Tuesday, September 30, 2008
To see the answer, run your mouse over the beginning of the line below.
I Want to Hold Your Hand of course!
To take part in ABC Wednesday, go here.
In answer to Aileni's query, I would imagine it comes form the Hamburg days, yes. And, interestingly, the German translators are credited as co-authors of this version.
The girls in my holiday camp told them that I didn't try to escape once but I didn't have to. If I tried hard and looked hungry the girls thought I hadn't been fed and fed me again! Sometimes I had 3 dinners.
And they sang 'happy birthday' to me and gave me a special breakfast on my birthday. They didn't go and leave me. I hope mum and dad go away again soon cos I liked my holiday!
P.S. But It is quite nice being back and digging up my garden.
Well, okay then,we have over 1,000 photos and 15 hours of video. Would you like to come round for a Canada evening? No?
Now I could be really boring but I'll just filter in photos and a few relevant posts along the way as appropriate. But just a few general comments to start us off.
The weather was wonderful. Apart from one tiny shower in Whistler that stopped before we got out of the car we didn't have any rain.
The people were friendly and polite - apart from one girl in a Wells Grey coffee house (more about that same coffee house to come!)
The food everywhere was great, apart from a mouldy blueberry in a Vancouver fast food place.
And we saw, in the wild, seals, whales, black bears, dolphins, sea otters, sea lions, elk, deer, a moose, a coyote, bald eagles, chipmunks and, in captivity, wolves and grizzlies.
We walked on a glacier and bathed in natural hot springs under a cold night sky.
And we saw one or two mountains.
We left Banff at 8 am on Sunday morning and arrived home at 6 pm yesterday, Monday, evening but the journey wasn't as long as it sounds because of the hours changing. We gained 1 hour going from Banff to Vancouver and then lost about 8 coming home. But somewhere along the line we seemed to miss out on a night.
And now we're all going on diets - George included!
Monday, September 29, 2008
To take part in Monochrome Monday, visit Aileni.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I keep saying to Husband, 'We're in Canada. We're really here in Canada.'
I am so glad Daughter planned the itinerary and booked all the hotels. Husband is inclined to say, 'It's just somewhere to sleep.' Daughter likes a bit of luxury and style.
In Vancouver we stayed at the Pan Pacific on the waterfront. A very luxurious hotel but I'm not sure if I don't prefer the one we're in now. Abigail's Hotel is a fascinating mix of old and new with lots of lovely personal and special touches that make it stand above a chain hotel, however posh. For one thing it has free internet! Hence I'm on here reporting back. And the home-made welcome cookies were 'to die for'. It's won best B&B in BC for the last 7 years (I think).
Anyway, having a wonderful time. Had a great lunch with jmb and leslie on Monday and, of course, I'll be writing in much more details with lots (oh, lots and lots!) of photos when I get back.
Today we drive up to Tofino on the west coast of the island. We're there for a couple of days and we plan to go whale watching and maybe to swim in hot springs in the rain forest. Rain forest in Canada? I know; I haven't worked that one out yet either.
Now I'm going to enjoy a cup of weak tea in the library of the hotel. Robust black tea it's called but someone forget to tell the teabag. Incidentally I've had some very posh silken teabags while I've been here. As well as berry shortcake, chocolate fondue, crab bisque, clam chowder - I have photos, don't worry! And I've fed seals!
See you later!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
In my life (Rubber Soul, 1965)
Top, left to right
Rhossilli, Mumbles Head, the village of Oystermouth
Middle, left to right
Cliff path to Caswell, Albert House (place of my birth and growing up), Langland
Bottom, left to right
Three Cliffs, Pwll Du, the seafront from West Cross
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
We're all organised. Younger Son will take us to the train station this afternoon and we're staying in Gatwick tonight. WE meet up with Daughter and Son-in-law there and we all fly at 11ish tomorrow morning to Vancouver where we stay for a night or two before crossing to Vancouver Island. A few days there and then we're back on the mainland and into the Rockies. Flying home again two weeks Monday.
I hope you all have a lovely time while I'm gone. I've asked Blogger very nicely to publish some post-dated posts for me so we'll have to see how that works. (I don't want you to forget me!) If I see an internet cafe I may just call in but husband is convinced I am a blogger addict and he will tease me something chronic if I do. Me? A blogging addict ... ?
Friday, September 12, 2008
'I didn't know it needed washing. It wasn't in the dirty clothes basket.'
