Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Google, owners of Blogger, managed to accidently delete their own blog yesterday.


Thanks to Dave W for sharing the news and celebrating by reposting one of his classics:

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


A great blessing in my life, especially when I’m having a day like yesterday, is my tear-off page a day desk calendar from The Onion.

Occasionally they provide an ‘alternative’ horoscope:
You know you should really stop hurling fistfuls of
hamsters out the window of your speeding car, but they’re so darn cute.
Caroline – if you’re going shopping soon, I may not be the best companion...

Of course you could adjust the concept to a more humane result:

Monday, March 27, 2006

Tell Me Why I Don't Like Mondays...

The day started badly. I managed to sleep through my alarm clocks (yes that is plural and yes I had forwarded them to BST and everything).

Accordingly when I woke up and glanced at the clock I realised it was 8am and I was very L.A.T.E.

However it just goes to show that you can shower, dress, dry your hair, apply some mascara and be out the house in 15 minutes flat if you really have to.

Especially if you don’t pause too long to consider the latest in the ‘why is the hall carpet wet? Maybe that explains why my central heating system is losing pressure?’ saga.

Halfway down the motorway the rain starts lashing down.

I note that the dashes of water in the passenger footwell, suggest my house isn’t the only thing with a leak.

Being late, I have to park miles away and as I struggle in through the gale my new (super cheap admittedly, but lovely and large) umbrella is bent to buggery by the wind and by the time I make it to the buildings, I’m wet from head to toe, my hair is soaked and windswept beyond the point of amusement and the umbrella is fit only for the rubbish bin.

I look like a drowned rat. A very pissed off, drowned rat.

Halfway through the morning I twist and bend to retrieve a file from a low cupboard. Snap! That be one of my underwires in the old bra grabbed in a hurry this morning, snapped then…

After an hour of trying to ignore the sharp jagged edges of metal digging into my chest, I repair to the loos with a pair of nail scissors. Ah relief at last.

Concerned that my puppies will be asymmetrical I consult the mirror. Not too bad thankfully. In fact I start to wonder how much of a necessity those bloody wires are anyway.

Any chance the week will get better d’you think?

We Blog Cartoons

Dave Walker of The Cartoon Church has launched a new website called We Blog Cartoons.

With different usage conditions to The Cartoon Church, this is likely to be a treasure trove for those days when you can't think of anything earth-shatteringly-insightful to share with the world via blog.

Or as Dave himself sums up what it is to blog:

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Muppet Personality Test

Oh ok I give in...

You Are Dr. Bunsen Honeydew

You take the title "mad scientist" to the extreme -with very scary things coming out of your lab.
And you've invented some pretty cool things, from a banana sharpener to a robot politician.
But while you're busy turning gold into cottage cheese, you need to watch out for poor little Beaker!
"Oh, that's very naughty, Beaker! Now you eat these paper clips this minute."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Eat your way to virtue

An easy weekend catching up on sleep, paperwork and newspapers etc.

From the New Civil Engineer (see I don’t just read the job pages), some excellent news. If giving an hour of your wages to WaterAid seemed to much of a commitment, then this option may appeal more.

A Chartered Civil Engineer has won the Ben and Jerry’s competition to come up with a new British flavour.

Inspired by the music festival (mud and all), the new Glastonberry flavour (vanilla ice cream, with fudge brownie and raspberry swirl) will be on sale soon and 40p from every 500ml tub will be donated to WaterAid.

Come on folks, between us we can surely consume our way to providing clean water and sanitation to a mid-sized village in rural Nepal!

Pledge your commitment below (multiples of 500ml ;-) ):

Friday, March 24, 2006

Pennine Way Pub Trip

Ah the plaintive cry of the foolhardy friends who are walking the Pennine Way (weekend at a time):

"The B&B we’re staying at is miles from the pub, and we’ve got loads of wet kit to carry… Do you fancy meeting us for an evening in the pub and then taking some of our kit home to Manchester so we don’t have to carry it tomorrow?"

After rush hour it’s only about half an hour to their location on the far side of Hadfield (aka Royston Vasey), so it’s no hardship at all.

A fine pub was found as well – return visits are planned.

