Saturday, 26 February 2011

moving house

dear reader,

i have upped sticks and moved over to WordPress.

if you wish to read my random ramblings in future, i'm sure your GP can prescribe something...

if, however, that fails to work, you're very welcome over at dazedeye.

hope to see you there soon.




Monday, 21 February 2011

R.I.P. Alan

Alan the chicken is no more.  we will miss her sweet, trilling voice (not all chickens squawk), and her gentle, friendly and curious manner.  i am dreadfully sorry i could not find the courage to break her neck last night, because it meant she suffered more.

amazingly, she was still with us--just--this morning.  which was the most distressing thing.  i sobbed all the way to work, because i knew there was a lovely, sweet-natured girl lying slowly dying in our front room, and i couldn't be there to do what little i could to ease her passing. 

to all those who offered sympathy and love and hugs in my sadness, my heartfelt thanks.

i'm going to miss you, Alan.  you were a lovely chicken.



Sunday, 20 February 2011

helpless in the face of a dying chicken

one of our chickens, Alan, is dying.

why i feel the need to blog aout this, i don't know, but there you go. *shrug*  i won't be posting this on Twitter, and am kinda hoping my followers ignore it, but i still feel the need to record it somewhere.  i feel...  i don't actually know how i feel.  there's no grief, there, but there is a sadness.  Alan was always such a lovely girl, and she was always my favourite.  not that there was much interaction  -  i don't relate too deeply with non-mammals, and the girls get a little cross if you handle them too much, anyway.  but i'm fond of her, y'know?  she has a sweet voice, and she's always been the most placid of the two.  you'd be amazed at the difference in presonality you can get between chickens.  and now she's slipping away.  she's in a cardboard box next to the kitchen radiator...

(here she started flapping madly, so i rushed in to see what was the matter, but i think it's that she can feel herself going and is fighting against it.  Eric, the chicken we got at the same time as Alan, did much the same thing just before she died of--we think--a prolase)

she seemed fine yesterday - eating and moving around as normal with Ruby, our other chicken.  but today, when hubby went out to give them their food, she was just sort of lying there on the patio.  she couldn't stand up nor eat and drink.  i suspect that she may have had a stroke, or something like it, as she sort of lolls to one side, as does her comb and her tail.  but i don't really know.  and we couldn't get an appointment with the vet's poultry expert till tomorrow at 7pm.  i suspect it will be too late by then.  i doubt she'll survive until bedtime, quite honestly. 

earlier on, she was sitting in the box droopily, and i tried to get some sustenence into her (a thin, liquidised porridge of oats, corn and honey).  she perked up a little after this - looked a little more alert.  for a time.  but now, she's pretty much unresponsive, and drooling a little, her eyes are closed, and she can't hold her head up.  breathing's shallow, and there's nothing i can do.  i could neck her, i suppose, but though i know the technique in theory (firm hold of neck and legs, pull sharply), i'm somewhat wary of putting it into practice.  she's not in any obvious distress (apart from the occasional mad flappings, that is), and i wouldn't want to get it wrong - for both our sakes.  i really hope she slips away quietly, and i hope she does so soon.

i'm sorry, Alan.


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

five bottles of shampoo

this. poem. is. awesome.

thanks for sharing this, @abbivandenberg

Monday, 14 February 2011

Fred and Ginger have *nothing* to worry about (except maybe getting knocked over...)

well, it's Valentines Day.

not being Catholic, nor a pawns of the greetings card industry, we don't "do" VD.  what we did do, however, was go to a Valentines dance.  yep, that's right - last night was our first proper dance, six weeks or so after beginning to learn how to do it properly.  well...  depending on the occasion, of course.  i've been shaking my booty on dancefloors for many a year but, as you know, we've been learning the more formal version.  specificaly the quickstep and the waltz, so far.  foxtrot lessons start tomorrow.  :)

N.B. hubby's a little apprehensive about this, but i'm looking forward to it.  just the name of it makes me smile, imagining woodland creatures galloping up and down kicking leaf litter about...

aaanyway, our ballroom class instructors run a lesson and dance on sunday nights at the Rolls Royce Pavillion in Derby, and we decided to amble on along, to see what it was like.  last night was themed along the lines of VD, of course, but i got the impression that it wasn't much different from what normally goes on. 

 this is the sight that greeted us as we walked in.  a little early, rather than to everyone canoodling under the tables, as someone on Twitter suggested (i'm looking at you, @twiteryeanot).  as we sat there looking around, hubby and i had the same thought.  my mum and dad and, indeed, my much-missed nana and grandad, would perhaps have had the same view, once upon a time.  about half of my immediate family, being almost solely from Derby, were employed by Rolls Royce at one time or another.  mum and dad met there, when mum was 15 and dad was 19. 

