30 April 2007

Stynx

Love the Lynx body spray/deodorant that Husband brought home today; just for the name.

Its called Pulse.

I guess for some of us old girls, all we need to know is that a man still has one....

26 April 2007

Eyes as big as tea plates

That's bigger than the one with eyes as big as saucers, then.



Gosh I'd forgotten this. I am fighting the urge to convert the picture to black and white, to increase the sensation of reclaiming a precious piece of childhood.

During her time at the Fast Show (thirteen years ago!) Arabella Weir, through donning a blonde curly wig and flouncy frock, was responsible for reminding the nation of, to quote her character, "Der singing und der ringing und der pinging-er tree". Give or take a few pingings.

I am still thoroughly ashamed that I forgot that other perpetually recycled 'Tales from Europe' classic, The Tinderbox. Many formative summers were spent rooting for the imprisoned soldier and marvelling at the giant magic dogs, I even read the fairytale several times, yet I still cant remember how it ends.

Happily, I assume, but other than that, (without reading the links!) has anyone got a clue?

25 April 2007

Quick(ish) update

Sorry for the recent silence.

Things are still a little crazy here, and becoming busier as we head towards the end of the school year.*

As I sit here I feel my internal organs become preserved for posterity through the gentle but perpetual inhalation of sanded Easyfill, which is dancing in pretty swirls in every room of the house. Oh yes, the painters are back, still battling to create a flat surface on the walls in spite of the original plaster. They may take their dust sheets with them when they go home each night, but the fallout continues to settle well into the wee small hours. Lets just say I have forgotten how to dust or clean in these last two months; most of my books are on the floor, most of my bookcases are being used as message boards with smileys and reminders fingerpainted in their powdery white coating, and the TV lives under a sacrificial duvet cover.

Meanwhile (back at the ranch?):

  1. Youngest daughter has spent many moons stretching hamstrings and achilles tendons until she is finally able to walk heel-toe, heel-toe and not like some perpetually wobbly ballerina. All that is left now is the habit, but as she forgets often, this week and next both her ankles are in plaster, from toes to calves like tall, peep-toe ski boots. She chose bright red. Beneath them she wears those clumpy cast shoes held on with Velcro straps, that look very much like blue plastic Geta sandals.

  2. Youngest son has been told that his entire collection of Warhammer paraphernalia has been swiped from a locked room at school, lost from a teacher's care. He hasn't been collecting for too long but this represents hours and hours of painstaking gluing and painting and about 90% of his total Christmas and Birthday presents from the last 12 months. We'd spent about £90, (for lumps of plastic, even the most basic versions do not come cheap) but then he had won bits, made some exchanges and modifications, spent some extra pocket money on top and learned the points, moves, rules etc for each individual item. Son came home feeling that the teacher was shirking responsibility, whilst other kids (he couldn't tell if they meant it or were on a wind-up) volunteered that they saw his box in one classroom, and some of his pieces getting thrown around and binned in another.

  3. Yesterday I met, amongst others, the people from IncludingYou; a Sussex organisation heavily involved in the East Sussex Children's Trust's efforts to show good practice and consult with the families of disabled and SEN kids. Looks like I am going to be on the steering group which will be setting the questions that need to be answered. Or something. This means a great deal to me; I want my name to be mentioned when in 100 years people discuss how we plucked ourselves out of these quietly sectarian dark ages. Unity through Diversity, Man! Quick someone hand me a tie-dye t-shirt. Seriously.

  4. We met in their office and it was wonderful. You know how you walk into some places and you can smell the hierarchy, the politics, like a sweat in the very walls? Not there. I'm telling you, either they were on a major leyline crossing and in some sort of physical vibe vortex (bit Doctor Who, I know) or they are just perfectly balanced as a team. There wasn't even the aura of an old vicarage - I mean I'm not saying the place was ultra healing or peaceful, it was just, well, just right. Like a breath of the cleanest air in a long time. It really really REALLY made me want a job. Not just any job though, something creative and proactive. I was jealous, I guess, and that threw me. People almost had to drag me out of the door at the end, I just wanted to find a corner and stand there with a goofy look on my face.

