Saturday, December 31, 2005

I don't usually do this kind of thing

I don't make New Year's resolutions. Well not normally anyway. I make so many promises during the year which I break, what is the point of using a new year as an excuse? However, two things have made me change my mind this year. One, I'm in a new location, and, excuse the slightly soppy moment, is the place that I have been waiting my whole life to live in, before I even knew it existed. It sorta makes me feel I need to pay back something, in some way. Two, as this is an online, permanent diary which I can't lose, burn, deface or otherwise destroy (without hitting the dreaded delete button) I can come back on 31 December 2006 to see how I did.

1. Give up smoking. The old favourite. However, I think within a few years its gonna be illegal to inflict such harm on yourself, let alone other people. May as well pre-empt that.

2. Learn Welsh. Already started that one. Don't ask me why, but a good reason seems to be that a lot of jobs seem to depend on you being bi-lingual. Why, when probably 90%+ of the time they speak English is likely something they don't even know. But I don't want to be accused of being party to a murder. Even if it is of a language. And I may do that simply by learning it. We'll see.

3. Not to blow my top when the SOH buys yet another radio. He has to have something to keep him occupied.

4. Get another job. Since an ex-employee got severely reprimanded for slagging off his employer on a blog, I'm not going to comment further, let alone give you the name of the company. I think the resolution says it all.

5. Try and find another hobby other than spending too much time playing "The Waitress" and "Theme Hospital" There's more to life to Omelettes and Bloaty Head.

6. Learn to write short stories. A previous boss says I have a talent for writing. Well, let's develop it. If the rest of the world agrees, resolution 4 is sorted. If not, at least I can say I tried.

7. Get my driving license updated. One thing I haven't done. Since I have to change from paper to card license, this means braving the photo booth. After having a good laugh at the SOH's photos today, I think I owe him that, even though I don't drive any more.

That'll do. If I think of any more they'll be here tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Kill your common sense.

There is a quite disturbing advert on the radio, its been running for some months now. It's an anti-speed advert ending with a little kiddie's voice saying "Hit me at 40 miles per hour and there is an 80 per cent chance I will die, hit me at 30 miles per hour and there is an 80 per cent chance I will live"

Have you noticed the increase in such adverts, in varying degrees of gruesomeness? The ones that you see late at night really make your skin crawl and are invariably more ghastly than the late night horror that you decided might be a bit of a laugh.

I haven't driven in about 10 years. I did hit someone once when I did drive - at about 5 miles per hour. I have been hit myself - again at about 5 miles per hour. The fault, in both cases, I am free to admit, was with the pedestrian not looking where the heck he/I was going.

So someone please tell me what has happened to the Green Cross Code? (Why a cross, and why green, has escaped me). No longer do you see kids lining up nicely at the kerbside (the edge of their brogues just touching the kerbstone). Looking first to the left, then to the right, then back to the left again, listening (with the cupped hand to the ear) and then walking neatly across, looking and listening the whole time.

OK so it never did happen that way.

However, even in my street, in the backroads of Twickenham I would never ever cross the road without at least looking first (the time I got hit I was on my way home from school and just was not thinking straight)

Many deaths could be prevented by schools and parents teaching their kids the funduhmentals of crossing the road. There are of course many exceptions. Only a complete idiot would drive over 25 mph down a road which contained a school at 3.30pm on a weekday. But I'd love to see them try with the amount of parents, with Landrovers, on the school run. Oh that's another rant for another day.

So how about an advert aimed at kids in a similarly gruesome manner? Take care in crossing the road or you will probably DIE.

Extreme, but it might work.

Sponsored by Nobody

New toy for Christmas, right at the top of my blog. Sod the money, I might just enjoy winding it up - balloons - and say a few words right outta context - kitchen - just to see what it does - victory. Quite amusing to see what it came out with today. Can you really search for used school dinners on a Googlesearch? (jumpsuits) Who would want to? (fireman)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Doctor - Allriiighty then

Did anyone else notice that David Tennant's performance last night bore more than a passing resemblance to Jim Carrey?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Hey ho it had to happen some time

Those that know us well know that we aren't very good at staying in touch. In fact, I used to squirm during a particular telephone company add starring Bob Hoskins as it seemed he used to stare straight at us whilst growling "Its good to talk" - and I would think of the people that I promised to stay in touch with and it was up to them to send Christmas cards. And it was rare we would send any back because by the time we got round to it, it was Christmas Eve.

I am actually quite organised this year. I'm posting our cards tomorrow, which for us is a result. I have already received the cards from the people that I expected and they are naturally receiving one in return...but there is an interloper on our mantelpiece.

It arrived yesterday. It was addressed to both of us and the greeting was with both of our names. It was signed by what could either be initials or a two-letter nickname. Neither of us know who it is.

This is gonna bug us all Christmas. They know that we have recently moved from London to North Wales as they wish us all the best in our new life and are happy that we are enjoying it. Its no good asking us to check the postal mark. The post office must have had a 'bad ink day'.

Now it is obviously from someone who admonished that we should stay in touch, or someone that we extended a warm feeling of hospitality. We don't have many friends. We aren't anti-social, its just we don't get out much.