as it turns out, they wouldn't have had quite this view, since the building we were in had been built long after they had both left for pastures new (or South Africa as it's more usually known - they emigrated for three years not long after they were married, but that's another story)

nontheless, the sense of family and history was quite tangible, and sort of comforthing.

the evening started with a slight departure from the norm.  usually, there'll be, as i mentioned, a regular lesson for an hour, and then the dancefloor is opened up for dancing and practicing.  in honour of VD, however, last night's lesson was in how to smooch decorously.  it was interesting, and entertaining.  i had no idea there was so much involved in dancing on the spot... *grin*

 hubby had a haircut especially for the occasion.  it's shorter than i've ever seen it, but it suits him rather well, i think.  and it will be more of a shaggy mop by the time we go to france.  that's his plan, anyway...

following the lesson, we retired to the sidelines to watch as those braver / more experienced souls present began to strut their stuff.  and i disappeared to the ladies' to ensure i was still gorgeous....

...yep...  ;)

so we sat around for a while, marvelling at the skill of some of those present.  seriously - i wish i'd taken video of one particular couple (i didn't as it seemed impolite, somehow).  they were astonishing!  every single dance, no matter what it was, they kicked. its. ass.  and my gods, were they having a good time doing it!  
eventually, however, i persuaded hubby that since we were here, it might be nice to have a dance.  i was raring to go, but he was a little reluctant.  understandable, really.  having done it for most of my life, i'm somewhat better at making a fool of myself.
it was a waltz.
it was a disaster.
we were both a little flustered, and either one or the other would add an extra step, or forget one (i freely admit it was mostly my fault, BTW).  not long after i tripped over the stage (!), the instructor (who was playing DJ for the night), jumped in, and danced a figure or two with me, reminding me to stamp my feet to keep time.
it didn't work too well, i have to say.  fortunately, the song ended not long after, and we beat a hasty retreat.

i made another trip to the loo, and got lost in the warren of corridors and little rooms in the building.  i happened upon a teenyweeny little dancefloor in a deserted side room, and quickly went and grabbed hubby for a private practice to restore our confidence.

it worked.

the second dance we stood up for, a quickstep, went much, much better.  we still cocked it up, of course, but this time, we didn't really mind, and there was a fair bit of laughter.  this evening, hubby remarked that it's much easier to dance in public when it's more structured, since everyone who's ever learned to dance like this is aware that one has to learn, and one will make mistakes (or "variations", as our instructor calls them...)  when one's dancing freestyle, as in a club, etc, it's much easier to look a tit, because everyone knows that everything comes from you and you alone - there is no outside structure imposed - and any mistakes or idiocies are entirely one's own.

it was lovely.

i was at a dance, and my man was whisking me around the dance floor, and  i was happy and in love.  :)

the rest of the evening passed in relaxed good humour, and i am so very, very proud of both of us.

i can't wait to go again!  :)


Friday, 11 February 2011

dammit, playwrights are stalking me!

anyone who follows me on Twitter may have occasionally seen me mention BBC Radio 2.  we love R2.  it's eclectic and entertaining, and the music it plays (especially Mon - Wed 8 - 10 PM on the Radcliffe and Maconie programme) is frequently surprising and rather wonderful..  well...  most of the time, anyway.  we won't talk about its Sunday programes.  or Steve Wright.  why that man is allowed to continue pedling his sycophantic, irritating crap i don't know.

but i digress.

on friday nights, they have an arts programme, presented by the charming Claudia Winkelman.  it's interesting and easy on the ear.  but the past two fridays, something weird has being going on.  they have a slot on the programme during which she reviews a current play with, generally, one of the actors involved.  last week, the plot sounded somewhat familiar...

young man goes to big old house, catalogues books, odd things and mysteries happen.

just have a quick look to the right, and tell me if anything sounds familiar, would you...?

this week, the play had an unfamiliar plot, but was called "The Breath Of Life".  the same name as my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel (still awaiting some TLC)   the plot was nothing to do with pueblo clowns in the jungle, but still....

twice in a row...?  really...?

seriously - playwrights are stalking me.


in other news:

does anyone else get a dreadful urge to pee when they're blogging?  no?

just me, then...?

'scuse me...