'No, it was on the floor in the corner of the bedroom. Please wash it.'
'Yes, please, I want to take it with me tomorrow.'
So I put the washing machine on.
At 7.15 Husband came in and said, 'I need this shirt washing too.'
'Your fleece has already started being washed.'
'Well, I need this too.'
'So you want me to wash it now?'
'Yes, please. I want to take it with me.'
I don't actually know what that means but mum says I will have a big field to play in, lots of dogs to talk to and nice ladies who will look after me. That sounds fun. I don't know what mum will be doing while I am having fun though. I expect she will be doing something boring.
Mum told me that I mustn't try to escape when I am on my holidays or the monsters will get me. But she tells me that every day before I go in the garden and I haven't seen any. I think my mum is imagining monsters. She does say some silly things.
I have to go now but I will be back soon and I can tell you all about my holidays. Woof woof!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I knew one of the judges and spoke to him afterwards. I complimented him on the critiques he'd given on behalf of the judging panel (i.e. they agreed with me!). He'd been quite blunt but constructive. The last time I attended, the judge was useless, just saying nice things, which wouldn't have helped the authors to improve on their works at all. Anyway, the point I'm getting to is that I mentioned that I'd been thinking about a play for entering for ages. David, the judge, said, 'Get it written! Get in in! I have faith in you. You can't be any worse!' So that's what I'm going to do on the plane: write a play. Probably not write a play exactly but think about it and maybe start writing on making notes. I was wondering what on earth I was going to do for 10 hours, apart from eat.
Well, perhaps not the first thing, but pretty soon afterwards.
Younger Son asked, 'Why are you cleaning before you go on holiday?'
'Because I want to leave it as I want to find it when I get back.'
Younger Son gave me a John 'you cannot be serious' McEnroe look.
It's worth a try.
He'll have a good excuse, although I'm not telling him. The Hoover is working to rule, but whose rule I'm not sure. It gathers debris - mostly George hair - from the carpet, rolls it up and spits it out. It makes it easier to gather by hand - or mouth if George gets there first - but doesn't leave an entirely satisfactory finish to the carpet.
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When in M&S this week I thought I'd try on a (comparatively) cheap bra. I know my size and M&S is renowned for its underwear. But now I know why I have to buy expensive bras: as Husband would say, my dumplings were well and truly boiling over.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
So I went along to my lady and she said I hadn't shaved all the hairs so she took a few more off before she piled on loads of gel. It's like the gel they rub on pregnant tummies before a scan to help the contact.
This laser thing works by killing the melatonin (the stuff that gives hair its colour and strength). It's necessary to get down to skin level before starting so that the energy will be concentrated on the hair under the skin. It's all very complicated. It hurts more if there are lots of hairs close together; white hairs can't be treated; it doesn't work well if you're sun-tanned; and ... other stuff I've forgotten now.
It didn't hurt that much but there's a bright flash with each zap. It's a bit like being at the optician's when they squirt air into your eye: you know it's coming but you can't stop yourself blinking. So it was with each flash I gave a little jump.
As to the results, well, we'll have to wait and see how many treatments it takes and if it is effective.
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My next post will be my 2000th! It had better be something special. Oh dear, now I've got a block ...
Talking of being away in Canada - did I mention I'm going to Canada soon? - I'm going to try and set up some posts to post automatically for ABC Wednesday and stuff. Obviously I won't be able to visit but I don't want you to forget me while I'm away. In Canada! Did I mention ...?
Today we walked as far as the Railway Inn. The cycle/walking path through Clyne valley follows the route of the old mid-Wales train line, hence the Railway Inn at the side.
Many years ago, not-yet-Husband, another friend and I went there for an evening drink. We sat outside and not-yet-Husband told me a story. It was about a car breaking down on a lonely road at night. The man left his wife in the car while he went to get help. She was sitting there when there was a tremendous banging on the roof of the car. She sat petrified as the banging continued and, just as an axe was breaking through, her husband returned in another car, and the mad axe murderer ran off.
Of course, this was a shaggy dog story/urban legend/call it what you will but I didn't know that at the time and not-yet-Husband told it very well - much better and in more graphic detail than I have related it. It was years before I could even drive past the Railway Inn without remembering the story and shuddering.
a) I am going to Canada on Sunday (Have I mentioned that?);
b) the sun may be shining and I may get some washing dry.
What time do they re-create the Big Bang anyway?
