Mar. 16th, 2011 08:29 pm
chaletian: (cs kill bill)
What ho, darlings! I feel I should do a proper post, and keep you all enthralled with charming little tales of my recent exploits, but I fear I should find it tedious, so bullet points ahoy!

1. Despite having received some excellent prompts (thank you), and despite having had ideas for all of them, I am no closer to writing fic. Sadfaces. Ah well, it may come to me in time.

2. Dentist again today. Next time I will be getting filled. :-(

3. I have, in the last week, read my GGBP-sale fun-in-the-fourth books, and highly enjoyed them. I read Val Forrest in the Fifth first, which was my least favourite, but only because the other two were so good. I liked the Withers-iness of her lodgings! Then I read Evelyn Finds Herself, which I absolutely adored - definitely the best school story I've ever read. Hearty recommendation to everyone! And then I finished off with The New School and Hilary which was also ace. I now need to find more books by Josephine Elder and Winifred Darch.

4. In that vein, I ended up on the Greyladies website. I want to read all their books! Does anyone have any I can borrow, please?

5. The pater has now flown off to Qatar and will be living there until further notice (for work - he hasn't gone AWOL). Mater bearing up manfully - well, womanfully, really.

6. My brother broke off his engagement, had a relationship with someone else, handed in his notice at work, set up his own business (properly registered at Company House, I am given to understand!), and is trying to work things out with his former fiancée. It is something of a roller coaster.

7. I have two holidays planned this year, and while neither is at all exotic (1. Dorset; 2. Katie's parents in France), I am looking forward to them both tremendously! I also have a "staycation" at the end of April (oh, I can see you all harking back to the glory that was Staycation 2009).


9. I dyed my hair bright red a little while ago. It's like Hitler marching on Moscow...

10. I have some bright yellow ranunculas (?sp) in a vase. They're gorgeous. Also, I invested in some very superior fake flowers in IKEA for my room. I approve.

11. Katie will be home very soon, which means I have to get up and make dinner. I AM COSY. But dutiful (mostly).

12. There is a children's book fair in Bath in April. I shall, I think be going. This is fun. I like Bath. I like children's books. I like April. I cannot lose. *thumbs up*

13. Earlier this year I read Hilary McKay's sequel to A Little Princess, Wishing for Tomorrow. This was ace and people should read it. Ditto Celia Rees' The Fool's Girl, which is about Viola and Orsino's daughter coming with Feste to find Shakespeare to help with a plot to save Illyria, and in the process telling him all about her parents and how they came to meet etc. It was really fab and brilliantly written. Also recommended.

14. I have also read adult books, though none are springing to mind right now.

15. I recently realised that I still haven't read Eva Ibbotson's last book before she died (so sad - she's one of my favourite authors), so that will be a little treat at some point.

16. Theatre: saw The Heretic at the Royal Court on Monday, which was really very good - very funny, and also thinky (you know how I like that), largely about the necessity of Proper Scientific Thinking and not taking anything on faith, or just because Everyone Says. Also saw Becky Shaw (twice) at the Almeida, which I also enjoyed very much. Student production of Arcadia at Westminster School - very good, particularly Bernard and Chater. Hannah was a bit inconsistent (in terms of characterisation rather than acting), and there wasn't really enough distinction between 13-year-old and 16-year-old Thomasina, but overall, vg. And did I mention seeing Hamlet at the National before Christmas? Rather disappointing, anyway. What with that and the godawful All's Well That Ends Well, the National and Shakespeare is not proving a good combination for me. Ooh, speaking of, I see Roger Allam won the Olivier for his Falstaff - jolly well deserved, sir!
chaletian: (buffy british summer)
What ho, chaps! Summer, I can now report, is definitely icumen in: the first Pimms of 2010 has been spotted at Fangirl Towers. Naturally, being England, this will be the brief eye in the drizzly, grey-skied really-not-even-one-interesting-storm that is the British summer, but tant pis. For now, I will enjoy the (mild) sunshine. Actually, for the past couple of days, I have been enjoying it OUTSIDE. Yes, visitors to Fangirl Towers may not have noticed that we have balcony (unless you're Kathye and have used as a prime smoking location), as we never remember it ourselves. However, the balcony door has been open recently, and - STAND BACK, PLEASE - there have been some idle attempts at GARDENING. Yes, you did hear me aright. Actual gardening, with compost and, I'm not too proud to admit, various purchases from Poundland. (Fucking Poundland, I love you.)

