30 April 2006

Jack Be Nimble!

May Day tomorrow, and if you live in the UK then most will relate the day to the pagan festival of Beltaine, with Maypoles and spring fairs, Morris dancers and beer, although the inexorable link between the latter two seems to be practical rather than mystical.

The Green Man, Jack of the Green, represented new life and fertility in all its forms, although its probably the spiritual connotation of new life that caused Jack to be adopted as a decoration in so many Christian Cathedrals, much in the same way as Tao Christians depict the Christ rising out of a lotus blossom, as a way of honouring the best values which could cause a local to adhere to the 'new' religion.

Traditionally May Day was the day to extinguish all the fires in the house, that had burned solidly through the winter or even the whole year. A new fire would be started overnight or early morning, in the centre of the village, set up by nine men using wood from the nine sacred trees. Often the fires were lit on hilltops, allowing the witness to view fires appearing all across the countryside and to know that all was well with neighbouring villages and relatives. In itself this was a celebration, that the weather was good enough to start a fire in open, flat land with no protection. Then at the end of the celebrations each family would take a torch from that fire to start new home hearths. If you were going to sweep out soot and ash and scrub the firestone, then early on May Day was the one time to do it - spring cleaning.

A bit of a party followed the lighting of the central village fire, young men who managed to leap over the fire, or between two fires, guaranteed good things for their household or success for any journeys they had planned, but by the late 18th century this rather dangerous tradition existed really only as leaping candles - the first recorded mention of Jack be Nimble, the childrens nursery rhyme which probably refers to the Green Man (or the villager called upon to play him, opposite the May Queen) was written in 1796. See this site for other fire jumping games and traditions that grew out of the event.

It's a tenuous link, but there is no reason to suppose that Morris dancing did not stem from the May Day fire lighting and the leaping about that went on. It would explain the carrying of sticks, or handkerchiefs as representations of small flames, also why in some areas Morris dancers traditionally perform with soot on their faces. The term 'morris' in Morris dancing most likely stems from the latin word 'mores', meaning 'a custom', so the origins were lost to history even in Shakespeare's time.

The Maypole was shared by several local villages, who would round up all the young maidens just hitting puberty and send them to dance. Each would dance holding a coloured ribbon which represented their village - the other end of the ribbon would be attached to the top of the maypole and decorated with a flower in honour of the Goddess Flora, Queen of the flowers. The eventual Queen of the May was a combination of two, Lady Flora and Lady May.

There isn't much around to say whether villages also banded together for the Chain Dance.

As with any celebration it seems the origins, to celebrate Flora and Jack and to hope for signs of a good, fertile year, were gradually taken over by the well meaning party organisers, although some traditions survived longer than others. It became a proper knees-up and actually ran over two days - Flora's festival rightly being both the last day of April and the first day of May.

Originally everybody who was up for it slept out of doors on May Eve, in the greenwood, and pretty obviously, with privacy then not being what it is today plus the connotations of fertility, many deliberately went out to the woods for a night of nooky. Politer (ie later, more Victorian) histories describe only the young adults running off to the woods after midnight to come back at dawn bedecked with all the flowers and/or at least evergreen branches, that they could find.

Teenagers out without the grown-ups with lots of moonlight, soft moss and large tree trunks about - yeah right. That simply makes it harder to work out whether hanky panky was officially on the menu or just an unspoken advantage.

Then there were the parades where a maid and adult male were chosen to be honoured as Jack and Flora - Flora being all about beauty and freshness, The Green Man being more stern and immutable. The first beauty queen and he-man competitions, then. All in all a day or two to celebrate spring, with very strong links not just to the origins of spring cleaning, but spring fever also.

Such a shame, then, that the most common blessing uttered these days is simply "Happy Bank Holiday"; I might have to talk Husband into having a bonfire tonight.

Tags: , , , ,

27 April 2006


I got a phonecall on Tuesday. To all intents and purposes it was good news, even excellent news, even a happy ending to years of sweat and stress and nail biting and polite negotiations beyond any previous understanding of my ability to remain courteous under fire.

Yeah, right, been there before. After the initial reaction (which was to whoop and go teary eyed as if I'd won the lottery or someone had declared world peace and enlightenment for all), I remembered that news of a ship on the horizon is not, actually, a ship on the horizon; nor even does the appearance of such a vessel mean much unless it then also proceeds to head towards you. Even then there is the issue of whether it truly is on a rescue mission or just blythely and ignorantly set on a course which will run you over.

Cynical? Moi? On the contrary, I have simply learned from bitter experience that it doesn't do to spend too much energy rejoicing on trust, when you are treading water in the middle of the Atlantic (and/or ocean of your choice).

This two day silence, rather these two days filled with high energy procrastination such as playing blogthings quizzes and blitzing someone else's house - these have been my equivalent of the Victorian dead faint followed by smelling salts and fresh air and a day on the chaise longue in the conservatory sipping beef tea, to recuperate. Honestly, there's never an asphyxiatingly restrictive corset around when you could use the excuse.

Did you know corsets were the cause of the earliest Western plastic surgery? Women actually used to have their bottom two ribs removed to allow the waistline to be so severely cinched. Yes I know, I said Western, I acknowledge footbinding came earlier, and head binding earlier than that. Yes, yes I know, I'm doing it again.

So, the deal (given that I'll only believe it when I see it), is this:

The policy makers at County got into a huddle, presumably decided I had them bang to rights for telling me that the school I wanted for son was 'full' and using that as the reason for refusing him a place. They may prefer to deny my assumption or refuse to comment, but for their own reasons they decided to approach the 'full' school yet again and ask them to accept Son as one over the numbers.

