on the bed last night. Which was handy when I had the terrifying zombie nightmare.

Oh yes, once I have got round to uploading my photos, I will post a few on here.

With Daleks.