Such was the gratitude for not having to carry the excess kit tomorrow, they insist on paying for my meal, which is very kind and quite unnecessary.

That said, let it be known that this transport and carriage service doesn’t extend to the entire coastline of Britain...

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Well a decision has been made.

Despite being keen to leave, it seems that problems on the side of my potential new employer combined with some impressive fatted calf killing by my current lot has swung the vote. I’m staying.

Better the devil you know?

And who needs a proper pension anyway eh?

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Back at book group tonight to discuss Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

This is the second time I’d read the novel and I’m impressed again by the beauty and strength of the writing and the lightness of satirical touch coupled with the firm control Marquez has over the structure and the occasional flirts with magical realism.

Incredibly for a book where the ending is known from the very title let alone the opening chapter, the pace of the book and the sense of tension builds and builds before reaching it’s climax on the closing pages. This is no small feat for a book where the key details are indeed ‘foretold’ - it opens with the aftermath of the murder and is punctuated throughout by the phrase that the perpetrators were “waiting to kill him”.

The point of greatest debate however, is that the author doesn’t reveal ‘the truth’ behind a key aspect of the story – whether the victim of the murder is guilty of the crime against honour that has led his assailants to seal his fate.

The opinion on this is divided.

Whilst all are agreed that it is a very deliberate and definite choice by Marquez, the argument is formed as to whether it is a good choice.

Personally I feel that it is. It doesn’t allow the reader to look back over the story with the light of guilt or innocence colouring one’s thoughts; you are left, like the villagers in the tale, with complete uncertainty. The actions, and more to the point the inaction, of the assembled cast are a central focus for Marquez. The social mores, the responsibility of the individual and the corporate, the question of honour, the fickleness of fate, the fragility of life all these things stand alone from the ‘truth’ of the dead man’s guilt.

And then of course there is the question of truth itself. Only one party (excluding the corpse) could truly know the truth behind the allegation made. However, the chronicler, researching the death twenty years later, fails to get any more information out of this party than was achieved by the magistrate at the time. Critically though, even if that party had recanted, would we consider that the absolute truth?

This book is not about a mystery solved, but about society and human behaviour and how we act on the information we know and the information we don’t; it could even be said to be examining the very nature of truth itself.

And this is where the other side of the argument demurs.

The responsibility of the artist they feel is to resolve, to speak a simple truth, to wrap everything up by the close. Aristotle’s Poetics is quoted – the need for catharsis, the resolution of the emotions roused.

And so the debate follows into questions of ‘absolute truth’, whether to reflect the common experience of un-knowing is a truth in itself, rational versus rationals, enlightenment and post-modernism.

A passionate debate about truth, the responsibilities of the artist, resolution within art, Picasso, Cezanne, films like The Usual Suspects and more continues over several hours and numerous rounds of drinks.

Which, in turn provides our ‘side’ with what we consider to be the trump card. Had Marquez presented us with a neat ending, a tidy answer, we wouldn’t have just had this excellent debate...and that in itself is the that leaves you thinking, wondering, questioning. Art can provide you with a simple answer, but it can also leave you with a set of new questions.

Norman Kember Freed

Doing an on-line lunchtime catch-up, I'd just finished reading John Davies' blog about Norman dressed as a tree at Greenbelt, when I heard the news.

Such good news.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A quiet drink

A quiet night out with Tim at the Red Lion turns into a mini melodrama, when it all kicks off in this usually oh-so-respectable drinking establishment.

The root cause it appears is the disappearance of a mobile phone that a woman forgot to take with her when she and her companion left the pub. Returning half an hour later, she finds (rather unsurprisingly) that the phone is nowhere to be seen.

One thing leads to another and suddenly the young lads in the corner are prime suspects.

The deciding factor of guilt in her eyes apparently is that when she accused them, they suggested she fuck off and when she responded to that by saying she'd ring the police, they replied "well fucking phone them then".

Now I have no idea if they nicked the phone or not, Tim and I saw nothing, but equally we could well have missed it even if they did, but it strikes me that hanging around after you'd nicked a phone isn't the most obvious choice of action.

