Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Broken II

Not to be outdone by the hand-fracturing antics of my gorgeous guitar teacher, Mr WithaY has today been diagnosed with a "deep-seated chest infection".

Does that mean it's in his arse, or what?

Anyway, he's on a ton of scary drugs and sounds like he is going to cough himself inside-out.

I have been working at home drafting a Concept of Analysis, which is every bit as dull and tiresome as it sounds. In between times I have eaten sandwiches, watched a couple of episodes of Futurama on DVD and looked gloomily out of the window at the pissing rain.

Oh, and I painted my toenails*. Woo fucking hoo.

Later that same day, I made the world's most disappointing pasta dish for supper, which, despite being full of lovely ingredients was dull and all but tasteless. The best part of the whole meal was the steamed broccoli. Fucking hell. What kind of a meal is that, where broccoli is the highlight, eh?

Still, other than that, it;s been a nice day.

Mr WithaY gave me a present, whcih was most unexpected and lovely. It's a book for me to take on holiday called "City of Laughter", and it's subtitled "Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London". Brilliant.

I love social history. And the Eighteenth Century. I was a secret, slightly ashamed, fan of Georgette Heyer for years but now I know how many primary sources she used for her historical novels, I feel almost virtuous reading them.

It's making learning fun.

*Lilac, in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008


Well, I feel like I have a cold now. Bloody great. Woke up with a sore throat and sniffed unattractively* through my meeting this morning. Lovely.

My lovely guitar teacher has fractured his hand (playing cricket, the careless idiot) so no lessons for me for a bit. And of course he can't play guitar either, so his band might be a bit grumpy too.

Other news: Mr WithaY's car seems to be improving slowly, but it is still too screechy and scary to drive any distance at at speeds of over 30mph, so I have been taking him to work and picking him up in the evenings. It's rather nice. Maybe we will car share more often. It takes me about an extra 10-15 minutes, but it means we save fuel, and I like us both getting home at the same time.

I have been smitten with a cooking bug (so to speak) and have been perusing recipe books for inspiration. I might make brownies later. Or soda bread. Or a pie. Can't decide. Will definitely be baked though. Unless it's soup.

Oh yes, we need some date recipes. The fruit, not the chronological things. Mr WithaY's runaway successs re: the quince chatroom makes me feel confident that we wil find something suitable.

Am listening to Rush "A Passage To Bangkok". Bloody great. Funny how you go through phases of liking stuff. And now it's The Sweet's "Hellraiser". All good desk-based music.

*I did have a tissue but sometimes you just have to sniff.

Sunday, 27 April 2008


Mine, and those of a chicken.

Today we went shopping (noting that there were long queues at the petrol station at the supermarket, not a good sign), and bought a chicken. Not just a chicken, other stuff too, I mean. But the chicken is the star of today's show.

We got home, Mr WithaY carefully placed rat poison in the garden to hopefully see off the latest incursion of vermin, refilled the bird feeders to encourage a better class of wildlife, and then went into the garage to do terrible things.

While he was in there, I looked at the chicken and thought I'd tandoorify it. And then I thought, ahahahahaaaaaaa*, if I cut it up, it will fit better in the bowl to soak in the tandoori mixture. So I took it apart.


All nicely jointed and sectioned, with the legs and wings in the marinade and a few lovely fillets in the fridge for another day. Then I boiled up the carcase for stock with celery, onion, bay leaves and pepper. And once that was all boiled up, I picked off all the nicely poached bits of meat from the carcase and put them in another bowl to use in soup.

It was like an episode of Little House on the Prairie. But with no moral at the end. And fewer horses.

We went for a stroll this afternoon to return some loppers to a neighbour, who very kindly invited us in for a cup of tea. Then we sauntered through the village, scaled a fence** and went for a walk along the river, watching various ducks, swans, coots and a buzzard all going about their business. We found a trail of eggs, probably pheasant, all broken and emptied out, stolen from a nest by (I bet) a rat.

They really are bastards.

And then it was time to go and have a cream tea. They have a kind of open house thing every few weeks in the summer to raise money for charity. All very pleasant apart from the overwhelming stench of cowshit as we sat outside enjoying our scones and cream.

