Saddened

Just spent an hour in the kitchen making pancakes and listening to Eddie Mair on PM — and hearing the very sad news that Linda Smith died earlier today, at the premature ages of 48, of ovarian cancer.

I think Linda was on the panel the day we went to see Just A Minute being recorded in the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, in 2000.  Google backs me up by finding this transcription of the programme.

I’ve certainly always found her funny, and I go back regularly to my recordings of her show “A Brief History of Timewasting.”

Lampshades

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We have finally got around to getting lampshades from a variety of sources.  At last, every bare bulb in the house is covered and we have a variety of interesting light sources in our lounge/diner. It’s been exhausting trawling around various budget shade shops in the city this afternoon, but we’re finally more or less happy with everything we have.

Except the table lamp in the lounge.  We’re close; we have the shade we want, but we’re still searching for a really suitable lamp base.  So we’ll let it sit on a bedside lamp for now and maybe go antiquing in the Spring for a character base to sit the shade on in the fulness of time.

“I made that from scratch!”

It has been irking me beyond measure ever since I saw an episode of Desperate Housewives when Bree van de Kamp was baby-sitting Lynette’s kids, and she somehow expected more respect for the fact that she had made cookies “from scratch.”

This is quite some admission. We should be shunning Wisteria Lane’s very own domestic goddess for the tacit admission that she sometimes uses shake-and-bake rather than dishing out the kudos for making cookies from scratch.

I mean cookies! Nothing too tricky about cookies!

I have just been making bananananana bread from scratch, and the whole house is alive with the smell.

My ill-gotten eBay profits have been squandered this month on a knock-down breadmaker which should be delivered shortly. Making bread by hand is not terribly difficult, but it is rather messy. Hopefully the breadmaker, complete with with timer and last minute fruit-adding-in-device will be clean and efficient. And an added incentive for timeous awakening.

"I made that from scratch!"

It has been irking me beyond measure ever since I saw an episode of Desperate Housewives when Bree van de Kamp was baby-sitting Lynette’s kids, and she somehow expected more respect for the fact that she had made cookies “from scratch.”

This is quite some admission. We should be shunning Wisteria Lane’s very own domestic goddess for the tacit admission that she sometimes uses shake-and-bake rather than dishing out the kudos for making cookies from scratch.

I mean cookies! Nothing too tricky about cookies!

I have just been making bananananana bread from scratch, and the whole house is alive with the smell.

My ill-gotten eBay profits have been squandered this month on a knock-down breadmaker which should be delivered shortly. Making bread by hand is not terribly difficult, but it is rather messy. Hopefully the breadmaker, complete with with timer and last minute fruit-adding-in-device will be clean and efficient. And an added incentive for timeous awakening.

My day

Well, it started late.  The drains guys have now made the drains useable, but they didn’t come back today to fill in the hole and make good the drive.  At least we have plumbing again.

I was getting ready to leave for work when I remembered it’s my Dad’s birthday on Monday and to be sure of getting his present to him in time, I needed to get it in the post today.  So, I popped into our local district shopping centre to get a card and some wrapping paper.  Whilst I was there I remembered I still had a bunch of shirts waiting for me at the cleaners, so I picked them up, came back to the house, printed a stamp, wrapped the book, signed the card, and put it with my bags ready to take with me to work.

By this time I was starving, so I thought I’d drive to McD‘s for a spot of lunch before hitting the M1 and heading up to the office.  Whilst I was doing that I remembered that I was supposed to pick up a couple of boxes of envelopes before going in to the office, so when my coffee had cooled I turned round to drive back through town to the office supplies shop.

But my poor car never made it.  After sitting in traffic for a few minutes, there started to be some really peculiar noises, and finally halfway up the hill to St Andrew’s church, it completely conked out and wouldn’t restart.  To make matters worse, my hazard light button stuck halfway in meaning I couldn’t put my hazards on and I couldn’t indicate either.  So I was stuck in a totally dead car and couldn’t even warn the growing stream of traffic behind me.

No choice but to leap out and start pushing the car up the hill, one hand on the steering wheel, the other on the frame of the door and both feet slipping on the tarmac because I’m wearing leather-soled shoes.

I’m very grateful to the guy who crossed the road to help me push, and the boys who joined in once we got round the corner.  They got me to a safe flat spot I could stop and have a look-see what had happened.

No coolant in the engine *at all* and a nasty burning smell from the engine. I only topped the coolant up on the way to Scotland last month – and that was the only time I’d ever topped coolant up at all.

So I wandered down the hill, posted Dad’s birthday present, and bought a bottle of Evian to dilute the coolant I had in the boot.  Poured a litre of coolant into the system, and it just bubbled away and belched steam at me.  Not good, I thought, so I phoned my garage, checked there was someone there and got them to recommend a tow-truck to me.  I really need to join a recovery outfit.  What would I have done if this had happened to me in the fast lane of M1, which is where I could easily have been?

Car’s with the garage now.  They weren’t making encouraging noises when it was dropped off.  “Let us see what’s wrong, and whether it’s economical to repair.”  Uh-oh.  I never made it into the office, but I’ve done a bit of work from home instead.
I seem to be getting in a habit of writing long self-involved posts at the moment.  Tell me, dear reader, am I getting a bit Darbyshire?

Chris Huhne Myers Briggs

Why are people googling ‘Niles crazy’ ?

And why are they finding me when they do?