So...thank you...whoever you are. You probably won't read this as you probably don't know I have a blog. But peradventure you do, can I just state that if I could remember who the heck you are you would get a card back. So here is a virtual Christmas card just for you - the unknown Christmas card on the mantelpiece.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

You are what you eat

I was going to provide a link to this post, but if you need a little background, go to and type in "Jamie Oliver" in the search engine.

Our Jamie has recently been involved in a campaign to improve school dinners, which had basically turned into turkey twizzlers and chips. I remember on the TV the other day that there was an item on a school that had taken some of his advice and had started serving up "proper food", and the parents had been invited to watch. Apparently, the sale of school dinners had begun to decline (well, in that particular school anyway) as some of the pupils had refused to eat it, and were starting to bring in packed lunches. One disgruntled father stated words to the effect that it was a waste of time serving up food that kids won't eat, whilst looking at his son who was going as green as the broccoli he was looking at.

This tells me one very important fact - they are being served crap at home as well as at school.

Their parents were probably brought up on a diet very similar to mine. I ate school dinners (although secondary school did tend to provide chips with everything). At home, I was fed a good, square, lunchtime meal at weekends or during holidays. Chips, burgers and fish fingers were rare - only cooked very occasionally. I had a roast dinner on Sundays. Sometimes we had fish and chips and if I was very good, a share of my father's chinese spare ribs and chow mein on Fridays. As I started to earn more pocket money, inevitably I bought a lot of crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks and my physique tells the tale of this. However, despite the rather high fat content, because my diet was basically balanced I am basically healthy. (The high cholesterol in my youth probably contributed to the fact my gall bladder was removed last year - though this can happen to anyone).

In one of his books, Jamie once bemoaned the number of mums he saw in supermarkets with trollies piled high with frozen crap food. He stated that he wished he could kidnap the kids and feed them a proper meal at home. The mums seem to have several excuses:

"They won't eat anything else" - Rubbish. I ate 'proper' food as a kid, and if I could eat it, AND enjoy it, so could they. The fact is, you've never tried, or never put in the effort to make healthy food interesting. Kids love spaghetti bolognese, which although not the epitomy of healthy food, can be balanced, can be made low fat AND is easy to make.

"I don't have time, I work during the day" - Look, I work too. I don't have kids and I admit I am one of the laziest cooks there are. If something takes more than 10 minutes preparation time in the kitchen I get cheesed off (pardon the near pun). I am very much a 'leave it simmering on the hob' or 'slam it in the oven and forget about it' cook whilst I go off and do something else. You're too busy watching Eastenders. You've got a video recorder, watch it later.

"I can't cook" - I got E in Home Economics. Not E for Effort, E for 'Extra Incompitent'. I learnt from an a basic cook book. If you can boil an egg without burning it, you can cook. All the recipes I learnt off by heart take about 5 minutes in prep and I can go and play 'Theme Hospital' on my puta until I smell burning er hem...its cooked.

I get just as peed off as Jamie when I see them in the supermarket, we're breeding a generation of unhealthy youngsters who will probably die before their time. Maybe it will be seen as another weird way of 'protecting our future' - there won't be one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Darn shame

Your Career Type: Conventional

You are orderly and good at following a set plan.
Your talents lie in working with written records and numbers in a systematic, orderly way.

You would make an excellent:

Bank Teller - Bookkeeper - Court Clerk
Mail Carrier - Post Office Clerk - Secretary
Timekeeper - Title Examiner - Typist

The worst career options for your are artistic careers, like comedian or dancer.

Just when I was thinking of a new career..I'm a mixture of all three suggestions...rats.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The End of the World is Nigh (Closing Down Sale)

Oh yes. A suitably dour post for a Blue Monday (and being a purist, I like the original)

Before you shout, 'Hey Fi, aren't you breaking your 9th commandment (thou shalt not Bible bash)?' and scarper, hear me out before you sod offski.

Whether you be a God-fearing believer or philosophical atheist, can you really say that the world can only get better?

What have we got...hmmm...
1. Terrorists blowing themselves up at random moments and locations
2. A non existant ozone layer
3. Trigger happy presidents who think they're God
4. A Middle East just spoiling for a fight
5. Diseases generic to animals hopping over to humans for a party
6. Dormant volcanoes threatening to blow up, loudly and destructively...

...I could go on (and I do). However, I think you're getting my point here. It doesn't matter whether you believe all/some/none of Revelations, we ain't gonna last long as a species, not in this life anyway. Frankly, as a believer in Genesis to Revelations, its God's world, He made it, He'll start it all over again.

In Abergele, there's a shoe shop that's got 'Closing Down Sale' emblazoned across the window. Now, nothing unusual there, Fi, you say, shops close down all the time and what's this got to do with the end of the world? The shop has been 'closing down' since before I moved in. In fact, I distinctly remember when we came here on holiday in late Feb that he was closing down then.

It made me think the End of the World is a bit like that. You never know when the last bang will happen. And one day, the guy in Abergele *will* close down, and probably no-one will notice. I think everyone will notice the End of the World. Oh no they won't, they'll be dead or 'elsewhere'.

Me and the SOH started dreaming up all sorts of strange reasons as to why the shoe shop hasn't closed down yet. Of course, we finally settled on the very boring solution (and probably correct), the guy owns the shop and flat above, is retiring or moving on, needs to sell to retire or move on and hasn't sold yet, so is therefore continuing with the shop until it sells.

