Saturday, November 27, 2010

Global Warming

Ladies and gentlemen, it is snowing again. The sky has been regurgitating the white stuff since Tuesday. Today, however, the snow looks here to stay.

Snow is not my natural element. Growing up in Trinidad where it got a bit chilly at 26'C, has made my living in a cold climate a bit of a challenge. I like to be warm. Being warm makes me happy. When people come over to my house to be fed, watered and entertained, they tend to have to strip their layers (no it's not a ploy, you have such suspicious minds. Would I do such a thing on purpose?) and complain about the heat. My house is heated to tropical temperatures. I like to wake up in the morning and not see my breath, or have to scrape the ice off the inside of the windows.

When I first moved to Norfolk to work for my dad in his pub, the locals regaled me with tales of the Winter of '86: 10 foot snow drifts, customers skiing to the pub for their fix of Adnams. I bought thick tights, thermal vests, a good winter coat and waited for the snow. I waited for two years before I experienced a decent, settled snow. Mostly, winters in Norfolk tend to be cold, grey and occasionally frosty. Sometimes it snows, mostly it doesn't. Until the last couple of years.

Last winter, it snowed four times; heavily enough to hang around for weeks at a time. The trouble is no one can ever tell whether it'll be a harsh or mild winter until it happens round these parts. Yes, I can buy winter tyres, but I don't know about you, there's more I'd like to spend £450, on the off chance we might be snowed in.

This winter seems a might enthusiastic. This is the earliest wide spread snow in 17 years. Now 17 years ago, I wasn't taking too much notice of the weather. I was hugely pregnant and waiting impatiently for Boy to evacuate his nice warm abode and come and meet me. Anyway, you'd think being snowed in the City, would be less of a problem than being snowed out in the countryside. You'd be wrong.

The part of the City where I live, is gently undulating. There are quite steep hills upon which row on row of Victorian terraces perch. These hills aren't very high at all, those of you who live in proper hilly areas are probably mopping your keyboards by now. Hope you haven't choked on your pastry darling. The problem with this arrangement is two-fold. Firstly, parking. The roads to get to my house only allow single lane traffic, due to the cars parked either side. Secondly, because they are tertiary roads and narrow, they don't get gritted. Do you begin to see the potential for problems? Sliding towards a parked car is an interesting experience. Let me tell you, when my heart beats that fast, normally it's usually due to firemen or Robert Downey Jr. I would rather make those noises under different circumstances.

Walking around in the snow is not a pleasant experience either. Especially if it's had 24 hours to sit around. It means it's melted a bit and frozen overnight and if there's more snow...oh goody. I look like a right knob when I go out and about in the snow. I have a woolly hat, long wool coat, gloves, scarf, stout walking boots and a staff. I am the silliest upright woman on the street. I would rather be upright, than be sprawled in the dirty snow. I'm a single woman, and I don't care about fashion when it comes to not bruising, spraining or breaking things in my body. It just tends to mean people walk a little ahead of me when we go out. I can live with it.

So yes, this Global Warming. I'm unimpressed. I would have looked forward to the UK becoming more Mediterranean. I have lots of summer clothes I'd like to wear. I look so much better with a slight tan. More summer afternoons sunbathing in my garden would be welcome. But this....snow and cold business...it just doesn't work for me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Save Me!

So, the Government want to make tobacco packets plain. Apparently, it will make it less 'sexy', less attractive to smokers and wannabe smokers. Really? Funnily enough, I don't smoke because of the cool factor. I don't think smoking makes me sexy. Really. I don't smoke the brand of rolling tobacco I do, because of the packaging. I wouldn't care if it was white or if they made the pouches pink and sparkly. 

I'm so damned tired of the constant nagging. Believe me when I say, I understand the hazards. I've seen the effects first hand. And if watching my dad die from lung cancer didn't make me stop immediately, then forcing tobacco companies to change their packaging to plain, really isn't going to make the damnedest bit of difference to my smoking habits. I'm tired of being tutted at, lectured and made to feel like a social pariah. I will stop when I'm ready and nagging me is only going to make me roll and light up another one. 

You see, here's the thing: I'm an adult. It means I get to make decisions for myself. Good, bad and indifferent.

I'm getting heartily fed up of scaremongering in the media. I had a look on-line and unfortunately I can't find these ads, you'll have to take it on faith they exist. Apparently, there are germs that live on the top of hand wash dispensers. Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen. This is Bad. The company involved is busy marketing one of these motion-sensitive dispensers for the home. 

For anyone who got bullied into buying one of those, to you I say PT Barnum was right. Sucker!

Let's look at this logically. The product is sold as an anti-bacterial hand wash and claims to kill 99.9% of all germs. So when do you touch the pump of the hand wash? Oh, just before you wash your hands. Hopefully, when you wash your hands you'll do a good enough job to get rid of those 99.9% germs. Where exactly does this need for a hands-free dispenser come from?

Last night, I sat with my jaw open watching an ad for a stain and anti-bacterial clothes detergent. Not only do I need an anti-bacterial surface cleanser, but now I have to wash my clothes with anti-bacterial soap powder. Great.