Plus if they are innocent...well frankly if someone accused me of a crime I didn't commit just (as appeared to be the case) because I was a certain age and had a certain look, well I think I'd respond in a similar manner to the way they did.

Which is not to say that whoever nicked her phone isn't a total toerag, but continuing a scene about it for over an hour seems a little pointless.

Much better to spend one's time at the local police station with one's face pressed up against the window...

World Getting Smaller

My recent spate of renewed blog-angst was not helped today, by a random on-line search by myself and colleagues I and J, for a spoof website that J created about seven years ago.

It was hosted by a guy we used to work with back then, but none of us have seen for years now.

Well his webpages are still there, but the info we were looking for is gone.

And then we spotted he had a blog...

So we clicked and skimmed and I started spotting things I didn’t expect.

I hardly knew the guy so maybe it’s understandable that I wasn’t aware he was interested in Inclusive Church and I guess the world and their husband link to Maggi Dawn, so ok that’s interesting but not too freaky, but then I spot he’s also quoting and referring to Kathryn at Good in Parts.


The world just got worryingly small.


Anyway, my name’s Susi and I’m a hairdresser in Southend, nothing to see here, move along now...

World Water Day

Today is World Water Day.

Water Aid are a fantastic charity and they're suggesting we all consider giving an hour of our earnings to help provide clean water and sanitation to some of the most deprived areas in the world.

You can do it all on-line.

So why not take a minute, to give an hour, to change a life?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Jerry Manchester

According to local radio news this morning, the opening night of Jerry Springer the Opera on its Manchester leg of the tour, was an interesting affair.

There were a very small number (accounts seem to vary between sources from 1 to 5) of the fundies that have taken this show up as a cause celebre, but they were it seems out numbered by the group assembled in counter protest.

This larger group carried placards such as “Stop being so silly!” and “Have a nice night!” and had chants that included “We hope that you enjoy the show!”.

How very wonderfully British. I trust they all enjoyed a nice cup of tea afterwards.

Monday, March 20, 2006


S is stressed. Big time, work stressed.

I’m worried. And frustrated that there is little practically that I can do.

Hopefully little things like escaping from it all for a curry together help a little bit.

I get home and IM rings.

One friend about to take a few days off work with stress, the other about to start back at work after time off for stress.

Both working in professions that purport to be ‘caring’, but seem unable to extend that concept to staff management and support. Not good.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Weekend with the folks and back north

A lovely quiet weekend with the folks.

Nothing much to blog as we did...well nothing much really.

Just spent time ‘being’ in each other’s company.

Oh and on the plane home, I sat across the aisle from New Order's Hooky; who very pleasingly wore his sunglasses despite it being nine pm.

Which is what you want from your rock and roll heros really, isn't it?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Think the Unconscionable...

Well the training day was very productive.

Not least because despite the various murmurings in corners from what appeared to be the majority of the attendees, none of us decked the supercilious, patronising, aggravating training consultant.

I feel that was a small but important moral triumph.

David did seem to engage in a game of management speak conkers with her on a couple of occasions, but it was kept reasonably amicable and was highly entertaining for the rest of us.

Despite all this however, important stuff was discussed and there was even the odd outbreak of honest feelings and concerns.

Better out than in.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

"We're cruising at an altitude of...the big hand is on the 5000..."

For the second time this week I’m on the way down to London.

This time for a Managing Volunteers training day planned for the Greenbelt offices tomorrow.

A combination of exorbitant Friday morning fares and lack of workable Thursday night train options, mean that against my usual eco-conscience, this time I’m taking the plane and staying over at Mum and Dad’s.

It should be a hassle free quick journey.

Unfortunately the flight is delayed.

Even more alarmingly, as we start to taxi to the runway a good hour behind schedule, the pilot announces that they’ve got the delay (which has been building all day) down to 30 minutes.

Do I feel comfortable being flown by someone who can’t read the dial on a clock, let alone all those other fancy dials that I’m fairly sure are important in some way or other.

Would I like a complimentary vodka? Export strength? Marvellous. I may as well die happy…

Private Journal?

Maybe Laura can empathise with Prince Charles right now. It seems like a no-brainer really – is having your private diary published without your consent a breach of privacy? Damn right.