Of course, there could be a similar reason as to why God hasn't ended the world yet. Perhaps he's waiting for a buyer.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

To everything - turn, turn, turn

I arrived here late Spring and now Summer has given way to Autumn.

When I was in London, I didn't notice the changing of the seasons very much. In Spring, the mornings were less nippy and on the few patches of green grass that I could see on my way to work, daffodils and crocuses were poking through. Summer - well, the trees got greener and my trip to work was warmer, I could stop wearing my coat and make do with a jacket. Autumn was just like Spring.

Here, though, the seasons are a lot more marked. Acres of sky mean that you can see evening by evening as the sun veers round from its Spring cycle round to the summer. In late Spring, the last of the lambs and the first of the calves are born. Crocuses and daffodils give way to the bright colours of summer and breezes blow on the hilltops. The sea gives off a misty haze caused by the heat - not, obviously, like the Meditterranean heat hazes, but a miniature version that is North Wales' own. As we can see the horizon round 200 degrees or thereabouts, the summer days seem to last longer. Seagulls make the most of the pickings around the beach before they will have to do the best they can when the tourists have gone - like, eat real food for once.

Autumn - well, autumn is just really special. Oh yeah, the trees went brown in London and of course they do here too, although there seems to be a great deal more evergreens than where I lived previously. Autumn is when the rams are released into fields of ewes, who will be lambing between January and March. The swifts, swallows and housemartins have gone now, but out of both my sitting room and workplace window, I watched the youngsters practice their flight skills, ready for an epic journey which they may be blissfully unaware that only a few of them will return from. On Saturday, we went to Llandudno and saw the sea at its most beautiful and threatening; the sea bashing up against the rocks, soaking the fishermen and anyone else caught unawares, telling tales of a storm out in the Irish Sea and warning the coast dwellers to beware of their choice of living so close to nature.

If London makes a footprint on the world, North Wales leaves a fingerprint on your mind. Gentle, personal and always unique.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

******** spammers

Sorry, as of today, only members of blogspot can post comments and I have the word verification thingy turned on as well.

Sorry that the minority had to spoil it, I prefer a free society myself. If you're a spammer reading this - get a life FGS.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Solliq..solliloo..solliloques..oh bugger it..thoughtful moment..

I joined a Webring today - bloggingbrits no less. The most difficult part of filling out the online form was asking me to describe my blog.

What is my blog, apart from the ravings of a mad woman who has made the crazy step of moving from the highlife of London to well north of the Watford gap?

Humour...yes, occasionally, but mostly just ravings, of which I occasionally get feedback (mostly positive) for which I am extremely grateful. It at least makes me suppose that I am not talking to myself, but I'm really good at that, even if I do argue back. In a friendy manner of course.

Actually, my rules are simple:

1. Be myself: There are too many blogs out there where the writers are quite obviously showing off, or making out their life is a soap opera. Lemme tell ya buddy, if you have time to spend an hour in front of a computer talking about your life, *every day* you obviously aren't busy enough.
2. No gimmicks: Hang, on that's a beer advert isn't it? There is absolutely blooming nuffin that would attract my blog to you more than anyone else's.
3. Only blog when I really have something to say: I have a post that is dedicated to just that. I've covered that theory fairly conclusively. I could write utter dingo's kidneys here and you're sitting there thinking "she had time out to write that drivel?"...erm...yeah..but I don't go on about what I had for lunch (in sordid detail) and whose mate is going out with someone else's boy/girlfriend, who you don't know from Adam (or Eve) and unless you turn your blog *into* a soap opera is not exactly going to interest anybody.
4. Keep the post titles interesting: At least then I can be complimented on the title, if not the content. Or slagged off. I don't care.
5. Stay away from foreign politics: Hence "I'll start with my own home thank you". You see, I could have a go at George Bush, but frankly his internal politics have nothing to do with the UK, the UK press generally have a biased opinion about him anyway, and even if they are totally correct as to the content of his character, I ain't a citizen of the US and I think they are best placed to whinge about him.
6. Actually, stay away from most politics: They're all liars and cheats. OK, *mostly* liars and cheats
7. Try and write something humourous every other post at least: I get as depressed as everyone else, no need to make it worse
8. Be myself: Hang on, I've done that one. Still it is an important one, so its better off in here twice, to remind myself, if not you
9. Don't Bible bash: Yeah, I am a Christian, but not a very good one. All the more reason not to.
10. Make the cup of tea STRONG: If it don't remove your stomach lining it ain't worth having.

So, welcome if you're here for the first time.

And as you click away, fare-thee-well and maybe see you another time. Or not. As you please.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Autumn Dawn in Abergele (Haiku)

Menacing mountain clouds
Seagulls silouhette
On a pale pink sky

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Waving the double standards

I'm female. Well, that's what my mum told me anyway, and all the bits seem to be in the right place. I'm telling you, cos there may be a few things I say that will upset many who read this and think I'm a man in a dress.

I was brought up in a fairly chauvinistic household - not the primitive version that we all seem to think of - woman doing all the work and man sitting on his bum on the sofa watching TV and drinking beer - but the old fashioned version - woman is duitiful, pretty, able and willing and the man goes out hunting for food and beats chest in frenzied excitement when he comes home with the booty.