*I really did think that.

**A small one.


Badgerdaddy has decided to stop blogging.

I am quite sad about that. He consistently made me laugh, and I shall miss him.

Best of luck, whatever you do, matey.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Hard sums

So, apart from my car being expensively broken, and me whining on and on and on about it, what else has been going on, you may be asking?

I like to imagine people are actually interested, you see.

Mr WithaY's Landrover is sat on the drive again, but is not really fixed. The axle he bought off the on-line scrappie is apparently a bit rubbish, the diff was full of water. It still makes a horrible screeching noise when he drives around, so he now thinks it might be a brakes-related issue rather than a diff-related issue.

Who knows? Not me, that's for sure. Any readers who have experience of Landrover Discovery-related problems, and have helpful advice to offer, please feel free.

Also, big news...saw a rat in the garden. Went to dump a load of stuff in compost bin #2** and as the lid was lifted off, saw the back end* of a rat scoot down a hole in the compost. Mr WithaY deployed some garden tools and a vigorous forking*** ensued.

Time to go and buy more poison.

Ooh, also, used my funky new peg bucket today. Spring really has sprung, the washing is out in the garden to dry.

Noticed this afternoon that the price of diesel in the garage over the way has gone up to 122.9 a litre. That's a rise of 3p in 2 days. Fuck's sake.

For the American readers out there, it is now costing me about £50 to fill my fuel tank, so that's what, about $100? And that gets me about 350 miles. Getting about is becoming very expensive. Had a chat with a lovely on-line mate the other night and he was grumbling becasue fuel now costs him $4 a gallon. Pah.

How much are we paying a gallon now? Um (mental arithmetic.....arrghh) 5 litres to the gallon, so, um, £1.22 x 5, so about £6 a gallon, so about what, $12 a gallon?

I am sure the maths wonks out there will set me right.

*I assume the front end had already gone.

** Compost bin #1 is almost ready. I'll keep you informed.

***Nothing like a vigorous forking in the garden on a nice afternoon, I think.


Friday, 25 April 2008

...and five pence

£2178. The final bill for my car. Oh, and five pence. I've had cars that cost me less than that to buy, never mind repair.


I wonder if I could have opted to not have that extra 5p worth of fixing to round it all off nicely.

I should get mine back any minute now. The very nice* people at the garage are dropping it round to my house this morning. I hope that this will be the last time it ever has to have anything like as much fixing done. I've only had the damn thing 2 years, and I bought it because I thought it would be really reliable and low-maintenance.

What a fool, what a crazy, stupid fool I was.

Ooh, just went to answer the door. My car is back. Yay! And they washed** it.

Right. Off to work. Be good.

*Well they would be, they have over 2 grand of my money

**Well, they would have, they have over 2 grand...etc

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

More car woes

Sorry to keep banging on about this, but it is looming large in my life at the moment.

Rang the garage just now to find out what time I can go and pick my car up, and they said "lunchtime tomorrow". So, all this "It will take 2 days, be ready late on Wednesday" stuff seems to have gone by the board.


I rang a colleague who has very kindly agreed to come and pick me up tomorrow morning and take me into work. I will have to try and sort something out about getting to fucking Trowbridge tomorrow night. Mr WithaY is away, so he can't help. And his Landrover is still being given a new axle anyway.

My colleague lives miles in the wrong direction, so I can't really ask him to drop me up there.

Ah well, I shall have some lunch and watch some TV and maybe things will look better after that.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Bad news

Have had an answer from Toyota.

I am not getting anything from them towards the cost of a new clutch and flyweel, because my car is too old. It is less than a month over 5 years old, but that means that it is not covered by the extended warranty.

So that's my bad luck.

I will drop it off at the garage tonight and a very kind neighbour is picking me up from there on his way home from work. Hopefully Mr WithaY's Landrover will be fixed by the time I have to go and pick mine up again.

Lord it's complicated when there's hardly any public transport.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

The flies.....


Yes, arse.

I have to get my car to the Toyota garage in Trowbridge tomorrow after work, and then find a way to get home again. In the meantime, Mr WithaY's new axle for his Landy should be winging its way to the local garage from some breakers yard, so his truck is obviously off the road until that is all sorted.

