chaletian: (blackadder news)
So, I have decided, in my infinite wisdom, to try and rejoin the world of LJ, as it’s really the only blogging (lol that word seems so dated now) that I’ve been able to do successfully. And frankly who doesn’t want to hear about my ever-growing tea towel collection*? To that end, let me get you up to date with my life. Settle down: it’ll be a rollercoaster ride**!

Work

Is exactly the same. Oh, except all the commissioning in the NHS has changed and we have a new patient management system that is for shit and absolutely nobody has a clue what’s going on. Good times. I have my own office now, though.

Family

Is exactly the same. Grandma turns 85 next week. My father’s still in the middle east. My mother gets to retire next December; that’s exciting! My brother’s contemplating going round the world but in order to do that he needs to save money and not spend it all on wine and cheese and music festivals.

Home

As you can tell (unless this is a cunning ploy 0.o), Katie has still not killed me; we continue on in domestic bliss. Her parents are visiting next month and we’re getting the kitchen painted and (after a mere six years; we’re so proactive) we’re getting an actual kitchen light instead of a lightbulb dangling sullenly from that attractively unpainted patch of kitchen ceiling it calls home. Hmm, what else? We bought two beautiful bird glasses in Liberty as part of our snail-paced quest to replace our boring crocks with a kaleidoscope of beautiful crockery/china. To that end we also have the hen bowl and the bunny bowl, not to mention the gnome glasses. (Also, I bought some earl grey chocolate in Liberty that was absolutely gorgeous. Prestat. I recommend it wholeheartedly.)

Larking

I have been to many places and many exhibitions and seen many things. The Pompeii exhib at the BM was amazing. Also interesting were the Propaganda exhib at the British Library, Treasures of the Royal Courts (Russia & England in Tudor and Stuart period) at the V&A (some ridic massive silver, and interestingly the Lord Chamberlain’s little record book thing for a production (poss the first production, actually) of Twelfth Night, at which the Russian ambassador was present), and The Lost Prince at the NPG.

We went on our traditional holiday-in-a-cottage, this year to Ludlow in Shropshire. Had a smashing time, as usual. Saw the Mappa Mundi in Hereford which was amazing. Ludlow itself was a lovely town, and Ludlow Castle was smashing – it’s tumbledown, but in the best kind of way. We also went to Hay-on-Wye, where I was astonishingly reticent on the book-buying front (and also refrained from buying a beautiful tiny jug with a bee and a ladybird on it because it was about a million pounds***). I really like Hay Castle – the way it’s just sitting there atop its little hill, not doing anything except enact the role of local safety hazard. And then we went to Ironbridge twice. Ironbridge is ace. We saw the Iron Bridge itself (the only surviving bridge on the Severn from the 1795 flood), and the tile museum (tops) and the china museum (less tops, tbh), and the Victorian village, and the iron museum, and the old iron forge from the c17th. Fascinating stuff.

Hmm, what other thrilling little adventures have I been on? Katie and I went to Haddon Hall in Derbyshire with my mother. It’s been there forever (the curtain wall dates to King John’s reign), and is just the prettiest house. It’s got a chapel where they’ve restored the c15th wall decorations, and they’re amazing! It was interesting, you could really see the period’s influence on the Arts & Craftsy designs (and also, speaking of, the influence of the art in Pompeii on – of course – Adam’s designs of the c18th (cf the deliberate imitation in the Etruscan room at Osterley Park) but also on some of the motifs of later Victorian art).

Katie and I went to Osterley with Katherine the other weekend, largely, I cannot lie, in order to buy a marrow which, per autumnal tradition, we later stuffed with sausage and ate with gusto. There was a mini exhib about the East India Company (the Childs family, which owned Osterley, was heavily involved), and the amount of money they made was absolutely ridic! There was a room pretending to be a merchant ship, and we wore high-larious sailor hats while poring over an c18th merchant map. In the bookshop between Osterley and the Great West Road I purchased a book about Edward IV and another about Roger Mortimer.

Let’s see, what else? We walked a bit of the Thames path, between Ham House and Hampton Court, and saw many a crenellated building; also the remains of the medieval Kingston Bridge underneath John Lewis.

