Sunday, 1 February 2009


I am writing this wrapped in fifty layers of fleece, mittens, ear muffs, gaiters, galoshes and an oven glove on my nose.

We are expecting snow. Up to 5 centimetres, possibly, which is about, ooh, two inches I think?

Mr WithaY has stacked logs next to the fireplace, and I have replenished all the candle holders, so when we get a power cut (as we do whenever there is the slightest hint of dodgy weather), it will at least be possible to keep warm and see where the major obstacles are around the place.

We're going over to the nursing home in a bit to visit Father-in-law WithaY. I'd better pack the Emergency Bag* just in case. That five mile journey could be tricky if the snow really settles in.

Well, alright. It isn't that cold. And it isn't snowing.


But the forecast says tomorrow will be horrific, so I am going to boot up my work laptop later and if nobody has sneaked any meetings into my diary for tomorrow, will work at home. It seems crazy to travel 150 miles in crappy weather to do stuff I could do in my study, wearing my slippers.

Other news: Had a little get-together last night, with some of our lovely local mates, which was fun. Quite quiet and well-behaved, as these things go, but that was partly becasue a large number of the guests had partied a little too hard on Friday night at the pub. Much cider was drunk, and many bad jokes were told. Marvellous.

A guitar was brought in, massively out of tune, so I did my best Nanny Ogg impression, did a poor job of tuning it, and played some songs. People sang**, there was even a spattering of applause from a group who had been enjoying a quiet meal in the bar. As they left (quite soon afterwards, now I come to think about it), they all said "Thank you, very nice." Heh. Yay me.

On Saturday morning, despite slight headaches, we ventured into Salisbury to transact high finance. Once the dull money stuff was done, I bought myself:

1) A new rucksack for commuting with, bigger than the one I have at the moment, so suitable for overnight stays as well as daily travel;

2) A little black handbag which is a bit more appropriate for carrying round the office, and which fits nicely inside the new rucksack, cleverly reducing the number of items I have to carry while I stride through the metropolis;

3) A pretty pink, cream and grey silk scarf from Accessorize which will work with many of my dull suits;

4) A set of short knitting needles and some funky wool to make Mr WithaY a scarf while I am on the train. Long needles are too unwieldy, but these are short so should be ok for commuting knitting;

I also went to get my engagement ring back from the menders, where it has been languishing since well before Christmas. I was quite apprehensive because they were remaking the whole thing, and I was really worried that they might not make it look the same as it had before.

I need not have worried. They have done a superb job, and the diamond looked fantastic. They had cleaned it, and the resetting meant it looked HUGE! Hurrah!

However, when I tried it on, it was much too small.

They had made it the same size that it was, but I hadn't realised how much too small it was for me while I was wearing it. If that makes sense. Anyhoo, when I tried it on, it was much too tight, and I realised that my wedding ring is also too small now.

I have been wearing my engagement ring for 21 years, and my wedding ring for 15, so no great shock there, as I have increased in mass significantly since I was 21.

Sooo, they are both off being sized, and I should get them back in a few weeks. Feels very odd being without them.

And now, a story with a happy ending:

Last weekend I went to the music shop and asked about acquiring an electric Rickenbacker 12-string. In blue.

I found out many sad things....

There is a 2 to 3 year waiting list for a new Rickenbacker 12 string, the prices are going up and up all the time, thanks to the dollar/pound relationship breakdown, and that if I ordered one now I would not be able to fix a price, and would have to pay whatever they asked me when it was ready. So, pants.

However, the man in the shop was very nice, and said he'd do some ringing round of dealers and so on, to see what was available out there. He said he;d call me back.

He called me back on Friday, to tell me that he had some good news and some bad news. The bad news was that the model I wanted, in the colour I wanted was not to be found in the UK. He'd even been on EBay to see if he could find me one, to no avail.

But the good news was that one of his customers had called him that morning to say he wanted to trade in a guitar for a new, rare model which was in the shop. Guess what he was trading in?

Guess what I have in my sitting room, right now?


It's wonderful. It sounds like the 1960s.

*Torch, chocolate, map, de-icer, more chocolate, bottle of water, book, extra chocolate. Everyone should have an Emergency Bag.

**I mentioned that we'd all been drinking, yes?

Picture nicked from


Isobel Martin said...

Only since before Christmas have I been following your blog and I thought I ought to give credit where it is due, keep up the good work!
Just one were engaged for 6 years before you got married? What took My WithaY so long? Having recently joined the soon-to-be-married and sporting a rather nice diamond myself, I am hoping that soon-to-be is going to be sooner rather than later. Now I think about it talk of the credit crunch has reached fever pitch at ches nous. Perhaps it is a long engagement that my Darling boyf has in mind? Ooh dear!

livesbythewoods said...

Isobel, hello, nice to have you along. Thanks for the comment too. Long story as to why it took a while, I might write it down at some point.

Isobel Martin said...

Well I for one would love to hear it!
Good to be on board and now I have found the courage to comment there will be no stopping me.

Z said...

Oh, brilliant news about the guitar, well done. I am deeply jealous. Not that I can play the guitar, but I'd rather like to learn if I had the right guitar. Yours might be beyond me though.

When I take my wedding ring off there is a deep groove in my finger. I deliberately chose it a size big so that there wouldn't be an unseemly tussle to get it on my on The Day and as finger size fluctuates over the years, I've had occasion to be glad of that.

livesbythewoods said...

Z, I think learning the guitar has been one of themost satisfying things I have ever done. And when you do it as an adult, you feel so much more, oh I don't know...smug.

I have had to put on a different ring because it feels so odd not wearing my wedding one. I am very excited about getting it back.

Z said...

I know what you mean. I learned the piano as a child, but decided to learn to play the clarinet when I was 38. Best thing I ever did, I love it. I got quite good at one time, but it's slipped rather badly since then because I don't practise enough.