Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's Summer and the Living is Easy

I had a bit of a clear out of our kitchen pinboard and took down a newspaper cutting that my mother sent to me years ago.
With (admittedly light!) snow forecast for us in the next couple of days, and the ensuing traffic chaos 'cos no one seems to know how to drive in 1/4" of snow here.......I give you all 'thoughts of Summer'......
An electric hedge-trimmer is competing in a decibel contest with a petrol lawnmower. The cacophony is exacerbated by the buzz of a strimmer and the piercing sound of an electric drill.
The distorted electronic wail of the ice-cream vendor invites a bribe from the disinterested parent, as the volume of music playing at another pseudo-Californian barbeque is drowned out by a bitter argument.
Sweating neighbours and family members are slouched in plastic chairs on uneven patios. Others wait impatiently as friends studiously ignore the new decking, thoughtlessly positioned close to a neighbouring property. They will talk long into the night, their conversation slowly reduced by alcohol to meaningless, unintelligible garbage, interspersed with drunken laughter and mindless expletives.
The delightful chatter of children, mindful of their parents advice to respect the Sabbath, is a sad, distant memory. Now, a strange hissing sound announces the arrival of a grotesque structure. A lurid inflatable castle rises up like a cartoon nightmare. The wall of noise begins to close in around the night shift worker desperate for a few hours' sleep.
Smoke from the barbeque wafts around the neighbourhood, as the stench of overcooked burgers fills the air. The slamming of car doors heralds the discharge from another visit to the supermarket. Across the road, the departure for the 'theme' pub to celebrate another decree absolute is loudly proclaimed.
The gently, echoing clop of a horse passes by unheard. Welcome to a summer Sunday in the 21st Century.
Written by Tim Carbus of Guiseley West Yorks and published in the Daily Mail.

Now, come on - doesn't that all just make you yearn for long summer days.....?
[representing local chapter of Cynics Anonymous)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Little Bit Country, Little Bit Rock and Roll

Something caught my attention on the radio on the way home. The DJ played this song - always a classic:

and mentioned it was actually a cover version (not a lot of people know that!).

So I went a-hunting and found this wonderful footage. Blue Suede Shoes was written and originally recorded in 1955 (52yrs ago!) by Carl Perkins.

Here he is at Music for Montserrat Sept 1997, playing his moneymaker, his only top 40 hit and, as it turned out, his swansong. According to my source, this was his last public appearance. Carl died in 1998 at the age of 65.

Enjoy the music!


Saturday, January 26, 2008

2008 Re-Enactment Season

My life has changed rather radically in the last week......

I went to the Company of Chivalry January Focus Meeting; usually a time for us all to dust off friendships after the winter, catch up on all the gossip, pay our membership dues, plan the year ahead etc.

Only this time there was a bit of a shock to the Company. Our beloved Vintner (seen here in his usual place in the kitchen)

chief cook, bottle washer, membership officer, publicity officer, mainstay, friend to all, rock of the company, and all round good egg, has taken a hiatus from re-enactment due to pressures of modern work. Which means the many, many jobs he fills for the company had to be filled with willing volunteers.

Please meet the new Membership Officer for the Company - Mistress cq!

[whisper] I'm the one sitting down!

Yeah, I volunteered. Stuck me old hand up and gosh-darned volunteered!
Hand in hand with Membership Officer comes a position in the Company Council! So I'm now a Yeoman (in the employ of our Lord Hungerford), Membership Officer and Council Member.
Btw - I am the first woman Council Member in the 19yr history of the Company!

Gonna be a challenging year for me!

So - are you one of Nature's volunteers?


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thank You, Heath

You are missed already, our young flame. May your spirit find peace.

This routine was playing in my head as I listened to the shocking news this morning....

And this will always, I think, be one of my all-time favourite films.

Sleep well, Sir William.

- and thank you


Monday, January 21, 2008

Woman's Brain

Ever wondered how a woman's brain works?

It's finally explained here in one, easy-to-understand illustration:

Woman's Brain

Every one of those little blue balls is a thought about something that needs to be done, a decision or a problem that needs to be solved.

A man, of course, has only 2 balls and they take up all his thoughts.



Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Law Is Not An Ass, I Say!

I know my US readers have probably seen this, but this story make me howl with laughter - especially the judge's ruling!
Woman escapes jail for swearing at toilet.

