Wednesday, 27 October 2010

May I take your trident, sir?

Having been made aware of the "stats" part of Blogger, including the "Who uses what phrases to find this blog" feature, I was rather alarmed to find that someone located me by googling this phrase:

"is cavity insulatyion appropriate by the seaside"

Reader, if you're out there, I have no clue.  Not a scooby.  Also, why, WHY do you need to know?  Are you planning on insulating a sandcastle?  Are you a hermit crab who feels a bit chilly?  My advice is to use seaweed.

The last week has been a bit emotional, and completely exhausting, hence yet another long hiatus between posts. 

The still-ongoing SSFH* fallout continues.  Mr WithaY and I had a meeting with our local MP on Friday, which was interesting, if a bit stressful.  He was extremely kind, and is going to help us as much as he can. 

We were early, so were invited in to sit in the bar of the Conservative Club to wait.  An elderly gentleman was sat at a table, smart in a blazer and cravat, waiting to see the MP too.  He was chatting to one of the staff there.  He was ANGRY about many things.  And loud. 

"People speeding - that's so antisocial.  They should be stopped on sight by the police."  (I think he said "stopped" - he may have said "shot".  Either seemed appropriate, given his outrage.)

The barman chappie nodded politely, clearly not very interested.  Encouraged, the old gentleman expanded on his theme.

"Littering!  That's another thing!  People who litter are the lowest of the low!  It should be a criminal offence!"  (I think it might be, actually, but he was on a roll...nobody was going to try to stop him.)

"And people who litter from cars!  Throwing rubbish out of the windows!  They should be stopped on sight and fined - a hundred pounds.  For a first offence."  I was intrigued as to where his scale of fines had come from.  He'd obviously given it some thought. 

The barman nodded again, rearranging crisps in a silent and discouraging manner. 

"And for a second offence...."  the cravat-wearer paused, thinking what would be suitable punishment for a second offence, then triumphantly came up with:  "They should have their car confiscated. On the spot.  And then crushed."

Yes, crushing cars is an ideal way to prevent littering.  Just don't chuck the crushed cars in the river afterwards.

In sombre work-related news, I found out on Friday that our Department is planning to shed between 30 and 40 percent of staff over the next two years.  I have to say, the thought of being paid off is rather appealing at the moment.  It would save me 6 hours travelling a day on the 3 days a week I am in London, would save me £5000-ish a year on my train ticket, plus the bus fares etcetera etcetera etcetera** and would save me a lot of stress. 

Of course, having no money coming in would open up a whole new world of different stress, but at least I'd be doing that in the comfort of my own home. 

It's definitely something to consider.

I was sat at my desk on Tuesday, eating my lunch, when I realised what I was doing.

Yes, dear readers, I was eating apple sauce with a spoon.

When did I turn into Ruprecht?

Better news though, possibly as a result of the apple sauce.  I put on one of my suits for the meeting on Friday.  I did the trousers up.  The trousers fell straight back down again, in approved Carry On Film stylee.  If Mr WithaY had been playing a Swanee whistle, it would have been perfect. 

I tried on a different suit.  Those trousers fell down. 

I tried on all my suits, including one that I bought two years ago, tried on, was too fat for, so hung in the wardrobe and forgot about***.  All of them were too big.

Inspired, I then tried on the outfit I wore when we got married, 16 long, long, oh so very long years ago.  I wouldn't wear it if I was going out for a big dinner, but it was perfectly wearable.  So hurrah.

But I need some new suits.  Bugger.

*Shit Storm From Hades.  I promise to be less crypic once it's all over.

**(c) King of Siam

***because clearly I wasn't going to go to all the bother of sending it back, was I?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Mostly bullets

So. Yeah. Hello again. 

I'm not dead, nor have I been captured by pirates and sold into slavery, to be rescued in a breathless paragraph in Chapter 27 by Conan the Barbarian.  Dammit.

I've been doing a bit of travelling, of late.  Nothing too fancy.  Well, you know me.  I don't like to be a trouble.