Honestly. Two huge vehicles to our names and we will still be struggling to get me home from Trowbridge.


The more research I do into the whole "crap clutch and flywheel" debacle, the more depressing it becomes. It's a huge and endemic problem, it seems. Roll on hydrogen power, that's all I can say.

I have been driving around in diesel cars for at least 15 years because I believed that they:

a) were more economical on fuel when you do a lot of miles
b) lasted longer than petrol engines
c) were less expensive to maintain

Ha. That's all bollocks then. My Rav4 does about 35 miles to the gallon (although I have got huge chunky tyres on it, which drags down the average), it is going to need MAJOR repair work next week even though it's only 5 years old, and that will cost me not very much less than £2,000 all told.

Shows how much I know about cars. Maybe I should look for a new job.

On a less whiny note, we went out for a Chinese in town last night with some mates from the village, which was great fun. Mr WithaY was presented with a fantastic hi-tech electro fly-swat thingy as a birthday gift, which he is very excited about trying out.

It looks like a small tennis racquet, but it's electrified. How great is that, eh? It's like a Wii for people who hate flies. Maybe I should get one too and we can have matches.

We are rather troubled by flies here. Not because we are stinky peeeegs (although we are, naturally) but because we live fairly close to several dairy farms. Coo shite attracts cluster flies, which then come and sit on the cosy south-facing walls of all the nearby houses, including ours, snuggling down into the window frames for Winter. Bastards.

Other news: I am spending a cosy morning transferring all my music from my laptop to the new PC. It's quite interesting seeing the difference in speed between the 2 machines. It took me about 45 minutes to transfer a huge stack of albums to a data stick, and then about 4 minutes to upload them onto the new machine. Aaah technology.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Dull post, sorry

Managed to get to the supermarket and back without the car breaking down, catching fire or being nicked. Hurrah.

And tomorrow night we are getting a taxi into town because a few of us are out for a Chinese meal*, so no imminent car-related mishaps are too likely there.

Other news: Been bloody freezing here today. And that, I am sorry to say, is all the news I have.

*Celebrating Mr WithaY's birthday. Bless.

Thursday, 17 April 2008


Are nothing but trouble.

Mr WithaY is currently on his way home (on his birthday, just to add insult to injury) with his beloved Landrover on the back of a repair truck.

All the way from Devon. Apparently the diffs were making a scary noise, and he called the rescue people, who told him not to try and drive it, hence the rescue truck.

So, his car is into the garage this afternoon. Mine is off to the Toyota garage in Trowbridge next Tuesday.

I am going to drive into town now to get some stuff for dinner tonight. Our mate Owen is coming over for the evening. Wish me luck.

I assume I will get back, but if not, it's been emotional.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Graphic imagery

Well, I had my new PC for about 12 hours before it broke. Is this a record? Probably not, considering it has Vista on it, to be honest.

I got it home from the shop, unpacked it, plugged it in, connected my interweb connector box thingy and hoopla, it worked. I could see the bbc web page and everything.


So, last night I logged in to check my email (none, miserable billy no-mates that I am), play a few moves on my ongoing tragic Scrabble addiction, and see if I could get Photoshop loaded up. Aaah, all was going splendidly well.

But wait....what's this? I got a popup saying that there were some HP* uploads (downloads?) needed, and would I allow them to be done? Why of course. Anything for you, new PC. Suck those delicious healthy upgrades from the internet and grow up big and strong for me. Mmm-mm.

Halfway through the uploading process, my funky new monitor flickered, blinked a couple of times, went black, then came back with a completely crap display resolution. The upload had managed to wipe out the graphics card driver.

Bloody great.

Much panicking later, I found the Restore facility in the "what to do when Vista breaks your new PC, be assured that it WILL" booklet. All is well. For now.


Other news: Successful trip to London yesterday. Meeting was useful, and I met Tall Richard for a cup of tea and a chat beforehand, which was very pleasant.

Also found a great birthday gift for Mr WithaY in the dive shop on the Embankment, which I walk past to get to the office.

Spotted this sign at Overton as the train sat at the station:

"Notice is hereby given that this footpath is not dedicated to the public."