The new Headteacher (Yes! Miracle! Between the last time of asking and this one, a new Head stepped up!) - ahem - the new Head looked at the advices and this time said "Well, OK, we could squeeze him in, but he needs a full time INA (Individual Needs Assistant)."

The policy makers, allegedly, agreed to this and increased his statement banding and the amount of funding that goes with it, to allow for a full-time, all-year member of staff to be employed. Just like that, by the sounds of it as a snap decision during the same telephone call. After I've been begging and pleading for crumbs for over two years. %&(^£"&!!

So the school said.......................... yes.

And the final statement should be coming out to me this week, naming the school I wanted all along and giving son the provision I asked for all along.* Wow.

*At which point, however, I start nitpicking to make sure that the INA is listed as a provision in the statement, his/her hours and qualifications specified also, that the other provisions are specific and not the woolly drafts we had before, etc etc etc. Oh, and then I have to raise the testy subject of transport, ie stick my hand out for yet more money. See this is the tension of fighting on behalf of a kid with differences. Even when you so desperately want to throw your hat in the hair and shout Hallelujah, you just know it's not over. It may never be over. Hey ho.

I understand I am supposed to rejoice on the basis that I got the County to comply with more of the law than they usually do - that seems wrong somehow and makes 'victory' (however partial) a little hollow.

About yesterday

Friend is looking for a house exchange. Her first visitor comes to view today, but as she has a flat/apartment and we're all by the sea there was more than just her home to straighten up - white communal exterior paintwork streaked black from the rains, little things that make the difference between the first impression of a sunny corner and one of a grubby dump.
Then there was boxing stuff and carting it downstairs to the shed - not because it was mucky but because the rooms had acquired a lot of clutter that made it difficult to see the true size of the place.
I don't think any of us realise what kleptomaniacs and nest builders we are until we think of showing a stranger the depths of the airing cupboard.
Lots of leaning precariously out on windowsills to clean window glass on the outside.
The break in the middle was a mad dash back to my home town by train, to get the kids from school. Furniture was moved to remove the gaps and, again, show up the space, and all in all we took the place from homely to near utilitarian, just so that todays visitor and the ones after that can wander through in double quick time and get a fair idea of what they have to work with, if a swap goes ahead. This also meant a deal of working on bended knee to dust and clean areas of floor (graa, she has bare polished floorboards) and skirting boards that had 'settled' behind bookcases for a year or so.
Knackering, but fun, and all done now.

26 April 2006

I'd better at least be losing weight, for this.....

Today I did three train trips (would have been four, but someone treated me to a taxi this evening) and also eleven hours of housework for someone who needed to have an impressively shiny house for an important visit tomorrow instead of looking like she has family/pets/responsibilities and not enough hours in the day.
Mucho tear-arsing around.
It's now ten minutes til tomorrow, so more news in six or seven hours (or eight if the kids play up before school).

25 April 2006

Oh Well, That'll Save ££ On Nail Polish....

Your Toes Should Be Black

A total rulebreaker (and heartbreaker), you're always a little punk rock.

Your flirting style: Wacky and a bit shocking

Your ideal guy: An accomplished artist, musician, or writer

Stay away from: Preppy guys looking for a quick bad girl fling

On a lighter note:

Apparently it's really good that I don't earn as much as / more than my husband, because if I did then I would be a lesbian and guilty of filling the world with lesbians and I would have a bleeding butt and more sons of *'spirit filled' preachers would have no straight girls willing to go to the prom with them.


* In this context 'spirit filled' means given to a great wailin-an-a-gnashin-of-the-teeth (brutha). Oh, and thumping things. An oxymoron, then, with optional oxy.

Suzi's Quiz

Stolen from Wulfweard

1. Would you like to genuinely know what other people think?
Only if I ask. I can't stand being given the pc or watered down version if I ask. Otherwise, no way, because I think I'd spend all my time wanting to debate things. I suspect I'd also say things like "How can you be so blind"/"such a disappointment"/"such a prat" far too often.

2. Would you want to live for ever?
Yes! Not necessarily in this form on this planet, but deffo.

3. What would you do if it could be absolutely guaranteed that you would get away with it?
Decide I am a superstar to be pampered, given expensive clothes and run around in Limousines AND allowed to say exactly what I think and get cheered for it. That would be fun for a while. Shit one night in a hotel would be nice, or a holiday, its been what, fifteen years?

4. Do you ever want to smash precious things?
Yes. When life has turned to total shit, when there's nothing keeping you there AT ALL and you are racked with torment and a sense of mourning, then to look up and see a stupid trinket that manages to twang your heartstrings and make you want to rush to hug it as a sliver of what life used to be/ought to be, that's annoying and hurtful, like rubbing salt in the deepest wound. It might as well be smashed and shit if everything else in your life is crap too, instead of sitting there like some unbearable taunt.

5. You hear a noise in the night. What would be the most thrilling thing that could have caused it?
Someone filling the living room with cash in notes.

6. What is the most exciting thing you have done with your fingernails?

8. If you could wish that one book had never been written. What would it be?
Nope. How about every single fairy story and black and white movie and musical that thrilled my little heart when I was a kid and gave me this dumb, false idea that men are waiting to be heroes? Men are waiting to take their socks off and fart, not look after you. I wish I'd sucked that one up a lot earlier. Don't be too hard on me - women look for a way to keep climbing, learning, enthusing, we want 'happy ever after'; men work for a way to stop and veg out and let someone else handle everything.