So, over the weekend I planted rosemary, thyme, sage and mint (the mint in a separate pot, natch), and today I planted some fresia bulbs (I love fresias) and a gooseberry bush (in a pot that is possibly a touch too small, but we will see). In the coming months, I will be doing strawberry plants into our hanging basket (slightly limp and aged, but I am confident it is up to the ask), although I don't have particularly high hopes of them actually providing any fruit, and a tomato plant into the big tub thing my parents bought us for daffodils.

All these things are very likely to die.

I don't want anyone to be under any illusions. No tears when the news comes that the gooseberries died about six months ago and we didn't notice. No wails of despair when I excitedly announce that the cracked earth in the plastic pot once appeared to home some sort of plant, its desiccated leaves now giving no clue as to its identity. Please face the truth now, and accept it into your life: this attempt at bringing joy and happiness to our balcony is doomed to epic failure.

Speaking of death, funeral went as well as these things do. My father did the eulogy, and jolly well he did it too. Not easy, given his slightly rocky relationship with Grandpa, but I think he did them both justice and I was very proud of him. Nice to see the old family again, albeit fleetingly. Thankfully, the next family shindig should be Chris' wedding next year, which should be somewhat cheerier.

The prog man has decided on early retirement. Calloo callay etc.

I cleaned the windows in my room and the spare room (they look out onto the balcony). Ruined three dishcloths in the process, though will attempt to return them to some semblance of white with some Vanish. The windows, I suspect HAVE NEVER BEEN WASHED BEFORE. They were filthy, and are still a bit streaky due to me not getting around to rinsing them, but good grief, one can actually see through them. A miracle.

A thought: I do not think a hung parliament will lead to the apocalypse. Just my two penn'orth.

I am re-reading Eva Ibbotson's Magic Flutes. I love her books.
chaletian: (st awesome jim)
I write this sitting on the sofa. Which is less interesting, I grant you, than some other literary openings. Anyway, so much has happened for me to tell you all about, that I'm bound to leave everything interesting out. However, I will try my best, sadly hampered by the fact that I'm about to explode from an excess of chicken korma (mmm, chicken korma).

1. I can't remember whom I have previously button-holed on the subject of chicken korma. If it was you, I apologise. As PG Wodehouse so perspicaciously pointed out once, it is so difficult to know how to pitch your tale, when there is the possibility that bod A may know more of the story than bod B. Anyway, I have never really cooked a curry or anything like it, so it was with some trepidation that I embarked upon a recipe for c.k. that Emma gave me, but it turned out OK and I have now cooked it approximately fourteen times in the last week. Next stop: thai chicken curry, which I love but which I have, again, never cooked.

2. Do any more northerly folk know what's going on at the Tesco-roundabout-end of the Chesterfield bypass? They demolished the glassworks there ages ago, but apparently they're now building a giant (new) Tesco there, and there are rumours that there's going to be a bit of football stadium action on the remaining land - that's going to bugger up the traffic nicely come match days.

3. In re release of Lockerbie bomber as what is dying fairly imminently, WTF FBI man? Scotland's case, Scotland's jurisdiction, Scotland's decision. Fuck off out of it.

4. I'll stop waffling now and get to the nub of LIFE and the only topic about which anyone will have any interest. I'm sure you will all be delighted to hear that my hair has faded quite a lot, and although it is still massively, stupidly red, I no longer look like Jane Goldman, so yay. Also, Helen cut me a bob, which is ACE and also AWESOME (even though Pim's bathroom was apparently covered in my hair for quite some time EVEN THOUGH I totally tidied up after myself).