Dawn Herb, 31, of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was charged after an off duty police officer overheard her swear at an overflowing toilet.
Officer Patrick Gilman told the hearing he heard someone yell: "Are you f***ing retarded? Get me the f***ing mop."
Patrolman Gilman said he then yelled, "Watch your mouth", to which the person replied: "F*** off."
He then called Patrolman Gerald Tallo, who was on duty at the time, who charged Ms Herb after she admitted cursing at her toilet.
But District Judge Terrence Gallagher has now ruled she did nothing wrong, reports the Scranton Times-Tribune.
He dismissed the disorderly conduct charge which could have led to up to 90 days in jail and a £150 fine.
The language she used "may be considered by some to be offensive, vulgar and imprudent" but she was entitled to use it under the First Amendment, the judge ruled.
Attorney Barry Dyller, who was asked to represent Ms Herb by the American Civil Liberties Union, said Judge Gallagher made the right decision.
"He's exactly right in his reasoning," Mr. Dyller said. "And it's important that the public understands this. There are cases like this each year."

Sorry, but I do I see a little common sense creeping in there? - finally...?


Saturday, January 19, 2008


I woke up this morning, staggered downstairs, fed the cats, and switched on my laptop. Nothing new, usual Saturday. I've had a long fortnight at work, am fighting off a cold and can't face doing anything. It's early, and I am peering blearily at my screen.
The TV is on, watching Men in Trees recorded earlier in the week.

So nothing is new, nothing is different.

Then I open the comments box from 'Common Sense' to find the following message from my dear blogfriend David in California.

"go see Minerva, RIGHT NOW!"

Minerva, as most of you know, is a blogfriend in London who has spent the last couple of lifetimes battling Cancer. It was Minerva who inspired me to take part in the Race for Life. It is Minerva who is the strongest woman I have ever known in my life.

With a sinking heart I click immediately on the quicklink in my sidebar. Is the cancer back, are there problems with the family, has the cancer mestasized?
I am ashamed to say that all my instant thoughts are negative - Mr C is a devastating illness and Minerva has fought long and hard against him, but sometimes the Bad Guy wins...

Oh, I'm sorry - you want to know what she said on her blog.....?

Go here and see!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Common Sense

This was in an email sent to me, accompanied by the words 'You'll like this!'...

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

Knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm; life isn't always fair; and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.
Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Elastoplast to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, It's Not My Fault, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.'

And a little extra........................

Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 600 employees and has the following statistics? 29 have been accused of spouse abuse, 7 have been arrested for fraud, 19 have been accused of writing bad cheques, 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses, 3 have done time for assault, 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit, 4 have been arrested on drug-related charges, 8 have been arrested for shoplifting, 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits, 84 have been arrested for drink driving in the last year.

Which organization is this? It's the 635 members of the House of Commons, the same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line.

It's a mad, bad old world......


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Crazie Soapbox

There is a recurring and poisonous news item that is splashed across all the newspapers and is even finding it's way into legitimate news programmes.

Forget the atrocious weather, the rising cost of living, war and strife around the world, death and destruction........

There is a farce of an 'inquest' being held to decide if the death of the former Princess of Wales was an accident or an assassination.
This 'inquest' seems to be an excuse to tell all her secrets, to lay open her humanly fault-filled life for everyone to gloat over.

I had no great admiration for Princess of Wales, but she was a woman, a wife and a mother. She was wronged and she wronged in her own turn.

This court case can't hurt her now, except her already damaged reputation. But she has children, two sons, who, no matter their 'right' of birth, should not hear of their mother being pulled apart by a pack of self-seeking, attention-hungry dishonourable money-grubbing pieces of crap.

Sometimes I am ashamed to be British - or even human, to be honest.

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.....


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Universally Global!

I didn't realise it's Golden Globe weekend until I checked imdb for something and it was on their front page.
I knew JD [gulp] was nominated for Sweeney Todd, which we haven't even had over here yet, so that was no surprise.

The exciting bit for me is the fact that my favourite movie of 2007, possibly ever, is also nominated - and is up against JD....
here to see my opinion of the most visually stunning and thrilling movies I have ever seen.

You wanna know how fantastic this film is? Check this out........a beautiful young lady called TV Carpio and her equally stunning voice....

This film is the definition of SERIOUSLY COOL.........This is young unknown Joe Anderson.

Good Luck to Across the Universe!

Sweeney Todd won the Comedy/Musical award (with suitable kudos to Steven Sondheim and Tim Burton), with Johnny picking up Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical.... ironic seeing as JD isn't bothered by awards!


