Thursday, April 30, 2009

Duke Special

First support tonight was provided by a Swedish lass performing under the moniker Foreign Slippers.

K and I leave the others at the back and push forward for the better view/atmosphere.

Maybe it was because of the increased proximity, or maybe it was a predisposition to like anyone who walks on stage with a hat of twigs and birds, but whilst those at the back seemed distinctly unmoved, K and I were rather impressed.

I purchased her EP in the foyer after the gig and it's not at all bad; sure she needs a bit more confidence/polish as a live performer, but I'd happily see her again.

The second support is less than impressive (mad percusionist as counterpoint to the Duke's haunting melodies - good, as a counterpoint to prog rock guitarist - hmmmm...). But it provides a chance to chat and drink before the main event.

Duke Special commands the stage and weaves his magic, catching you up into his unique world; as ever an utter pleasure and an examplar of what is good about live gigs in small venues.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lead Astray

This afternoon a phone call from my neighbour brings the news that she's interrupted three young lads (she reckons all of about 12 year's old) relieving my porch roof of its remaining lead.

Just when I thought it had quietened down and it was worth getting the already missing strip replaced...


Still my neighbour should be honoured for her ongoing vigilance and intervention. Verily a septuagenarian one-woman crime-fighting machine.


A conversation from this evening, between myself and Stuart:

S: "It's amazing what people put on Facebook isn't it?"

L: "I don't know I don't use Facebook."

S: "Apparently Quentin* can't decide whether to have a glass of water or go to the loo."

L: "And there we have the reason I don't do Facebook"

And yes the irony of such intellectual snobbery on a blog full of waffle is not lost on me.

Hey I find the writing cathartic, what's your excuse for being here?

* name changed to protect the inane (and I'm fairly sure neither Stuart nor myself are likely to really know anyone called Quentin...)

Monday, April 27, 2009


Today Google is commemorating someone's birthday in a very appropriate manner.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Black Books

Geek Night redux: this time joined by G and L to watch selected highlight episodes from the three series of Black Books.

And a fine evening it was too (though I think I put too much apricot and honey in the tagine and it was a bit over-sweet).

Somehow it seemed wrong to watch this pinnacle of British sit-com genius without at least a little bit of red wine. Risking a migraine I succumbed - man I miss that stuff.

Maybe I've grown-out of the problem...hmmm rather high risk odds and definitely only one to try out when you have nothing planned the next day.

Happily and happily...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Red Chilli

K Snr from the Dog Collars and Rabbit Corpses household has been working far too hard on her uni work. Final year pressures have brought dissertation deadlines, assignments and final exam preparations. Together with the usual busy nature of diaries, it's been far too long since the three of us caught up.

A birthday day meal seems like an excellent excuse.

Chinese transpires to be the intersection of our various culinary desires and recalling the recommendation from the excellent Cal, we decide to try out Red Chilli.

And pretty good it was too. The Beijing dumplings were divine and a chicken dish comprising sun dried chillis was delicious (and fiery hot if you bit on a chunk of chilli).

Definitely up for a return visit to discover more of the menu. Say the word Cal ;-)

Back to mine and it's time to try the Chinese liqueur recently procured. Hmmm maybe this is a cheaper, substandard brand, or maybe I was just more sauced last time?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I’m not quite sure whether it was wise to say yes, but this afternoon finds me in London for a meeting to try and pull ideas together for the Greenbelt communion.

I think M and I are closing in on something like a plan, if anything the challenge is to whittle down the bounty of ideas to something solid and coherent, but the very prospect of trying to come up with something that at least some of the potential 20,000 festival goers will appreciate is rather daunting.

Of course tradition dictates that whatever we go with, at least 50% of people complain vehemently. Whilst my head tells me to brace myself for that inevitability, I know deep down that my skin can be far too thin most of the time and I will doubtless take it personally.

And then there’s the challenge of appealing to a very broad church of tastes and a wide range of ages. Can you avoid the all-age horrors whilst still keeping the kids involved or at the very least occupied? Will the budget stretch to a few thousand iPhones?

Straight from that meeting and into the next, a good Table session, with some excellent new voices around the table.

