Tuesday, 30 June 2009


I am liking the hot weather. One major advantage is that chicken salad actually becomes something you want to eat, so I am yet again making an attempt to lose some of myself: much needed! Strike while the weather's hot, so I decided on a kick start and to aim for a lower total than I am entitled to: that is hard work, because it doesn't give you much leeway (and the only option for lunch was tuna as all the sarnies were out of bounds). Unfortunately the weather will all too soon not only cool down, but turn cold (16C is NOT summer weather!!) although I'll be glad for the Maryvale people who are doing exams, it makes the chicken salad look a bit sparse.

I didn't sleep last night - it happens once in a while and usually means I am a little wound up about something and not even aware of it - a shame as it will probably be too hot for the rest of the week to sleep well: by that time the heat will have penetrated into the house.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


I now have Windows Mail up and running!

I have had this computer for 15 months and have been getting my emails direct from Virgin: OK as far as it goes, but they only stay on there for three months, and sometimes I want to keep them for longer (as I discovered when I wanted to reply to one from Christmass).

I thought Virgin must have, somewhere, the information on what settings to use for them. At last I found it! Not only that, but I managed to set it up and file all my emails in the appropriate place. That kept me busy for most of the afternoon, after which I went to M+S for some nibbles for the social meeting I was going to later in our church hall - the local branch of the Council for Christians and Jews (hurrah! something more interesting than the ubiquitous sausage roll on the menu! I have nothing against sausage rolls, in fact I like a good one, but they always seem to feature, big-time!) There were very few people there, and no smoked salmon :( (someone comes who obviously knows where to find some that is really good) but I enjoyed talking to the vicar of a local church, who was discussing liturgical practice with someone from the local synagogue - liturgical debate is not confined to the church ...

For someone who is a techno-dunce, I am quite proud to have got the nous to set up Windows Mail all on my own!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Artistic Stamper

The Artistic Stamper

This place has blog candy if you are into papercrafts. :)

At last, I have plucked up courage and rung the Course Secretary at Maryvale, who said I should ring back on Monday to speak to the new course director .... EEK! I was hoping she would just send me an application form .... My nervousness about going back is right here!! But then I won't be shot of that until the end of the academic year, whatever I do, and I have to remember I actually have nothing to lose: if he says no, then that will happen anyway and may be for the best, and not to act is to say no myself.

So first I will write an apologia, so I have my ideas straight. Jean says she is looking forward to me coming back, which is great.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Madam was supposed to contact me about removing her chest of drawers this evening and I have heard nothing ... not even a reason why she hasn't contacted me about it. It's no hassle keeping it but I want to get it sorted so that either she takes it or signs it over to me, and then I will be free of her meddling. On her last visit she was meddlesome, rude and bullying so she is definitely persona non grata around here!! If I had any doubts, after that she has well and truly cooked her goose!!

Otherwise, life is ticking along much as usual. I have not yet contacted Maryvale ... must do that soon so I can plan for next year, and still need to get sorted as concerns reading - sort out time and a place to do it.

My best mate had the operation she needed for ovarian cancer on Monday. No detailed news of how she is, but she was feeling well when she went in, and they didn't have to go as far as they thought they might in operating, so that is good news. What is not is that the chemo had not shrunk the tumour (every case I've read about where that happens has ended with a short respite and then a recurrence of the cancer, aggressively, after which treatment is unsuccessful and life comes to a quick end). Let's hope for something good: she had much more energy (enough to go swimming to get herself fit!!) and was able to eat more, which are both positive signs.

Sunday, 14 June 2009


Just dropping by to report that I have now discovered Facebook! Another place to hang out (and great potential for essay-ducking!!). From which you might rightly conclude that I am beginning to get geared up to start studying again. I've made contact with some friends from Maryvale, in particular one who acts as a contact between students and staff, especially when the Course Director has to be away. I am a little wary of going back, yet again, to first year (I am already notorious as the student who has been through first year a record number of times!) the more so as the course director has left and we have another new one, so I don't have the continuity with when I finished last time and with the course director who recommended I take a year out and re-apply, who also said that I am intellectually capable of the course.
I will just have to write a decent application and I've already got some ideas together on that; the friend I referred to above has already spoken to the Course Secretary and is looking forward to me coming back ....

so, COURAGE!! (which I fortunately don't have to exercise before Tuesday as Monday is the Course day off).

