More Blogs about Buildings and Food

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In which Ken and I spend a week looking at buildings and eating food. Yeah, we went into museums, but that’s really not why we came.

Ken has won at blogging this holiday, and that’s a fact. Over the week he’s blogged about our first encounter with an arancino in Oranges aren’t the only meat, about how we have fabricated an entire cultural history of Palermo based only on talking to each other in A backstory for all of Palermo and our eventual sit down encounter with cake in Winding streets and churches and finally cake. I, on the other hand have posted a couple of photos on friendface and have saved up so many photos I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN.

These students didn’t know that I was from the home of rioting since 1982, but they did a little welcome protest for me. Bless them.

The people from the internet were very keen that we should have cake, but it took us a few days to get around to it.

Ken giving ‘our’ dog some sausage skin.

We watched this dog from our window. He seems to spend his day herding traffic. After enjoying the sausage skin and saying hello to us some guys were pushing a van to get it started and he hared off to ‘help’.

This morning’s weather.

We slept like nuns in our little skinny beds.

The room was nice. And the people looking after us were kind but not in our faces. It was an easygoing scenario.

There was some sort of cooking going on behind this scruffy exterior.

The guy saw me taking a photo and waved and got his friend/brother to get in for another shot, but this one was better, so.. sorry friend/brother, you didn’t make the cut.

These trees are not good for making tree lined avenues. Rogue trees.

I think I read about these trees in Kew magazine years ago. Some city, not Palermo, I think, since they don’t seem to go in for avenues here, decided to use these to line a street. The thing is those ropey tendrils come down from the branches and then take root and grow into trees, so the trees just colonize the space over time. Not good municipal planting.

The puppet museum had a full set of Punch and Judy puppets.

It was the least tempting museum for me, but actually I liked it the best. I don’t suppose anyone comes to Palermo to go to museums, but we felt we should.

A couple of holy fellas.

Ken’s last day we stopped in a tailor’s and had an impromptu jam.

I would have walked past here, but Ken saw the instruments and went in. They made us welcome and we had the best time. And the most interaction we’d had all week with local people. Here’s a piece of advice for you – musicians make good travelling companions. Ken brought his uke out a lot, and played to various people, but even without it, music brought us together.

The guy eating biscotti taught Ken a choon.

Simon, the guy in the red jacket, said it was a ‘magic moment’ which it was. He asked if we had an electronic address, which we did. Hopefully he emails and I can send him the link to this post.

Ken leaves in a couple of hours, then I will have 24 hours on my own before my flight home.

Paris is a Trip

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I am back from la France. It was brilliant. There was cake and cheese and shoes and bees. We met la Messy Nessy Chic and we gained muscle mass on the hills. Everything with ‘Mont’ in the name? That’s going to be a hill, it turns out. And hills go up as well as down. It’s good though, because it made me feel like I was burning off the cake, and also it helps with getting your bearings.

i forgot to mention – i have spidey skills

Before we went, Terri said “How do you feel about Montmartre?” How could I feel anything about it since I had no idea what it was going to be like? Well, it turns out to be very pretty, pretty central, and she got it for a deal, which was good, because although it’s not the MOST expensive neighbourhood it would have been no deal at full price, probably.

I knew about the trip in plenty of time to brush up on a few words, so I had some books beside my bed which lay unopened while I watched Eddie Izzard instead. His advice, to take a monkey, a mouse, a cat, and a chair with you so that you can work them into the conversation at the hotel was spot on, I simply can’t fault him.

One of the language moments I had was when Terri was reading out the rules of the hotel for me – and I mistook drink for fish. I had a fairly surreal moment wondering why anyone would need hot fish bringing to their room, and thinking well, if they are going to all that trouble offering hot fish, perhaps it would be rude not to order some? before realizing it was boisson not poisson she was talking about. Easy mistake to make.

warning – bees. bees, that is, with swords.