Saturday, January 12, 2008

I'm Qualified!

What a week that was! The train service didn't seem too bad and, to me, spending an hour or so on a train with a book (or, god forbid, with my homework!) seemed to beat the prospect over at least an hour driving each way.
But it meant getting up at 5.45am, catching the 7am train, walking a mile or so to the venue, then train home at 4.30pm-ish, getting home at about 6pm - then homework! I was excused houewifely duties for the week, ate my main meal in the works restaurant and tried to get to bed early.

So, what was I learning so keenly?

To sum it up I am now a First Aid Instructor!

A week of intensive training in first aid advanced skills, teaching processes and classroom management. It was exhausting.
It was a mixed class, some were brilliant at first aid and some were very highly qualified instructors in their own field, so it made for an interesting week.

But I got a 'very good' on my practical lesson (which was Basic Life Support, aka CPR!), 33/38 on my first aid written paper (some silly mistakes I realised too late!) and a 'pass' on my theory lesson (cardiac conditions - all four of them!) - so I passed and am now qualified to teach first aid.

cq - teacher!
A bit late, but it's what I was always supposed to be. When I was at school it was intended I should be a teacher - until I failed my exams.

Sunday Update - [sneeze!] [cough] um, I seem to have picked up a sniffle from somewhere....why does one always feel like crap with a simple cold?


Thursday, January 10, 2008


I apologise for the silence - I have been incredibly busy on a training course this week, with lots of homework and travel.

Read on down and I'll be back on the weekend...


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Crazie Commitments

"The strongest force in the world is the genuine and everlasting act of commitment."

I have been very generous with my commitment-making lately....

So what have I committed to?

I have committed to another year in the Company of Chivalry. I enjoy it, I have learned a lot, but I don't think I'll be as committed as other members of the Company.

I have committed to Race for Life for Cancer Research - the dates for this year are coming out 21 January.

I have committed to fundraise at least £500 - last year I raised £400. Once I create my fundraising page, it will be on this blog for everyone to see and pledge/donate.

I have committed to beat my time last year of 54 minutes and 26 seconds.

I have committed to get to the point where I cycle to work at least one day in June. Work is eleven miles away. Every June our local authority organises 'Jam Busting June' when people are encouraged to get to work using more eco-friendly methods - car-sharing, cycling, walking, buses, train.

Wow - definitely a 'one-step' programme....


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Must be Love...

I just love this advert - it is one of my all-time favourites.

Not only the incredible original version of the song by Labi Siffre, but the amazing dancing by the unknown young man.

The final small smile of the girl just warms my heart.

This is definitely a Saturday moment.......

More chapters of the 2005 nanowrimo are going up on the storystore.

And Terry - I have posted the vet update on the craziecats blog :-)


Thursday, January 03, 2008

So - we went to the V.E.T.

This morning we packed Pandora into her travelling crate to go to the V.E.T.
Her vet for the last eight years has been her precious 'Uncle' Tim, a lovely man and an extremely good vet who is fantastic with fractious cats - and Pandora defines fractious! He has also cared for Ambrose (who died in 2001) and Echo (who died in 2004) and currently, Charlie.
But lately staffing changes have meant Pandora has had to get used to new vets.
Auntie Elena is one of her favourites - a lovely Spanish lady from Madrid.
Auntie Julie - she doesn't like her so much.
And today Pandora met another new vet, Auntie Helen.

Helen was quick, gentle, understanding and dealt with us as well as Pandora (one of the reasons we still use this practice even though it is more expensive than others).
She checked out the lump, then checked out Pandora's lymph nodes and certain specific parts of her anatomy.

As we hoped, it's unlikely to be cancer. It's more likely a lipoma, as I suspected. It's actually on her ribs and not on her shoulder.
She's not 'sick', she doesn't limp, she is eating fine, sleeping well, using her tray properly and still leaping (albeit gently!) onto laps, chairs, tables and boxes. Not bad for an 18yr old cat - which translates roughly to 85-90yrs old!
We politely refused unnecessary testing, figuring it would upset the old dear too much.
We agreed to watch her carefully for the next couple of months and whip her back to the vet if she appears ill or in discomfort.

Once her claws were clipped she was crated back up for the trip home.

Of course, the old madam got her own back, managing to throw up and wee simultaneously on the way home while her crate was on my lap.

Pandora: we know your time here is not infinite but we will still keep you with us, healthy and content, as long as possible.