5. So, ja, the other weekend, I went to Helen's, and we hung out being ineffectual together, and then we went to Pimly's, where she cooked us Mexican lasagna (always a treat, and who knew Nellie Dean could even cook?! I thought she lived on scraps...) and we watched St Trinian's and Mamma Mia - frankly, what could be more glorious? What indeed? I hear you say. And, as mentioned, Helen cut my hair, which was a TRIUMPH because she is unexpectedly skilled in that arena. &Helen;

6. Subsequently, Pim and I went out to dinner at that gourmet institution that is Pizza Express. I had - no, wait for it - chicken caesar salad! I know! *makes I-know face* Who saw that coming? Service was fairly rubbish, as per, but we had a nice meal and chatted and bitched, and then wandered down the South Bank (which may well be MY FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WHOLE WORLD) to the National, where we sat on the giant grass furniture and met Katherine and brushed our hair like land-locked mermaids and had ice lollies and chatted. All vee nice. We were, however, saddened by the absence of Kathryn, who blew us off for COLLEAGUES SHE PRESUMABLY SEES ALL THE TIME. Pah.

7. The day after that was Thursday (an accurate timeline is crucial), which was my last day at work that week. Now, we have a thing at work where, when it's someone's birthday, we bring in food AS A SECRET and have a little lunch party. However, Emma and I are the only ones who have ever arranged this, and as Emma's last day had been the Wednesday, I was not expecting lunch. We continued our hilarious file purge in the morning, and then I was called into the office in a tiny emergency TO FIND THEY'D DONE ME LUNCH ANYWAY! Woo! It was so exciting! Also, Cath had bought me a bottle of No 6 Pimm's (a sort of Pimm's No 1/vodka hybrid which turns out to be DELISH). All in all, a good day.

8. On Friday, after getting up ridiculously early to pack and blow dry my hair and such like, I bopped to Victoria to meet Katherine and Pim and wend our way up to Chesterfield, where the CBB Summer Frolick was - well, actually not scheduled to take place. It was to take place in Barlborough, the village where my parents live. The mater (eventually) picked us up and we went to Sainsbury's where Katherine shopped for Frolick food and Pim and I wandered around and bought clothes and stuff. Went home and then OHNOES! TRAGEDY! Katie was cutting short her holiday to come up to the old borough of Barl, and had booked her ticket from Cornwall to Sheffield, but tragedy had struck! Fearful traffic along the byways of the west country! No train catching! No movement of any kind! EPIC SADFACES ACROSS THE LAND. In the end, she had to give up the Sheffield plan and buy a ticket back to London. I will not lie. There was a tiny crystalline single emo tear*. Anyway, as luck and the script would have it, I managed to find a relatively decent ticket for London-Doncaster on the Saturday morning, and, with a bit of (FRANKLY GENIUS) jiggery-pokery, I booked it for her. \o/

9. On Friday evening, we had savoury pancakes and my parents were ridic. I love them. They're awesome. Also, on a similar note, Pim and I suspect that our mothers may actually be THE SAME WOMAN. Have you ever seen them in a hospital together? Have you? I didn't think so. I mean, we always knew there was the daughters-of-NHS-managery-women bond between us, but even so...

10. Saturday! Frolick! Tiny plastic Jesus watched over us all, and the Frolick went according to plan (except for the bit where I kept leaving out bits of activity, but that happens with the most well-regulated frolicks). Katie arrived sans problem. The Little School even had a cake stand for all Katherine's cupcakes (lemon cakes = delicious beyond measure). I made quiches.


12. Saturday PM: back to the homestead, and time to open presents! Woo! I was in receipt of a tea towel (a present classic), a giant Cornwall pencil, a thing to make Virgin Mary toast, two pairs of Holy Socks AND PIM KNITTED ME A SHATNER!FACE! YES! YOU HEARD ME RIGHT! AN ACTUAL, HONEST-TO-GOD SHATNER!FACE, LIKE SHE SWORE SHE WOULDN'T! (Yeah, she's weak. Exploit her, people.) IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE WORDS! I LOVE YOU, NELLIE!! Also, Katie made me a birthday card that had me and Jim sailing down an Amsterdam canal, while Spock watched us go, his left eyebrow a picture of emo woe. Fucking beautiful. I love my friends. Then Daddy made us his chicken curry thing, which is always yum, and Katie and I tidied the kitchen and went to bed. A smashing day.