9. Would you rather have a short intense life or a long contented one?
Short intense. 'Content' as in couch potato is a living hell, I'd sooner change other peoples lives; leave a talking point, rather than leaving a butt shaped dip in the sofa.

10. If you are a man have you ever imagined what it would be like to have a vagina? If you are a woman have you ever imagined what it would be like to have a penis?
You bet. I must have been some kind of evil male in a past life, or else I am screwed up, because its usually a revenge story - I am strong in the fantasy, like some warlord, and the script goes along the lines of "Now - you - (grunt) - know - what - degradation - feels - like." Victim male must look completely lost and gormless and pathetic, with a look on his face like they give to inflatable dolls. Like I said, revenge.
I'm glad I'm female, if I was male I might be in prison.

24 April 2006

Sometimes My Brain Goes Tiddly-Pom

If you were displaying diamonds, what setting would you use? Navy blue? Black? Maybe velvet to stop any light reflecting from anything but the jewels themselves?

Funny thing is, the same treatment just wouldn't work for grit or plastic, in fact, the darker the background the more the dirt of life and the false gems fade from view. They become less obvious, less irritating, less likely to fool us.

So, good morning to all you wonderful huggable, thoughtful and caring and tired souls out there. I know life is shitty. I know the backdrop looks pretty dark and grim. I also know this has its compensations, because, from where I stand, you're sparkling; some are even giving off rainbows and it's breathtaking.

I hope you can see it too. Have a nice day!

23 April 2006

Going Cheap

So she was larger than she wanted to be, and winter hadn't been that kind to her skin. There were bigger things to worry about, as usual, and after a few years of juggling emotions and finances and generally holding the family together, Frannie knew that this 'stage' may last as long as a decade. Through wastage her wardrobe had streamlined itself to one good pair of flat shoes, a couple of pairs of jeans and half a dozen t-shirts.

She was proud of her burgeoning bust even though it came at the cost of an equally buxom waistline and made her old collection of blouses completely obsolete. Her favourites still hung like a secret treasure trove at the far end of her wardrobe, but the only ones that would do up at the front did so by bunching up under the arms.

Anyway, they would have looked daft under the utilitarian parker jacket she had claimed from her husband's wardrobe after finding that her own coats had suffered the same fate. He didn't need it - his work had changed focus at the same time as hers had dried up and the huge, snuggly beige mostrosity was no compliment to his work suits.

Dowdy, that was our Fran, though for a while she wore even this with an air of pride, reasoning that Princess Anne had been seen in worse on her off duty days; that looking tatty (dressed to cross fields) meant you were either working class or upper crust, and that bearing and attitude were all that gave the game away. After a year or so, however, she settled into this new image of reduced circumstances, forgot (or couldn't be bothered) to put on her best smile or straighten her back before leaving the door. Catching her refelction in a shop window one day, she realised how well she fitted the mold of Council house grandmother, looking drawn, harassed, bedraggled and sort of saggy. After that she stopped looking in windows.

Sure the designer brigade turned their backs, but that was a blessing; she never had and never would have anything in common with the couffed and painted women who parked their 4x4s at funny angles outside the school gates; the 'PTA perfumery' who made every effort to saunter yet who clung to each other like glue just in case the facade wore thin. In fact, as she now had the chance to stand alone and watch, Fran began to feel particularly benign towards them, even though she knew they wouldn't thank her for such reasoning.

'What must it be like', she mused, 'to have nowhere to go but back home, or to a friend's house for coffee, yet be so driven to have perfect hair and makeup before 9 am, as if the world would come to an end or the ground swallow them up, if they failed.' Alright, this was probably more to do with how the rest of the pack would shred them, just as they verbally dissected others (I mean, what else did thay have to talk about?); more to do with horror at what their own kind would do than any personal faith. It was a strange dichotomy, to Frannie, how these women could be so sensitive and human yet at the same time so snappy and derogatory and cruel. Little things for little minds, she concluded.

Frannie's mind, at least, was in constant demand, although none of the requirements put before it were ever of her own choosing. They just seemed to turn up, like forest fires, although she generally attacked them with energy and determination. Thats probably why it took her such a time to realise how long and how severely she had neglected everything else, from herself to her house to her children. Everything but the dramas that came her way so regularly just went on to the back burner and the whole of her life fell to a grey blanket of 'bother it' and 'it'll do'.

Her soul became accustomed to living hand-to-mouth, to waiting in the wings, to standing at the back of the queue. She didn't believe in reading travel brochures if you couldn't afford to go, so neither did she believe in having dreams until there was soil to plant them in. Desire is a hurtful master when theres no practical way of fulfilling it, so she made the best of what she had, and was reasonably content, she thought.

One day, however, Frannie woke up to the startlingly analytical revelation that she was depressed. One wet Wednesday something little made her smile, and that was all it took.

It was a handbag. She bought it on the spur of the moment 'because it was so beautiful'. It was a second, also a shop soiled item, marked down twice or three times because of the time it had spent in a basket of seconds outside the store. As a brand new item, it certainly needed a wipe, in fact it called to her as if it needed rescuing. She bought it and walked away with conflicting sensations; one that she had been a daredevil and possessed something rare and beautiful, the other that it had been an impetuous buy and a total waste of money as something too joyful and perky to look anything other than completely silly, next to her man's jacket and tatty jeans.