Where does this fear come from? How the hell did the human race survive this long in this wilderness of germs? I mean, how did I make it to adulthood washing my hands with a scummy soap bar (when I bothered to wash my hands at all)? Did I tell you I grew up with four dogs and a cat that used to sit hopefully next to my mother on the counter as she prepared food (the cat, not the dogs. They used to sit round her feet)? I played in a drain where people threw their trash. I drank water from a hosepipe. I used to share food with the dogs and let me tell you, labradors are known for showing their gratitude with lots of tongue. How did I survive?

Now, don't get me wrong, I can be sarky about this because I don't have a compromised immune system. But people with compromised immune systems do not make up the majority of the populace. Most of us walking around, are relatively hail and hearty. It's normal to get a cold. To sometimes not feel well. What isn't normal is this whole 'I need to keep going' business. If you're ill, be mean, keep it to yourself. Don't carry on as normal, don't go into work and share it with everyone. This, I saw first hand. One person comes into work with a bug and next minute you know, everyone's pretty much got it. Employers, take note: instead of having one person off ill, you have a room full of sick people and how productive are they? Really? Not very. They're too busy mustering the energy to remain upright. I guarantee you, the mistakes they've made those 5 days they came in ill, would have been best avoided by having a couple of days off in bed.

Perhaps the marketing people have got it all wrong. They should be selling the germ warfare stuff to the workplace.

Oh look, this has been a post in two rants. It's a Buy One Get One Free special offer. You lucky, lucky people. Have a good week. Try not to kill anyone.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MCW The Worst Sequel: Highlander II

Don't you just hate it when you go to a film now and the ending sets it up for another one? Especially if you're already regretting the cost of the ticket and the loss of 1 and a half hours of your life. There are some really awful sequels around. Really awful. But for me, this one is the biggest stinker of them all.

I loved Highlander. It was a fantastic film. Highlander 2...well, it killed it for me. So much so that I have never been able to look at the first without cringing.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Feathering the Nest

Boy isn't talking to me.

I don't blame him really. It is my fault. After a long talk about the state of our finances, we resigned to tighten our belts and be sensible when it comes to money. We both sounded terribly grown up.

Which is why he isn't talking to me.

You see, I'm still nesting.

This week it's not been plants. No trips to Nottcutts this weekend. This week it's been about dressing the table. For a few years now I've been looking for decent crockery and cutlery. Yes, we have a couple of sets. I started buying Habitat's Blue Loft. Unfortunately, I ran out of money before I could buy the complete set and then when I did have the money, they discontinued the line. Bastards.

I like stoneware. None of that delicate bone china business. I like my tableware to inflict damage if I was inclined to have a marital. That's what I tell people; the truth of the matter is I'm clumsy when washing dishes. If I had anything delicate, it would end up looking like a jigsaw puzzle at the bottom of the sink. Or chipped to buggery. At least with stoneware, it can take a bit of abuse.

Imperial Blue has been on my lust list for some time now. I love the weight and texture. Denby, is a fantastic brand; hard wearing and stylish. Plus, I can add to the collection as and when needed. One never knows when one must have a divided dish. I like the idea of saying to people 'if you want to buy me something, get me a tea set.'  Or a tea pot. Or a small jug.

Obviously, we have cutlery. We haven't been eating with our fingers all these years. After a particularly drunken celebration at a pizza restaurant, I became the proud owner of a set of cutlery and a large pepper grinder. Don't ask. The problem with this, apart from the obvious felony committed, was I liked that set above all else. That, and the pizza restaurant changed their cutlery. I have been on the look out for 4 years for a set like it. To no avail. Last weekend, I thought I found it. I just wasn't prepared to take the risk paying that amount of money for something I hadn't seen and stroked before purchase.

Today, I popped into the department store where I used to work. I strolled around the cutlery section...and there it was. It was not the cutlery brand I was considering. It was Robert Welsh's Stanton Satin. I picked it up and fondled. The curves fit neatly into my hands. It's heavy and very well balanced. The satin finish means it'll cope with abuse during washing up and I won't have to be precious about it.

My mother was of a mind that the good stuff should be used every day. No point just breaking it out for a special occasion. Having said that, she did have her Wedgwood, her wedding china,  for special occasions, but for every day stuff she used the antique bone china from her childhood.

I know I shouldn't have. But I'm not sorry. Je ne regrette rein.

Update: I read the small print (with difficulty, my arms seem to be shrinking in my old age) on the purloined set of cutlery. It's the same cutlery I bought today. It is the cutlery set I wanted! I shit you not.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Memed!