Where have I been?  Well, I'll tell you.

1)  Sussex.  Went down to visit my lovely Mum for a day, which was very pleasant.  Also called in at Youngest Sis's house where I was roundly trounced on the Wii Formula 1 car racing game by several children.  The kitten, as is traditional, migrated immediately to Mr WithaY, where it fell into a deep and peaceful sleep on his lap.

2)  Cornwall.  We were invited by some mates to join them for a couple of days at their little holiday cottage thing in St Ives.  I'd never been to St Ives before, and I can recommend it.  Probably best not to go in the summer though.  I imagine it would be a complete fucking nightmare then.  But in early October it was lovely. 

We went to the beach one afternoon.  It was glorious.  The sun shone, the sky was blue, the sea was emerald green and had a seal in it, swimming about 6 feet from the beach.  Of course, nobody took a photo.  We were all too busy pointing and exclaiming how close it was to us. 

Our friends produced a kite from the boot of the car.  I sat on the sea wall to watch.  For some strange, possibly eldritch, reason I decided to "just watch" the others fly the kite up and down the beach.  I don't know...maybe it was a foreboding.  A little flash of foresight.  A teeny glimpse into the future.  Who knows.

Plus, my ankle was hurting after walking around up and down some steep hills, so I thought a rest would be nice.

Our friend went first, launching the kite with enthusiasm, and making it dart around the sky like a professional.  It had a long red tail*, so looked most impressive, looping and fluttering for many yards behind the kite itself.  After a while, Mr WithaY wanted to have a go.   

The wind seemed to have dropped a little, so it was much harder to get the kite off the ground.  Mr WithaY had to run a fair way down the beach to actually get any kind of lift on it. 

There were people on the beach.

If this was a disaster movie, we'd have little vignettes of the people on the beach about now. 

...The cheerful Asian family having a teatime picnic on a blanket. 

...The dad and young sons digging in the sand. 

...The elderly couple walking their small yappy dog along the waterline. 

...The young mother, quietly breastfeeding her baby as she sat and enjoyed the sparkling water and warm sun of the early evening. 

Ah. So peaceful. So relaxed.  I think there would have been a cheerful, optimistic soundtrack too, maybe something by the La's.

But then, all of a sudden, the music changes.  A menacing note is heard.  Mr WithaY is running backwards along the beach, desperately trying to keep the kite airborne.  The wind has dropped and the kite is dropping with it, swooping low and fast near the innocent bystanders.  People are starting to watch with alarm as the kite cuts through the air, narrowly missing the small yappy dog.

Personally, I would pay money to see a small yappy dog knocked sideways into the sea by a kite, but maybe that's just me.

The lady with the baby was now watching with alarm as Mr WithaY drew parallel with her, the kite darting up and down, closer and closer to her, and of course, to the baby.  I could see from my vantage point on the sea wall that things could turn ugly. 

However.  Nature took a hand.  Across the beach ran a small river.  It was in a shallow cleft in the sand, several feet wide and about 6 inches deep, the water running through it slowly.  Most scenic.

Mr WithaY, eyes fixed on the errant kite, desperate hands on the kite handles, continued running backwards.  Right up until he fell over backwards into the river. 

The beach erupted in laughter; apparently the man standing behind Mr WithaY almost fell over too, he was laughing so hard.  Mr WithaY extracted himself from the river with dignity and squelched back across the beach to sit by me on the sea wall.

The kite?  Well, that sank to the ground like a bird landing on a tree, the tail curving gracefully around it. 

3)  Gloucester.  We went up for a weekend to visit our lovely mates and their three mad spaniels.  It was marvellous. 

Work is a bit stressful, what with the massive cuts and all, but hey ho, what will be will be. 

My ankle is still a bit buggered, but is recovering slowly. 

I have lost 2 stone in weight so far, and am sticking with it.  Only 4 more to go.

That is all. 

*The kite.  As far as I know, our friend has no tail, red or otherwise.