I love that idea. I am going to start a campaign for more such signs:

"This stile is dedicated to Frank Sinatra."

"This footpath is dedicated to the people of Andorra."

"This railway platform is dedicated to the memory of King Charles the Bold."

It's a winner on so many levels.

*The computer manufacturer, not the brown sauce maker. I assume they are two different organisations, anyway.

Monday, 14 April 2008


...of God weather, that's what we are having today. Charming.

Well, it seems that Toyota are not prepared to cough up anything towards the huge bill I am now landed with. I spoke to their customer services people today and ended up asking for the name and address of the relevant manager. There's no point getting cross with the people who answer the phones, really.

I shall write to him and explain how I feel about this, and see if I get a reply. They are inconsistent with the reasons for not offering any kind of goodwill gesture towards helping with the bill.

Sometimes it's because my car is too old, then it's because my car is too late a model and has already been fitted with the fixed flywheel, sometimes it's because of the mileage I have done. I am not sure they have any kind of consistent policy on this at all.

Anyhoo, I have booked it in to get everything fixed next week. Fingers crossed it lasts me till then.

Other news: Bought a new PC after work tonight. I was so hacked off that I decided to cheer myself up by spending yet more money I don't have.

Sound fiscal policy, I think you'll agree.

It has graphics and everything. I think I scared the lad in the shop though. He came sauntering up and asked me if he could help with anything, so I told him what I wanted. He took me to the PC section and pointed at the most expensive one, and said "I think that's what you want." I asked him what the processing power was like.

"3 MB madam," he said, pointing proudly at the little notice.

I said no, that's the RAM. What type of processor does it have? How many GHz?

He went and fetched someone else to deal with me after that.

Ah well, got it up and running and connected up to the interweb. Just need to get all my iTunes onto it now.

And photos.

And Favourites.

But otherwise, it's perfect.

Off to London again tomorrow. Joy.

Sunday, 13 April 2008


...just get better and better.

I need a new PC as well now. My laptop, which has always been crap graphics-wise is finally unable to cope with what I need it to do. So. Off to PC World after work tomorrow to see how much a PC with a decent graphics capability will cost.


Still no word from Toyota. I will ring them tomorrow to find out what they are going to do (if anything) and then book my car in to get it fixed anyway. Sod's law says that if I leave it, the flywheel will come winging off where it's supposed to be, destroy the clutch, knacker the engine, blow a hole in the bonnet, and, given my track record, probably take my head off in passing as it flies into the hedge.

I laughed (briefly) at work on Friday. I fell into conversation with the boss of the team I work with as we walked to the building from the car park,and I told him all about my car-related woes. He thought for a few moments, then said "Have you told Toyota what you do for a living?"*

Funnily enough, the very same though had occurred to me as I drove back from the garage on Thursday. I decided (reluctantly) that it would probably amount to gross professional misconduct if I mentioned it in a "Oh by the way....aaaaand NOW how helpful do you plan to be, exactly?" kind of way.

But it amused me that the boss thought of it too.

Other news: Have done some more gardening over the weekend, in between torrential hail showers. Moved my Japanese anemone from the slightly odd place in the middle of the lawn where it got planted originally, and am hoping it survives. Mr WithaY and I also shifted all the logs and branches off the lawn from last weekend when our lovely foresting neighbour came round and chainsawed a tree down for us**.

Have been fairly dull and domestic this weekend. Mr WithaY is much better but still coughing a lot, so we've had a quiet couple of days at home.

We watched "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" on TV last night, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Also saw "Memento" the other weekend, with Guy Pearce. I mean, he was in it, he didnt come round to watch it with me***. Anyhoo, it was a very entertaining film to watch, reminded me a bit of "The Usual Suspects" or "Pulp Fiction" in the way it kept chopping and changing the timeline. But I like that. And Mr Pearce is always worth looking at.

Maybe my premium bond will come up. Fingers crossed.

*Suffice to say it relates to vehicles.

**We asked him to. He didn't just turn up and start demolishing the garden.

***He never does, no matter how many times I write and invite him.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Still unlucky

I love my car. I hate that it is causing me so much grief.