  5. We applied to do the whole adoption thing - not to foster or adopt but simply to provide weekend respite for somebody else's autistic spectrum child. The phone call was like a dream, the social worker and I seemed to hit it off straight away, I told her some of our history without any gloss and she seemed very enthusiastic, started mentioning that after the training we could do short term fostering as well. It was like I'd finally found my place in this whole jigsaw - it felt wonderful. Then we got to filling in the forms and eventually she asked about bedrooms. It seems that a child must have their own bedroom in your house even if they only come for one weekend a month; that asking your own children to shove up for two nights (like they would for a regular visitor) is unacceptable. There the process stopped. We don't even get to go for assessment or a CRB check until we can come back and say that we have enough space. See here's the rub; we are Council tenants. We could up sticks and exchange properties and we would, at the drop of a hat, if we were certain of being able to help someone at the end of it all. However without the training and assessment we have no idea whether we would be pulling up roots after a ten year stop, all for nothing. Bit of a rug puller that, my backside hit the floor hard. Hic, sob, snivel.

  6. This last point is by no means least - Miss Cellania has been mindbogglingly complimentary to me and granted me a Thinking Blogger Award. No it doesn't mean I think (I think), but that I make her think, which to me is inconceivable, as I could never in a million years come up with half the wonderful facts, news, links et al that pepper every post she creates. The joke, of course, is that this very award has caused me more thought than I have put into blogging for a long time, as now I have to select five people who make me think, to pass the honour on. Well, what can I say? You all do that, so this will take some pondering.
I'll get back to you on that one, once I've dug through snowdrifts of plaster etc to find the post and my to-do list, because I can't concentrate until I know I'm not letting scary bill type deadlines float past me. Or at least I can, and frequently do (its a learned skill, through necessity) but then little warning bells start going off in the back of my head. The back of my head could of course be treating me like Pavlov's dog - that's not unknown, so its a matter of wait and see.

I love being me. (Yes Miss C that's British sarcasm.) ;-)


*EDIT - Gosh! The end of the school year, I forgot. Daughter has her first ever week long school trip away at the end of term, the same one that her brother was excluded from 12 months ago so its a bone of contention. Yes I know, its so hard to draw the line with disability discrimination. On the one hand he was unfairly ostracised for things he couldn't really help, on the other hand I did want him back in one piece and the harsh consequences of not at least faking conformity are a lesson sadly well learned. Anyway on top of all that, Daughter is also in the drama club and is playing King Richard in the school production of Robin Hood, so I have just been advised that I need to rustle up not one but two costumes - kingly robes and priestly ones, as King Rick spends much of his time on stage disguised as a monk. I'll be scouring second hand shops for days, and hand sewing for twice as long. King R even has a 'big reveal' where he rips his hassock off to show his true self - I envisage a sore-fingered future containing lots and lots (and lots) of Velcro; don't you? Oh joy.

19 April 2007

This post has no title. I couldn't begin to think of anything appropriate.
I just wanted to say that there is a school bus driver not too far up the road from here whose idea of 'friendly banter' beggars belief. The names he called an eleven year old boy, publicly ostracising him and labelling him as unprotected game, are in another article, here.

What is even more shocking is that this excuse, whether genuine or not, was accepted by his employers and the school. It seems a bit like somebody breaking your leg because they were 'only playing', and then everybody says "Oh, well, thats alright then!"

Friendly banter?

I could think of a few names of my own, and at first I posted them here, but removed them again for fear that somebody somewhere is already feeling incredible guilt over this terrible betrayal.

Anyway I wonder who such names should be addressed to; the driver, or those who failed to provide training, set boundaries, or act to intervene.

There needs to be a change in UK law so that those in loco parentis because of a child's education are more than just cleared by a CRB check. They need to be trained, at least, in the care and protection of children, and, lets face it, basic manners.

I feel sick.

Thought For The Day?

Out of the blue, all matter of fact, whilst eating breakfast with half an eye on the TV news.

'Of course, this is sadly just the first of the Resource Wars'
Trueman White

(Aspie, age 12)

16 April 2007

13 April 2007

Wonderful!

The BBC are running a series of documentaries next month, called 'Power to the People' and the final one will be about the way that OAPs are ignored or neglected in our society.

Bored already?

Tough, because Alfie Carretta, 90 (front man) and Britain's oldest working man Buster Martin, 100 (he gets the final word) are obviously having a ton of fun, below.

