Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Exbury Gardens, in case you were wondering. A very showy and impressive garden, big and full of colour in May, worth going but not got a homely feel like Furzey. A bit over the top, if anything, a bit 'new money' - the Rothschilds - bragging and showing off their cash. But good pics don't you think? We saw the Peacock showing off to a blue door, and if A had not needed the facilities at the furthest point from them, we would not have raced back and seen Mr P Cock showing off his feathers.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Friday, 16 May 2008

Bitterne Village is the new Bitterne, according to the Pizza Hut leaflet. Now that is a rebranding exercise that will take some investment. Managed to drag GM (Granny Mary) the length and breadth of Bitterne Precinct today, starting with the charming lady in the library, through the helpful Superdrug staff to the very chirpy people on the tills in both branches of Sainsbury. I was mainly out to buy ant and slug killers - I am not into humane treatment of vermin. I had a couple of rats in my shed the other day - the Davidges. Not that I am suggesting the Davidges themselves are rats, but they brought their beastly creatures round for a holiday in our shed. Yuk. R and I checked out the Bugle in Botley on Wednesday night, and GM, A and I returned today for a good lunch, lots of interesting things on the menu and friendly staff. I don't often recommend any hostelries that are not in the Bitterne district, but it is worth a bike ride, bus ride or even car journey to enjoy the countryside on our doorstep of Botley. We learnt a lot about William Cobbett, who was essentially a blogger about 200 years early, who rode around on a horse and said things like: 'Never trust a woman who can't bake her own bread'. Absolutely agree mate.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Tourniquets for blood pressure are available on freecycle, a large quantity, in many sizes- including for large arms or thighs. This has to be one of the oddest offers yet on Freecycle. The donor asks that in your reply, you state what you intend to use them for. I mean, isn't that fairly obvious? For attaching tomatoes to trellises? How many uses can you find for such an item, and how on earth did this person have so many of said items to give away? If I was an NHS money person, I would be down on them like a shot. Probably been prowling around the wards at night, pilfering. Daresay they will be offering compression stockings next week.

I have had two pleasant days at work, teaching (obviously, as a day at my church work would never get the adjective pleasant). In Year 3, with the same charming bunch of children who are happy to accept me as a fruitbat substitute for their normal mega organised teacher. Seriously, I come way down the organisational heroes table at school. If I am the most organised person you have met, you need to spend some time with some other primary school teachers. I mean, one time, I forgot to take any shoes to work! And it was one of the only times the headteacher ever noticed that I existed - and she noticed, of course, my lack of footwear. We made rainforest noises with untuned percussion instruments, did some control ICT, some reading, a spelling test and two maths tests today. Yesterday was an English test, turning paper brown for old map making, more English, more reading, reading and drama about the environment and sprint time trials. Do you remember that excrutiating, or exhilirating afternoon from your childhood? Either chafing thighs and flapping arms, or a secure place in the school team and a time under 10 seconds for the 100m. Every adult is at one end or other of the sporting spectrum, there is no one who sits in the middle when it comes to memories of school sports days. My own memories of being 5 and having to restart the obstacle race over and over again because I couldn't balance the bloody beanbag on my foot are so excrutiating as to need hypnosis to get over. Horrid, horrid day. I had an allegedly evil, really evil teacher in the Reception year, and horrible memories, it was a dreadful epiphany for me and maybe my becoming a teacher is an attempt to make amends and to be a Miss Honey, saving other children from the doom of their childhood being scarred by Mrs Walker. Lets assume she's dead, shall we, as she was old and grey in 1978. At best, lets hope she is dribbling in a room that smells of wee with Jeremy Kyle on all day. Ha! A fate worse than death.

Glad to air those views globally. If Mrs Walker is reading this and my comments appear libelous, remember I said allegedly, won't you?

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Worshipped at the shrine of St Esco this morning, along with most of Southampton's population. Man, if you could judge the success of a God by the numbers pulled along on a Sunday morning you would put you faith in Lord Tesco of Cheshunt. Good thing we can't judge God's success - God seems to have different ideas of what that is. Read a little bit in a book yesterday about Father Damien, who went to live on a leper coolony in Hawaii, and ended up dying of leprosy. But the thing was, he became one of them - he really lived like Jesus did - sharing in the pain (and the joy?) of life as a leper. I imagine Father D ticked the success box on God's assessment criteria.

Watched Braveheart last night - last watched it in 1997, in Sheffield with our youth group when we lived at Abbeydale Road, and we became more and more concerned that we were letting under 15s watch such gore. We had been to see it at the cinema, which has to be done for that film - an epic big screen watch. However, last night was on our TV which looks smaller and smaller as those around us get bigger and bigger ones! It's like one of those illusion tricks - it is still the same size, honest.

Anyhow, one thing I like about Braveheart, apart from Mel Gibson's fantastic Scottish accent and lion's mane hair cut, is that only two women who feature in the film (rest of it is all men, but then its all fighting and galloping around the countryside and in those days women didn't do that, so fair enough). Normally that would annoy me, but these two are enough described and developed to make me like them a lot - and they are essential to the plot and not just there to look good. I can't help but want to be part of the band of brothers, the crazy fighters who chase around with him, seem to be able to jog to York and back with barely a Ginsters sausage roll to sustain the lot of them. Having a leader who you want to follow - for whom you would risk everything for the greater gain - all that stuff of romance and freedom fighting - well, it seems attractive to me. Mind you, so does sitting in the garden drinking a raspberry smoothie, and you don't get the weather to do that much in the Glens, even if you have a garden that has not been taken over by the English.