Gah. I am not giving up yet. Toyota will call me back because the girl I spoke to in their customer services section was a bit confused, and when I explained the situation she said "I need to talk to somebody else about this."

So. We shall see.

Other news: Was in London yesterday for work, and took some pictures on my phone, as it was such a lovely day.

Would have posted them on here but Photobucket crashes Internet Explorer every time I try to resize them to fit on the blog page. So fuck that.

I walked MILES. Mostly because the building I had to get to wasn't where I thought it was. Not it's fault, you understand.

But it meant I got to where I thought it was, and it wasn't. So I had to trot up and down the length of Whitehall asking various amused policemen how to get there. Made it in time for my meeting, but was a bit hot and flustered by the time I arrived.

Never mind, I'm sure the walking did me a power of good. I even ran, earlier that day. Haven't run for about 3 years, and didn't drop dead, so that was encouraging.

I was driving to Tisbury station, and remembered that there were signs up all along the road giving advance warning of tree felling, road closures and other assorted hasslery. I decided to avoid that closed road, and go the long way round.

It was nightmarish. There were no signs, it being teeny back roads in the middle of Wiltshire, so every junction I got to, I was guessing which way to go. It was foggy, icy and sunny, so it was like driving around inside a ping pong ball. And, obviously, it took me far longer to get to the station than I had expected.

By the time I got to the station it was a bit too close to train time for comfort. I had to run to the car park ticket machine (why don't they use the RinGo system there?) and then run back to the car, and then run to the ticket office.

I was handed my tickets at the same time as the train pulled into the station, so I took my seat with no small relief.

On the way home, a guy settled himself on the seat next to mine on the other side of the walkway. He was on his phone, having a work related conversation, and as he chatted he unloaded a laptop, a set of headphones, another phone/PDA thing, and a heap of snacks.

I watched (discreetly) as he finished his call, settled down, got the laptop up and running, put his headphones on and opened his sushi. I was impressed with his dedication to work, right up until I realised he was watching an episode of The Green Wing. Excellent.

Oh yeah, I forgot about the morning's whole Road Closed debacle and forgetfully went home along that road. Which wasn't closed at all, the bastards.


Not quite as unlucky as Unlucky Alf, but not far off.

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog front for a little while for me, for a couple of reasons.

First, and least interesting reason: Work has been really busy, and frankly I can't go into detail on here about it, so it means many of my weekdays are rather limited in terms of stuff to share.

Second reason: I've been quite low for a few days, and haven't really felt much like writing. There are a few reasons for this too, inevitably.

Mr WithaY has been floored by a nasty bout of Man Flu, and has more or less been in bed since Sunday afternoon. He has very kindly decamped into the spare bedroom which is good in that it means I am less likely to catch it myself, or be kept awake by him coughing/sneezing/sweating profusely, but I hate it.

We have both been a bit strapped financially this year too, what with various car problems (eg Mr WithaY's latest £800 repair bill), and things are getting worse.

For example, I have been over in Trowbridge this morning, sitting in the plush waiting area of the huge Toyota garage. Not because I enjoy people-watching, or reading the Daily Mirror and OK! magazine, although I did enjoy doing both those things.


I have been waiting for a Diagnosis on my car. And yes, it deserves a capital D. About 2 weeks ago I noticed that my car felt a bit odd when I was sitting at junctions, traffic lights and so on. Nothing major, just kind of extra vibration, not quite as smooth as it used to be. So, I booked it in for a service, as it was due one, and thought that would sort it out. I mentioned to the very helpful guys at the garage that I had picked up this odd extra wobblyness, though, just in case.

They went all grave and serious at me, and explained that there is a known fault with the flywheel on Toyota 4D4 engines, and if that was the problem it would be "bloody expensive" to fix. It did improve a bit after the service, but was still there.

Hence my trip to the Toyota garage for a full checkup.

The bad news: My flywheel is indeed fucked. I need a new one, and a new clutch. Job will cost about £1,600. Arse.

The good news: Toyota acknowledged that this is a problem and extended the warranty on these engines to 90,000 miles or 5 years, which ever came first. If your car falls into that category, they will pay for the repair.

