Saturday, 29 March 2008

Freud was right after all.....

The chasing sheep family are planning a long walk up a big hill in Scotland. It will involve an overnight camp, which requires us to carry all of our equipment. We are very well equipped, mostly courtesy of our local walking shop who, not surprisingly, rub their hands together whenever we walk in. There is only essential piece of kit that we lack.

Our local walking shop doesn't sell penises. Sadly, neither does the interwebulator although I am heartened to learn that once in possession of one you can get it extended for the bargain price of 99 dollars. 

You may wonder why the penis is an essential piece of walking kit? Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't endow you with the ability to read maps, use a compass or navigate your way back in the dark using only testosterone as a homing device. The one major benefit of the humble penis is that it allows you to pee outdoors in a relatively discrete manner, whilst us girls are destined to fumble around in a copse getting nettle stings on our arses and peeing on our boots. 

But no longer. Get thee behind me, penis envy, for I have discovered this.
The Shewee technically solves the peeing-outdoor dilemma. I say technically, because you first have to persuade your brain that it is absolutely ok to pee standing up without first removing all of your clothes. And I haven't managed that bit yet. My brain remains convinced that I am about to wet myself, and refuses utterly to relinquish bladder control.

I am practicing. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

It's a miracle!

At the grand age of 31 years and 51 weeks I have finally reached 5ft tall.

I have been measured many times in the last decade - I've even had a full body scan by lasers.  I have been consistently 1 meter 51.2 cm (about 4'11'').   I have a growth hormone deficiency so I've been measured more than your average bear.  A lot.  Loads.  

And then ... today ... I am 1 meter 53 cm ... which is just over 5ft.

I don't know quite what to make of this.  I should point out that this is an official measurement by a real nurse on a clever machine, not just Badger with pencil up against a doorframe.  Lovely nurse was quite amused at my incredulity and checked it and checked it again.  She confirmed that people do not regularly state that it has over-measured them.  (She also did my BMI. It was not nearly enough. Please send chocolate, egg shaped or otherwise.)

Bizarrely, my dad confirmed that I appeared taller when we met up a few weeks ago. Even weirder, I actually feel taller.  Just a little.

This is very strange.

Very strange indeed.

There are only two possible explanations.

My head says: I am now living at an average of 250m above sea level.  I am further from the center of mass of the earth and closer to the moon.  The gravitational forces acting on my body have caused me to become stretched.

My heart says: Kissing Ms Melancholy can make you taller.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Frogs' Porn....

Having spent a hard week ministering to the walking wounded, I was eager to spend some time communing with nature and recovering my perspective on the world. 

So this weekend I have been mostly disturbed by....

- the suicidal sheep who decided to birth her twin lambs in the middle of the road.

- the oyster catchers who are busy building their nests in the dry river bed, ignorant of the fact that as soon as it rains the water will torrent off the hills and they will be swept away.

- the wrens who are nesting in our neighbour's soon-to-be-lit bonfire.

- this orgy of bacchanalian proportions in our water trough, which, frankly, disturbs me in a way I can't quite fathom.

Photographed by brave Badger

Friday, 14 March 2008

If celebrities couldn't lie ...

So, Mr / Ms Sports-celebrity, why are you learning to camel race for Sports Relief?

Well, I'm raising money for children with disabilities because our society has abandoned all concept of collective responsibility for the young / sick / old / disadvantaged people in our community.  We refuse to pay more taxes because we don't trust the government not to give it all to chavs / spend it on coffee machines from John Lewis.  I could personally afford to give away 90% of what I earn and still live like a king, but hey - why the hell should I?  Instead I'm generously giving a whole 2 days of my precious time up to go on an all-expenses-paid trip to a far flung place where the children are cuter and less gobby than the little shits in that council estate I won't park my Lexus in.  

Monday, 10 March 2008

Grrr ...

Designer: It's a website for x-brand, so, you know, it needs to be really cool.

Stray: Ok.  No worries.  Right, now, accessibility - have you put some thought into how this layout behaves as the text sizes get bigger?

Designer: Oh, I don't think we need to worry about that.  It's not that kind of site.

Stray: Oh - yes - you're right - because people with disabilities aren't cool?

Designer: Um.  That's harsh.  I mean ... it's a business to business site.

Stray: Oh yes, of course - people with disabilities don't work!

Designer: No! Oh ... Er. Well ... it's just that it's not the client's priority.

Stray: Oh. Well, you know, if you could just make it clear to them that we're legally obliged to do it, and if they really want to ignore it they can sign a waiver ... but really, there's no excuse.



Really?  I mean really?  It's not like I'm talking about making the whole site bloody breath activated, just about offering increased font sizes because you don't actually have to be congenitally blind to find 10-point-super-cool-almost-japanese-font over the top of photos difficult to read!


Sunday, 9 March 2008

When I was only twelve...

In an improbable wander through the performing arts, Scarlett Johansson is to record an album of Tom Waits' covers. Perhaps I lack imagination, but I can't quite picture her singing about Lucky Strikes, Mexican whorehouses or, for that matter, heart attacks (with or without the vine) with any real conviction. Which leads me to guess that she is making an album of Waits' ballads, not this stuff.....

There is a very fine line between emotionality and sentimentality, and I have never heard a cover of a Tom Waits' ballad that didn't make me want to weep with despair at the very awfulness of it. I am thinking Rod Stewart's drivelling attempt at Downtown Train (a song the NME described as 'the best song that Springsteen never wrote') or even Springsteen's ludicrously saccharine cover of Jersey Girl. Johannsson, step away from the project now, please, and save us all the embarrassment.

In an almost seamless link, this reminds me of a conversation Stray and I had recently about the best ever cover of Dylan's All Along The Watchtower. My favourite is undoubtedly this cover by XTC, circa 1978 when they were at the vanguard of post-punk pop. 

Which brings me, tangentially, to the point of this mostly meaningless post. Which is simply to say out loud that I discovered this on YouTube recently and it made me want to jump around like the 12 yr old that I was when I first heard it. If ever I am stranded on Roy Plumley's desert island, it would be a very close call between this and the Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem as my number one choice. Both make me want to cry  (but not in the same way as a whole album dedicated to massacring  the back catalogue of one the twentieth century's best singer songwriters.)

Bloody fab, isn't it?

What makes you wish you were 12 again?

Friday, 7 March 2008

This evening I am mostly ...

... grateful that Paula Abdul is not my next of kin.

The doctors would not have a clue what she had decided.

Apologies to those who do not watch American Idol.  

Ms Melancholy has of course pointed out that if I am ever in a situation where Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell are deciding my fate then I should just tell myself firmly to wake up immediately.


In other news, there is no word of lamb2 as yet.  We watched several bound around one of the crofts earlier, and I think I may have recognised lamb1 and lamb2 with their mother but I couldn't be certain. Fingers and paws still crossed!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Watching and waiting ...

Just after lunchtime today a little white splodge appeared behind a sheep in the field above our cottage.  We watched through binoculars as its mother licked it clean and rolled it over.  We saw it wobble on weak knees for almost 20 minutes until it finally stood up and fed. Life. Lovely.

An hour ago another splodge appeared near to the first one.  The mother sheep did not lick it clean or roll it over.  It didn't move.  Half an hour later the farmer strode up the field and gathered it under his arm.  The mother sheep did not seem to notice.  We leaned over the wall to get his phone number and answer his questions.  It is still breathing but its eyes are closed. It's tiny.

Just three hours old, lamb number one is running about behind its mother.  Lamb number two is in the warming oven of the farmer's rayburn. You never know, he said.