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Wet, wet, wet, very!

No, I'm not into retro music ... just describing my wait at the tram stop yesterday! The ten minutes I waited coincided exactly with a big black cloud being all too productive!! I had mistakenly decided that i) the tram was about to arrive (I must have just missed one, in fact.) ii) the cloud was going not coming - both of which mistaken conclusions led me to be at the tram stop rather than under cover. As a result I got soaked.

One object of the trip was to spend a voucher I had before it expired, which I did, but unfortunately not on precisely what I wanted - a top with some embroidery which would have been a change from plain t-shirts. They didn't have my size, so I got two more ordinary ones, one black (a girl can never have too many black t-shirts, and in the winter they come in handy as vests).

The other was to have a closer look at the new Waitrose. It doesn't have a great choice as it's only small. It is obviously geared up for the many office workers: the patisserie section is disappointing (cup cakes or cup cakes) with a larger section given over to filled baguettes, and it is the first supermarket I have been to where you can get a takeaway coffee. By this time my wet body was feeling chilly, too, so I had a mocha to warm up a bit (from Starbucks next door, so I could sit inside). Waitrose also, for some reason, has masses of fresh pasta and sauces to go with it, but not the smaller dry pasta I was wanting, nor much of a selection of ready meals. It has a huge space given over to tills, which does mean you get through the checkout quickly, but does not really have enough choice for a major shop: it's there for a useful top up on the way home and as such has a place.

Madam appeared on the scene to collect some things she had left in the conservatory: she literally cannot keep her hands off my garden and threw some gratuitous snide remarks at me along the way, so roll on next Wednesday when she is due to collect the pine chest. After that she will have no reason to be in contact (and if she tries, I will declare a pressing, urgent and irresistable interest in Aquinas, the Reformation or whatever!).

Now for some light relief:

What is the difference between an investment banker and a pigeon?

The pigeon can still put a deposit on a new Ferrari.

Monday, 8 June 2009


My own silly fault - yawning my head off is the result of too much surfing in the wee small hours ;-) , but I have caught up with two people I wanted to contact: without online contact I'd be very isolated (and in the winter it beats going out in the cold to post a letter any time!).

I decided that as I was definitely NOT bright eyed and bushy-tailed, I would go into Croydon to return some trousers and mosey around a bit. Did the first and then had a look around Allders haberdashery (I spend way too much time looking for the ramps - they are tucked away behind things - and I fail to see the logic of putting haberdashery in the middle of pots and pans and toasters! Literally in the middle - go too far and you suddenly come upon the ironing boards or the bins!). However, I did find this for my friend Nicki, who makes the cushions:

Saturday, 6 June 2009


My niece is out in Zimbabwe working on projects to do with theatre out there: she being someone who is busy, busy, busy, I never manage to catch up with her first-hand ..... but I thought she must have a blog somewhere if I could only find it! Well, after meandering around Facebook, I found her wall and the blog ..... SO ......

Auntie is watching you!

I couldn't help smiling at the similarity of our blog headings - hers is ZimAntics, and a lot more interesting (I strongly suspect we also have a concern about drains in common .... my back garden might have reminded her of Zim townships until recently ..... although out there right now that is no laughing matter: she was visiting with people who were treating cholera patients, though she doesn't do that herself. The history of cholera in this country is testament to the importance of drains ... )

Time I stopped .... anyone would think I was obsessed by them!!

She is convinced of the importance of the arts (and in particular theatre) in effecting reconciliation of the tensions out there. As she has always loved theatre it is great that she can do what she loves and find it rewarding (if very challenging). That is a bug I never got. The English tuition I had at school was boooring in the extreme, with the result that I know (knew!) more of German and French literature than of my own, an omission I always mean to remedy sometime. I know it was the teaching wot didn't do it because the one year we got a decent teacher my marks went up - too bad that wasn't the O Level year: I might have passed it. As it is I'm more likely to read about the ideas through philosophy just now.

The other bug I never got is the Africa one. I just find that culture annoying, probably because over here it's out of context (I'm sure what I find too loud coming out of people's car windows doesn't sound nearly so loud in the open air with miles of bush around you). And I disagree more than a little with multiculturalism and political correctness. I was brought up to be polite and kind to everybody I met, and I will do that, and it is part of being so to be aware of what the other person might need (enough not to give Muslim visitors sausages for tea, at least!) but the extent to which other cultures appear more favoured than the majority one is way out of line. To favour any minority is surely as much to treat them as different as unjustified discrimination; if you favour a minority you are still singling them out as different. If resentment (or worse still, support for the BNP) is the result, it is hardly surprising. Add to this the fact that multiculturalism appears to mean "any culture so long as it not white, European and Christian" and it's not surprising there's a lot of ill-feeling around (and people who don't deserve it will suffer as a result).