Shall I do my Christian fundamentalist evangelist bit?
'And ar y'all ready t'meet the Looooord, bruther?'
Of course the world won't end until God says so, so if it ends today it will mean there isn't a god and dr stu will be right. Unless God has decided that it will end today, in which case, I'll see you in heaven or not.
I think I need to get out more.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Okay, deep breath. Slowly, okay, I'll calm down in a minute.
I chose - very appropriately as it's turned out - Help as my Beatles record for this week. This sculpture, called Breathing at sea, was commissioned by Mumbles Community Council in tribute to the local lifeboatmen who voluntarily man the lifeboat, and risk their lives to go to the help of others.
The sculpture by Hideo Furuta (not Futura as I've put on the photo but cannot even begin to try and change now) is meant to encompass both anguish and hope.
To take part in ABC Wednesday, go here.
No, seriously, I have to shave before they do the treatment, which will be a mix of electrolysis for the white hairs, and laser something-or-other for the darker ones. I'm booked in for tomorrow afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes.
I started off by saying that I wasn't going to take much. Then I panicked and threw my entire wardrobe in the suitcase - or on the spare bed, which is pretending to be a suitcase. If it's not on the bed, it's being washed or I'm wearing it.
Now I have to calm down, be sensible and take some stuff out. The ballgown, tiara and pirate costume probably won't be needed for a start ...
For sweet dreams, choose British brie; for a drift into nostalgia, try some Red Leicester. If it's your career you need to sort out, nibble on some Lancashire before bed and if you'd like George Clooney to pay you a night-time visit, your best bet is Cheddar. And I guess if you want to be an inventor, you need a lovely piece of Wensleydale.
But is it just me? Does British brie have the same unauthentic ring as New Zealand cheddar?
Oh yes and apparently, according to Sainsburys magazine who got it straight out of the British Medical Journal, playing a didgeridoo before bed will help sleep apnoea sufferers to doze off.
I'm afraid it wasn't awfully impressive in my dream but I think that's because there was another woman there that I didn't know and she was terribly domineering and effusive and rushing everywhere. So I know it will be wonderful really.
In 2000 Husband and I spent a few days in New York. Actually I spent quite a lot of the time cooped up in a hotel room with a cop but that's another story.
You think you're prepared for New York. At least I thought so. I'd seen it in plenty of movies; I knew it was full of skyscrapers. But nothing prepared me for the height of those buildings. I ran out of adjectives very quickly. Each time I thought I'd seen the highest, around the corner there'd be one that was even taller. I will go back one day.
But I think that's what the Rockies are going to be like: words will quickly fail me. Yes, it'll be mountains and lakes but I get the feeling that nothing will have prepared me for this either.
I'm so excited!
Monday, September 08, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
I woke up in the middle of the night feeling ropey and then spent the time between 5 am and lunchtime tripping back and for between bed and toilet. I haven't long got up, showered, and put on a clean nightie and I still feel doubtful. Poor me.
You know sometimes you think, 'I could do with a minor illness and spend a day in bed'? (Well, perhaps you don't but I do because I rarely have them.) But I've realised the problem with spending a day in bed when you're ill is that you don't feel well enough to enjoy it.
Oh, I am feeling sorry for myself.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
I walked round the store five times, getting increasingly stressed, laughing hysterically, and being followed by the store detective. Turned out he was trying on jeans. Just as well. I mean if you have to lose your husband much better to do it in Debenhams or somewhere with a bit of class.
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I've been wearing my new walking shoes round the house today to break them in. I'm happy the right one is house-trained now but I only managed to keep the left one on for about 15 minutes before my foot started to hurt. I am having so much trouble with my extra toe this year. I think I will be the first woman to hop over the Rockies.
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Waiting in the car while Husband tied a mattress on the roof I was studying my chin. there's nothing like good daylight to show up your follies or your follicles. I decided I'd follow Dragonstar's suggestion and find out about hair removal by electrolysis. I told Husband over dinner. I said, 'I've made an appointment for Tuesday. Apparently I have to have a consultation first.'
'They'll take one look at you and give you a razor,' Husband said.
And if he thinks he's getting any cake tonight, he can think again.
* * * * * * * *
I am a little perturbed by Gattina's comment on my Photohunter post. She said, 'I am disappointed. From you I expected a picture with a string around a neck, lol !'
What kind of impression am I giving people?!!!