Sunday, 6 February 2011

your personal shopper...?

well...  january was an interesting blogging experience.  i'm glad i did the challenge, even if i cocked it up, cheated outrageously, and only managed 25 posts out of the 30 that should have been posted.  but i think i did ok....

there have been various brainfarts over the last few days that i thought, "oooh...  i really ought to blog about that..."  and then didn't.  nothing earth-shattering.  i mean, i didn't invent time-travel and then blow my nose on the formula, or anything, but just...yano...stuff.  and then, of course, i forgot it all.  well, apart from how much Debenhams sucks.  for me, at least.  i mean...  ok, here's the thing:

debenhams, as any Britisher will tell you, is a big shop with branches pretty much fucking everywhere.  it's a ubiquitous department store.  christmas 2009, i was shopping in there for a pair of slippers for my dear ol' dad (who, incidentally, is seventy this year.  EEEK! O_O ).  that, for a start, should tell you something about the sort of place it is.  but i digress.  they have lots of brand names in there, and designers designing exclusive ranges for them.  mostly clothes/soft furnishings.  and usually with a price to match.  aaaanyway.  i was on the phone to my mum whilst i was looking for these slippers - quizzing her about size, colour and style - when i came across a set of Jasper Conran jammies.  now, i adore jammies.  i don't wear 'em in bed - i just like to loll around the house in them and fluffy socks and my beloved purple dressing gown.  particularly after i've just had a shower.  these jammies were--inevitably--purple...

...incidentally, please note the clever use of the em-dash there - just for Ciara....

...and i spent a minute or so squeeing over them to my mum.  i mean - i really, really liked them.  i could not, however, justify spending twenty five quid on a pair of jammies when i already have several.  so the JCpj's went unmolested. 
fast forward past the christmas shopping to the day itself.  what should i get in my christmas box from my aunty?  yep - you guessed it.  happy Squeaky. :) 
sadly, however, they didn't fit.  lovely aunty said not to worry, as she and mum were heading out on a sale spree just after christmas, and she would exchagne them for a bigger size.  but they didn't have any.  so they exchanged them for a gift card instead.

i tried to spend it.  i really, really did.  i looked for footwear, outerwear, dresses, costume jewellery, nightwear, nail polish, kitchen utensils, a hot water bottle.  they had nothing for me.  nuh-thing.

after a year of trying, i finally managed to spend it on friday.  on a set of bathroom scales and a small (purple) leatherbound notebook.  gosh - the excitement....

FFS!  is it me?  am i soooo hard to please?

or is it that debenhams caters to .....  well, look - i'm starting to get a picture of a typical debenham's shopper, and i'm sorry if you love the place, and the following description offends you, but this is just the image that pops into my head with increasing frequency following my frustrating experience.  she's in her late fifties/early sixties.  she wears uncomfortable-looking gold coloured shoes, and too much make-up.  her hair sports a bad (yet expensive) dye job, and she wears a lot of navy.  she carries a hideous, oversized handbag that features gold chains threaded with black ribbon, or diamante, or gold quilted fabric, or a combination of all of the above.  and she has a fairly commodious wallet.  i'm sure she's a very nice lady, but she really, really isn't me.  i have to admit to a feeling of relief that i won't have to go in there again any time soon.

ahem.  apologies.  that shop has been annoying me for quite some time, now....  :-/

in other news...  went climbing today.  took stepson number two (the one that hasn't made me a grandma), and it was fun.  he's never been before.  he seemed to really enjoy it.  he's expressed a wish to go back, anyway.  have to say - he seemed like a natural when we sent him on to the bouldering wall.  the only real trouble he had was with his stamina.  he's already pretty strong, and he's always liked climbing stuff.  and he has that typical Hibberd stubborn streak that makes him not want to give up on stuff when most would think "OK - maybe i can't" and cut their losses.  though, to be fair, both father and son admitted defeat on more than one ocasion, today, which was almost heartening...  ;o)

*giggle*  and he's just nodded off in front of the football.  poor love - he's had a tiring day...

writing news...writing news...  welll...  not much.  i'm going to do some editing on cirque du seul tomorrow.  and charley's still alive and...  er...  not exactly kicking, but he wants me to get some more of his story written, at least.  still not entirely sure what, but i'll see about that one.  CdeC, first.  oddly enough, that seems to be getting a little easier, now the two MCs have got it on, and the story's gaining a little momentum, too.  so looking forward to that.  think i'm gonna tidy it up, then print it out to give it a proper read.  i so can't read stuff properly on a pooter screen.  especially if i've written it.  the one remove of the printed page simultaneously gives me a little distance, and allows me to get further into the story.  habit of a lifetime's reading of the printed word, i guess.

i still want an e-reader, though.