Theatre

After a couple of lacklustre theatre years, we have kind of gone all out on the theatre this year, so I’ve seen lots of things. The Globe season has, as usual, been excellent. I loved Macbeth (we’re going to see it again next week), and Dream was excellent. Also enjoyed Bluestockings (with a couple of reservations) and Lightning Child (even though I remain a bit confused by it all!). I was delighted by the Henry VIs – part 2 in particular was amazingly good. I do love a history play.

General thumbs up for the Michael Grandage season. We missed Privates on Parade, but saw Peter and Alice and The Cripple of Inishmaan, and are going to see Dream shortly; also, I need to get around to booking Henry V.

We went to Bath (lovely day out) to see Jamie in Candida, which was very enjoyable. You can’t go wrong with a bit of Shaw, I always say. Enjoyed Othello at the National (far more than Hamlet, I have to say; a far more convincing production). We’re going to see their Edward II on Friday, which I am looking forward to.

I have also expanded my cultural horizons and been to the ballet a lot more. Seen some good things at the ROH, but the highlight has to be the Canadian National Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet at Sadler’s Wells – I really loved that. Prokofiev’s score is basically the best thing ever. Going to see the ROH’s version in November, so will be interesting to see how they compare.

TV

What is life without TV? A barren, featureless wasteland is what. A few things I have watched:

All of Justified. Amazingly awesome and hilarious. Can’t wait for January!

Hannibal. OH MY GOD WILL GRAHAM! OH MY GOD HANNIBAL IS THE WORST!****

The White Queen. I can overlook many, many anachronisms, but giving Elizabeth fricking Woodville a French manicure is surely gratuitously evil? What even? Still, Richard and Anne were adorable. I haven’t been able to watch the end because I know how it ends. :’( [Historical sidebar: leaving aside objective questions as to whether Richard did usurp the throne or was justified, he must surely have felt that God was not on his side, what with his son dying and then his wife dying and everything going to shit.]

Peaky Blinders & Sleepy Hollow. These are both new and I am enjoying them in different ways.

Downton. That is all.





* Ha. Joke. We have an extremely strict one-in-one-out tea towel policy at Fangirl Towers.

** No, it won’t. Literally nothing has changed in my life.

*** Exaggeration.

**** 100% accurate summary of season one.
chaletian: (Default)
Happy New Year to you all, my darlings! Hope 2009 brings sweetness and light and prawn toast to everyone! Unless you’re allergic to shellfish. I’m not a monster.

Anyhow, Christmas and New Year, eh? Well, that was fun. Thank you very much to everyone for my presents – they are all ace. Also, had a party just before Christmas which was also ace, so thanks to everyone who came to that and ATE ALL OUR FOOD! ALL OF IT! though it was as well, what with our biffing off to Sheffield the following day. Had some parental Christmas time. Went out to dinner on Christmas Eve with parents and Chris and Bex, which was vee nice. They had fake snow outside the restaurant (nicer than it sounds), about which my mother became unnecessarily excited. Had a slightly random Christmas day, what with Grandad still being in hospital and all, but it weren’t too bad, all things considered. Drew a C21st Justice & 6-Eyed Girl cartoon for my parents, featuring ‘Stone Woman’, ‘Kryptonian Dad’ and ‘Captain Puniverse’ (my brother’s longstanding alter ego). Mother also extremely excited about that. Also the Bagpuss mouse that sang. I rock.

So, enough of Christmas. New Year. Well, meh. I rather bar New Year, but whatever, it’s time off work. Katie and I pottered and then [livejournal.com profile] klo_the_hobbit came over and we watched some beautifully awful stuff. Ah, Freejack: film choice of the gods.

In other news, have used the bread machine quite a lot. I made more soup (a giant surprise there, surely). Also, ooh, excitingly, made CHOCOLATE-COATED PRETZELS!!!! Can there be anything finer? I think not! And I made some tomato and mascarpone sauce for our tea last night, but that’s rather less newsworthy.

Latest TV news: Big Fat Quiz of the Year was joyous as ever (though has yet to reach the dizzy heights of the Goth Detectives year). Jimmy Carr was looking bizarrely skinny. Made (not that it exactly took a lot of effort) Katie watch Leverage. How inconceivably gorgeous is that show? It’s so ridiculous and yet so adorable. I love team shows – it’s what makes NCIS such a thing of glory. <3 <3 <3

Cookery Book: Bread and Bread Machines
Provenance: Random purchase at the NT shop at Ham House
Picture Level: Pretty darned good, actually. Pictures for everything.