Time I got off the soapbox! I was burning the (past) midnight oil catching up with Izzy last night: I have spent more of the wee small hours online than ever I spent partying or writing assignments!!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Job done!

I now no longer have an overflowing drain outside the bathroom/kitchen: man has come and cleared it out, removing two stones, twigs and loads of nasty sludge - the hardest part of the job was disposing of that. We suspect the stones had been on the drain covers, which otherwise fly away in the wind, being flimsy plastic, and got dislodged in a high wind. That would explain the blockage. It's also the first time it has had a pressure hose onto it so I suspect it's the cleanest it's been for years. I also got him to quote for the conservatory door, as I only have one quote so far.

While the builder was here I spent some time sorting things in the sitting-room (neglected for a while) so as to be near at hand. There's much to be done there still ... but first on the list is the washing up. (Neglected while out in Croydon, but I think it's happening faster than I create more.) Again I have done a job which I have been meaning to do for weeks - putting steriliser in the washing up bowl. Soaking tin cans leaves a nasty grey residue, and the steriliser bleaches it. Given that I often have washing up soaking in there, sterilizing is something that's a good idea for itself.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Spent too much in Croydon yesterday, but I did get trousers!! Several pairs (so I am set up for a while) which will cover scorching (shorts, worn with a skirt over them outside the house), middling (crinkle cropped), and chilly (lightweight tracky bums). Also grabbed a thicker weight pair of tracky bums as it was there, in short length and in my size (and, sure as God made little green apples, if I went specially to get, wouldn't be!!).

The shorts/skirt combination will be interesting ... I got bigger shorts than the skirts I got last year (guess who got bigger?) and the skirts go over the shorts ... !! I also got a pair of light lime green trousers which I just couldn't resist, and two tops, one to go with them and one extra. This time I got wise and got pure cotton as cotton polyester always goes into little bobbles and looks manky by the end of the summer. Theoretically I could get skirts in the sales, but I always manage to miss them, mainly because I can never get my head round the shops getting rid of their summer stock just as the weather gets warm enough for it to be worth buying it! And last year I was probably engaged in a frantic catch-up on the coursework at the crucial moment!

Came home in a packed tram (someone forgot that the Tax Office at East Croydon tips out at 4.45 ;-) and got entertained by office gossip (hadn't a clue what it was about, but more interesting by far than whining kids). So I now know there are people in the Tax Office who live here (as it was only just on 5 pm, that's the most likely of the many offices as they finish earlier).

And this year, I haven't had to do a Tax Return, so I could even smile at them ;-)

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Summer delayed

Went to Croydon for summer trousers (only have thick tracky bums at the moment) could not find what I really wanted so made do with one pair to have something: checked the long-range forecast to find that the change to colder weather coming on Wednesday will last a while. :-(( So no need to hurry, I can wait for the ones I like to come back in at M+S or order online.
Wesley Owen did not have what I wanted in stock, and I discovered British Bookshops have shut down - that's two of my fave craft places gone in six months ....

Just as well I ordered the books I need to study from Amazon. They will arrive to keep me busy while the weather reverts to April - most depressing - we're owed two summers this year (and next, but I've exams next year so I want them now!)

I am still getting used to being able to choose what I do and not being bullied into it - and that after only two months - just shows how much it was high time she went. There is no way I could study with her around and that I need to do.

Having a year off was right, but it has had me realise that I do need that focus otherwise I focus on all the things I would love to do but can't, on the sad decline in health (comparitively: I am comparing having an ongoing health problem and having to take medication for it with not having been ill for 30 years; some people have to take insulin or whatever all their lives). That said, most people of my age can still look forward to exciting travel and exploration: mobility problems mean my love of meandering around historic buildings (my favourite exploring) is frustrated.

Study is something I can do, satisfies my need to explore (there's plenty of reading matter out there!!) and at the end of it I might have achieved something: a good degree. I can actually study better than when I was a student first time around: I did not average B+ for assignments in those days!