The really bad news: The garage rang Toyota and explained the situation. Toyota's response is summed up neatly in the comment "No contribution!" on the record of the call. My car hit the 5 year mark on the 12th of March 2008. It is less than a month over the extended warranty date.

How unlucky is that, eh?

So. I am about to ring Toyota and ask them if they feel like being generous. I am not going to hold my breath.

I drove home a bit distractedly, wondering what I can sell to raise the money, and came to the conclusion that I have nothing anyone else would want. How depressing.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008


At work there is a pond just outside the building. It's all very cleverly landscaped and pretty, designed to give the workers the impression that they are working in a beautiful environment. And, to be fair, the place could be a lot worse.

Anyway. Around this pond there are all sorts of plants, long grass, rocks, lots of places to tempt birds to nest. And they have.

I was walking down the stairs after going to the gym the other night, and encountered a bloke peering out of the stairwell window towards the pond. I said hello, as you do, and asked him what he was looking at.

"I'm looking for the geese," he said, looking at me knowingly.

"The geese?"

"Yeah! They are really dangerous!" He was a man with a tale to tell.

Turns out that earlier that day, a woman had gone for a pleasant lunchtime stroll around the pond, strolled too close to a nest and been "Attacked!" by an outraged parent goose.

I laughed for ages, until he continued "Yeah, she was quite badly hurt, it knocked her over."

Then I had to stop laughing and make the sympathetic listener face. But I was laughing on the inside.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Fortunate Son

Heard last night that one of our neighbours has had a significant win on the Lottery, excellent news.

Obviously I'd rather it was me, but hey, it's nice to hear about somebody else having some great good luck too.

Of course it meant that Mr WithaY and I had the "What would we do if we won the Lottery" discussion again. I think we have it all decided now, though, so a couple of million quid would be lovely if someone could sort that out for me. Ta.

I went out and did some gardening this morning. My back is killing me now. Mr WithaY and I have a Brazilian Soya Farmer approach to gardening. We hack and slash and burn, and then look at the devastation with pride, mingled with dismay and alarm.

He scooted out early to go and do manly stuff with guns, so I put my wellies on and went out to commune with Nature. I dug over one of the flowerbeds out the front, then used a hoe* to scrape off all the moss and assorted flora that had established itself on the drive, where it had no business to be.

I filled a wheelbarrow with weeds, which was impressive from such a small area. Tomorrow I might explore WithaY compost bin Number 1 and see if it has fermented into something I can feed to my roses.

It was quite sociable, really. Various neighbours wandered by, so I chatted to them on and off, which was nice. One of the things I dislike about working full-time is that if you don't make a real effort, you can end up not seeing anyone other than your immediate family and work colleagues for weeks on end.

Other domestic activity this week: Made Apricot chutney on Tuesday night. Did I already mention that? Anyhoo, it needs to mature for a few more weeks but then I plan to eat it with cold ham and possibly with curry.

It was dead easy to make. I had never made chutney, or indeed any kind of pickle before, but this was a cinch. You soak a load of chopped, dried apricots overnight in water. The next day (or when you have finally managed to get to the shop to buy the rest of the ingredients that you thought you already had but didn't) you simmer them in the soaking water, then add garlic, ground ginger, sugar and vinegar, then cook slowly for about 2 hours.

Word of warning, though. It will make your house smell unholy for a couple of days. My lovely guitar teacher almost fled screaming to the hills when he arrived, and the air was thick with steaming chutney smells.**

Did a bit of baking too. I made honey and ginger cake, which was rather disappointing; and honey and nut cookies, which weren't. Mmm cookies.

TIme for a cup of tea, I think.

*The implement, not the woman of loose morals. In case you were wondering.

**I think that's an album title. "Steaming Chutney Smells." Or maybe an anthology of poetry.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Training mishaps

Ahhh, London, London, London.

Tire of it, and you tire of life, according to Doctor Johnson, the git.

Well, the place is ok, especially on a sunny day and when I am only in one of the nicer bits for most of the time. And getting there is much easier now I am travelling from a more distant railway station but one which has a direct line into Waterloo.

And, in theory, getting home would be equally straightforward.

You'd think so, wouldn't you?