Light pistachio green with white flecks and a tan trim, it sang of dainty little sling backs, of floaty skirts and summer cardigans and cafe lunches. She tried to reduce her adoration by reasoning that pistachio had been 'in' several years ago; that it probably looked tacky and outdated to those with any fashion sense at all. That it was only so cheap becaise nobody else in the world had wanted it.

It didn't work, and worse, as the little bag sat beside her day after day, stuffed with purse and tissues and keys and all the things that made up her life, it became more than hers, it began to represent her.

That's when she realised that she no more fitted into her dull grey life than the bag did. Frannie and the handbag were both sore thumbs, both square pegs in a round hole, both starving for want of pretty things and pretty places.

What to salvage first? There's no cure for ageing. If she sorted the waistline then how to clothe a smaller frame? The skin and the hair however, there was no masking them without a lot of money. In any case these were superficial things; she was embedded in her daily life like a pebble in concrete.

Long story short? Well, it's a bit late for that, but here's my best shot.

Her children were just children; the younger ones were as settled with the status quo as she had once been, couldn't see the wood for the trees, and nor should they, she reasoned, they were just kids. The older ones were forging their own way, vociferously denegrating her and her choices, they were going to be bigger, do things better; another normal and proper state of affairs. Her husband? Well he did notice. He even mentioned to the older children and one or tow of their friends that he was worried; shame he never mentioned it to Frannie. In the end, he reasoned that it was 'just the menopause' - in other words simply a confusing, depressing few months that would all go away again once her hormones returned 'to normal'. In short then, as far as she could tell, the real Frannie didn't actually exist, for any of them.

In the end, however, her husband was right in one way, the depressing months went away alright, because so did Frannie.

So did the bag.

22 April 2006

"Pumping Irony"

The American online publication Newsweek's top story blames Iran for the increase in US fuel prices. The writer, Christopher Dickey says that the increase in revenue supplies Iran with an extra $2million a day. He says this directly after mentioning the Iranian 'peaceful' nuclear research.

Fine, so do as you are led to; put two and two together and come up with five and start imagining the worst. Or not.


For those Americans that are truly worried about the price of oil, I have these few little pointers for consideration:

  1. The price of petrol (gas) in your country remains way below the price anywhere else in Europe; you've always had it easy and have always been encouraged to take this finite resource completely for granted. Iran didn't do that to you, someone else did.
  2. Because of the incredibly low prices, your car manufacturers have responded to and encouraged the desire for bigger, broader, gas-guzzling vehicles, camper vans, trucks and so-called muscle cars with an average mpg thats something like half that of a European vehicle.
You think fuel prices are feeding secretly malevolent nuclear experiments? You simply think gas costs too much?

The answer is easy - throw away your american vehicle and get something like a Volkswagen, you could find that you travel just as far, yet only have to fill the tank half as often.

Don't believe that'll help? This US Gov site says different. I'm not having a go - whatever size vehicles we use in the UK we still pay way over the odds for our fuel, compared to you. I just thought I'd point that out.

Ooh Ducky

Flanagan and Allen gay? Really? They never struck me that way, but then in my childish innocence people were just people.

When I was a kid I inherited a stereogram - a sideboard, basically, with a hinged lid, just for playing records. It had a selector to switch speed between 33s and 78s and amongst the thick (bakelite?) discs that I inherited with it was a large 78 single by these two, a recording of 'When You Come To The End Of Your Lollipop'.

I played it over and over until I knew all the words:

When you come to the end of a lollipop,
To the end, to the end, of a lollipop,
When you come to the end of a lollipop,
Plop goes your heart!

Gilly Oh golly, Oh I love my lolly,
Down to the very last lick,
But when you are through with it, what can you do with it,
All you have left is the stick.

When you come to the end of a lollipop,
To the end, to the end, of a lollipop,
When you come to the end of a lollipop,
Plop goes your heart!

Gilly Oh golly, Oh I love my lolly,
Come winter and summer and spring.
But when you are done it's about as much fun,
As a yoyo without any string.

When you come to the end of a lollipop,
To the end, to the end, of a lollipop,
When you come to the end of a lollipop,
Plop goes your heart!

Plop goes your heart!

The thing is, and I admit it makes sense, according to The Little Theatre Guild discussion forum, its a gay anthem of it's time.

Aww, I think that's sweet. It must be bloody hard to hide in plain sight, to find love and a life partner like finding a needle in a haystack under sniper fire. Good for them.

What's In A Name?

Your Hillbilly Name Is...

Lil' Daisy Rambler

Hmm. Rambler as in walking, or yakking on?

I like these things because the code is so easy to understand even for a technically challenged girl like me, for example:

Your Sussex* Name Is...

Euphegenia Izzard

21 April 2006

Worrying Trend

I must admit I've worked out why my blog is such a mish-mash. Sometimes I get political; sometimes its about the family, sometimes its all memes and sometimes armchair philosophy or humour. Sometimes (rarely these days) its stories or even poetry. Well, I say poetry with my tongue in my cheek - things that rhyme, in any case.

I know I could split it out and increase my readership by doing the sensible mono-subject magaziney thing, but then that would tie me to thinking a certain way on a regular basis and so I have steadfastly avoided it.

I am already terribly bad at remembering LunaNina's word association list which comes out every Sunday. Guilt of guilts, I am listed on her blog as a participant and feel beholden to honour the contract, but I admit that there are weeks when I look at the words but just don't feel inspired to find answers.