13. Right. Sunday. Got up, had some orange juice and a tea cake. Had a shower. Faffed. Katie and I went to the station with Katherine and Pim and bid them adieu, then Mummy took us on to Grandma's, where I had more presents, and enjoyed Grandma being as ridiculous as ever. Then Chris turned up and there was a bit of chatting, and then we went down the road to see Grandpa, who was much as ever, though he'd managed to bash himself up a bit falling down the drive. Went in the garden to admire decking and fish - all vee nice, actually. We went home and had some lunch, then Mummy took us to Sheffield to catch the old coach back to London. We had a surprisingly smooth, un-awful journey. Had a bit of tea (God's honest pork pie, some tomatoes, some Babybel, some pickled onion Monster Munch, and an apple). Got home not too late, all in all. So, that was my weekend.

Anyway, that's about it. Not much else to report.

In Conclusion

Item: I am in possession of one (1) tiny plastic Jim Kirk and one (1) knitted Shatner!face.
Item: I have new short hair.
Item: I have, this very moment, been outbid on the chest of drawers I want. Damn you, eBay, damn you!
Item: Chicken korma rocks.

Addendum: My little brother, who works for Accenture, has just had a promotion and a 25% pay increase! I am very proud of him, and also very envious! Still, he's been working ridiculous hours, so I think I'd rather have my poorer paying much less working job!

* This is, in fact, a lie.
chaletian: (p+p mr collins shelves)
Well, I've had a smashing day today. The pater has been staying chez FT for the past couple of days, and today I took the morning off and we bopped down to the Orange Pekoe at the bottom of White Hart Lane for a spot of breakfast before he whizzed off home. I lounged around for a bit, read some fic, watched NCIS etc, and then nipped into work, where I spent a productive afternoon (after my small daily sulk over the uniform thing, which I will not go into as it will only make me cross). After work, Emma, Ben and I went to the Duke for a few drinks (well, other people went too, but we mostly ignored them, though Alex did buy me a drink, so I probably shouldn't say that!), which was extremely pleasant, and then Emma and I wandered down to Carluccio's for dinner. Carluccio's, tragically, had the worst service I've witnessed in a long time, but to be honest we weren't in any hurry so it didn't matter, and it relieved us of the responsibility of leaving a tip. And now it's the weekend. Yayness.
chaletian: (truman the astronaut)
LOL – I just went onto The Onion, and was vee entertained to see that American Football player Peyton Manning was on their front page. Peyton Manning is the only football player I have ever in my life been aware of, mainly because I have seen him play. Back in the summer of ’97, when Princess Diana had only just died, when Empire Records was all over American cable and Meredith Brook’s song Bitch all over American radio (with many stations refusing to, y’know, say the name of the song), when my mother was driving round Tennessee in a car about three million times bigger than she was, when we discovered that Piggly Wiggly was an honest-to-goodness store (not in Tennessee, as far as I’m aware, but certainly in South Carolina) not confined to the fictitious universe of Driving Miss Daisy, we lived in Knoxville, TN (I say lived, because it wasn’t exactly a furrin holiday, per se – Daddy went to work, we did grocery shopping and laundry, rented videos (The Cutting Edge, from Kroger’s – oh yes), and lived in Daddy’s house (which was actually really nice and we fitted in vee well)). And one of the things we did was go to a football game. (It was a thing of beauty. Seriously. I nearly died laughing.) Tennessee Vols (Chris had a giant orange hand to signify his support for the home team) versus Texas Tech (we won). And Peyton Manning was the Tennessee quarterback (this was in his college football days, obviously). He was quite a big deal in Knoxville back in ’97, I can tell you that. To this day, I have yet to forget him.
chaletian: (narnia lucy raining)
♥ Yum – Katie made the most delicious paella last night with chicken and chorizo and peas and stuff – glorious! Will be added to our stock inventory of recipes (we only have about five, routinely circulated).