* * * * * * * * * * *
This is the cake Husband isn't getting - what do you mean that wasn't the sort of cake you were thinking of?! It's my own creation! Sort of. I took a recipe for teisen lap (Welsh cake on a plate) and mixed it up a bit and added apple. I'm about to go and eat it now with a cup of tea while I watch Midsomer Murders. And then I'm going to try and stretch my left shoe.
Friday, September 05, 2008
I haven't let George read it yet but I noticed that Oscar isn't the first dog to make the news for his eating habits.
A dog has had to undergo emergency surgery after swallowing his 40th pair of pants.
Taffy, the 18-month-old springer spaniel, has also eaten 300 socks, 15 pairs of shoes and a key fob to a car.
A hungry puppy has surprised his owners, and a vet, by swallowing a whole pair of tights.
Parsnip, the seven-month-old Basset hound, was taken to the vets with digestion problems and the tights were discovered during surgery.
A Nottingham man says his pet dog's penchant for ladies' underwear left the animal needing emergency surgery.
Cliff Hall of Stapleford said his pedigree Bull Mastiff, Deefer, has eaten around 10 pairs of knickers in the past 12 months.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
She showed me a letter she'd had from the police. She was absolutely delighted with it. 'They're treating me like a person, like someone who matters. They're listening to me and giving me respect.' I looked at it; it was a bog standard letter with just her name written into the Dear bit.
She had another letter from a different organisation as well. 'Look at that! They've bothered to reply. And it's on headed paper.' She was so thrilled. Two letters on headed paper that gave her value.
After the Bible study in Zac's on Tuesday a young lad came in and sat at the counter. He had a cup of tea and some cake. He was so drugged up it was hard to understand what he was saying but I gathered that he was only just 18, that he'd been living with his brother but his brother had now thrown him out and he was wondering where he was going to spend the night. He'd come to Zac's because he'd been told there were sleeping bags to be had there.
I suppose I'm naive and I've led a sheltered life but how do people come to this? I take respect for granted. I assume I will be treated as someone worthwhile; I expect to be believed if I say something. I can't imagine having children and not caring where they are or what they're doing. There's nothing my children could do that would make me stop loving them or trying to help them.
How can this cycle of misery be broken? God alone knows.
And then it was fine until we were about 10 minutes from home. That's when God emptied his bathtub on us. I tried sheltering again but the trees were as good as useless the rain was coming down so furiously. Having to go and rescue George who kept trying to play with a boxer who wanted to eat him didn't help, so we gave up and walked home, dripping.
By the way, the green bag in my hand isn't full of poo but blackberries. Actually if I hadn't stopped to pick them we'd have got home before the rain. Ah, but then we wouldn't have had blackberry and apple crumble to look forward to ...
Those are my old leaky boots I'm wearing. I don't want to get my new ones dirty, and I need to break them in around the house first. Except my feet have so many blisters and plasters I don't want to wear anything on them unless I have to.
Esure surveyed 3,000 dog owners and nearly two-thirds had paid to repair or replace items damaged by their animals. Most of the breakages happened when the dogs were puppies.
Great Danes came top of the list with chihuahuas next. Least destructive is the pug followed by the St. Bernard.George might not have destroyed £600 worth of property but we've spent more than that on new fencing - and we haven't finished yet!
Can I ask you a question?’
Why what? God says..
Well, I was going to ask why the trees and the stream and the sun, and why George and why Jesus and why me, but I thought I might as well just ask - why?’
Hm, God says. That’s a big one; I’ll have to think about that one.
Okay I say and I carry on walking and enjoying the woodland, and hoping I will get home before the big grey cloud sheds its load on me, and then God says, okay, I’ve got the answer.
Good, I say, although I’m thinking it took long enough for someone who’s omniscient, all-knowing.
God says, because.
I wait thinking he’s going to say something else but he doesn’t. I say, because?
Yes, God says, because.
That’s a … I hesitate. God says, go on say it, say what you’re thinking. I already know so you might as well.
Okay, I say, that’s a crap answer. That’s the sort of answer I gave my children when I couldn’t think of an answer.
Okay, says God, then my answer is because I am.
That’s no better, I say. That’s like me saying to my children, because I say so.
Hm, he says, you've got a point there. And are you a good parent?
Um, I shrug. I think so. I try to be.
Do you love your children?
More than all the world.
I can see where this is going. That’s what you get when you try discussing something with someone who knows everything.