Recipe: Pesto marbled bread
Ingredients: Pesto, flour, milk, salt, sugar, yeast, water
Why Chosen: Well, we’ve got this jar of pesto in the fridge and I was making Italian…
Outcome: Not so bad, not so bad. Or, um, quite nice actually. Will probably make occasionally.
Mess Created: Minimal – ha! (Or I may have made a giant mess and not really noticed. It’s, uh, hard to remember sometimes.)
chaletian: (Default)
How do, chaps! Am back from frozen wastes and plan to now regale you with the post-Christmas post (didja see what I did there? Did you?).

So, Christmas, eh? Vee nice. Got some presents. Went to visit Grandad. Faffed around a bit. Bought some Christmas tat from the garden centre which has sprung up outside Barlborough. Made about sixty-seven tea loaves, and ate one slice of same. Was mostly just ace. Chiefly ace in clothes. Occasionally ace in a nightie.

Anyway, all this is mere fluff and flimsy. FUCKING SOUTH WEST TRAINS!!! is really the message of this post. “Let’s close the line between Barnes and Clapham,” some little twerp in a planning meeting must have said. “The week after Christmas, let’s do it then. Nobody goes to work.” Now, to be honest, I don’t have a problem with their thinking so far. So far, their thinking is rife with reason: of all the weeks in the year, this is probably the quietest in terms of commuting. In choosing this week for closing the line, I applaud their logic.

The part where I staunchly refuse to applaud is the part where they thought, “Well, since nobody goes to work, LET’S NOT FUCKING BOTHER TO MENTION IT TO ANYONE EXCEPT POSSIBLY AS A POST-SCRIPT TO AN OTHERWISE OVERLY-DETAILED CHRISTMAS TIMETABLE POSTER THAT NO-ONE’S ACTUALLY GOING TO READ, because that’s a sturdy plan.” Bastards.

In other news, I have watched the beginning of Leverage, a highly (and somewhat surprisingly) entertaining programme featuring none other than the high-larious Christian Kane. (At one point – look away if you don’t want to be spoiled – he rides a thoroughbred champion, ventre à terre, if I may borrow the expression from Eugenie. Bareback. Awesome!)

Also, I have high hopes of shortly acquiring a bread machine, the pros and cons of which have been carefully discussed, so don’t go giving me that ice-cream-maker-slow-cooker-ooh-you’ll-never-use-it-you-know look. And last night I finally made my celeriac soup. I followed a recipe off the interwebs, but I think I should have just done it my way and shoved some ginger in. Tant pis. Tonight we shall be dining on sausage and tomato risotto with rosemary (yum) and I may make some ginger biscuits, having taken the dough out of the freezer. Possibly some laundry might be in order, as well. Hmmm.

Theatre-wise, just to keep you up to date, we will be going to some Tom Stoppard thing (yay! Stoppard!) at the end of January, and Twelfth Night at the end of Feb. Yoicks! I’ve been dying to see that one, even though we will be up in the Gods. Quite fancy seeing Gethsemane at the National, and getting tickets to see August: Osage County again, since Katie couldn’t make it last time.
chaletian: (percy lj)
How do, chaps. Firstly, what’s with this whole clergy rawring at female bishops? What possible reason could there be for saying women can’t be bishops? Arsemonkeys, say I.

Secondly, I wanted to apologise generally for being totally incommunicative recently and ignoring everyone (except Katie, who doesn’t get that luxury) and being a bit crap. Personally, I blame working in radiology in the evenings and TV. Maybe the other way round, thinking on’t… Anyway, I will try to be better.

Thirdly, my hair is looking particularly splendid today. I will be getting it cut before we go to France, but not short, do not fret. Just a bit of a trim and a shape.

Fourthly, thank you to people for expressing sympathy about Grandma (sorry, that sounds dreadfully stilted!). She was very ill at the end, and I don’t think any of us are hugely weeping-sad, but it’s still woeful. The funeral is next Tuesday. Actually, it will be the first one I’ve ever been to, which is weird. The last person to die in the family (excluding Great Aunt Margaret, whom I didn’t really know that well) was GG (my great-grandmother) when I was 11, and my parents wouldn’t take us to the funeral. Heigh ho, anyway, that’s got nothing to do with anything.