Those days are gone. Thank God, says New Woman. We're heading for two thirds divorce rate says me.

There were three things I heard last night that proves 'Girl Power' is just out of control.

1. Comedy skit on radio. Man is devastated that woman is bound to leave her because she has bought an all-in-1 remote control and so therefore can operate all the electrical equipment at once, leaving man as a useless appendage in the relationship, his previous job being working the video recorder, DVD and Hi-Fi

2. Advertisment on TV. Woman does all the decorating prep in 30 seconds flat (seems like) and smugly sits next to man on sofa who has just sat down with a cup of tea waiting for woman to finish prep.

3. TV House hunting programme. Woman berates man for telling the cameras that she burst into tears because she was so happy that she got the house of her dreams.

OK, these are perhaps weak examples, but the fact that they were all heard in one evening just epitomises the state of the sexes. The trouble with relationships nowadays is that *both* sexes want to wear the trousers and refuse to allow a 'leader' in the relationship. Well, they will, but providing that New woman leads the relationship, because New Man doesn't have a clue.

New Woman refuses to believe the above, but New Woman has been divorced 4 times, what does she know? I have been extremely happily married for 15 years. We guide and help each other - but guess what? - my husband has the last word on major decisions. I tell you what, it leads to a stress-free relationship for me, cos he can do the main worrying about the decsion.

There's a running joke in our relationship. Take a jar which I'm struggling to open whilst cooking dinner. New Woman would try anything - such as the old blade handle round the top trick to release the seal, running under hot water, elastic band round the lid or even the desperate 'taking a sharp implement and giving it the psycho' treatment. Mind you, New Woman rarely cooks does she, or perhaps she may microwave. Me? I walk into the living room, hold out the offending jar to my SOH and say "Bloke.". "Bloke" then opens jar with ease and hands it back with a smug look on his face. I tell you what, it saves so much sweat, nails and aggravation I recommend it to anyone, because:

1. It makes the SOH feel loved and wanted and this type of thing re-awakes the Tarzan attitude in all of them and
2. It gets my ruddy jar open and I can get on with my life

Both in the relationship are happy. You can apply the "Bloke" principle in many areas of married life, and I wonder why my marriage has lasted longer than New Woman's?

Down with Girl Power. Lets get with love and respect.

Monday, August 08, 2005


I've suffered all sorts of pain in my life. I have not, as yet, experienced a broken bone but I have twisted both of my ankles, suffered from a trapped nerve in the base of my spine, had chest pain, earaches, migraines even gone through the horrible trauma of gallstones moving in the bile duct and the pain that creates is indescribable.

However, they all pale into insignificance when compared with toothache.

I haven't been the best at looking after my teeth, but so a dentist once told me, once a tooth is filled - that's *it* - you will forever be getting toothache with that one tooth alone, once every 5-10 years or so, as the tooth decays around the filling leaving you in danger of an infection in the hole it makes. Yuk.

I get toothache every couple of years. The latest is a humdinger comparable to the pain you get when you have an infection in the gum (yep, had that too). The dentist dug out the filling of the offending tooth, filled it in again (and topped it with white stuff which I've never had done before) and informed me that the tooth was approaching the point where it could be repaired no more. Apparently, the tooth had collapsed and the gum had started to grow in and around it, hence the pain.

And because of the vibration and teeth grinding at night, I have suffered pain of epic proportions for the last 6 days. I should go back to the dentist, but I have this other problem - a tooth that should be crowned but I can't make up my mind.

I am not scared of dentists - I have been in and out of dentists since I was around 9 years old, when I had 28 adult teeth and my wisdom teeth were starting to come through. The overcrowding in my jaw meant that 4 teeth had to be removed and braces put in my teeth (the ones that you can remove, not the horrible welded in ones which make you look like Jaws from James Bond). No, perhaps the most painful part is paying the bill, which, although I can claim back 75% from my insurance still makes me gulp like reacting to the taste clove oil which has accidentally slipped down the gullet.

Still - that's why we're driving around a Citroen BX and he drives a Mazda soft top.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Old as the person you feel...or something...

I'm 35 in three weeks.

S'funny cos I don't feel 35. And the person I'm feeling ain't 35 either. I read somewhere years ago of a pop star who attained the age 35 and said he was now, officially 'middle-aged'

I don't feel that either.

As you grow older you think of life as something like:

Baby - don't know anything
Child - knows a bit, but uses the fact that adults think that s/he's only a child and wouldn't know (like heck)
Teenager - Knows it all
Young adult - Its scary out here when there's so much I should know and nothing I learnt at school helps
Middleaged - Well its too late now to know anything, I ask my mum/dad to fill in the gaps. Or my colleagues. Or my 5 year old son
Grey - A few brain cells have dropped out, but I know more than they think

I won't say how old my better half is, I'll just say he's a bit older than me. He started to go backwards on the list when he hit middleaged and is hovering between 'young adult' and 'child' (Teenagers scare him, so he's skipped that generation). Its great cos he makes me feel young and I don't think I've aged a year since I first met him, aged 16.

I'm sure someone said to me years ago that you've been middleaged since you were about 5. Actually, I think this is probably true of a lot of girls, they take life soooo seriously sometimes. Crack a joke about their crow's feet ("hey, you could always make a feature out of them with papier mache") and they look at you as if you've just burnt their house down.