Okay, I get your point, I say. I have to trust you. I sigh. Too loudly.
God says, you’re still not happy though really are you?
I sigh again. No, not really.
All right, God says, and I imagine him stroking his beard, I’ll tell you why. Because I am … I start to interrupt but he shushes me … I am love.
I am overwhelming, incredible, unending, unconditional love. It was the out-pouring of that love that took shape and created you – not the whim of man and woman.
It’s that love that made the sun and the water and the trees for the pleasure of seeing you, my child, smile.
It’s that love that shaped George for the pleasure of hearing you laugh.
It’s that same love that sacrificed my son just for you.
It’s that love that wants to protect you and hold you and never let you go and it’s that love that carries you as you tread hesitantly through pain, just as it’s that love that covers its eyes as you leap headfirst and eagerly into wrongdoing but waits for you at the other end.
It’s that love that washes and bathes you, tends your wounds and dries your tears.
Because I am love that’s why.
I am looking at the ground. I whisper, thank you. God puts his finger under my chin and lifts my face up to the falling tears from heaven. I bite my lip. I say, I love you.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I write a lot but I don't say much. I mean, when I'm out, I don't talk a lot. And, quite often when I do, I really shouldn't. Take last night for example. (Please!)
Zac's started back after a short summer break. Steve was there. I've known him and his wife for years, and, yesterday I said, 'I dreamed about you last night. You were helping me get my washing in.' Okay that was fine, but that was where I should have stopped.
Then what I wanted to say was, 'It's a sad comment on our summer weather that I fantasise about being able to hang washing out to dry'; what I actually said was something like, 'It's sad that my fantasies involve a washing line.'
Steve muttered something about it being our age as he quietly sidled further away from me. It wasn't until later that I wondered, 'Did he think I ...?'
Oh, I feel a hot flush coming on.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Gary, one of our participants, wrote about the real hope that we have in Christ.
Linden runs the youth/community cafe and does a lot of other work with young people in the area and we're always looking for funding. A year or so ago the leaders consulted the church about whether or not we should apply for Lottery funding. The church was fairly divided and, in the end, the leaders decided not to go that route - at the moment anyway - as some people had serious concerns. I was one of those who objected.
My objection was based on hope and its different meanings.
The Lottery sells hope. A maybe, if you're very lucky, hope, you may win enough money to change your life; God offers a hope that doesn't depend on luck or maybe or your numbers coming up. I don't see how we can take money from an organisation that sells a wishful hope when we know some ting different.
But that wasn't what I was going to write ...
Barbara read a few sentences that had inspired her writing-wise. She encouraged us to hold onto words or sentences that grab us and that, maybe, later we cab do something with. I recalled when I went to the theatre and saw Sir John Mortimer, creator of Rumpole. He was accompanied on stage by two actresses who read his favourite poems and prose, and a lady at a grand piano. As I listened to the music I began imagining what it would be like to be rich enough to keep a pianist in the corner of the lounge to play music for you as and when you wanted it! I think a sentence came into my head while I was still in the theatre. I took it home and wrote a story that was later published in the late and sadly-lamented, Cambrensis, Welsh short story magazine. It remains one of my favourite own stories.
The first line goes like this:
Aunt Maude kept a pianist in the conservatory.
To read the rest of the story you'll need to go to Liz's long bits!
I popped down there this morning to take a photo for my ABC Wednesday post, but more of that later.
I also bought myself a new pair of walking shoes. I nearly opted for the red and green elf boots but they were just a little bit narrow for my extra toe, so I settled for the Ecco ones. I'd seen some in the window priced at about £70-£80; I knew Husband wouldn't be thrilled as he objects to paying more than £30 for a pair of shoes but I figured my feet need looking after. Especially after a summer of blisters, so I took them along to the till. When the man rang up £130, I looked around. Was he serving someone else? Nope, it was just me. Was it a mistake and he'd notice any minute now?
'Are you paying by card?'
'Mm, yes,' I said, blasély (blasé-ly - is there such a word?), handing over my card while inside I was making the sorts of noises Rolf Harris makes at the beginning of some songs. you know, the sort of short-breathy panting noises.
But it'll be worth it to have comfortable dry feet. Won't it? I'll just have to make sure Husband is in a good mood before he reads my blog.
Monday, September 01, 2008
The button popped off my shorts. I mean, what does that say? By the way that's a rhetorical question; you needn't answer. I know what it says: it says the button was loose, that's all.