Thing is, as this story develops it appears that this isn’t quite the ‘private diary’ we had once supposed. The BBC reports that "The prince is said to regularly write journals...with around 100 copies being circulated to friends, relatives and contacts".

My first response was: “what kind of bizarre freakish behaviour is that?”

My (rather worrying) second thought was to observe the rather worrying similarities with blogging.

Oh heck, cue returned neurosis about “why do I blog? Is it too weird for words?”

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Well Xfm Manchester launched today, with the opening tune (as voted for by punters on-line) of I Am The Resurrection by the Stone Roses.


With Shaun Ryder dazed and confused in the studio and a Bezathon planned for later in Albert Square, they’re clearly setting out their stall as not just an alternative music station, but an inherently Mancunion one.

About bloody time and all!

So what with DAB loveliness allowing me to fall asleep and wake to Six Music and Xfm Manchester taking over in the car (strong signal all the way to Warrington!), my radio listening pleasure has increased exponentially in the last fortnight.

In fact my dial rarely returns to Radio 1 these days…except on the odd occasion when I happen to be on the road at 5.15pm, and therefore able to catch the next enthralling episode of Laura’s Diary.

The eponymous journal keeper is a member of the Scott Mills programme team; her sister Mary recently found Laura’s old teenage diaries stashed away at their parent’s house. Obviously, as any good sister would, Mary is now reading the entries out on national radio. Pure comedy.

Having your old journal entries exposed to the public, what a frightening thought.

Hmmm…time to delete the blog archive maybe?


I can only apologise it’s taken so long, but here, following co-traveller demands, are some photos from the wonderful Irreverent Girls on Tour weekend.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

London and Back

Another Greenbelt Management Group meeting and another schlep down to London and back in half a day.

It still feels slightly surreal to leave the office early afternoon, catch the wonderful tilting train down to London (just over 2hrs – fab!), emerge out of an Underground station, go a meeting, head back down into the subterranean transport world, back to Euston, back on the last (and considerable slower – 3hrs!) train and stagger in my front door at 1.30am.

Turning up for work bright and early the next morning, people look at you funny: “you’ve been to London since our meeting at 2pm yesterday?”.

Still meetings like yesterday’s make the madness of this strange commute worth while. Some of the tension and stress that is going on in various areas starts to get chipped away at through conversations and catch-ups. There’s still a lot that concerns me, but this feels like a good start in getting some of it resolved. Plus it’s a great time of year in the cycle of things; plans are really starting to come together, but the mad manic rushing panic hasn’t quite set in yet.

The line-up is looking incredible already – Oli and Sarah have done wonders. The site plan is really taking shape, with new stages and spaces and decisions to be made about whether to do this that or the other. New associates, new set-ups, strengthened relationships, fantastic plans – so many people doing so many amazing things.

I feel really good about this year’s festival – I really think it’s shaping up to be a doozy of a weekend. There’s so much I want to tell you...but of course then the cliché would kick in, and I’d have to kill you. Instead all I can recommend is that you keep an eye on the webpages and subscribe to the newsfeeds. Good, good stuff!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Beetham Tower

A building with the highest residential living space in the UK is currently being constructed in Manchester and I note its progress on my daily commute.

I can’t help thinking it’s out of proportion with the existing space, especially as it’s not even close to the other tallish buildings in the city.

Still the slender form and glass architecture is eye-catching and I’m sure a major selling point of the upper level apartments will be the stunning views afforded.

Then again I can’t help but wonder if the planners fully took into account the infamous Manchester climate. It’s not the first time that the upper half has been lost in cloud.

I suppose living amongst the clouds could be an experience in itself.

Just a rather damp, limited visibility one.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Pasta and Syriana

After a night from hell I eventually start to feel a considerably better by about 9am and manage some painkillers that start to see off the residual headache. By afternoon I feel delicate, but recovered.

I’m scheduled to meet up with P&S tonight, but vague ideas I had about going to the supermarket and cooking for them are now a non-starter.

They suggest food and a film, but whilst I feel ok for the film, I comment that the first thing my stomach needs to deal with isn’t curry!