My hair is starting to grey, but its been doing that since my late teens, I have a stressful job. I'm getting a few wrinkles but if people can't take me wrinkles and all, and not see the person I am inside (friendly but sometimes volatile) then they can go and find other friends. Or enemies.

I'm gonna carry on believing that I'm 17 with the mind of a 35 year old. Or maybe the body of a 35 year old with the mind of the girl of 17.

That's better.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Pass the happy pills please, no the orange ones...

I've realised that glancing over my page of posts that I've been doom, gloom and depression for too long and that ain't in keeping with a blog that was meant to be humourous.

Still, I've heard tell that writers do best with stuff that's on their heart don't they? So I've bared my soul to a PC and maybe 6 people on the net (on a good day) and do I feel any better?

Do I heck. I lose myself in my work and my love life and I am, for the most part, extremely content with my lot. Or should that be little?

The way people are nowadays reminds me of that reggae-pop-hit-that-wasn't-a-pop-hit-but-everyone-thinks-should-have-darn-well-been-a-pop-hit "Radio Africa". You must know the one "I'm hearing only bad news (on Radio Africa)". Seems like I hear bad news on not just Radio Africa, but Radio USA, Radio Europe, Radio Australia, suicide rates are up, the environment cart is going to hell and we're strapped to the rear axle.

There's great uncertainty at my workplace as well and morale is down, and I think that's true of most workforces.

Don't Worry, Be Happy a great philosopher once sang.

No - I'm not going to forget about the world's troubles and I'm not going to bury my head in the sand in the hope that it will all go away. However, I know that as just one person in the huge computer that is the world - I ain't gonna make a whole lotta difference to the geology, the economy, the ecology, whatever.

BUT - you can make a big difference in at least ONE person's life today and you don't have to raise a finger. No...

SMILE! The sunshine will follow you around wherever you go.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Outta the frying pan

Unless you've been living in the jungle with just a coupla tigers and a shamen whose English is limited to the word 'Coca-Cola', then you'll know that London is under attack.

Bar all conspiracy theories that seems to go with all terrorist bombings, its really strange that I somehow feel more uneasy now, living 250+ miles away than I did when I only lived around 20 miles away. Then, during the IRA's forays, I felt completely disconnected with what was going on in central London.

The one exception was when I was working for a bakery in Twickenham doing payroll for the shops in London and the burbs. There was a shop nearby the NatWest tower, which wasn't normally open on a Saturday, but because the shops outside London were short on bakers due to sickness and holiday, two bakers agreed to come in and do what is commonly called a 'bake off' - baking sausage rolls and bread for the Middlesex and Surrey shops. Two other people, the shop manageress and the area manager, again, who would not normally work on that day, decided to go in and catch up on some paperwork. Before they started, they decided to go to a local cafe and have a cup of tea first.

A little while later, with the bakers still baking and the managers still in the cafe, someone tried to blow up the NatWest tower. The proximity of the bomb meant that the shop window blew inwards, showering the bakers in glass and rendering them incapable of work for a week or three due to shock.

When you pay them, you feel closer to them somehow. I think now, the reason why I feel somehow connected, is my sudden decision to wrench myself away from the place. The umbilical cord is still connected, and why shouldn't it be? Also, I have colleagues in several offices in London, and a colleague here in Wales has a daughter in London, and I feel her concern, particularly as I'm a serial worrier.

God bless every single Londoner today. Travel safe.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Last Friday night, don't know what caused it, but I started to feel the first signs of homesickness.

I was thinking of the places that I will probably never see again, of the River Thames in particular, especially Twickenham riverside. A part of me, and ghosts of memories haunt areas of my soul and come creeping up during dark nights and tears spring to my eyes with thoughts of what was, and what could have been. I shared a lot of my fears and hopes with that river and my echo is there still. Discussing this with the better half, he told me that if we ever went back, it would be different, even if nothing has changed.

He's so right.

My memories, happy, happy-sad and bitter-sweet memories of the places that I knew in my childhood and early adult years will remain just memories. I cannot relive them and I cannot bring them back. Usually, I had no-one to share those thoughts and feelings with after walking away from the places that I frequented then. I do now - and we have both torn ourselves away from places that we grew up in and have started life afresh in a place that has such outstanding natural beauty, that we can build new memories to share.

We have just had the best weekend since first moving up. We didn't visit anywhere beautiful, but we have started to get our lives together as the house that we chose to live in, in small ways is becoming a home.

Here's to the next 30 years of building homes and memories.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Read this thought provoking post from a favourite blog of mine. It certainly made me wonder...are memories, ghosts?

Some are painful, some are heartwarming, some you would rather forget, some you never want to fade. And yet, face them we must and often they taint our perception of situations past - we either improve or play down the ultimate result, depending upon how we want to be remembered when retelling our memories to others.

I have my own theory regarding actual ghosts - and they don't have white sheets and chains (well, not always). But that's for another time.

Memories are ghosts that inhabit our mind and make us what we are.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Englishwoman in North Wales

I've been here nearly 3 weeks now and everything is still peachy. Perhaps I'm still in holiday mode and my brain hasn't quite clicked that I will have to suffer the good and the bad that North Wales chucks at me. So far, I've been able to handle it.