♥ Mon grandpère was in hospital for a few days prostate cancer troubles, and he has to have an operation, which is a bit worrying, though Mummy says it’s very routine etc etc etc, but still pants, frankly. I hate it so much that my grandparents are getting ill and going to hospital all of a sudden. I mean, they’re nearly 80, I know it’s only to be expected, but I really, really hate it. I love them so much (even though Grandma is going completely mental these days over the Rosie thing, quite annoyingly so), and have so many happy memories of my time with them because, basically, all my memories of them are happy. Getting dressed up in an old bridesmaid’s dress and Grandma putting my hair in rags… playing with the old wooden play cooker in their back garden… Grandad showing us his old RAF uniform (complete with vee dashing hat)… painting pansies with Grandma in Ditch End, sitting in the window corner… lying around in Sunny Cove while Grandad built us sand cars and sand boats… helping Grandma make her famed sherry trifle, and being allowed to make the fork patterns in the cream AND put on the maraschino cherries AND very carefully lay down the roasted almonds with a grapefruit spoon… taking me down to the open day at St Hugh’s because my parents were away…

It was funny, I was talking to my parents when they came down the other weekend, and apparently Grandma had been saying what a star I was, and ooh, wasn’t I like her, and all this, and Daddy said it was like he’d had nothing to do with the making of me (skate over this people, don’t think about the specifics, for the love of God), and I feel a bit dishonest sometimes, because I always present myself to my grandparents in the way I know they want to see me, if you see what I mean. And superficially I am quite like Grandma, because we like a lot of the same things, and that’s what I focus on. But really, we are not at all alike, because I am, basically, my father. But a girl. And Grandma doesn’t get that, because I choose not to show her, because I know she wouldn’t get it. She doesn’t understand Daddy at all. Seriously. AT ALL. And she doesn’t really understand why Mummy married him, when he’s so unlike Grandad (yeah, cuz look how that worked out for Rosie), which presumably led to the famed “We never would have expected this from Miles… Martin, yes, of course, but…” comment, which was incredibly rude and hurtful, but it’s like Grandma has these freaky-weird blinkers on about my parents which lead her to suppose that saying things like this is fine, and it’s not, because she really upsets my mother, which is not on at all, because she’s lovely. Anyway, enough of such meanderings.

♥ I am off to Kathye’s for the weekend. My role: entertain the baby while the grown-ups do sensible things. I can do that.
chaletian: (bard much ado benedick wtf)
Well, the parentals eventually arrived this morning, after a bit of faff, and it is very nice to have them here (currently settling down in my bedroom, being remarkably restrained about the part where I still haven't completely unpacked). I have my Le Creuset casserole dish and the borrowed sewing machine, but no bookcase. Rah.

We walked into Barnes this morning and visited the market, then went back up White Hart Lane and had lunch at Annie's. Went home, and waited for Chris and Bex to arrive, then wandered into East Sheen, and bought various bits, including the making of dinner. Came home, hung around a bit, played TPs (Chris rushed to an early lead, but in the end Bex and I drew on six cheeses apiece when dinner stopped play). Chicken, new potatoes and salad for tea - vee nice. C&B have now gone home, and M&D are in bed.

A couple of joyful moments:

The M: *lamenting Daily Telegraph's reports of health & safety restrictions at the Scout Jamboree* I mean, you used to cook porridge in aluminium foil!
The P: No I didn't. I cooked it in a pan.
The M: *unconvinced* You told me you cooked it in aluminium foil.
The P: I was clearly lying. Where would I have got aluminium foil - a passing sputnik?

The P did not wish to play TPs, but insisted on butting in when he knew the answers, so we took to just showing each other the cards to scupper his plans. Sometimes we forgot.

C: *paraphrased* Which football was fined vast sums of money for being rude to another player?
The P: *apropos nothing at all* That's a nice gas cooker you've got.
C: *to B* That's not a hint.
The P: A very nice gazza cooker.
C: It's not Paul Gascoigne.
The P: Oh. Really?

Drive me mental, but I love them all dearly.
chaletian: (buzzcocks all tracks preston)
I need to get a couple of things out of the way before I move on to the rest of my post.

♥ I have just been complimented on how nice my hair looks when it’s down. So it is clearly not looking too green today, which I feared it was (it’s the green jumper, I tell you). Sadly, of course, the niceness is entirely due to the fact that I blow-dried it last night, which is unlikely to ever be the case again on a school night.

♥ I have been [livejournal.com profile] crack_impala’d again, for my Johnny Cash fic. My head is rapidly swelling, and it only contained by the sneaking suspicion that in spamming you all constantly with SPN fic for the last fortnight, I have exhausted my muse.