Fifthly, we’re going to see Candide tomorrow, which I’m very excited about!! And next week it’s Hancock at le cinema, ditto. And we saw Major Barbara last week, on a whim, and that was really good. The motto of one of the main characters was “Unashamed”, and Katie and I have adopted it for FT, as it is peculiarly appropriate to our household.

Sixthly (as an addendum), interest has been expressed (OK, by Lorraine, but I want to share) in my newfound comic-reading habits. Thus far I have read Watchmen, V for Vendetta, vols 1&2 of Buffy Season 8, vols 1&2 of Y: The Last Man, vol 1 of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (didn't like it much), vol 1 of Hellboy and Bite Club. They rock.
chaletian: (narnia once a queen)
1. I have got something that resembles chalk all over my black linen dress. Boo.

2. The fire alarm keeps going off. I am going TO KILL SOMETHING soon.

3. As I am sure you all know, Arthur C Clarke's third law was that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Boys and girls, I do believe this is true. This morning, befuddled and dazed after emerging from the long-night-sleepy, I went to remove yesterday's tiny tupperware boxes from my bag, only to discover that they were new tiny tupperware boxes filled with fresh new lunch! A miracle! Or, more to the point, either there is a giant invisible robot in Fangirl Towers, or it was MAGIC!!! Either way, a fascinating start to the day.

4. As I meandered down the station path, basking, as one does, in the early morning sunshine, I overheard a young man on his phone saying that it was the luck of the draw whether you were standing by a door when the train/tube pulled in. No, sir! Not true, sir! I end up standing by the door at every stage of my journey to work. Not by good luck, but by good management, sir! Pah. Amateurs.

5. OK, so what's with the whole "rah, women must wear skirts at Wimbledon!!" thing? Bollocks to that! I like skirts. I embrace the skirt concept. In the supremely unlikely event that I should ever find myself coyly warming up for an opening set on that sacred green, I would wear a skirt. But to say that women should wear skirts because it's all nice and feminine is just 5-star bullshit. If a female tennis player wants to wear shorts in which to play tennis, then go for it, say I.

6. Have spent the last week waiting for my grandmother to die. It's weird and unsettling and distubing. I went up last weekend to see her (which was the actual worst experience of my life because I had no idea what to say and I don't know if she knew it was me, and boo and shit and arse), but she still seems to be bopping around and part of me thinks she's going to get better again even though I know that it's not actually possible this time. So partly I just want her to die because then it'll be finished. Is that really wicked? It doesn't feel particularly wicked, but I don't know. I don't want her to die, obviously, I want her to get better and just be Grandma again, but I know that's not going to happen. Except part of me thinks that it might, hence the confusion.

7. New fandom. Fandom is lovely.

8. Went to see Prince Caspian. It's ace.
chaletian: (gq british)
So, Christmas, eh? Firstly, though today was being slightly dreaded by, I think, everyone, it went off very well indeed and everyone seemed to have a nice time. Grandad looked slightly snurpy when Daddy had a mock against diesel engines to Andrew (Grandad has long been a proponent of the diesel engine; Daddy thinks they're shit), but that was as bad as it got. I changed the subject whenever the ground looked boggy (I get to do that because I'm Daddy's favourite and at the moment I can do no wrong as far as Grandad is concerned). Grandad's still slightly dodgy on his feet, and has put on so much weight in the past couple of months (I think because of the drugs he's on) that he looks completely different to usual. But actually it was lovely to see everyone, and share presents (and to give and receive presents that people like - we tend to be quite good about that in our family), and just be together, and be huggy and chatty and catch up and mock Andrew's driving and Matthew's girlfriend and Chris's city slicker ways and my hair. And *g* I showed Grandma the end of my Christmas speech, where she and Grandad had earned internet fame by virtue of their donation of the grandparental chintz, which tickled her. It was a really, really nice day. Mummy braided my hair, so I felt about twenty years in the past! Chris bought us Yahtzee! And the new Nigella Lawson book. And I got the most genius looking book about Dorothy L Sayers and LPW and the inter-war period, which looks absolutely fascinating, and some Chanel mascara, and a chocolate orange (natch!), and some theatre vouchers (now the question is, cherie, do we blow it all on one show, or eke them out?), and some slipper socks (will my mother's attempt to get me in slippers never cease?!) from my parents, and various bits from the rest of the family, which was all very nice (and an ace CD from Rosie, which I am listening to at the moment). Mummy did an interpretive dance to the flashing rhythm of the fairy lights: a sight to be seen. Grandma got a huge kick out of the little pop-up mouse I got her and chuckled quite considerably. I wore make-up and high heels. We had Christmas lunch instead of dinner, which was super (though obviously, with the mater cooking), and then unexpectedly got salmon sandwiches and ham and beetroot sandwiches and mince pies at tea time. The proper grown-ups may have looked a little askance at these, but the younger generation devoured them whole-heartedly. We watched Galaxy Quest in the afternoon which is always a joy, and then after everyone had gone we watched Little Miss Sunshine, which I bought for Daddy, and which the parentals loved. Me too. I think it's one of the best films to be made in the last few years. I spoke to Katie and Kathye, as is only right and proper.