Angels that they are, they bring food to mine, colonise the kitchen and rustle a rather fine pasta dish. What excellent friends.

Food consumed we head to Showcase (shock horror tickets have gone up to £3.75!) and join about eight other people in watching Syriana. I have no idea how the Showcase manages to stay open now that the proliferation of multiplexes has stolen so much of its business, but I’m very glad they do.

The film is complex, with a multitude of story lines that only come together right at the end. Keeping up with them in the face of this withheld information is a bit of a challenge (especially in my fragile state), but it’s well worth the effort. An intelligent film, with some flaws (stereotyping of various characterisations for example), but well constructed and played out. Just leaves you feeling rather depressed about the state of the world and the west’s complicity in it all. Not to mention very aware about the responsibility you bear as a consumer of that black gold.

"Oh no it isn't!"

Not a typical Saturday night out, but after a day of DIY (expanding foam madness!), I head over to Sale to catch the middle of my ‘favourite three nieces’ perform in a Pantomime.

And rather well she did to – wielding her pirate’s cutlass with true menace.

Sadly I have to rush off at the end after a major migraine has taken grip and I only just make it home before the retching begins and I spend the next 5 hours in immeasurable pain – head exploding with searing pain and extreme nausea that denies any attempt to ‘rest’ and isn’t even relieved by the violent retching that takes over every 20 minutes or so. My medication regime is pretty well honed and usually attacks of this severity are pretty rare, but this is the second in as many weeks that has gone to this level. It simply would not respond to any of the various oral wafers and dissolve on the gum options at my disposal and I spend the night in utter torment in the "I can’t cope with this maybe it would be easier to end it all" state of despair.

The question is, are these two attacks a blip or should I be more worried. Maybe it is just coincidence and it’s down to various coincidental trigger factors.

Various options spring to mind.

Maybe we should have a vote.

What do you think are the most likely causes of my night of distress:
Stress caused by the inability of potential future employer to confirm their final offer
The weather
Stress about Greenbelt
Disrupted sleep after the b**tard parcel delivery at some ungodly hour this morning
Stress about various personal relationships
Fumes from the expanding foam
Just one of those things
Stress caused by the disturbing experience of attempting to having a serious chat with a certain ‘lighting technician’ who looked like below*:
Free polls from

*I’d like to point out I usually have a policy of not publishing photos of friends etc on the internet, but in this case that seems a spurious consideration as it looks nothing like the party in question...or any other god-fearing creature on this planet. Geez talking to Michael Jackson would have been less perturbing

Saturday, March 11, 2006


My love affair with my new DAB radio continues unabated. It has the ability to record onto an SD memory card, which you can also link to your computer direct via a USB port.

My only slight complaint is that Pure don’t throw in even a basic SD card so that you can try out this functionlity.

So in for a penny in for (quite a few) pounds, I had a quick shifty on the internet for a cheap card yesterday and ordered a real bargain via on of my favourite on-line computer products outlets, Kind of appropriate in the circumstances.

Usually I get internet orders delivered to work, but that’s not as easy at this huge open-prison-esque complex as it was at my old small office. Still a card the size of a postage stamp should fit through the letterbox fine at home thinks I.

Well I have to give Dabs points for efficiency, at 8am this morning, less than 24 hours after placing the order Parcelforce ring on the doorbell.

Lucky it was a Saturday and I was in as I can’t help thinking the packaging was a little out of proportion to the contents...

Thursday, March 09, 2006


As part of my current regime of 'better mental health through improved radio listening' and anxious to put any thoughts of "oooh wouldn’t DAB in the car be good?" on the financial backburner, I’m hopeful about the soon to launch Xfm Manchester.

Whilst the playlist will almost certainly be more of my liking and the presenters surely less inane, puerile, stupid and downright irritating than Chris Moyles and co, I’m not looking forward to the adverts. Still hopefully it will be a small price to pay.

Of course for the last week or so, I’ve had the best of all worlds, as Xfm undertake their test transmissions – continual playlist and next to zero chat.