♥ Katie said a funny thing last night, and I promised faithfully to report it. So here it is.

Katie’s Joke
Me: Rawr, my fringe is crazed (my hair obsession not dimmed by a vodka and lemonade).
Katie: Is it a lunatic fringe?
Me&Katie: *much, much laughter*

So, with those safely recorded for the mind of the posterity, I shall move on to what I shall call the thrust of this post. Or possibly the pith. Can I say pith in this context? I do not know, so will do so willy nilly.

♥ I am dead. Quite seriously dead. Or, OK, if you want to be clinical about, I’d probably still register as alive on the stethoscope, but I have a bit of a hangover and am operating on four hours’ sleep, and I am NOT HAPPY. The reason for this is:

♥ We went to see Steve Carlson at the Barfly in Camden last night. The experience was only ever so slightly marred by some very, hmm, enthused fangirls. And you know me and enthusiasm… But Steve was very, very good indeed, and actually just the sort of music I like, so it was all very fine. And he was quite lovely, and we definitely, definitely need him in Casa Padackles, with a guitar and his hat (he didn’t wear a hat, which was a mild disappointment, but c’est la vie). Katie and Helen bought CDs, which I am planning shamelessly to rip (well, Katie’s at any rate and, follow my logic closely here, Katie and Helen will rip their respective CDs for MP3 purposes, and then swap, and then I can steal Helen’s from Katie – oh yes. I’m always thinking…). The first two lots of people (acts? sets?) were also good – the first one was your standard band type, with a guitarist who looked eerily like a young Howard Moon. And the spirit of… well, not Jazz, but something else… was in him. And then there was a chap whose name I have entirely forgotten but possibly started out with an Emmett, or maybe an Earl, came on with guitar and harmonica (a new one, which he pimped admirably throughout), and did several quite funny and very entertaining songs. Might have to Google him.

♥ After the gig, our rational capacities clearly affected by alcohol, we decided that it would be ever such a good idea to head down to Leicester Square, and go to the Full Mooners gig. Uh-huh. On a school night. Crazed, we were, downright crazed. We got there just before it started, and it was very funny, though I can’t remember anything that anyone said, or who was there. Oh, I do remember the vagina song, which started out really randomly, then sort of mellowed, until it was: “‘Vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina/ it was yellow.’ The new Coldplay song there…” which made me laugh vee, vee much. Still have a bit of a girl-crush on Lady Carol, who is mighty fine. Go and look for Lady Carol of the Moon on YouTube, people! Ooh, speaking off, must check for Steve on YouTube over the weekend.

♥ We caught a couple of night buses home. Uneventful. Listened to Katie’s new MP3 player. I kept losing my ear. Frustrating. Got home. Went to bed.

♥ My parents come this weekend. Unfortunately, am deeply untidy (obviously), so will have to do stuff this evening. Pah. Will ring the mater and find out what time they’re planning to show up. Might just go to bed when I get home, and tidy in the morning, though that is doomed to end badly as a plan. Will probably do it anyway, despite this knowledge. Because I suck.
chaletian: (p+p lydia)
♥ My bedroom looks as if a bomb has hit it. Admittedly, in many ways it looks better than it did last week, but still, it’s a bit of a shambles. But I now have the lovely mirror I bought last year up, and my new, slightly ridiculous, pink cupid hooks, courtesy of papa Stone. I also put up a couple of my pictures, and it’s all starting to feel more like home. We also have pictures/signs etc up throughout FT – huzzah! It was all feeling rather bland before. I also unpacked some of my hardbacks, despite the fact that my bookcase from home has still failed to materialise, and put them in the little bookcase previously known as ‘yonder crap-holder’.

♥ My parents. I love them very much. But JC on a stick, have they gone off me or something? They seem to be completely unwilling to come and visit. What’s that about? It’s not like they ever *do* anything at the weekend: weekends are, in fact, traditionally spent ironing and cleaning if you’re my mother, and walking and bitching if you’re my father. Sometimes they bop off to York or Harrogate if they’re in the mood. But basically my parents have no social life (this isn’t me being thoughtless, selfish child, honest. They really, really don’t). There is no reason for them not to be able to come, pretty much any given weekend. And yet, they don’t. And frankly it’s starting to piss me off a bit.

