Friday, 29 August 2008

pushing an elephant up the stairs.....

Stray is working on the last two chapters of  the climate change book. The one-last-heave philosophy is taking its toll. 

Its 9pm, and she has been working on it most of the day. 

Stray: I need a nap. Can you wake me in an hour?
Ms M: 40 minutes is the optimum time for a power nap. Any longer than that and you go into REM. 
Stray: And then what happens?
Ms M: ....pauses....there's a joke here somewhere if only I can find it.......
You wake up singing impenetrable lyrics, inspired by Durkheim and relevant only to sociology students.
Stray: Shit. What happens if I sleep for two hours?
Ms M:  You go into Coldplay.
Stray: And?
Ms M: You wake up either wanting to slit your wrists or sing songs about saving humanity, or sing songs about saving humanity that make the rest of us want to slit our wrists. 
Stray:  And if I sleep all night?
Ms M:  You go into U2......and wake up with  a narcissistic disorder and I have to kill you.* 
Stray: Wake me up after just the 40 minutes then.

* Q: What's the difference between Bono and God?
    A: God doesn't walk down Grafton Street thinking he's Bono. 

Friday, 22 August 2008

the songs of love and joy......

Badger has a unique form of Tourettes Syndrome, according to her neurologist.

She has mostly singing tics, which come in a variety of forms. Sometimes she will replace key lyrics from songs with the words Badger or shmaow eg. I'm In The Mood for Schmaowing. Much more fun the The Nolan Sisters' original, I'm In The Mood For Dancing, although we have yet to work out exactly what it is to schmaow.

Sometimes she has a kind of singing echoalia, where she repeats your words but adds a tune of her own (eg Master M, put your laptop away!)

Badger's most recent singing tics, however, have made us smile the most. She is singing a kind of musical-theatre-style libretto to accompany any activity, complete with over-articulated-consonants and desperately-earnest-tone. The songs of love and joy, we call them, mostly because of the many references to love and/or joy. (eg the potatoes of love! at a particularly delicious batch of potato wedges served up by Stray.)

If you were at a Cameron Mackintosh production, you might want to poke your own eyes out. In the context of your own dinner table, however, it is much more amusing than I can begin to describe.  Badger's tics fill us all with love and joy.
We have had a very sad little Badger since she broke her right paw, raving at our neighbour's house. She had a little sing in the ambulance on the way to the hospital (Just Grab a Badger, and Dance to the tune of Let's Face The Music and Dance, much to the amusement of the paramedic). And then the singing stopped. No more songs of love and joy. No more musical theatre Tourettes style. 

Mario Kart and Master M are playing a critical part in Badger's recovery. Master M is happy for any excuse to be glued to the sofa with a controller in his hand, although Badger says that watching me play Mario Kart is marginally more painful than her broken ankle. Apparently I play 'like a mum', just because I don't think it's big or clever to overtake on a blind bend. 

We are hoping for a swift recovery. Life just isn't the same without the songs of love and joy. 


Sunday, 17 August 2008

A broken Badger...

Following on with Strays theme...

It takes roughly 5 pints of ale and 2 seconds to break your paw... oh, and some sort of techno induced dancing!

It takes one strong farmer to carry the broken Badger home over his shoulder...

It takes a very stubborn Badger to refuse all help for hours until such time as needing the upstairs toilet and being unable to crawl up the stairs without screaming in pain... which alerted my rescue operation by Stray and Ms M.

It takes gas and air on board a long ambulance trip to make a Badger talk even more nonsense than she was on just the beer...

Yes... you guessed it I have broken my ankle/foot dancing at a post pub house party in the village (who would have thought!) it is actually my fifth metatarsal I have fractured I believe to be precise. Ms Mmmm and Stray have been looking after me very well indeed. I will be in plaster for 6-8 weeks. Owie.

I also have not ticced any songs about love or joy since. It would seem that sad Badgers do not tic happy songs. Goodbye West End theatre Tourettes style. :(

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Badger love...

Is it possible my liking for Badgers is bordering on obsessive.... ?

Sunday, 10 August 2008

It takes 18 minutes ...

for the local voluntary fire service to reach our village.

Dogs can detect fire much faster than people.

Bank statements burn at a particularly high temperature.

Having your chimney swept yearly is an excellent way to prevent chimney fires.

The fire-brigade are very lovely chaps and chappesses who do a fantastic job.

13-year-old boys are not overly impressed by the idea of a ride in a fire engine.

When you live in a remote rural community the emergency services dispense with the normally lengthy interrogation and get on with dispatching help to you.

Ruby never barks without good reason.

Neighbours may piss themselves laughing when you pop down the pub to tell them that the fire brigade are headed for your house and not theirs, but this is just their way of showing support. They will later offer tea / beds / help cleaning up. (Not required but appreciated).

The fire service will fit 10-year smoke alarms before they leave.

Discussing whether it is the landlord's responsibility to have the chimney swept does not prevent a chimney fire.

Ruby will be getting a very large bone tomorrow.

Rearrange the statements above to work out what our Saturday night was like.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Wuthering Heights and all that....

People say strange things to you when you move to the back of beyond. 

What do you do with yourselves? (Answer: mostly we chase the sheep.)

Don't you get bored? (Answer: only when the sheep won't play out.)

Isn't it just really miserable when it rains?

I find this last one hard to understand. I have lived in various places around the country and none of them have attracted me because of the marvelous way they just come alive when it pisses down. Hackney, inner city Manchester and the suburbs of Bradford deserve a particular mention for their capacity to induce suicidal feelings after days of endless British drizzle.
Tonight it has been drizzling, or mizzling, as we say around these parts, which is a particularly persistent form of drizzling. I couldn't watch tele because we had no reception. I couldn't listen to the radio because we had no reception. I couldn't surf the web because we had no internet connection. I couldn't chase the sheep because they won't play in the rain. 

In the absence of any other amusement I sat on the balcony and watched the mist roll round the tops of the hills before meandering aimlessly down into the valley. The sheep were tucked sensibly behind the walls, and the mizzle was mizzling for Yorkshire. 

It was bleak. It was dour, grim, stark and forbidding all at the same time. It was positively Wuthering Heights, if Wuthering Heights were an adjective. I couldn't think of any place I would rather be. 

In a not-at-all-clunky-or-contrived link, there is plenty of Wuthering-Heights-induced excitement around these parts at the moment. 

The local news reported this week that George Clooney and Johnny Depp are in the area, for yet another remake. A quick google search indicates that La Jolie, Natalie Portman and/or Sienna Miller are also involved. That's the local B & B full up then, unless the girls decide to bunk up together in which case you might get a room if you book quickly. 

A film crew in the neighbouring village, however,  turned out to be filming the new ITV adaptation of Wuthering Heights. I am fond of Sarah Lancashire, but Angelina Jolie she is not. 

Stray wouldn't let me ask the film crew if anyone famous was hanging around (Ms M, please, no....) or even what they were filming (I said no!) or if they needed any extras (at this point she started to rock.) She used to be on the tele-box, so is way cooler than me when it comes to meeting famous people.

I have, however, discovered that Jean-Luc Picard lives about five miles away. Don't tell Stray, but I think I can track him down. I have the sheep on the case. 

Friday, 1 August 2008

The first crop...

Today I dug up my potatoes! This is the first time I have attempted to grow them and I was not optimistic.... but then I started digging and joy upon joy I discovered proper potatoes down in the dirt, like real ones from a shop.. woo.