Anyway, I hope everyone had as nice a day as I did, and the rest of the festive period is nice and jolly and relaxed. Ciao, mes amis! xxx
chaletian: (narnia lucy raining)
Lo, for I am now toute seule in FT. Mine is a sorrowful life.

I had egg-fried rice for tea last night, with chicken and prawns and peas and sweetcorn and spring onions. It was vee nice.

I made a tea loaf for Katie’s parents. Hopefully it turned out OK.

Finally made Katie’s Christmas card. Once again, a work of fangirl genius, though sadly marred by my getting a picture of Jake that WASN’T JAKE!! Quelle horreur!

Drinking my first mochaccino of the day. And I’m starving. Really, vee, vee hungry.

Very excited about the Spring Gather. I mun make an icon for it, as I am still using the Summer Frolick one, now sadly out of date.

OMG! OMFG! Spooks! *will say no more*

[livejournal.com profile] nicolap: Does my tiny memory deceive me, or did you have a recipe for parkin somewhere in your journal? Mun attempt to make some for my father before I go home…

Watched Diagnosis Murder and Badly Dubbed Porn last night. Both were glorious, in their own separate ways.

Am really looking forward to going home, though have discovered that I’m going to have to stay longer than planned, which is a bit of a swizz. It’s Grandad’s birthday on the 27th, and I found out the other day that Grandma’s doing a thing, which obviously I have to go to, but it’s slightly messed up my plans for coming home. Ah well, such is life. *Five Minutes Later* I just spoke to the mater (had to ask about the possibility of shopping on Christmas Eve, a possibility which has just been nixed, so I’m going to have to buy Chris’s giant books in Kingston and bring them up – boo) and bloody hell she’d forgotten that I said I wasn’t staying the whole week, and had made *plans* and suchlike, and now I feel really guilty, but I *did* tell her I was going home a couple of days after Christmas and I *have* got plans already, and dammit I want to spend at least part of the holidays sitting around my own home watching crap TV and kicking Katie in the shins when the urge strikes. And she wanted me to come home earlier as well, and I’m sorry, I love my parents dearly, but I don’t want to spend an entire week wandering around Barlborough with essentially fuck all to do. Oh, fucking families. Fucking Christmas. Just have to remember that I do actually love it...