I guess the bottom line (as Zilla indicated in her comment one post down) is that blogging is my bar of chocolate. Its my little sneaky luxury, my procrastination project, so as soon as I tie any sort of format to it its going to switch from the naughty treats list in my brain to the one marked 'Must Do'.

That, I think, would be the death of it altogether; at least until I establish a replacement sin. Nonetheless it would become work.

Its rather mindboggling then, that, impetuous fool that I am, I have just signed on the dotted line to join TLC's Thursday 13 game. It just looks like so much fun that I couldn't resist.

This week's Thursday 13 game is a list of "13 Things That I Probably Won't Get Around to Doing Today, and Five That I Will". Maybe it will be the same remit every week, but hey.

As a double whammy then, both to catch up and to express a little necessary defiance which will make me feel perverse enough to enjoy this, I am doing my list now, so today is my Thursday 13 Friday. Ha.

Thirteen Things I Probably Won't Get Around To Doing Today, and Five That I Will
1. laundry
2. ironing
3. vacuuming
4. a haircut (can't remember the last time I had one!)
5. a wardrobe clear out
6. writing a book
7. saving the world
8. patiently explaining to my 23 year old daughter that her memory of her childhood is completely warped and up the wall
9. patiently explaining to my 23 year old daughter that her martyr's memoirs are fictitious, insulting and hurtful and draw a huge gap between us
10. patiently explaining to my 23 year old daughter that I damn well know she's on way more whacky backy than the 'just the one to get to sleep' that she professes and I am tired of her thinking everyone in the world has eyes and a brain except her mother
11. calling my mum (I usually do, but she has visitors this week)
12. putting on my yoga video and puffing along
13. being remotely Stepford-style domesticated
Things I Probably Will Do Today
1. Cleaning the cat box, the rat cage, the two guinea pig cages
2. Blogsurfing
3. Same as TLC: dishes, dishes, always dishes. Seems to be the sole reason for my existence around here
4. smoking ultra thin rollies with ultra thin menthol filters
5. reading a really good book

This is a double cheat because I've already walked to town, bought plant pot trays, savaged two huge rosemary bushes with the secateurs (they love it, sadly, every time you butcher them they just make more branches and come up, well, bushier), stood guard over a man changing the electricity meter, fed the cats/rats/g-pigs/kids, exchanged long and very carefully worded emails with the Caseworker who is dealing with Son's education, and sent Son to school in trainers because he misplaced his school shoes, but completely forgot to send him with a letter of excuse for breaking uniform code.

Oh yes, and his chosen topic of conversation on the way to school, courtesy of having seen the news, was whether China etc were really going to join forces with America (because they had a war once, you know, says he) or whether they want to take over. Whether the takeover will be in business dominance or whether it will involve transplanting politics and communism, and whether, as the UK didn't go to war with them and we had a deal about Hong Kong, and we're sort of friemds with everybody, might we be able to stay neutral and friendly and not get communised/blown up/put out of jobs. At 8.15 on a Friday morning.

And my 23 year old daughter says that time has whizzed past her and she's (gasp) 23 (!!) and nothing has changed since she was sixteen, that she is feeling terribly depressed and misused and panicked, because, God forbid, if she doesn't pull her finger out soon she will end up just like me and that would be disgusting and nauseating and a fate worse than death. But don't tell her I said so, because she changes her mind more often than she goes to the loo and will accuse me of getting half the story and adding my own ending and showing her up and generally being useless and a bit mongoloid. Again.

I love my life.

20 April 2006


Have you ever noticed that, on the days when you simply can't imagine what to write about, you eagerly turn to your blogroll for a bit of inspiration, only to find that everyone else is in exactly the same boat?

Fascinating experiment in group consciousness, this blogging malarky - the only question is, would we all be feeling uninspired anyway, or are we influencing each other? By that I guess I mean, what is the entity? Is it humanity as a whole or simply the chosen peer group? Do we affect each other and create a natural cycle and if so, to what extent?


18 April 2006


So, does someone who is 'equivocal' sound like a horse, or make just as much noise from both ends?

What I Got For Easter!

I'm back.

How was it for you?

Over the past ten days I have acquired:
  1. A skirt from George at Asda, a gift. My first new skirt in 20 years (honestly, I sat and worked it out; because I'm not big on skirts). Its too big.
  2. A pair of jeans. I've bought jeans more recently but otherwise double ditto (Asda, no receipt, too big).
  3. A truly lovely disc shape necklace, mother of pearl
  4. Two lots of antibiotics
  5. A headache, a tooth infection and a sore throat
  6. Acid
  7. A new understanding of my adult family and my expectations of them, aka the wool rather crudely ripped from my eyes. Warning: do not take three generations of females from the same bloodline and lock them together in a small terraced house for ten days; ever. There might be a book in this, provided I am prepared to be cut off. I am drafting right now, just on that premise.
  8. A new understanding of myself although this is one of those mists of recognition that is still seeping into my id rather than arriving as a solid package of information.
  9. Reading glasses - two pairs. They both suit me, adding an air of severity/intellectualism which was obviously missing from the public image hitherto. I may have to go and be a CEO or a corporate genius now, just to validate these little face ornaments.
So, quite a lot.


07 April 2006

Ta-Ta For Now (And Happy Easter!)

Off to my mum's at some unearthly hour tomorrow morning - will try and get online but can't guarantee.