One thing that I am starting to understand is the rather tenuous relationship between those resident in North Wales and the tourists.

When I lived in Twickenham there were a few tourists, mainly because of the excellent pubs and the historical nature of nearby towns Kingston and Richmond. They tended to blend in though, dressed for the towns rather than the beach and tended to speak very good English (and sometimes better than the locals). There was no tourism to speak of in the part of Sunbury I lived in, as all it has going for it is the motorway that took me out of there. You did get a lot of European students who would take the same bus to college as the one that took me to work, and, to misquote Adrian Mole, if you closed your eyes you could imagine you were abroad with the way they went on.

It is of course, very very different in a coastal town. Tourists bring in Euros and Dollars and is, so we're told, very good for the economy and Wales needs all the money it can get (along with most of the rest of the UK). But after waiting an hour in our favourite cafe to get fed, along with a few of the aging locals, you can understand why a lot of locals, before the 3rd week in June, are actually praying for October so that they can have a teacake and coffee in peace.

I've heard many stories of English persons visiting Wales, where most of the population can speak perfect English, and walking into a pub have found that the locals abruptly change from speaking in English to Welsh. I have had no such problem and have (for the most part) found the Welsh the friendliest people in the UK. I am undergoing a transition from percieved 'visitor' (shopkeepers a bit abrupt, thinking, 'another tourist to litter the hills and valleys); incomer (shopkeepers a lot more friendly and start smiling - some even ask after your health, cos they realise after 3 weeks you're no longer a tourist, you're working for the good of Wales); perceived permanent resident - this one will take longer and it doesn't help that I sound like Sarah Ferguson. I could either adopt a scouse or Welsh accent but nothing will take away the fact that I was born at the heart of BBC english.

I don't want a dialect, but I'm stuck with one. So I will do the best that I can for where I live, try not to piss anyone off (too much) and respect local knowledge. In other words, act like a resident and not a tourist.

In the mean time, what and ho for jolly ol' blighty.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Road to Rhyl

Sung to the tune of Chris Rea's "Road to Hell" (sorta)

Well I'm driving through the country
And my friends all say I'm mad
But I've chosen a diff'rent path to walk on
Even the seagulls take cover
From the wind of the Irish sea
Instead they divebomb the tourists who take to the funfairs
And the average age of the populus
Is about a hundred and three
Have I lost common sense and all reason?
And the chavs all talk in a scouse accent
Oh yeah, this is the road to Rhyl

And all the roads are potholed and narrow
And the car has sprung a leak
It's all payroll and phones to come soon
Look out North Wales, take a look
What comes up here
Hope I learn the lesson fast and learn it well
It's just off the A55 expressway
Oh yeah, this is the road
Said this is the road
This is the road to Rhyl

(No hate mail from Rhylians please. I know a few parts of Rhyl that are very nice and at least the chavs here are friendly, more than can be said for SW London)

Friday, June 17, 2005

Doctor Boo Hoo (Part 2)

Now then, tomorrow night Chrisopher Eccleston will become David Tennant, courtesy of the miracles of modern technology, Gallafreyan quirkiness and the fact that Chris handed in his notice some time ago.

I haven't watched many of the DWs, despite my previous post. I was moving to Wales when the second part of the really scary chapter was on (the gas mask one) and I just didn't fancy the two part 'reality TV' chapter, (I've heard enough about the real thing frankly - DW meets Chavalocity) although the second part is obviously where the transformation is to take place (they call it regeneration don't they? Can't remember) Anyway, I may or may not watch it. But I may burst into tears cos I think I've developed a crush on Eccleston.

Or at least, thought I had until I saw the bum fluff he'd grown when I saw him on Top Gear.

So how will it all go? Billie seems to be very good at the confused/bemused look and I can imagine her telling him (after the event) "Why didn't you tell me you can re-generate?" and him replying "Its not exactly a conversation starter, is it? Hello, my name's The Doctor and when I die I regenerate"

Bectchya it'll be words to that effect.

So farewell Chris and welcome David. May you twang many heartstrings and may your elctronic screwdriver always rise to meet you. Or something.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Doctor Boo Hoo

I, like millions of others 20 years ago, used to hide behind the sofa whilst Tom Baker or Peter Davidson saved the world from the Daleks on the other side of it.

Now I'm in my thirties, and giggle at the monsters rather than run and hide. Oh for innocence, but it gives me a smile on a Saturday night, and no doubt another generation of teenies are also hiding behind the sofa, cos the monsters are just as scary, if not more so.

But...and this is a big but..

Am I alone in feeling a little perturbed about the way these episodes are going, particularly after last Saturday's?

Don't get me wrong, I will turn into a Doctor Who addict if I'm not careful. Christopher Eccleston certainly fits the part well (although I half expect him to go "why-aye-mun" any minute. I think he's the first DW with a distinctive dialect) and Billy Piper was a pleasant surprise, she don't do bad at all and I have a strange bias with young, pretty, rich and chavvy blondes.