I am now in a slightly stroppy mood, which inevitably arises when my mother is attempting to get me to do something I don’t want to. Feel about fourteen, a feeling with which I am not particularly enamoured. Meh. Oh, part of me thinks I should say that I’ll come back on Friday morning so that we can have yonder family meal on Thursday night, but then I don’t *want* to because, hey, will have had quite enough of my family by then, and anyway, had dinner with Chris and Bex last week so it’s not like I haven’t seen them in an age. Oh, I dunno. And I can’t help but feel that this Christmas might be a bit awful, what with all the family weirdness of the last year, and I *hate* that, I *hate* that my family seems to be disintegrating, it’s *awful*. Oh, pook.
chaletian: (was my mother a witch?)
It’s funny, Nicola’s question got me thinking about Sheffield, and how much of my family’s history is embedded there. I mentioned not being able to drive anywhere without my mother claiming that she had driven along that very road for her driving test. But sometimes it feels like everywhere has that sort of connection. I used to go on the bus past High Storrs School every day to get to school myself, and my aunt was head girl there (she’s still indignant about the speech day fiasco, but we’ll not dwell…). Back in the day, my great-uncle was head boy there as well. Various family members went to school there. Or Abbeydale School, where I took one of my music exams, and which is where my mother went to school (she still has uniform joy, to this very day). Or catching the bus into town, and going past the old grammar school (and God knows how long it’s been since that actually *was* a school), where assorted other relations went (including my grandparents – my grandmother was on their hockey XI – and Cousin Rosemary, who went out with Grandad before he met Grandma). And I have my own memories of life at the High School – sitting on canteen drive with our lunch; catching the number 60 into town, and hoping to get to the bus stop before the Birkdale boys got out, because then the buses weren’t so busy; stopping off at the newsagents to get a quarter of sherbert lemons (or kola kubes in Karen’s case); sitting in the botanic gardens across the road at lunchtime once we got into the Sixth Form; going to the dinky sandwich shop in Broomhill; endless speech days in the Octagon; catching the supertram out to the Don Valley stadium for sports day, and lolling about on the grass trying to do as little as possible and failing to sum up any kind of house pride (not least because Stanley always came either 3rd or 4th at everything – we were definitely *not* the crack house!); going along to the university theatre to watch their French students put on random plays; wandering vaguely towards Broomhill with Catherine for her A-level Geography project and actually managing to get *lost*.

And we drive through Gleadless, and Mummy shows me Grandad’s ‘patch’ from when he was a GP there, and where GG used to live before she moved to Reney Drive, and past the Northern General, where Grandad worked for a while back in the day (and where, thinking about, my mother was allegedly *conceived* - on a hospital bed, during one of Grandad’s breaks when Grandma had smuggled herself in – I just don’t think about it…), and down Bradford Road next to the golf club where Grandma and Grandad Hallatt (Grandad’s parents) lived for about a million years, and up along Lodge Moor where Daddy lived (next door to the house where, in future years, my English teacher, Mrs Storrs, would live), and Scout hut where he went to Scouts, and the golf course up along there where he caddied (very badly), and walking down the Mayfield valley where he used to play when he was little.

My grandparents bought their house in the 60s. It’s just down the road from the house-next-to-the-golf-club where Grandad lived when he was little. I think I’ve spent time there every summer since I was born.

I had the same Latin teacher as my mother (albeit at different schools).

I don’t know – it’s nice, I think, to feel linked to a place like that.
chaletian: (like to teach)
Further to my voyage of religious discovery, I have spent the last couple of hours talking to half a dozen of my nearest and dearest, canvassing their opinions on the existence or otherwise of God. Is it strange that I have never known what anyone in my family actually believes on that front? Anyway, the results were pretty much as I expected, and I had a couple of very interesting discussions with Daddy and Grandma on the subject (Daddy and I, not surprisingly, having fairly similar views, being as how we have pretty much the same brain). Neither Rosie nor my mother showed much interest in the subject (Mummy believes; Rosie doesn't, which did surprise me a little), and Grandad didn't discuss it beyond answering the question (he said yes he did believe, though oddly Grandma said she thought he didn't), but said it would be interesting to talk about it more when I go to stay. Chris believes basically the same as me, I think, but is far more cynical about the role of organised religion in society. So there you go. The collected religious views of the Hallatt/Webster clan. (I imagine it goes more or less without saying that where there is religious persuasion, it is of the Church of England variety, and none of us are church-goers, even the ones who believe.)

As a final tally of my mini survey:

7 people were consulted (yes, I include myself)
3 men, 4 women
6 with a university education, 1 without
6 were brought up with a C of E background, including some form of regular church attendance (forgot to ask Daddy, and actually that maybe ought to be 5, because my regular church attendance was at a Methodist church)
5 were confirmed, 1 was not (again, forgot to ask Daddy)
3 believed in some kind of God, 4 didn't
chaletian: (gq british)
There are many things I love about my maternal family, but one of the most satisfying is the sense of family history we have. My grandmother is an inveterate story teller, and since I was little I have been regaled with tales of generations gone by and all the slightly mental things they have done. This is my grandmother’s family, after all. *g* Nobody’s *actually* mental or in any way particularly interesting. Anty (sic, in order to emphasise the proper northern pronunciation of the word) May, who was the eldest of Grandma’s aunts, used to swan around in pretty frocks, play the piano and have ‘presentiments’ (usually used as an excuse not to run errands); Doris, my great-grandmother, used to do all the work because she was very quiet and obliging (but prone to hysterical laughter in times of trial, something that has sadly been passed down the distaff line), but once forced a factory owner to give the girls a pay rise; Anty Pat, who as far as I can tell didn’t give a flying fuck about anyone and used to wander about playing the violin very badly, and Anty Olive, who was the youngest, and I’m sure there was something slightly off about her, but I can’t remember what it was and Grandma now denies any knowledge of having said anything. I am suspicious. But anyway, it’s nice to have all that, to be told stories of your family, even the people you’ve never known.

And we have about a million photographs, including the absolutely priceless one of Uncle George as a baby. He was Anty Annie’s husband. Anty Annie was a crony of my great-grandmother’s, and also prone to hysterical gales of laughter. I *think* (there’s a lot of family; I often get confused) she was Little Grandad’s sister. Little Grandad was GG’s husband who died long before I was born. GG was also referred to as Little Grandma, to differentiate her from Grandma Hallatt (Grandad’s mother), who was more the scary cake-on-the-head type grandmother. But yes, so Anty Annie married Uncle George, and we have a photo of him as a baby wearing the most giant frilly white dress in the world. He looks darling. But I suspect that photo would have been the bane of his life. Somehow, Grandma’s ended up with all the bits from all the family (we have GG’s and Anty Annie’s wedding dresses), and we occasionally go through it all and I get the stories all over again.

My mother laments that she never recorded GG telling all *her* stories, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Of course some stories get lost by the by, but I don’t think it matters, because they will always be replaced with new ones (ah, Rosie falling down the drains at a camp site, and getting tea leaves in her knickers because she’d had a strop and insisted on wearing the frilliest pair she owned…), and all that matters really is the continuity of passing on stories, whatever the stories themselves happen to be.

On my father’s side, there are very few stories, mainly because, like me, he has forgotten most of his childhood. I have about four anecdotes, none of which have been told by him.

1. When he was little, they were on holiday and he was getting on Grandma’s nerves, so she told him to go away. So he did. Being my father, even at about six or however old he was, this involved going off on a hike by himself. They didn’t find him for a very long time, Grandma was frantic, it ended up in the local newspaper. He’d been larking about in a cave on the beach, happy as Larry.

2. In a similar vein, he went camping on Arran with the Scouts, hated it miserably, and attempted to build a boat and flee the island. I think he even managed to set sail…

3. When he was a teenager, he forced David, his younger brother (by about five years) to listen to The Who until he agreed they were the best band in the world.

4. When he was in the sixth form and going out with my mother, one of the teachers warned her off him. Because he was a bad lot. *giggles* That one always makes me laugh.
chaletian: (british summer)
1. No sooner had I been introduced to the joy that is Ghost Whisperer (I think Jim wins the prize for best TV husband, frankly), than Katie and I watched the first two eps of Heroes last night. IT IS GENIUS!! Absolutely brilliant, and I cannot wait to watch lots, lots more of it. In fact, there is so much love I can scarcely articulate it.

2. I cut my fringe on Saturday. On the plus side, I remembered to put the plug down the sink and then retrieve all the hair and throw it away so it didn’t clog the drain. On the downside, it was midnight and I was still slightly under the influence of l’alcool, so I now have (yet again) a short, spaccy, wonky fringe. Still, my hair seems to be growing quite quickly, so it’ll probably have grown out by Friday.

3. It’s my last day in Dermatology today!!!

4. I had dinner with Chris and Bex on Saturday in their new flat in Vauxhall, which is very nice indeed (and I have quite severe kitchen envy). A pleasant time was had by all (well, I had a pleasant time, and Chris and Bex seemed to, unless it was all playacting) – dinner was very nice, and we played games (TPs, which Chris, yet again, cheated by knowing the answers, and poker, in which I beat him every time – ha ha ha because he always talks big and I always beat him). Have borrowed series 2 of the Boosh, so looking forward to watching that at some stage.

5. Earlier on Saturday I looked at some flats: first two were no-hopers, but the third was a vague possibility, so Katie will be bopping off to have a look, probably some time this week.