My meeting went well* and I had a second meeting over a cup of tea and a really, really crumbly Danish afterwards** which was constructive and enjoyable. The meeting, I mean. But the Danish was good too.

I sauntered back to Waterloo, enjoying the sunshine, the River, the performance artists, the tourists, the London Eye, even the really loud trumpet player. Ahh, it was grand to be alive.

I got to Waterloo, looked at the big Where All The Trains Are board, and saw that the one for Gillingham (i.e: mine) was at the platform, due to leave in 2 minutes, so I scampered onto the correct platform and onto the train, a cheery smile on my face.

I had planned to get a sandwich for my lunch at Marks and Spencer on the station, but thought "No worries, I can grab a snack on the train, and now I will be home much earlier than I had hoped."

So, I sat in comfort, sorting out my iPod, reading my notes from the meeting, waiting happily for the little man with the snack trolley. I was content.

Right up until the guard did the "Welcome to the train, this is where we're going" announcement. My station wasn't on the list.

I assumed I had missed it, and when she walked past a few minutes later I showed her my ticket and said "I didn't hear Tisbury mentioned...what time do we get there?"

She looked at me in some concern and said "We don't. This train doesn't stop at Tisbury, love. It's not scheduled to do that." She even got out her own, dog-eared copy of the timetable to show me that I had managed to catch the only train that doesn't stop at my station all day.


So. I had to get off at Salisbury and wait for half an hour for the next through train, just like the old days.

How I laughed.

On the plus side, Mr WithaY is home safe and sound after a few days at Lancaster University, where he met a lot of conservation experts*** and Gaia theorists**** and was also treated to a couple of performance artists doing a self-penned poetry reading after dinner one night.

I bet he wishes he'd taken a gun.

*I talked incessantly for much of it, everyone went "Bloody hell that sounds complicated" when I stopped.

**Just as well it was after the meeting was over as I looked like a Doctor Who alien from the Seventies once I'd got outside of the Danish..all flaky and shedding mysterious lumps of matter.


Tuesday, 1 April 2008


Antonia, over at Whoopee, ever innovative and always amusing, has done this.

I am so jealous that I didn't think of it.


There's still digging going on at Stonehenge. Wonder if they've found anything yet.

I was doing some digging of my own (see what I did there?) and came across this little gem.*

I particularly like the wealth of detail that they include.


"Our ceiling came alive with strange sounds." else would a ceiling come alive? Does it normally do it differently? Perhaps by spinning plates? Or doing origami?

"A flock of pigeons was killed in flight when tangling with the Thing. They brushed into fatal contact with paralyzing sound beams in woods in Crockerton, near Warminster... Stiff-winged, they plummeted earthward..." Hmm, has someone been reading too much John Wyndham? I like the sound of The Thing though.

"Their pet... cat... was sick" Why the ellipses? Is it the way it was related, with many horrified pauses? Or was there even more detail that has been cruelly excised? What was the cat's name? What colour was it? Did it sick up anything interesting? We need to know.

"Then her own rooftop was besieged by the furious frolics of the Thing. Mrs Haines sat up in bed, face ashen, heart pounding swiftly until the deluge of the soundwaves swished to silence." Lord, sounds terrifying. Was the cat also ashen-faced, I wonder.

"'It was obviously huge but high up,' said ... Colin Hampton, so surprised he fell into the lake." Excellent. I have been surprised enough to do many things, but never to fall into a lake. I think we need a properly calibrated Scale Of Suprisedness to clarify the magnitude involved. Maybe start with Saying Gordon Bennet! and end with the climactic Falling In A Lake option.

"To my eyes it was the size of... a bedroom wall... " To your eyes, yes. What did your tape measure think? And how big a bedroom? A Harry Potter cupboard? A Donald Trump Mansion? Be more specific.

"[T]he attractive wife of a Royal Air Force pilot ... [was]... 'woken by a terrible droning sound. " Riiiight. It was probably just her husband telling her he was an RAF pilot. I love the inference that all the other RAF pilots have hideously unattractive wives.

Aaah, Wiltshire. It's completely mental.

*I'll link it properly later.**
**Done. Damn, I'm efficient.