My garden, though small and full of children's paraphernalia, gets the sun all day long, so we breakfasted there this morning. Bliss!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

R and H been sailing 2 Saturdays in a row now, although boat still leading so not made it to St Malo yet. I need to tell you about our seafaring adventure to the Isle of Wight, though, when we were in Porstmouth before 9am to get the fast cat to Ryde. I felt sick thinking about it, but lived to tell the tale. We met up with A, A and A and visited Black Gang Chine, an 'attraction' that has been threatening to fall off a cliff for years, and frankly, should take the plunge. Last time I visited was the late 70s, and things haven't changed at all. Still the tacky gift shop, weird haunted house and various gargoyle like horrors, and still overpriced to capture to captive audience of holiday makers stuck on the Isle of Wight who have been to the Garlic Farm and the Dinosaur land and are desperate to spend their currency.

However, chips and ice creams make everything more bearable, and the girls and A did have lots of fun in between being petrified by thoughts of cliffs crumbling away and seeing werewolf statues light up. I remember exactly the fears as I went around the place at about the age of 4 or 5, so can empathise with my girls. Chips, ice cream and travelling along windy roads in the back of an estate car, facing backwards, also a winner for A's travel sick trick, which was pre empted by the words 'when can I get out of this car?' - to which R answered 'now' and shot round the back to avoid damage to the leather interior of bro's much posher than our car. Instead, a little patch of Sandown High Street is embellished with a chip ice cream mix, if you go soon and it hasn't rained you will probably spot it.

I made some cards today, which was amusing and relaxing, good to see Anna and her bunch of crafty crafters. They make cards and bags and things to sell to raise money for CAP. I gave a hollow laugh when the idea of selling products we were making came up, as I would not deem my efforts good enough for people to buy - which you will see for yourself if you are lucky enough to receive one of my cards!

Gave up on the tomatoes I had ordered ever arriving, and bought 4 plants, only to get home to find the 6 I had ordered on the doorstep. So, am hoping for a bumper crop of tomatoes and will not mind too much sharing with those evil slugs.
Have thus far resisted the temptation to look at thyroid cancer pages on web, but gave in today. There are some risk factors that I have taken part in, such as having babies and having miscarriages which make me more susceptible. Eating a lot of meat and dairy is another possible risk, seeing as I have been a vegetarian since 11 ( due to awful pre Jamie school dinners putting me off meat, plus the world hunger argument - you know, how you can feed more people on a field of maize than if you fed the maize to the cattle) I feel a little hard done by on that one.

Being in the tallest third of the population, or coming from South Asia also bump you up - nope, not me, but would be intrigued to meet a lady from South Asia who was in the top third of the UK height charts.

Eating plenty of fruit and veg lowers your risk - bah! I eat more fruit and veg than almost everyone I know.

And, to top it all, smoking apparently lowers your risk and I have never so much as lit a cigarette.

So, all of that goes to show that there is nothing 'fair' about this life of ours. If I smoked, ate meat, and did all the other things that are 'bad' for you, who knows - I might not be facing another round of operations and the uncertainty of waiting for x ray results to know that it hasn't spread (now that is VERY unlikely - so if it has, you read it here, I will start smoking a pipe, eating meat and drinking lots of vodka into the bargain).

So here I am, a vegetarian non smoker who exercises more than the prescribed however many times a week, walks and cycles as much as I can and am as much of a drain on the NHS as those chain smoking, junk food eating couch potatoes.

Anyhow, mustn't grumble! Just been to Bitterne for an early evening popcorn run and browse around Sainsburys, meant to be buying myself shoes, but bought H some instead.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Have won nothing lately, and now find out that the Tories have won control of Southampton City Council, and the Bitterne seat that was up for grabs. Only 20% of the electorate turned out, so shame on you if you are one of the 80% who are responsible for my children no longer being able to enjoy free swimming at The Quays, amongst other things that we enjoyed under a socialist rule. It may seem like a minority interest, but I find in politics one has to look out for oneself. I overhead the hairdresser speaking with the client before me, saying that she wanted weekly rubbish collections and a lower council tax. So I feel quite alright wanting free children's swimming! Single issue politics seems to be the way to go!

Anyhow, I have felt that the NHS has improved of late, with the walk in centres and whenever I need anything done it is done quickly - and I have an NHS dentist. In fact, at the moment they are doing a 'buy one get one free' on operations at the General. I am taking advantage of this offer and going back in a couple of months to have the other half of my thyroid gland taken out. Enjoyed the soup so much last time, am going back for more. I missed out on the cottage pie I had ordered for tea so hope they have kept it warm. If you have need of a frontal lobotomy they will probably do the two for the price of one offer on them. Boob reduction, bit of plastic surgery, I think the offer covers all areas so I advise you to get down there and on the list! And, as it is free at the point of use, the actual felt cost is just that for parking, and frankly, you can get a day rider on the bus so no need to drive there either. As R and I have both been paying plenty of taxes and NI over the years, and R's pay packet seems to show more in contributions than in take home pay, I think we are well entitled to some extra operations here and there, and intend making full use of the facilities offered by the SGH over the next few months. Will order an extra sandwich to take home, and all the pain killers they offer!

I had a chest x ray yesterday, which was not as exciting as it appears in the Topsy and Tim book we have about x rays, in which Tim gets wheeled along in a wheel chair to the special room, and his mum stands behind a screen. My mum was busy looking after the girls, and Ang came with me, but she didn't stand behind a screen, she stayed in the waiting room. And not a wheelchair in sight. It was the first time I have had one, though, so maybe you have to join a silver century club or something before they give you VIP treatment.

I really need to win something other than a free operation and a bonus stay in hospital, so am entering today a competition to win a trip to Spain and a new kitchen makeover.