So on one hand I’m looking forward to the launch of what I hope will prove to be an excellent listening alternative. On the other hand I kind of wish they’d extend their testing for a month or two...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Back in Time with Technology

Strangely, although Sally and Caroline are (sadly) now miles away, as I browsed the shelves of John Lewis’ Audio Visual department on Monday night, I could still seem to hear them whisper "Go on! Get it!".

Hence despite the lack of funds in the account, I reached for the plastic and purchase not only:

But also:

A DAB Micro system to replace my virtually defunct bedroom hifi (you have to bribe it to make it play CDs) has been on my wish list for a long while. I held out against the temptation to buy a portable DAB radio on the basis of waiting for when DAB hi-fi’s became more common place. Besides being woken up by the irritating, ignorant and frequently misogynistic sounds of Chris Moyles was hardly making me a better person, so really this purchase is for the good of society – Phil Jupitas and Six Music will make me a kinder soul.

The PVR has been on my wish list for a good while too. The justification for giving in and flexing the plastic is two-fold, my Freeview tuner is incredibly temperamental (you have to press a button on the remote about 10 time to get it to register and the tuner keeps freezing) and my DVD recorder is refusing to record (or in some cases even read). Besides doesn't everyone need a twin digital tuner and 160Gb hard drive - I mean isn't it essential in the modern world to be able to record two different programmes and watch a third (or one recorded earlier)? Ok maybe you don't 'need' that, but it's pretty cool to be able to should the fancy take you.

A feature both items have in common, is the ability to pause and even rewind live broadcasts.

This is actually quite spooky. I can start watching the West Wing 10 minutes after it really started, skip the adverts and find myself caught up with real time by the end of the show. Similarly with the radio I can pause, answer the phone and then resume where I left off.

Real time listening/viewing seems a very outdated concept already.

Ok it’s not quite like time travel, but it’s pretty darn cool nonetheless.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The end of a perfect weekend

In retrospect booking a hotel situated on a map right next to a ski slope, should have rung some alarm bells with us (well I say us, ironically it was the one amongst us on wheels that did the deed!). The hotel is built on multiple terraced layers, and does have some failings in terms of accessibility (it tries really hard, countless stair chair-lifts for the inumerable sets of 5 steps here there and everywhere, but there's a few major gaps - like it taking about 2 hours and having to go outside to get to the bar and restaurant and then not being able to get to the servery), but the wonderful staff more than make up for it. Like offering to bring breakfast across to our rooms to save the expedition.

You can forgive an awful lot when they're so lovely like that.

We sit and chat and laugh and giggle and eventually manage to vacate our rooms and head for the retail park (well come on it's a girlie weekend away - we had to get some shopping in somewhere!).

The good news is that despite the best efforts of C and S I don't buy a DAB micro-system or a PVR (which I foolishly confessed to have been seriously considering for ages), but somehow I do end up with a toaster.

Which is good as my one seems to be broken (I won't comment as to who used it last...). Even better Caroline gets the matching kettle meaning we save a tidy sum by buying the two together. I'll think of her everytime I toast a slice!

And look, aren't they lovely! German engineering where you need it most ;-)

We all remark how helpful the Curry's shop staff are - loads of them and eager to assist. Friendly people seems Gloucester could almost be northern.

Credit cards still warm, we decide to have a very late lunch (it's 4pm, but then we did have a late breakfast), We follow the A40 to the M5 but don't find anywhere on the way. We decide to use the Thistle Cheltenham located just the other side of the M5.

Suddenly we're struggling to find someone to take our order, and then they've run out of wraps...and cheese...and...ah we're back in Cheltenham aren't we. Clearly good service stops at the M5 divide.

At 5pm we reluctantly say our goodbyes and head in off in different directions.

It's been a wonderful weekend. I'm blessed with the most amazing friends and i love them so much.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Irreverent Girls on Tour

For some reason we’re not exactly up bright and early this morning.

Well actually I rose at 7am and swam for an hour*, but the others hadn’t even stirred so I gave up and went back to bed. The other two then went for a very late breakfast without me...cows...

By the time the ever wonderful Kathryn joins us we’re just about ready to head out.

We just haven’t quite decided where. We have on the other hand eaten several packets of Space Dust (including the obligatory opening of mouths and showing off tongues covered in exploding candy).

