Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday morning

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Signs and portents

A friend is having a few work issues at college, one of which is that he's got to be less judgemental when assessing the work of his students. Sorry, customers. Paying customers at that.

"I should have my mark reassessed," said one. "I didn't realise there were questions on the back of the sheet."

These students are training to be lawyers.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some days...

...only a crisp butty will do it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This is Willow's fault!

Willow's started a new blog -- "Magpie Tales" -- where she posts a picture of an object from her electic mix of household objects and invites people to write about it. It should be a bit of fun.

an interesting jug

It was a dark and stormy night. The curtains had been closed against the howlings of the wind and the lashing of the rain against the casements. I had settled myself down in the chair by the fire, the better to read the "Strand" magazine. Every so often the fire guttered in the draught and disturbed my reading. As the spirit bade I would break off to pour myself another cup of tea. I was generally content despite the storm.

I don't know when I first noticed the noise. There was a faint sound outside, like the footfall of cats in the snow. I dismissed it as a product of the storm. The soft, metallic clink could just have been the wind catching the door knocker. I sat back and resumed my reading.

The knock on the door was unmistakeable. Soft, to be sure, but a knock. It was swiftly followed by a series of more urgent raps. I jumped out of my chair and went to the door. There was something strange about the knocks. They were weak and seemed to come from the base of the door. Was some injured body lying on my doorstep, hoping for succour? And then they stopped and I heard the faint foot steps once again.

I opened the door. On the doorstep was a small pewter jug, wrapped in a swaddling cloth. Pinned to the cloth was a ragged piece of paper. An illiterate hand had left a note:

"Please look after this jug. His name is Dennis. I am too poor to look after him."

I brought Dennis in and treated him as if he were my own. My wayward daughter fell in love with him. And the rest is history...

Pancake Day

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday matinee part 24 - last episode

Monday matinee part 23

Monday matinee part 22

Monday matinee part 21

Monday matinee part 20

Monday matinee part 19

Monday matinee part 18

Monday matinee part 17

Monday matinee part 16

Monday matinee part 15

Monday matinee part 14

Monday matinee part 13

Monday matinee part 12

Monday matinee part 11

Monday matinee part 10

Monday matinee part 9

Monday matinee part 8

Monday matinee part 7

Monday matinee part 6

Monday matinee part 5

Monday matinee part 4

Monday matinee part 3

Monday matinee part 2

Monday matinee

Part two coming soon!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

While we're on the subject of women's legs...

An old friend actually does have a catwalk-model figure, which is a bit wasted in the local government section she works in but no doubt brings a cloud of delight to her clients. True to the stereotype, what she can eat at one sitting could incapacitate a regiment.

"When I was a girl my parents were very worried about it. In fact, they took me to see a specialist and I spent the best part of a year having check-ups."


"Yes, I had to go once a month so that he could check my legs and make sure that the muscle development was OK."

"Once a month? So that he could check up your legs?"

"Oh yes. He could never find anything wrong, though."

"How old were you when this was happening?"

"Seventeen, eighteen."

Some folk shouldn't be allowed out of the house on their own.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter Olympics

There seems to have been a lot of young women wearing ski pants in Manchester this week.

This is by way of being an observation, not a complaint.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Catching up

What, with one thing and another, I've been neglecting the garden quite a lot this past few months and all the maintenance work which I know needs doing has been left undone. An unscheduled couple of dry and sunny days has given me a chance to show willing, if not actually be very effective.

Cutting back the Olearia which had succumbed to the wet summer I was surprised to find one branch still alive. I've pruned back all the dead stuff and I'm hoping for the best. A broom and the witch-hazel, both sadly deceased, have been grubbed up. Have, indeed, been a load of bramble seedlings and self-sown hazels. (I love hazel bushes but not everywhere in the garden; and certainly not in plant pots full of deawrf narcissi.) A bed has been dug over, a self-sown holly moved to the back to provide a bit of winter cover and one of the blackcurrant bushes moved over here so that I can reach it without having use the cherry tree to swing over a bunch of hebes. The plan is to fill in the rest of the bed with oriental poppies, heleniums and -- yes by jiminy! -- fennel. Like as not, what I'll probably actually get is a thicket of willow herbs, brambles and valerians but you live in hope. Still, I've had a bit of exercise and the robins and dunnocks have enjoyed the new playground already. And it's nice to be able to work in the garden and have seven species of birds bouncing round doing their thing within six feet of me.

The bad weather's hit the tree heather pretty hard. Once I'm sure the worst is over I'll have to give it a trim. Ironically, it'll look a lot better as a result as the dead branches are those I've not had the heart or wit to prune back hard.

This still leaves quite a bit of arboriculture to get to grips with, particularly the syacamores on the railway embankment. I don't understand what's not happening to them: elsewhere on the local rail network any tree on Network Rail land within half a mile of a line is chopped down to its root. Along our stretch there are sycamores lurching precariously on a tiny embankment and they're being allowed to run rampant. I've been able to reach over the back fence to ring bark a couple of them to try and slow them down a bit but they're determined to be forest trees. All I can do in my own garden is chop off the projecting limbs and grub up their progeny.

The good news is that all of a sudden the garden is full of snowdrops, the hellebores are in bud and you can't move for the shoots of crocus and narcissi. And I'm still harvesting black mint from the pots on the patio. So not too bad, then.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


This is too sweet for words: two masters at work.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Passing clouds

There's nothing more boring than listening to somebody droning on about a dream they had last night. So here goes then...

I quite often dream what appear to be fillums or television programmes.

The reason why I'm sure I dream in colour is because every so often I'll have a black-and-white fillum dream and the novelty is etched into my memory when I wake up. Just after Christmas a dream I was having featured some stunning cinematography. I've absolutely no idea what it was about but I remember a couple of iconic images I can't really do justice to. It was obviously set some time in the late forties/early fifties because of the fashions and the fact that there were a couple of bombed sites in the background. The buildings were tall, rectangular tenement-style blocks with tall, rectangular windows. I couldn't quite see the sky, but I suspect that was more due to my seeing the scenes as you would a fillum rather than the buildings being so very high. The sort of buildings you'll see in the backdrops to "Passport to Pimlico" or "The Third Man." Or The Broons. One of the scenes was in a small square, made slightly bigger by one corner's having been bombed out. Fifty or sixty small children, in flannel shorts or gingham dresses, scrubbed-up for Sunday were sitting around in groups, some accompanied by older people, sensibly-dressed, listening to some chap who was sitting on a dustbin with every appearance of rapt attention. I have no idea who he was or what he was saying.

I sometimes wake myself up laughing at some comedy programme I've been dreaming. More disturbingly, I've been known to wake other people up by laughing at some comedy programme I've been dreaming. There are reasons why I live alone. The other day's Morecambe & Wise version of Hamlet starring Raymond Baxter and Clodagh Rogers probably wasn't as funny as it seemed at the time.

Sometimes I take notes the moment I wake up, in a usually-vain attempt to remember what was going on. Which is why I've got a piece of paper that says:

For god's sake give the dog Two pounds of leeks

the time I was going to lose my virginity we were starting to melt into ea. others arms when we heard Neville Chamberlain say: no such undertakings having been made we have no alternative bt to declare war on germny. she said: 'you must do your duty for your country!" "I'm sure Herr Hitler won't mind waiting five minutes."

it's all lemon pips isn't it?

Nimbler minds than mine own would turn that into a series of vampire-related serials with an eye to the merchandising to baby Goths.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The perils of censorship