So far, in the tradition of all family jaunts, its all gone horribly wrong - kids are overexcited and argumentative, Big Daughter who is travelling with us and eventually stopping the night has had to keep her plans flexible - so flexible that I am currently doing her laundry instead of my packing and have no idea if or when she will join us for dinner tonight, or if Husband and I will actually get to a) sit down or b) eat.

It doesn't help that I can't think for love nor money, unless that thinking involves something which could be categorised as pure, unashamed procrastination.

I may get online at mum's but can't guarantee, so just in case I'll wish you all a Happy Easter right now.

Thought for the day: Don't traipse round your house practically starkers but for a thick layer of Immac on your legs unless you have already fed the cat....

06 April 2006

Pardon - Bless Me

She-Weevil has gone and infected me with The Indie Virus.

Thanks, She-W.

The thing about The Indie Virus is that it was designed specifically for us and our 'lesser known blogs' and the idea is that you pass The Indie Virus to bloggers that you think deserve:
a round of applause/more recognition/a link/The Indie Virus.

Someone somewhere is counting the number of links and searching for the specific phrase 'The Indie Virus', so, obviously 'The Indie Virus' is the only phrase you can use as the anchor text for each link. It does mean, however, that eventually there will be a picture of which blogs/bloggers caught The Indie Virus the most frequently. Whether that speaks to their popularity or to their need for a serious course of multivitamins remains to be seen.

Just to really mix things up, pearsonified asks, if possible, that you link The Indie Virus to a specific post with a trackback and not to just the main blog address. Apparently it speaks louder, and no I don't know what that means and can only assume that The Indie Virus encourages some sort of verbal diaorrhea.


No, I am not a carrier, I got infected, remember?

Its worth noting that The Indie Virus is not something you can only catch once, rather, as it does the rounds, you can be infected and reinfected. The Indie Virus is, well, virulent, however you take the word.

There was one other suggestion, that you tag your post as The Indie Virus. Yup, done. Sorry to all those that I wanted to infect, but couldn't. I promise to sneeze in different directions if I catch it again.


Yes - No Meme

The Rules:
1. You can only say YES or NO!
2. You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone messages you and asks!

Taken a picture naked? : Yes
Made out with a member of the same sex? : No
Danced in front of your mirror? : Yes
Told a lie? : Yes
Gotten in a car with people you just met?: Yes
Been in a fist fight? : Yes
Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back? : Yes
Been arrested? : No
Left your house without telling your parents? : No
Ditched school to do something more fun? : No
Slept in a bed with a member of the same sex? : Yes
Seen someone die? : Yes
Kissed a picture? : Yes
Slept in until 3? : No
Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by? : Yes
Played dress up? : Yes
Fallen asleep at work/school? : No
Felt an earthquake? : Noo
Touched a snake? : Yes
Ran a red light? : No
Had detention? : yes
Been in a car accident? : Yes
Pole danced? : No
Been lost? : Yes
Sang karaoke? : No
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? : Yes
Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? : Yes
Caught a snowflake on your tongue? : Yes
Kissed in the rain? : Yes
Sang in the shower? : Yes
Got your tongue stuck to a pole? : No
Ever gone to school partially naked? : No
Sat on a roof top? : Yes
Played chicken? : No
Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? : No
Been told you're hot by a complete stranger? : Yes
Broken a bone? : No
Mooned/flashed someone? : No
Forgotten someone's name? : Yes
Slept naked? : Yes
Blacked out from drinking? : No
Played a prank on someone? : Yes
Felt like killing someone? : Yes
Made a parent cry? : No
Cried over someone? : Yes
Had sex more than 5 times in one day? : Yes
Had/Have a dog? : Yes
Been in a band? : No
Drank 25 sodas in a day? : No
Shot a gun? : Yes

Help yourself :-)

05 April 2006

Not a Well Bunny

Got an abscess or an ear infection or something.

This is day two of having subtle cotton-wool style tinitus in my left ear and a little pressure around/under the left eye and temple, like sinus trouble. Nothing serious - the muscles that side of my head just feel a little heavier, which is tiring. I promise I can use both arms and stick my tongue out straight, and Husband will attest to the functionality of my language centres - so nowt wrong with the noggin.

Not having too much fun getting my brain into gear, nonetheless, and all the best laid plans which seemed so obvious on Monday are now a foggy memory.

This is good news.

It might mean I'm going to be ill all the time I'm visiting my mum next week, it might even mean I pack and travel with odd socks or accidentally minus one kid, or something, but at least it also establishes that there's a physical reason for my recent and conflicting urges to:

a) spit fire at all and sundry
b) walk off into the sunset and live in a cave.

I'm glad I'm 'only sick', because now I can stop trusting my recently tumultuous instincts and, as with PMT, consign every murderous urge to the mental tray marked: Suspicious - do not assess until brain function is restored.

It's kind of like keeping an open mind - except really it's permission to keep a blank one.

Be well.

Rotten Revelations.

So far this morning I have:

rowed with my Husband.

Yesterday by this time all I had done was, well, erm, row with Husband.

Its a horribly easy thing to do.

We're both the same, on days when one of us doesn't have to get up at all, his/her body clock shuts down. Completely. Like him, when there is no routine, when there are no demands, nothing ticking away in the back of my head like a 'must do' time bomb; I find that I can neither get to sleep at night nor wake up in the morning. Trying to get to sleep is an absolute hell when you lay down at gone midnight and still have this feeling that you haven't actually done anything with the day, yet. Remorse is not the best tranquilizer.