A trip to Painswick eventually gets decided on and it’s absolutely charming. The sky is brightest blue and the glorious sunshine more than compensates for the crisp air (personal photos to follow - I've pinched this image from a google image search for now!).

Back lanes are mooched, pub lunches eaten, churchyards traversed and…well actually not much else, sitting in the pub enjoying each other’s company and catching up is just pure gold, much like the sunsetting on the valley as we continue our travels.

An accidental wrong turning has us stumbling upon the Edgemoor Inn. It's not exactly gourmet, but it's good enough pub grub for an evening meal. Besides company is everything and we're having a whale of a time, laughing like I haven't laughed in a long time**.

As we wind our weary way back to the hotel and wave Kathryn off home, the previous night's lack of sleep is clearly catching up with us. We talk for a while, but end up giving in at a decidedly respectable time.

* Again it's possible there might be a slight untruth contained in the early parts of this post
** a little too much in one not to suggest to Sally whilst she's attempting to match up the spindle on a wheelcahir wheel to the frame, that she appears to be having trouble getting it in...not unless you really want a Snake Pass moment. A couple arriving in the car park at this point, must have wondered what the hell was going on as four hysterically giggling women attempt to pull themselves together and enter the inn. Decorum girls, decorum!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Meeting Up*

Caroline, Sally and I have all confessed to each other over the past few days about how we are indecently excited about our planned girlie weekend away. The added bonus of having found somewhere that means Kathryn can join us for part of the time makes the prospect even better.

All of us have been having stressful times and the thought of spending time with each other and just giggling and shopping and eating chocolate etc looks set to be the perfect tonic.

Sadly after meeting up early evening at our bargain break hotel and sharing a decidedly average meal, we discover we have nothing to say to each other.

As we retire to the bar we each cradle our drink of choice whilst hunting around our minds for topics of conversation.

The solemnity and awkward silences continue and by 9.30pm we retreat to our rooms in despair.

Accordingly any reports of badly behaved women gossiping and laughing raucously in the bar area until nearly five am in the morning have nothing to do with us. Ok?

And if your ears were burning, it was probably just a result of the bitter winds we’ve been experiencing of late.

* some of this post may not be entirely true...

Thursday, March 02, 2006


If you’ve ever spent anytime around church/god-bothering type affairs, can I recommend you check out the if you haven’t already?

Dave has a real knack of getting to the nub of things…and raising a smile on the journey. His cartoons about the Windsor Report had a lightness of touch that avoided offence whilst still deconstructing some of the madness of it all.

A while back he posted a cartoon that just sums up how I feel about traditional church and why I 'do church' in a different way these days. Whilst licences are the way Dave earns a crust (so don’t break his copyright else I’ll break your legs!) he has very graciously allowed me to post that cartoon here.

In future when someone asks me why I don’t go to church anymore, I will just show them this:

So check out the Cartoon Church and if you’re the sort that edits a parish magazine (I know it’s unlikely – I mean this isn’t the obviously blog for such folk, but you never know), get ye over there, buy a licence, put some quality amongst the dreary grey and keep a poor cartoonist off the bread line.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Good Night and Good Luck

Fresh from ash-ing two parishes, S escapes with me to the cinema.

Good Night and Good Luck, is based on real life events from America’s McCarthy Era and it’s clear that the filmmakers are presenting it as a cautionary tale for our time. Above all though it’s an excellent film – I recommend it heartily

I recommend rather less heartily sitting in front of an oldish couple who feel no compunction to whisper as they provide a running commentary to the entire film.

Most galling is when she states regarding one character: "oh he’s the one that [major plot revelation]".

As a result when that piece of the story unfolds, the dramatic moment is somewhat lost on anyone unhappy enough to be within hearing distance of the anti-social bint (that’s about 5 rows btw such was her failure to even remotely lower her voice).

Her remark at that point of "see I told you", has me choking on the pop-corn and proves the last straw. I turn round and snarl "Yes! Thank You!" in a rather pointed way. Bad L1z – mustn’t snap...

Not that it makes a jot of difference. Grrrrrr...