Bless the lovely B, she knew it was my birthday (hey what a way to spend it, meetings that I don’t even get paid for!) and had arranged for a tray of amazing cup cakes (sparkly bits the lot) with candles a top. A nice balance between being embarrassed and feeling loved.

The train home is delayed and it’s all the more aggravating as I can start to feel a migraine attack starting to take hold. Not good.


In an out of character moment of spontaneity, my father suddenly suggests a morning excursion to a section of the North Downs Way, which is potentially mobility scooter friendly.

My mother loves bluebells and the woods are resplendent in their spring finery. The views out towards the south downs are magnificent against blue skies and bright sunshine.

It's a wonderful and pleasantly argument free and companionable way to spend my birthday morning. The thought of "I ought to be in the office right now" making the day off ever sweeter.

We're not the only ones out to enjoy the sunshine, adjacent to one gateway onto the open downsland, an adder lies coiled, soaking up the rays.

It's not clear who is most alarmed, my mother or the reptile.

To be fair, I think mum had the advantage with the mass of metal and pneumatic tyres at her disposal.

Monday, April 20, 2009


To balance out taking Dad walking last year it’s time for a mother and daughter long weekend.

Mum felt that a west end show was more than her energy levels could handle, so we’ve settled for going through wardrobes, painting nails, decanting perfume, shopping, being ladies that lunch, looking at clothes catalogues, giggling, chatting and generally just loving being in each other’s company.

My brother, sister-in-law and the kids met us at a country pub on Saturday and we toasted my birthday in style (comments of “well the kids quite like a Harvester” were purposefully ignored)..

As the food took a while to appear the kids were starting to get restless and the downside of the lack of Harvester style kiddie entertainment was becoming apparent.

A veteran of adult curries accompanied by the youngest Radlet, I had the solution in my pocket, “R? J? Do you want to play with my iPhone?”.

Problem solved.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I don’t like early mornings. My brain just doesn’t function well first thing.

So if you absolutely insist on having meetings at remote locations at 8am, could you like actually have the meeting? Only it’s bad enough to have forced my self out of bed at an unearthly hour, but to discover it was done unnecessarily can really take the shine off my whole day.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rabbit Run

John Updike is one of those authors that you feel you should probably have read something by. So a few months ago, before he died as it turned out, we put him on our book group reading list.

I didn’t totally dislike Rabbit Run, but ploughing through it was at times slightly more of a chore than a pleasure.

It took a while for me to feel engaged and even by the end I found the eponymous Rabbit’s lack of motivation or conscious decision making process difficult to really relate with.

I also felt there was more to be made of the hangover of waking up to find that your days of high school basketball stardom have given way to a second-rate life.

I can see that Updike seemingly captures a particular slice of north American life at a certain point of the twentieth century and part of me is intrigued as to how the character’s life develops in the various sequels. Maybe one day...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2009 Year of the Weasel?

Why do some people find it so hard to be honest and straight-down-the-line?

Of late I’ve seemed to have instance after instance of people deliberately saying one thing and doing another and boy does deception and devious manipulation push my buttons.

I just don’t know what enables someone to do that. I think maybe I was born without that capacity. In my world, working as part of a team means that if you don’t like a decision you state your case, but if you don’t persuade others around to your way of thinking you suck it up and get on with making the team decision work.

Likewise if you have bad news, well sometimes being a manager means you have to step-up and do the deed. To hide behind half-truths and outright deception is weasel like and sooner or later the weasel, like my respect for you, goes pop.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wafer thin

I woke up at 5am this morning with the first symptoms of a migraine.

On auto-pilot I reach for the migraine meds, swallow one tablet and place a special super-wafer in my mouth to dissolve.

I reset the alarm to allow the maximum possible sleep that will still see me make my 8.30am meeting and turn over and try to relax.

Happily sleep comes, until 90 minutes later, when I wake suddenly, in that half-world between sleep and awake, between logical and insensible, I have the urge to attempt to spit out a dissolved substance from my mouth, convinced I’ve poisoned myself. As realisation encroaches and its fingers wrap themselves around my woozy brain, I start to laugh.

The part of the story which is missing, and the reason for my laughter despite the early hour and my complete muppethood, is the dream that was underway as my alarm sounded:

Ok, so I was putting on a new top and for some reason it came with one of those little sachets of silica gel. Even more bizarrely, this sachet was for some reason stitched into the side seam with the washing label.