Unlike his, my 'days off', the school holidays, do not involve any real peace or opportunity to go and cat nap in the middle of the day, they are not days of rest, so much as days of heightened interruption and need for greater flexibility and creativity. Every mum knows this.

The only 'must do' that remains totally embedded in my psyche is that I must hug him at the door to say goodbye, and be awake to do it. I set that rule, or my subconscious did, and I hang on to it like a 'get out of jail' card on judgement day.

He asked whether, through this holiday, he should wake me before he leaves. My instant gut reaction is a resounding 'Yes'. Its to do with feeding off the one remaining routine, as if being awake to have coffee with him, having time to watch the news with him, then seeing him off to work and closing the door with enough sense in my head to have a game plan somehow fends off the silence that pervades this place when he is gone and the kids are still asleep. It sets me up for the day and provides possibly the only regular sense of 'job done'. I need it, physically, to have a clue, because once he's out of the door I don't hold the kids or myself to any sort of a routine, on holiday. The next 'must do' on the holiday list, pretty much, is go back to bed at night. Perhaps that's why, if I miss the first, my mind doesn't really wake up and start formulating plans until I achieve the second - which is a bit self defeating, to say the least.

Once he's gone out to work for the day, I run out of every last thing in my life with the phrase 'have to' attached, so if I haven't woken before that task, sufficiently to create myself a new little game plan before he goes, then I am lost and angry and I spend all day fighting to get my head together.

I'm not an automaton, but I like one or two little routines, 'have-to's, 'want to's, ''must's, I like a gentle little mental tick list that proves I have any purpose or meaning or use at all. Something to measure time and achievement by, and somehow, to remind me that there's a point.

I guess really this all grows out of some fairly complicated coping mechanisms for being indoors pretty much all day every day, for the long periods of silence. If you're not mentally talking to yourself, if your day doesn't have a knitting pattern, if you don't have your internal method of measuring time and positive achievement all geared up and ticking over when it starts, then when the silence hits, boy does it knock you sideways.

So this is how we fight.

He doesn't have the heart or the impetus to use his normal morning tones with me, at least not at the start. When the alarm goes off and wakes him, I sleep straight through. He'll give me a very gentle cuddle and say something softly like 'morning sweetheart' before tiptoeing out to the living room. To be frank, I think that when there's no perceived need to wake me, he revels in having the house to himself, because if the kids wake up he even makes them go back to bed.

Poor sod, he goes to sleep before me of a night time and once he's out of the door it's all work and people and demands in his face. I should be so lucky, but I think we have a classic case of 'grass is greener'; that in asking him to let me hear another adult human voice, asking him to let me have a single, real, awake conversation with someone who isn't after anything, isn't a caseworker or an official or all that; me asking him to do that also asks him to give up the only chance for reflection and silence that he'll see for another 24 hours. I'm drowning in silence, and he can't get any.

So, his tone of voice only steps up a notch toward normal as the time comes for him to leave. He only really puts any effort into waking me up (or rather stops making sweet cooing attempts to let me sleep on) when there's about five minutes left before he has to go.

That's when he puts his business head on, starts speaking at his normal morning speed and volume, and starts managing to reach my consciousness. This also means that about the first words to both sink in and connect me to the idea of wanting/having to get up are generally, in his less than dulcet tones, something along the lines of "So are you bloody getting up, or what?"

This has a very strange effect. Yes it snaps me into reality, but in a way that makes reality seem very unattractive. The physical response that wins out is the overriding desire to 'have five minutes', to slip back into peace and then climb out again, minus the awful feeling of an impending row. The desire, I guess, is for time to steel myself to cope with both 'Husband in a strop' and 'Husband who woke me up in the last bloody five minutes again, the sod'.

Most times it doesn't work, or rather works too well. Most times I will hide under the covers so effectively that the next thing to jar my senses is either him looming over me and grumbling that he can't effing win and isn't going to effing do this any more; or its the sound of the front door slamming as he leaves for work in a temper.


Rather unfortunately, that does the trick.

Rather inconveniently, possibly owing to a previous marriage where it wasn't that safe to be prostrate and nearly naked if things were being slammed, banged or sworn at, that's just what it takes to get me out of bed on full alert, albeit on starey-eyed auto pilot. Hell, I don't even have to think about getting my legs over the edge, I'm out of there like a harrier jump jet, heart pounding.

Provided he's not already storming up off the road, we do the brief and predictable dance where he tells me I always do this, I make him late, he can't bloody win and what in God's name do I want, while I tell him he's a slimy rotten bastard and that he just doesn't get it. Somehow, when he looks so indignant, when he seems by then so centered on 'getting me up' as a task, some chore to be done by the time he leaves, I can't get the simple truth out. I can't just look at him and tell him that he is what I want, that I want and need time awake in his company in order to feel good about myself and the day or even to have a clue what I'm doing. I might be a puppy dog, but once bitten. So I don't tell.

Fifteen years, on and off, we've done this. Back in the earlier days he would try being fully dressed, in his tie and even his coat, before coming round to my side of the bed to try and stir me. In the split second that I first opened my eyes, all I would see was this blurry figure of a fully dressed man, way, way too close to my body. I'm not big and I'm not strong, but I've pushed him right across the room and I've also punched him on the jaw, from that position; I've gone from underneath to on top in less than a breath, and as good as started to wake up after the fact.

He doesn't get right in my face anymore, unless his head is on the pillow next to mine, and he certainly never wears his coat into the bedroom. I'd like to think that after all these years, my previous marriage no longer has such a strong hold on me, but I guess Husband will never be in the mood to experiment and find out. Fair dos.