♥ Just ate a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I am wearing a black skirt and a black top. I look like the dalmatians after they’ve rolled in the soot and been snowed on.

♥ Katie and I watched actual teevee last night. Actual teevee off the actual teevee machine. I downloaded the first ep of Dexter and we watched that, and then watched the second ep on FX. (I love that channel; so pleased we finally have it.) It is very good; looking forward to the next. Sunday evenings at 10, people!

♥ Off to see MtW being filmed tomorrow, and hopefully Harry Pee on Wednesday, the week to be polished off by some species of Brownie shindig on Friday (Xanthe – do you still need my puffin-shaped input in stuff?).

♥ Next week it’s off to see Wicked avec the Guides. It looks like Katie isn’t going to be able to meet the Guides at Mortlake with me, helas. Are any other of you adults able to get to Mortlake (about 25 mins out of Waterloo) by quarter past six? It would be VASTLY appreciated, as there need to be two adults present to escort yonder children up to London, and though there is enough of me to count for two, technically it doesn’t work that way. Ooh, and I will be sending out an email some time this week with precise instructions on when and where to meet etc, never fear.

♥ Fresh news from the front: according to my grandmother, we need to be ever vigilant for evil, world-dominating twenty(-one)-spotted ladybirds. THEY MUST BE EXTERMINATED! Possibly to blame for world famine, the destruction of the countryside, BSE, and many things besides. We can know no rest until they have all perished…
chaletian: (bard kiss me kate)
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve done a proper update, so I’ve probably got lots to say, all of which will disappear when I actually get down to it. As is the way. Maybe if I start from the end…

1. Back at work after the Easter long weekend. Pah. Am still muddling along with my survival curve for hip replacements, which is looking quite jolly now, even if Excel won’t chart my graph in the right format. Still, at least the data is accurate. And it has all been quite joyful.

2. Xanthe and I bopped back down to London last night with minimal strife (though we were invited by the coach driver to favour everyone else with a spot of karaoke… we declined…), and actually arrived at Victoria twenty minutes ahead of schedule! We entertained ourselves royally by playing Hangman (and good grief but we are erudite souls… yes indeedy…), Qui Suis-Je? and reading aloud (Xanthe gets points for translating random bits of German on the spot – my contributions were limited to recognising the words ‘schwester’ and ‘kopf’). Also eating our rather splendid tea.

3. Visited the grandparentals yesterday morning. They seemed to be in relatively fine fettle. I introduced Xanthe to Willis, and the other half of the grandparental chintz. The mater and grandparentals spent much of the visit being indignant about things (most of which could be traced back to the existence of a Labour government), and grieving over the loss of Jessup’s Hospital.

4. I stole Xanthe away for Easter and took her home to put in a little box. Sadly could not find box suitable to my purpose and was therefore obliged to let her roam free. Free to be poked in the eye by my father, for example. From what I can gather, this was in the nature of a scientific experiment on his part (to see if her eye was real, perhaps?). My mother was on fine form, and in particular seemed to get some kind of bizarre kick over pushing Xanthe round Lyme Park as speedily AS IS HUMANLY IMAGINABLE. The National Trust loses about fifty million points for being crap on the whole wheelchair access front. They get one back for having a house which has arms sticking out of embossed ceiling bits in order to commemorate the Frenchman whose arm was chopped off at the Battle of Crecy in order to provide young Sir Peers with Lyme Park in the first place. And I suppose they can have another one for having pretty gardens. And, let’s go wild, another one for a house with a pretty façade. Still, that’s a deficit of 49,999,997. Not good, National Trust!

5. Socks as an Easter present. Mine are stripy, and look like something out of the Worst Witch. Am rather pleased. I will go so far as to say they are better than last year’s knickers…

6. Saw le petit frere, who seemed on passably good form, though only exchanged about three words with anyone, and those were of a sporting nature. We played catch on Sunday, and he killed my hand dead. The brute.

7. I have probably forgotten about a million things to post about, but that will do for now. Oh, we made scones. They were a bit crap. Made chocolate cake. That was better. Also created the world’s best sundae. Because, y’know, culinary genius.
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.

June 2016

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