DW has a lot of parallels with James Bond, viz:

1. He isn't real but he's believable
2. He's somewhat invincible, he's died once already this series and come back to life. More than JB ever did.
3. He's actually changed actors more times than James Bond, with a convincing 'reason' for doing so (which JB doesn't)
4. JB has lots of gadgets, DW seems to have only two, but they do THE LOT. (what happened to K9?)
5. He should be played with the tongue firmly in the cheek

Also, the old DW used to show little emotion, and the series used to be full of terms such as 'runckated his murgerflooms into jasterplasts'

The above two are missing. Maybe ditching the latter has made the stories somewhat less ridiculous (if possible), but the former rule violation has made DW human - which he isn't.

The intrusion of emotion is no bad thing, and makes for interesting scope on the storylines. What bothers me most, is the pinch of 'soap opera' the writers have given the storylines, much like we add salt to a delicious stew, forgetting our guests can add as much (or as little) salt they like at the dinner table.

To cap it all, the writers have left a kinda 'willtheywon'tthey' with DW and Rose. Didn't I read somewhere that DW CAN'T, making the thought somewhat farcical, or am I thinking of someone else?

Its the way the episodes refer back to each other, not to previous encounters with weird aliens with pipes and tubes outta impossible orifices, but to relationships. I mean, forget the fact that there were pterydactls outside, the writer was more concerned on tugging on the heartstrings as Rose says 'Daaaaddy!!' there can't have been a dry eye in the house. I'm really surprised that the Reapers didn't stop their flapping and scratching and sit and weep at the beauty of human fraility. DW is about monsters and DW himself saving the world. Instead the dad does the noble thing and commits suicide. Touching, but is this Doctor Who or Amargeddon?

Actually, I can't remember the last time DW actually did anything other than wave his screwdriver about a bit, or the last time he did something really clever, like solve the crime all by himself and get on his trusty steed (or TARDIS) and ride into the sunset?

How times change. In the meantime, pass the tissues please and don't mention Eastenders.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Escape to the country

Yes I'm finally doing it. I'm moving to Wales.

Now this might make the Ann Robinsons and Jeremy Clarksons out there close to a coronary, but yes, this southerner has decided that the best thing to be is a northerner, cos I'm moving to just a few miles west of Liverpool.

The dream has been about 2 years in the making, but I've got money down on a plain but comfy flat with sea views. At about half the rent I'm paying in London.

Now some might say that cheaper council tax and rent does not make up for the fact that you're sharing your living space with sheep, rain, leeks, rain, daffodils, rain and more rain.

Actually, it doesn't always rain in Wales. Its like the misconception the yanks have that it always rains in the UK. It just rains a little more often in Wales than it does in southern England. And...get this...when it rains in London, the smell afterwards of wet refuse, concrete and re-hydrated dog's, cat's and human pee does not compare to the smell you get in Wales after it rains. It smells GREEN. You can smell things GROWING. (the sheep, leeks and daffodils probably)

Also the roads down here are so STRAIGHT. After all, the Englanders were taken over by the Romans and they liked things nice and straight and didn't even need a bubble level. Something to do with their chariots not coping. Shoulda invented traction control a couple of thousand years ago. Or maybe not, cos then they woulda invaded Wales and it wouldn't have been the beautiful unspoilt haven it is now, with winding roads better than any roller-coaster. Well that's the way I see it anyhow.

They have mountains that can frighten you and leave you completely awestruck as to their beauty.

Anyway I should round off by saying...don't follow me here...well, not too many of you cos else it'll be crowded and the house prices will be more expensive.

Oh...and I'm going to learn Welsh too. Maybe I'll even start a blog in Welsh.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Grumpy Old Woman (Gimme Shelter)

Friday night, I watched a programme on TV which started to make my blood boil. Well, I say "watched"...if playing solitatire on playandwin whilst vaguely glancing over the top of the laptop counts as "watching", I certainly heard every word.

Everyone's a hypocrit, even if they don't admit it. Some people have very strong views and for the most part, even if I don't agree with them, the stronger and more forthright the views, the more I admire them.

Janet Street-Porter is an exception to my rule.

Janet was accosted by a beggar at an ATM, and she told them exactly what she thought - that basically this person was a sponger off hard-working, tax-paying, honest, upright citizens. Apparently the whole queue applauded.

I wouldn't have done had I been there. If I wasn't such a wuss, and I were as forthright as Ms Street-Porter, I would have said 'There but for the Grace of God, go I'.

Of course, Janet is an atheist, so maybe in retrospect, that should be, 'There but for Janet's ego go I'....

Janet could have been right. He could have been a dirty rotten opportunist, who didn't want to work and was happy to receive anything that was chucked his way, provided it kept him in speed and cider.

On the other hand, he could have been a guy who had had the shit kicked out of him by his father, competely disregarded and shunned by his mother, had been on the streets for some years and was starving hungry most days, and out of desperation, tried to beg money from people in an ATM queue.

What bugs me most of all is people like Janet who tar everyone with the same brush. Like the fact she calls all men wasters. It takes two to make a marriage.

I shamed myself on Friday, actually. There's a guy who I sometimes buy the Big Issue from in my local high street, but I've ignored him for weeks, all because my friends take the piss out of me for doing so. Yet, his type of begging is of a higher level than the guy in the ATM queue, and invariably, these guys have a home or a hostel.

Are these guys wasters too Janet?

Like Janet, I grew up in a fairly middle class family, and had all the opportunities, including university, should I have wanted to take them. I also had a loving home, with no threats of violence or abuse. I could have done so much more with my life and taken avenues that Janet travelled down. She thinks she's lived. She hasn't, and neither have I.