It doesn't seem that this is going to change, as things are. He is never going to really want me (or anybody) interrupting his precious hour of silence in the mornings, whatever noises he makes to the contrary. He is never going to want us to move from this silent house up a silent road in a silent town, because it provides the peace he needs after a day at work. That's quite a revelation for me. I've normally been too tired, too shaky, too upset and confused when looking at one of these scenarios to even realise that, whether he knows it or not, he lies to me. He lies by default, by never actually having admitted that he looks forward to the time on his own.

I am never going to function properly or feel like doing anything other than climbing the walls if I have to live in this silent little hell hole on the edge of nowhere with sporadic weeks when there is not a single kick start to my day before the isolation sets in.

There's only one thing for it - I'm going to have to realign my needs to match his.

I am a staunch proponent of working from home, of fitting work around the family instead of the other way around, and its going to be hell on legs getting and keeping an employed position, what with one 9 year old and 1 special needs kid to run after, but I think, for my sanity if not my marriage, I am going to have to look at getting a bog standard, clock-watching, 9 to 5 job.


04 April 2006

How I feel

In reverse order of importance I have:

my favourite red top,
my old comfy jeans,
my sensible go anywhere, climb anywhere Ecko shoes on,
my huge, lorrydriver-size coffee mug
a smoke on, and
my trusty bat'leth.

Yup, that's about it.

03 April 2006


Today was supposed to be spent clearing house, sorting out, laundering and pottering.

Instead today was spent on five long emails back and forth between myself and Son's caseworker, with at least as many long phone conversations with the lady at the NAS in between.

The County are refusing to pay up for an individual needs assistant all day. They are also refusing to name the mainstream school I selected, or to make the provision for him any less than vague until they have chosen a school and got the school itself to say how it will make this or that provision. For example 'access to a workstation' could end up meaning he might see a desk on its own, with no headphones, no keyboard, and he might 'have access to it' for five minutes every term. It wouldn't be that daft but thats as vague as they are being right now.

The thing is, I wanted mainstream. I wanted mainstream because I didn't think the kind of special school that was worth looking at actually existed. Sure, mainstream would mean that my son was condemned to do twice as much learning as other kids during the day - learning to deal with distractions, with life as an Aspie amongst NT teenagers and all that entails.

Someone very recently pointed out two schools with the national curriculum (and more) that cater just to aspies. No being thrown in with a wide variety of abilities or issues like in an mld or ebd school, just a school full of kids on roughly the same level, and more importantly a school full of staff that really understand the condition.

Without even getting to visit one yet, Son has set his heart on them. I did point out that now that we have mentioned special school, the LEA seem to be much more interested in trying to get him into the one mainstream school, especially since I pointed out that its qualities (wide corridors, no bell, staggered breaks and other things) could all be counted as provisions against his needs (trouble with cramped or confined spaces or a lot of movement or sudden noise - he doesn't freak - he just gets a bit 'on stage', clumsier and a deal less thoughtful - he gets into a state where accidents happen around him and he finds it as tiring and stressful as anybody).

Anyway the county have seemingly backtracked from saying there is no chance of getting him into that mainstream school and are now saying they will 'keep fighting' and there is a slim chance. Tut. Suddenly the closed statements that the school is full have become open ones indicating they mean to quiz the school on why being full means they can't squeeze another one in.

I told him. He is not best pleased. His only comment was:

"Oh yes sure, lets have a think - on the one hand we have this brilliant small school full of Aspies who are just like me and will understand me and I will be normal for a change, and on the other hand we have a real school where I will still be the geek and the weirdo and get kicked at breaktime. So the County are going to put me in which one? The crap one of course. Oh bloody brilliant."

Sometimes there just isn't the right moment to tell an eleven year old about his language.

After all that, the network cable at home decided to die and take my network card with it, so I am sat at Husband's machine to write this.

Not a good day. Will try again tomorrow, but I may just start a new blog to pull out all my references to this fight for SEN provision and add all the emails to it. The way things are going just now, it would seem foolish to rely on my email account as the only storage place for all the stuff I'll need for tribunal.

Tags: ,

02 April 2006


I guess Dave Gorman has a pretty decent digital camera.
I guess also that means that a great deal of definition is lost in the transfer to flickr.

This is a shame but also a telling point - particularly in view of the story behind this (half) picture.

The original, here, contains much more information, and Dave mentions that a certain onlooker prevented him from getting a better shot, which means for certain that he never thought to take this one home and digitally modify it.

I'm impressed. I mean, I was already impressed with his work, he has a lovely, quirky, appreciative eye on the world and ought to be displaying these professionally, in a gallery, on 5 foot tall canvasses or in matte glass frames just as large, but the thought that each and every one of his works is probably the entire original shot with very little skimming, strimming or repositioning, well that adds a real wow factor.

Go see this, Then his balanced stones. Then his faces (gotta love those faces).

He runs a little online gallery that I admit I sneak off to when the world is a bit on the grey side - half an hour in there brings the colour back.


P.S. Mr Gorman will not mind me hacking and reproducing this shot - I don't think. A certain inebriated defender of the young, however, may feel I owe a particular kid a couple of notes, for plagiarism.

01 April 2006

April The First, All Day.


How did April Fools' Day go for you? Were you the fooled or the fooler? Or did it pass you by completely?

Looking forward to your comments, even if they amount to 'see my blog'.... could use the laugh.



Tags: ,