As I pulled it free, the sachet opened and without thinking I emptied the contents into my mouth (look it’s a dream, when do things ever make sense in a dream?).

As quickly as I’d done that, I realised it was a stupid thing to have done and tried to spit it out, but struggled as it appeared to have dissolved almost instantly, leaving only the merest residue and taste in my mouth...

On the plus side, the meds had done their job , and the migraine attack had been halted in its tracks.

On the downside, can’t even blame mad migraine brainstorm activity for crazy woman behaviour.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I had pondered about maybe going to church this morning (well it is Easter and it has been a while since I darkened the step of an ecclesiastical enterprise…and when I say a while I mean years); but whilst Christ may have risen this glorious morning, 1iz didn’t quite manage it.

Which is rather pathetic isn’t it?

On the compensatory side I won’t be eating any chocolate eggs either.

Also, on the urging of others, I have started reading The Shack, but I’m not really sure which bit of it is supposed to be revelatory let alone revolutionary.

So far gone I can't even spot what things some might suppose heretical.

Ho hum.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I like a drink as much as the next person (possibly a little more if it's rose flavoured liquer), but whilst I can get "quite pissed", I never seem to cross that boundary into utterly drunk.

I can only recall two occasions when alcohol has been the likely cause of being sick, only one occasion when I had a hangover (hideous experience - I mean really why would you drink if that happened everytime?), never committed grand misdemeanours whilst under the influence (snogging unsuitable blokes doesn't count right?) and I don't think I've ever lost time or been unable to remember parts of the night before (though admittedly by definition one can never be totally sure...let's just say I've never been surprised by the recollections of friends, been unaccountably sacked after a work do or been surprised by unexpected photos on the internet, that kind of thing...).

I partly suspect this is because the control freak in my recoils in horror at the very prospect, but whatever the reason, the only thing I find beyond "quite pissed" is sleep.

There are advantages (continued employment) and disadvantages (never can truly drink to forget) to this.

For my drinking compadres there are also advantages (someone who can function sufficiently to hail a cab) and disadvantages (total recall of what *you* did as well).

So should you ever go drinking with me (say to a little pub in Didsbury) and buy me doubles that were in fact triples (maybe vodka) whilst simultaneously downing copious amounts of booze yourself (maybe beer), best to remember that whilst I may get quite pissed, you may get even worse and come the next time me meet only one of us may remember what was disclosed.

And then you'll be left trying to decide is 1iz:

a) open minded and forgiving, but still evil enough to keep alluding to the latest shameful disclosure from your mispent life,
b) just plain evil and happy to allude to some disclosure that may never have actually happened.

In this pantomime we call life, you may never know...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Driving headaches

I used to not mind driving long distances. I can recall making plans with friends for holidays to far flung parts of the UK and quite happily offering to drive.

These days it's a chore and just an extra reason to prefer public transport wherever feasible.

Of course some likes and dislikes remain unaltered by the passing years; I have never been what one might call a morning person and I strongly suspect I never will be. Need someone to stay up all night and I'm your gal, but expect me to rise bright eyed and bushy tailed even after copious amounts of sleep - not a chance.

At the end of a particularly stressful week I'm therefore not exactly reveling at the prospect of a 5am start to get down to today's Greenbelt Festival Operations meeting.

Waking at 4am the intense stabbing pains behind my right eye are the unmistakable first signs of a migraine. I take my meds, offer up a plea and try and sleep it off. Happily it seems to work and as H and R arrive at my place I'm feeling ok to drive.

That said, the relief I feel when H offers to drive is immense. I feel bad, she drove last week, so it was my turn, but every fibre of my body is grateful to be let off the hook.

Sometimes the knights that come to our rescue in times of distress take unexpected form; friends in small Citreons is but one such disguise.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

And Then There Were None

Tonight at Book Group we discussed And Then There Were None. I think it's the first Agatha Christie that I've ever read and I have to say I enjoyed it more than I expected to.

I'm not entirely sure that it merits being the seventh most popular book of all time, but lets put it this way, if I was stuck in a hotel and out of reading material I might now look a little more favourably on the Agatha Christie offerings that enivatably seem to form part of ever "feel free to borrow" collection.