I believe in a form of fate, but some people have less roads to choose than others. They end up on the street as they felt they have no choice. I could have done too, but because of my avenues of opportunity, it was never ever a serious option. I am blessed.

And because I am a Christian (of sorts), there but for the Grace of God, go I.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

There ain't nothing like blogging

Most times after blogging, I click the nifty button in the corner which states in bold friendly terms - 'Next Blog'. Y'see, I am a curious cat and like to see what everyone else is talking about.

Before I start my stating my pearls of wisdom (or goofery, depending upon your point of view) I should state a few facts first

1. Only 18% of the internet is ever read. That's EVER.
2. The average attention span of a surfer is 8 seconds. That's just a little more than your average goldfish.
3. One thing really liable to get people really narked at you is badly designed webpages
4. And another likely problem is pop up ads

Bear this in mind, dear surfer, or budding Adrian Mole (or whatever) before you start a blog or design a web page. When clicking next blog, I find:

The Diarist
Well, hey, there's nothing wrong with that. And some of them are really touching. I bookmarked one actually, cos it gave such a fascinating view of a life so far away I just had to give it deeper consideration. Remembering facts 1 and 2 again, the diarist's blog is probably less likely to be read by your sister, which frequently happens if you have it down in a big red book given to you for Christmas (by same sister). The ones that really get up my nose though r th 1s tht typ evrythng in txt spk. Please tell me, that if you really really really want your work of art on the web, and not on your hard drive (or under your bed) do you not want it at least intelligible? Or have I arrived at the wrong planet?

The Seller/Marketer
Quite. Remember facts 1 and 2. You need to advertise your blog more than your actual product. Still, at least these things are free. Some like to bring in the pop up ads. One charming site gave me a virus from one of the pop ups which took weeks to get rid of. Thanks, whoever that was. And see fact 4.

The budding Web Designer
AWFUL. Yes, most of the hybrid designs are just DREADFUL. And usually pink. And also designed on an obscure browser. I use Netscape, Mozilla and IE. None of them make the page look right, so can only assume they picked up some freebee with their Apple Mac, cos they think that M$ are money grabbing (people of dubious parentage). Look, busters, the reason why we use Netscape and IE is because we find that most corporations use them, they've had all the bugs kicked out of them, you can read 90% of the web with them. Apart from your ruddy annoying, badly designed web pages. And since I have the attention span of a goldfish, and don't want to ruin my eyes with bright yellow or pink, I click Next Blog pretty darn quick. See fact 3. And get rid of those BLOODY pop up boxes, MILLIONS of the buggers, TELLING ME HOW WONDERFUL YOUR WEB PAGE IS AND TO CLICK 'OK'!! Sorry those swines are more annoying than anything else. One had the cheek to say...'enjoy my blog' ...'don't create another like it!'...yeah like I'm really gonna try and annoy the remaining blog population that you haven't alienated. The blog was about 6 miles long as well.

The Newsreader
One web page for you. End of.

The 'Have to Write Something Today'
Take a day off once in a while sheesh. Apart from those trying to stay in contact with others across the world whilst not paying a fortune in phone bills or postage, then fair enough. Those with a couple of mates who you speak with daily via Talk Talk, what IS the point? Hey, there's more to life than a laptop. Or something.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

To blog or not to blog

Those that read this (well at least one does) will know that I don't blog very often. Now this could be laziness, but lets get real here. Real surfing addicts (and that's the net, not the ocean wave) will always find time to type something about themselves, its their favourite subject after all.

It got me thinking about why we don't get in touch with our family after we've been away from them for a few months. Now, what's your excuse when your mum phones you up and berates you for not keeping in touch? "Really sorry, Mum, been so busy at work" or maybe "been doing some work round the house, can't wait until you see it" or if she asks why you haven't visited even though you work just round the corner, the even more honest "frankly, mum your cat sets off my allergies"?

OK, lets get deep down here into the far reaches of the soul and draw on the wisdom of my favourite philosphers. They are, in this order, Nigel Molesworth and Fitzroy Maclean Angel. If you've heard of neither, then frankly, chum, you've missed out....what? You want me to tell you who the heck they are?? Look, matey, you've got Google lined up already. Open a new window, go and search for them and get some education. I'll wait here for you, promise.

Oh good, you're back. So now you know.

Nigel hated writing home to mum. He used to say that the truth was so despicable that mamma and papa would choke on their cornflakes if he gave the full, sordid details. So he soft soaped.

Fitzroy has nothing in common with his family, so he just never keeps in touch because he really has nothing to say to them.

So why do we get in touch with anyone? When we have something to say. Now you may be straight on the phone to mum if you win the lottery (OK maybe not) but if its just to say, well, the partner/wife/husband/mistress/lover is fine, our dog's fine, the house is fine, our car is fine, the job is fine, still poverty stricken, still fighting the next door neighbour over boundary rights yahdeyahdeyah you can see how it gets a bit monotinous and you only get in touch if something really special going on.

Hence it is with my blog. By heck, you're thinking, you must have an empty life.

Yeah, I do, but its busy too and when I move to Wales maybe I'll have more time and wax more lyrical.

More on blogs next time, some time. I really must steam clean the carpet.