Who was it who googled ‘Chris Huhne Myers Briggs’? They wouldn’t have found anything useful here either, but I’d go for ISTP. I’d have Simon as ENFJ and Ming as INTJ.

Erm, Peter Snow applies. Just a bit of fun.

(INTP, for the record.)

Lost Germans

On my way into the Council House for Development Control today, I walked past two young men outside the Guildhall looking at a map, clearly trying to figure out where they were.  I see it as almost a civic duty in such circumstances to ask if I can help.  I can’t always, but I usually know most places lost people ask for.

On one occasion, I even got into someone’s van to help them through the one-way system because I knew how to get them to their hotel, but I sure as hell couldn’t explain how you get from one side of the city centre to the other in a vehicle because it is extremely complicated if you don’t know the city.
This time, the guys weren’t English, and didn’t really want to talk.  I thought it was a language issue — they didn’t want to show that they only had a little bit of English, so would rather not talk to me for fear of tripping up.  I thought I recognised the accent, and asked them where they were from.  Germany, they said.

Wahey! I’ve not got to speak to people in German for ages. I had 40 minutes before Development Control so I switched to German and asked them what they were looking for.

“Sehenswuerdigkeiten,” they said.  They weren’t looking for anything particular, they just wanted to see the sights. They were in Nottingham for a day whilst visiting a girlfriend at Loughborough University. We quickly established they’d already seen the Castle  so I suggested they try the Caves of Nottingham and the Galleries of Justice.  Now my German was holding up OK, but I couldn’t remember the German for either “cave” or “court” so I was having great difficulties explaining what either of those great exhibits was. All sorts of bizarre German words did come flooding back and I managed to explain that Nottingham was built on sandstone that people hollowed out–but still never got to “cave”.

I suggested they walk back to Market Square and look for the grey pedestrian signs. I could remember “pedestrian” but couldn’t remember “sign” so suggested they follow me, and I could point them at a pedestrian sign and let them get on with it.

Only, by the time I got to Market Square, I was feeling a whole lot more adventurous and in no hurry to let them get away.

Reader, in the 35 minutes left before my meeting, I whisked them around the entire Council House and gave a mini guided tour in German.

I was reasonably well versed in the history of the building because I mugged up on it the week before for the FODS tour.  So I can stand outside, and get on with the “Dies Gebaude wurde in 1927 gebaut.  Es steht auf dem Ort eine aeltere Gebaude, und ist von derselbe Stein als Londons Sanktpauldom hergestellt. Die zwei Loewen sind beruehmte Treffpunkte fuer die Leuten Nottinghams, und die heissen Oskar und Leo” and so on.

There were an awful lot of German words I didn’t know. Councillor. Mace. Meeting. Staircase. Statue. Ballroom. Sheriff. Minstrel’s Gallery. Minutes. Goose Fair. Virtue (needed for translating the Latin motto “Vivit post funera virtus” under the city crest). I can’t say I gave a truly professional tour this time.

But we got by, and we got round the building in our allotted time before I let them go.  I think they enjoyed it.  They certainly got to see the inside of the beautiful building. I’m sure most visitors to Nottingham don’t realise it’s a public building, and never see the inside. Heck, even most people who live here have never been inside!

Reflux redux

Did not sleep well last night, as I had a reflux episode that in the end I could only fix by sitting upright for a few hours before going to lie down again. A few hours were easily spent on trash TV like Desperate Housewives, which I’ve been enjoying a little less in season 2, but still watching avidly. Big fan of Lynette.
I’ve mostly been managing my reflux condition OK in the last month or so, since having my annual medication review, simply because I’ve been a bit more rigourous in being very sure I take my prophylactic Lansoprazole every day. I’ve been more or less symptom free for the all the time I’ve been careful with my drugs. I’m not sure what went wrong last night. I had a pint of beer with the ringers at 7pm, not much to eat that evening, but woke at 3am with that familiar, horrible burning feeling in my throat. Guzzling the gaviscon didn’t help, milk didn’t help, lying back down made me feel I was drowning in my own bile, hence sitting up for a couple of hours before finally going back to bed at 4.30am and dozing lightly.

It’s always when I’m in that sort of situation, dozing rather than sleeping, that I have dreams I can remember. This morning was no exception, and I had very peculiar and very vivid dreams. We had cats. A black-and-white cat and a tortoiseshell. They had names, but I’ve forgotten them by now. Slightly more worrying, I also had three children. Details of the older two have now faded away but the youngest was a preschool girl with an impish grin, and she is really lodged in my mind.

I was talking about cats with a ringer I gave a lift home to, so that explains why I dreamt cats, but why on earth did I dream I had kids? Why was in the back seat of a people carrier with all my children in front of me?

Someone at work a few weeks ago was trying on a sort of jack-the-lad, nudge-nudge-wink-wink act to tell me I could never be certain whether I’d had a slip up I didn’t know about and had sired kids I’d never meet.

I can say with a fair amount of confidence that I’ve never got anyone pregnant!

Still, I couldn’t shake the impression that this morning, I was going to be woken either by kids or by cats bounding into the bedroom and jumping on the bed.

I wasn’t.  I was woken by P (who strangely had also had cat dreams) telling me to get up NOW at 7.20 because I had to move my car.  A big truck was trying to get up our narrow street to deliver large pipes to the guys who are fixing our drains, and it was stuck at my car.

Can’t complain too much because we need the drains fixing. Tomorrow will be our third and hopefully final day without mains drainage after which we can finally shower and flush the loo again.  Thank goodness for showers at work!