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Showing posts from June, 2006


Like everyone else I know, i have had to take out a small mortgage to pay for new specs. I collected these yesterday. They are indeed beautiful and at last I can see (was the kitchen table really that dirty?) but the price was Completely Fabulous! A Jamaican woman standing next to me at the till was informed that her new specs were racking up to just over the £400 mark. "Four Hundred Pound" she exclaimed. "four Hundred Pound! Dem glasses should be free". Too true. Not sure whether I will ever actually wear mine since they are worth more than my entire wardrobe and jewellery altogether.

what was it about the sultan's elephant...

...that made it so magical, so memorable? It's a few weeks now since the Sultan's Elephant came to town but I was talking to a colleague today and he wistfully mentioned that he had missed it and I suddenly came on like Sally Field at an Oscar ceremony about how marvellous it was and how he must go and see it etc etc. Why? Is it simply because, just for a moment, it feels like a fairy-tale come true? A giant, intelligent elephant wandering through the streets of London? Or is it because I suspect, deep down, that Elephants will become extinct and giant mechanical versions will be all that we are left with in the not-too-distant-future? All I know is that i'm not bothered about the Sultan but I worry about the Elephant. So that's something else to add to the Enduring List of Worries. Next time I hope they bring a Dragon. The spider training is proceeding well though - the small hairy ones in the greenhouse are all quite happy with their new regime and there is a ne

the longest day

Yesterday was the longest day. In so many many ways. I was woken (before the Today programme had even started!) by a police helicopter hovering about two feet above my head for hours. Then, when I went downstairs to make some tea I was greeted by several mounds of cat sick which would have put Mount Snowdon to shame. Then to work and a day of tetchiness and one very long meeting in an airless and windowless room. Then a traffic jam all the way home which included being cut up twice by hoppa buses. Then there was no appealing food in the house, so I ordered an Indian takeaway. Then, finally I sat down in front of Big Brother with my dinner and the phone went and as I reached for it I caught my arm on something and dropped the phone in my chicken dopiaza. So from now on all my phone calls will be made through the medium of a medium hot curry. Then I went to bed and realised that days will start getting shorter from now on even though it feels that summer has not really started. And all

when it's too hot to sleep

.... my head just fills up with Worries. Firstly there's the Enduring List of Worries - always ready to pile in when i'm awake in the dark. These include climate change, work, world peace, tax returns, guilt, work, sick friends, scale insect, general self-loathing, the brown cat's cough, the hosepipe ban, foxes, general household worries and er... work. Just as I get on top of these a whole load of New Worries arrive, some of which have remained with me through the day including whales , weather warnings and what on earth will I watch when West Wing ends this summer. I am not, however, Worried about the World Cup. There are plenty of other people doing that for me... and anyway I drew England in the office sweepstake (although I weally wanted Bwazil).

it's too hot to sleep

It's too hot to sleep. I was lying in bed, watching newsnight and waiting for the thunderstorm (we've had a severe weather warning - how exciting!) and thinking that it's too hot to sleep. So I'm now up and downloading "From Gardens Where We Feel Secure" by Virginia Astley which is utterly perfect.

spider training

Another reason why I haven't blogged for a week is that this is the peak spider training season. i don't like spiders. If they are indoors they scare me and I have to leave the room (I haven't been in the back bedroom since the May Bank Holiday) until I am sure they have gone. Outside spiders have a point and that is to keep the flies down BUT they have to do so in places where they won't get in my hair. Being spiders, they don't always anticipate where my hair is going to be when they are spinning their webs in the dead of night so from late May to mid-June I have to train them. It's actually quite easy - if you walk into their web and destroy it on a daily basis they soon get the message and move to a safer place. Sometimes I train them more carefully using a pencil to break the web and attach the broken web to better placed plants. Last year I trained a rather large and hairy fellow called Henry to stay in the south-west corner of my back yard and we got on f

bloggity blog blog blog

I have had a complaint that I don't update this blog often enough so, for those thousands of readers around the globe who have been searching this site daily for signs of life all I can say is... This is a random thing and will remain so until the weather deteriorates and I get used to my varifocals. I hate the word blog. It's right up there with moist, spatchcock, "comfort break" and "ah... bless".


Spanish pastries are edible little clouds of loveliness. They are made from butter, icing sugar and air and because they are so light they can float away - so it's best to buy them and eat them straight away. Sadly they have no nutritional value but nor do they have any calories. They go very well with coffee which means you can eat them in the morning for breakfast... or at teatime... or indeed after any meal... or between meals if you are a little peckish. Today we are obviously listening to Rodrigo y Gabriela because the sunshine outside puts me in Spanish mood and, let's face it, a flamenco version of Stairway to Heaven is a must for this summer.

spanish hours

Spanish hours are longer than British hours. My rough guess is that the average Spanish hour lasts 90-100 minutes while the British ones stay firmly at 60 minutes or less. This means that when I am on holiday I can fit a lot more into my day than when I am at home and still get a good ten hours sleep at night - marvellous. Take Tuesday morning for example. On Tuesday I woke up in the countryside, drove to the nearest city (Tarragona, where Pontius Pilate went after washing his hands of things on the other side of the Mediterranean), took a few snaps of the cathedral, visited a friend's new apartment, went to the market to buy fresh fish and fruit and had a short walk along the rambla. On the way home we stopped in a village to buy fresh pastries, which we then enjoyed with a cup of coffee on the terrace. Then I had a swim, a long bask in the sunshine, I helped make a paella and then sat down for lunch at about 2pm. This morning, back in Blighty, I got up, had a cup of coffee, clea