6. Went to Kathye’s on Sunday: always jolly. Cuddled Hannah quite a lot, and also suffered the indignity of Megan bouncing about on my legs under the misapprehension that I was some kind of playground installation. She’s such a sweetheart, though. I love her lots.

7. There have been rumblings in the PF about a scientific study into the best cult TV husbands, but we get a bit stuck trying to think of any. So far, we have Jim from Ghost Whisperer and Wash from Firefly. Any further nominations from the gallery? Then we can have a poll, and it will be *glorious*.
chaletian: (Default)
Ah, la journée des boîtes: a great day of nothingness. Chris has bopped off to visit Bex et sa famille, Daddy's watching the DVD I bought him (David Lynch, so ranking high in the weirdiness stakes), Mummy's lounging on the sofa. Christmas Day was very jolly, and we were actually allowed a lie-in - a Christmas miracle in itself! None of this mother larking around in dressing gown at seven o'clock singing carols at us, then...

I received many fine presents, and as a family we congratulated ourselves on our mad present buying skillz, because we were all really quite successful. I got my le creuset - huzzah! I can now make rich beef stew *properly* - am very pleased. Et ma tante got me a groovy apron (yes, kitchen minions, this means you too may be aproned up when necessary, and not just in the hostess pinny) and, AND, a typhoon chocolate fondue set WITH a pink bowl that matches my typhoon lasagne dish!!! How much joy!!! And many other delightful things, including, of course, the obligatory chocolate orange (Golly, what could this be? I shall never guess!... you know the drill...). Christmas dinner was lovely, we watched TV, all was merriness and brightness.

AND, I discovered that my birth had been commemorated between my parents by the mater buying the pater a copy of Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy. There is even an inscription to that effect, in my mother's best italianate handwriting. I feel so proud.

Also, I finally received my birthday present from Chris: the box-set of the Man from UNCLE films. However did he possibly know that was what I wanted? I think... yes, I think he is almost definitely psychic.

We went to Hemper Lane to visit the grandparentals on Christmas Eve, and it was lovely to see Grandma, but she was very weak and pathetic, which is so not her, but whatever, she's home now. And Grandad has learned to do mashed potatoes, so every cloud etc etc. Rosie and Andrew were there (Matthew was out doing the Derby evening experience - a thrill for anyone), and Andrew, bless him, has the WORLD'S MOST EMO HAIR. Ever. In the history of the universe. How I laughed at him.
chaletian: (Default)
La. Grandparents. Quite mad. And rather lovely.

Saturday: Had a lovely lie-in, larked round the house, played on the internet, inspected the house to make sure nothing had changed. At lunchtime Rosie and Matthew came round, then we all bopped off to young Mary's birthday party (she was 9; I hadn't seen her since she was about 4, so she's grown up some!) and saw various relatives, of which I am richly endowed. Came back, played Scrabble with Matthew (won by about 20 points - huzzah! - though given that he's just turned 18 would have been a bit embarrassing if I hadn't), had tea by fire. All well and jolly. G&G were mainlining Mozart all evening, so I pottered about on t'internet then went to bed.

Sunday: More with the lying-in, to my grandparents' despair! Grandma and I embraced the computer: I showed her how to work the whole address book concept in Outlook, then we Googled the general knowledge crossword clues, which was, as always, great fun. Reigate used to be called Cherchefelle - who knew? Had lunch. Pottered around a bit, watched Charlie Brown, had tea by fire again - I toasted tea-cakes on the fire, which always makes me feel like I'm in Little Women or something. Ooh, and we listened to the original recording of Tell Me On A Sunday, which was nice.

Ooh, and Katie, my Great-Uncle-Ted-by-marriage says he has an electric drill going begging should we need one. I can't see that we will, but thought I would pass it on. *g*
chaletian: (ridgepole)
Am safely ensconced chez mes parents, who were yea relieved to see me unexploded. Chris is also home, so we anticipate much in the way of family frolics. My parents had a minor row about the golf and Chris and I dined civilly on insalata caprese and raviola all'arrabiata. If that's how you spell it...

Rosie and les deux garcons will be coming over to G&G's for the weekend, so hopefully there will also be fun family togetherness on a slightly larger scale.

Euge!

June 2016

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