This is going to be SO big. The single comes out on May 21 and all profits go to Age Concern.



More info here.

12 April 2007

Vacant Expression

Don't mind my vacant expression, it is simply self preservation, disassociation, and normal service will be resumed as soon as some bastard somewhere decides what normal actually is.

Nine or ten weeks ago I was invaded by Council workmen.

With the short list of works they had to do, the aggravation they expressed at the thought of any delay and the grumblings they made about keeping anything in storage at all, a person would reasonably have expected them to move in en mass, cause total chaos for a week or so and move back out. Pah. They are STILL HERE. Or they would be. If the painter hadn't been sent somewhere else yesterday and called in sick today, and if the electrician wasn't still 'en route'.

They were instructed to change the kitchen and bathroom units, lay new lino in same, replace exterior doors and windows (this is only a bungalow) and paint the rooms. Actually the word they first used was 'redecorate' but then they changed that to just 'paint'.

Not only do I not get replacement for my own hard-purchased wallpaper, but I am to believe I am the luckiest little girl since Red Riding Hood because they've let me choose a few colours. Oh it had to be all pastels from the Dulux whites range, all the homogeneously bland and interchangeable shades that scream 'insipid' as they assault your eyes in a way that suggests Town Hall corridors and sundry creativity vacuums.

You know the type of place. Places to sit quietly with nothing but an old copy of Country Lady magazine or National Geographic, and enough stomach butterflies to repopulate the Amazon. Places where your soul is 'taken for you' as swiftly as your coat with a near imperceptible 'thwrupp' as it is sucked away.

Still I am, they say, blessed. They would have me believe that redecoration almost-under* the Decent Homes scheme not only involves painting everything and discarding the old concept of like for like, but that it usually means covering absolutely every surface in Magnolia. They have also demonstrated that they will paint over every unwashable wallpaper and where possible will peel only the top layer from vinyl ones. They have shown how they plaster over holes in a wall only if it is a bare wall, but if they can get away with leaving the thinnest sheet of old lining paper up then they only have to paint it, irrespective of dips, chunks, lumps and bumps. This hasn't stopped the decoration of a nine-roomed bungalow from taking a month and counting.

How can I put this, without removals, with us living here and the boys painting at most two rooms at a time, there seems to be a lot of 'waiting for the first coat to dry'.

We spent our Easter weekend preparing for the magic-disappearing painters to turn up yesterday, i.e. not taking the kids to the park or other such normal family activities, but stuck indoors, stripping wallpaper. More specifically HE stripped wallpaper all over ever more jumbled piles of whatever happened to be in his way, through one day off, two Bank Holidays and Easter Sunday itself. We took brief respite on the Saturday, I believe, for little joys like shopping. I resorted to writing poetry about how our relationship was beyond repair and used the new shared identity 'Anonymous' over at GOB to publish unnoticed**.

(No, it was one of our far more balanced souls who penned the cathartic confessions of life with a screwdriver, that same weekend. I just stuck to total emotional regression to the age of thirteen - aka expression of angst as bad poetry.)

There is nothing more to say, really. The electrician has arrived and is just politely explaining why half of the jobs are nothing to do with him. This would be because:
  • the Council said 'do the electrics' and
  • his boss came round and decided what electrics needed doing, but
  • he missed bits with the defence 'Well if nobody tells you...'
  • so he hasn't put in a work docket to get paid for those bits
  • so now I have to go back to Ealing Council and reapply for the repair for another decade.
So, all back to normal, then.


* Ealing Council has a huge schedule of works under the Decent Homes scheme. The Decent Homes scheme has rules and regulations, and standards, and clear points of communication. It is protected. These out-of-County works are listed on their website as being part of the Decent Homes Scheme, but I am told by the Complaints Department that they are a special case; i.e. NOT under the scheme, and therefore nobody, not even, it seems, a single soul at Ealing Council itself knows what the bloody rules are or who is supposed to be the buck stop for what. Lovely.

** If you occasionally need to be 'Anonymous', let me know and if I know you well enough I'll give you his/her log-in details.

11 April 2007

A stream of consciousness, or just a trickle?

So I'm watching this short video



For about the twentieth time,
consecutively.