The fabulous Ms Scarlet has tagged me for a meme. She wants to know what are the ingredients for my secret recipe for my perfect man. I had to leave this one and think about it all day. I finally came up with this:

  1. Must not be a bright and chirpy morning person, but must not be grumpier than me. In other words, will bugger off and leave me to wake up in peace
  2. Must know how to make a cup of coffee to my exact specifications. And deliver it with a smile
  3. Must think pink, fluffy dressing gowns, worn with silver, woolly booties are the sexiest thing ever
  4. Must like chocolates with cream centres, leaving me the nutty ones. On a similar note, must think buying olives, sun dried tomatoes and anchovies as gifts are normal
  5. Must like red wine, for drinking, or cooking, or drinking with
  6. If  he must have an interest in competitive sports, must adhere to strict gender role and not insist on boring me with a) the details or b) the events, either live or televised
  7. He does not need an orienteering course but doesn't mind getting lost occasionally
  8. Must be a more than competent driver of a vehicle that is lustworthy (and doesn't mind getting lost occasionally)
  9. Will have interesting hobbies that include etchings, but not require a 3 day lecture or an instruction manual (or props). This does not include bottle cap, assembling flat pack furniture, stamp collecting or trainspotting
  10. Must have a music collection that complements mine. Celine Dion fans, need not apply
  11. Must not think it odd when I curl up in bed with nothing than a good book for an afternoon (delivering coffee and/or red wine a bonus)
  12. Must think dirty dishes are the scourge and downfall of civilisation and it is his civic duty to keep the sink clear at all times (laundry basket, double points)
  13. Most importantly, must believe that 'weird' is normal and 'normal' is weird.
I nominate:

Cyberpete
Hayward
Dave
XL

Please adjust the meme for your sexual preferences. Let me know if/when you've memed.

An addendum: should any readers meet these requirements, please apply in writing, with a recent photo, supply good references and prepare for a panel interview. Opening date May 2011. Thank you.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The 'C' Word

It's hard to miss from decorations in the shops and beginning of the relentless adverts on the telly, once again we're hurtling towards that time of year again. Yes, ladies and gentlemen in 6 weeks time it will be Christmas.

The season of madness and mayhem. I lose Norwich city centre to hoardes of stressed people. Grumpy children dragged behind desperately stressed parents. People buying presents neither wanted or needed, with money they don't have. Planning for a Christmas meal with family that won't appreciate the effort, being forced into close proximity with people they'd rather not spend time with. They're tired from the work they're holding on to, or from the work they're looking for so desperately. All with the concept of the 'perfect Christmas' being shoved down their throats.

So much for the season of good will. Bah humbug, I say.

Yes, my two years in retail has generated a severe level of loathing for Christmas songs, bordering on homicidal rage. Two years on, I still want to shove the CDs down Nobby's throat. I am desperate to apply a swathe of duct tape over Bing, and Goddess help the idiot who starts with Mistletoe and Wine. If you think my violence is a little over the top, try spending 12 weeks of your life listening to the same 2 Christmas CDs over the tannoy in a department store. I'm sure there's a clause in the Geneva Convention about such torture.

Needless to say, the main topic in the AHCP (Alternative Healthcare Practice) has been the onslaught of this festive time of year. Safe behind my desk, drinking coffee I've been able to talk to other people who are also bemused by this annual train wreck.

It's my first Christmas without my dad. Boy will be with his dad. I will be spending the season on my own. I used to feel that Christmas was the World's way of grinding my nose into the fact that I'm a single parent far away from my family. Please note the past tense.

The Great Ursus and his lovely and I talked about celebrating the Winter Solstice round theirs. On the 21st of December, we'll all rock up, bearing dishes prepared earlier, pile around the table, drinking, eating and being merry to celebrate the Longest Night. I'm already looking forward to it.

Boy and I, in recognition of our skinthood have decided on a competition. Rather than buy each other Stuff, we are going to find the most outrageous present for under £5.00 for each other. The more camp and tacky, the better. You should have seen Boy's face when I suggested it - he cracked up and mischief lurked in his dark eyes. We are going to have fun.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Sensodyne


Sensodyne adverts have to be the World's most boring adverts. Ever.

Actors pretend to be 'real' people and deliver their scripts in the same straight delivery bordering on monotone.

The ad begins with said boring person bemoaning the agony of sensitive teeth. How it turned them into social pariahs unable to drink and eat the hot and cold food that normal people take for granted. Sensodyne, it turns out, saved them from a life-time of drinking with straws, saved their love-life as they were now able to eat Italian ice-cream, ice cubes and frozen vodka from the belly button of George Clooney (it's not my fantasy, who am I to judge?).

I've always been mildly irritated by these ads. Until now.

After the last adjustment of my braces, I have sensitive teeth. Yes, it's me now wincing when I drink cold things. It's not a lot of fun I have to say. So I bought a small tube of this wonder toothpaste.

Now these ads make me grind my teeth with rage.

It doesn't bloody work.

I've been conned.

Warm Hugs

Thank you all for remembering the ones you have lost with me and each other.



I didn't reply to each comment, because this wasn't about me.


Blogging for me is about communication, connection and community. No post has been a better example of all three. Together we shared and mourned. I hope you were able to take some comfort away from acknowledging your grief, as I was able.

I will put word verification back on in an effort to keep the spammers at bay. But do feel free to leave a comment on the Samhain post, if you wish.