And I'm thinking;

"That second time, it makes fourteen twists.
Fourteen folds!
And the first four are double thickness!
That wad is nineteen sheets thick!

You have to know this is some jerk fresh out of his teens,
a college student,
a spotty sponger,
because he sure as hell has never paid for his own loo roll;
Not at the rate HE uses it, anyway."

Oh fuck.
I'm turning into my father.

10 April 2007

Just because

Just because my in-laws live out past Romford. Its all the excuse I need.

An Essex girl walks into the local dry cleaners.
She places a garment on the counter.
"I'll be back tomorrow afternoon to pick up my dress" she says.
"Come again?" says the clerk, cupping his ear.
"No" she replies. "This time it's mayonnaise."

09 April 2007

Christian Stuff.

Yeah well, its Easter. Suck it up. *hee-hee*

I ended up visiting a Christian friend by accident, yesterday and any who know God will chuckle because the phrases 'Christian' and 'by accident' just don't go in the same sentence.

If you are surrounded by happy clappy types who are faking it til they 'make' it - fixed grins and squeaky choruses with a whole lot of arm waving, whilst simultaneously (and some might say, miraculously) ramming chunks of bible down your throat, then you may not know what I mean at all. Being under bombardment can make observation difficult as well as thoroughly unattractive.

Still, the more ordinary, quiet, grubby and obviously imperfect Christian tends to live life on, ooh, do you know tarot? We live it stuck on the five of pentacles. Yup I was going to insert a picture but you know how to Google.

See, I resent many interpretations of that card that lay it on with a trowel about how poor, disabled and sickly the recipients are, because that's not the point at all, they are simply hoi polloi, the working class, the ordinary, of the masses. They are just in the shit same as the rest of us, really.

To get back on track, its lovely when God or whatever you call his instruments (guardian angel, guide, memory, subconscious etc etc etc) *ahem* its lovely when He drops a thought or a line of a tune into your mental lap. It always casts new light on a current issue or simply resolves it; so you know that when He arranges an unplanned meeting with others in the same boat, that one of you is going to get something out of it, whether for yourself or to pass along.

See, we're not all boastful and full of it and always on self-made pedestals shouting how much God could do for you "if only...", the inference there being that 'he's doing it for me mate, so I'm better than you'. Most of us are so far up to our necks in the crap of daily life that we KNOW god holds the thin thread from heaven that's keeping our mouths above the waterline. None of us feel the urge to stare at him in the hopes that we will be hoisted higher. Most of us cast him grateful glances whilst using the extra support to get on with ploughing through the crud.

I swear.

Fuck, fuckety fuck, fuck. Had you noticed? I love it, its very therapeutic. I also support people no matter whether God gave their heart and their crotch matching genders. Lasciviousness comes in all shapes and sizes and I don't mean that. I mean the underdogs. Don't you dare tell me I am disqualified from Heaven for that; don't you go playing Pharisee on me.

Back to tea with my Christian friend. We hadn't gone to Church, I'd had a blazing row with the other half who was methodically stripping wallpaper even though the room looked like a bombsite before he started and I upped and promised the kids a trip to the beach.
The temperature just had to go and drop three or four degrees in the fifteen minutes we took to walk almost all the way to the sea.

Whose house were we nearest? Who did my son ask to visit?

Yup.

I asked her if she knew the Ship Of Fools, a wonderfully funny Christian site with a 'Signs and Blunders' section and links to lots of really awful stuff you can buy like the bobble headed Jesus and other joyful atrocities. I was going to say that the site is all jest and no edification but now I look again, I have fallen in love with their patron saint, St Simeon, who was in to farting on Holy days, streaking and jigging around with the dancing girls. My kinda guy.

She wasn't aware of the site at all, but countered with high praise for one called Porpoise Diving - so much that I wrote the name on my hand to make sure I didn't forget. Possibly my enthusiasm for a bit of solid enlightenment was what made me feel so crushed when I eventually found the place, because its not what I was looking for.

Here it is.

It might be for you. It is more likely to be for you if you live in America, permanently browbeaten by the Hallelujah - high five - have a great day brigade, if some idiot with a loudspeaker has convinced you that you might be a Christian, but you ain't Christian enough.

Enjoy.