I’d been delegated to make the Eurostar bookings but there were questions and time passed and there was an air strike… as I watched the cheaper seats disappear I had to make le decision executive and make an effing booking already. So, by this time we could have stupid early or quite late, and I went for stupid early. I was quite worried about it because if they didn’t let us in our room early we were going to be knackered and snappy and hanging around, but happily the room was ready so we had a little lie down and then a sort of bonus walkabout in Montmartre. Imagine if there was a pretty hillside with a fancy building on top next to Kings X? It would not only be nice, but also handy for orientation.

tezzer dans l’atelier

The reason I could afford to go, and indeed Terri herself, was that she’d got a grant from her University to put together a proposal for a kind of cool hunting image pool for her students. We went to la Goutte D’Or and she took some shots which I can’t show you yet, but there was one of a woman in a knock off Burberry jumpsuit which was horrible and fabulous at the same time. Because this is a kind of rough neighbourhood it was tricky to get shots even with a phone, so I didn’t take any with my camera, but as we were leaving the area we found this street which had been given over to designer/makers and we went off on a totally other tangent, also useful for her college purposes. We found these people reviving the art of bespoke shoe making in l’atelier Maurice Arnoult – which was a cool story because it had apparently been quite a macho trade, and the last surviving practitioners decided they wanted to revive the trade and teach women, so that’s what they did. The oldest of them is over 100 years old and is now seeing the dream come into fruition. The only near equivalent we have in the UK is Cordwainers which was taken over by London College of Fashion in 2000. At Cordwainers you can learn how to design and make – but here in Paris you do it from scratch for the individual client. A cost price only, without labour, pair of shoes from the college starts from 800 euros.

yeah, that receipt is for a video not for anything remotely going towards having a shoe made

shoe lasts

The next day we went off to meet Nessy. She’d arranged to meet us in a Cafe in a fancy part of town, and because of Metro connections and probable walking distances we set off early and went to a further away stop, which involved fewer changes, and walked. This was the horror part of the trip. The area around the Champs-Élysées is like, say you were walking down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace and then times the whole thing by a kaleidoscope. It was blastingly hot, with little shade, and although there is some green space it’s mainly all massive colonial buildings with statues covered in gold leaf reflecting off the sun and burning your retinas. In Paris people drive pretty fast, and there are also a lot of motor bikes and I saw something which made my otherwise happy heart shrink like a raisin. Among the traffic on what was, and I am not exaggerating, a six lane highway, was a horse pulling a trap. It’s not an uncommon tourist thing but it was super shocking to see this poor horse in the middle of all this really hideous fast noisy traffic. Terri tells me that even the Central Park are being wound down.

GOOD.

Anyway, after we had escaped the cruelty and statuary, we hit the Seine and found the cafe. We went via Avenue Montaigne which is where all the full size stores for Prada and the like are lined up. If you have ever been to Bond Street forget it, because those are ‘fun sized’ stores by comparison to these monsters. We were still hungry and a bit worried about how much it was going to cost us to eat in this neighbourhood, and when we got to the Savy I was totally afraid to buy food there, but happily there was a cheap and quite good place next door, so we could stuff our faces before we went to sip coffee and be urbane. On consideration I wished I’d left room for cake, though, because once I had got over my fears I started to like the Savy a lot, and I suspect they do good deserts.

bloody glum lion

I saw this lion just after I had seen the sad horse. I felt his pain.

It was so bloody hot out there, and then, naturally, just as we left Vanessa to head for the Metro it utterly pissed down. As I entered the Metro totally soaked to an audience of dry Parisians waiting for the hell to stop a man asked me “Il pleut?” Which was very bloody funny of him. (It was, quite).

cake

Here are some cakes, they come earlier in the story, but I wanted to put them beside the picture of cheese.

cheese and meat

Terri asked Vanessa where she would eat on her last night in Paris, and rather than guide us towards some insanely posh place, or even somewhere French, she told us to go to a little (tiny) Italian on rue Lamarck which was conveniently located on the street we were actually staying on (and anyone who knows my sleeping hours will realize this was what meant it could actually happen) called Babalou. This was the entree we shared before eating so much that I could not manage a desert, not even a tiny one.

kitteh

Enfin although I have more photos, here is a little kitty eyeing me from across the way from our room. I also saw a very fit half naked man a few times, but refrained from photographing him. All the windows in Paris seem to be FRENCH WINDOWS which is a kind of window I approve of wholeheartedly and wish I had throughout my flat. We had ours wide open throughout our stay and were treated to many noises. But they were French noises, so that’s okay.

As well as being stuffed with kitties, there are also LOTS of dogs in Paris, and most of them walk off leash. This is now illegal in the UK, but it has been a long time since most dogs even knew how.

Now that I am back from the France since one day, I am minded to share with you this Armstrong and Miller sketch.

And even more enfin I seem to have put my hand up to be in the third Have a Word in Brighton in August.

nic collins’ lovely graphic for ‘Have a Word”

Hector’s Home, Prison Break, and PhD Braindeath

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I wonder how Hector is getting on? You ask. I wonder if he is GROWING? You ask. Well, it turns out he is both growing and stretching… in a trick perhaps learned from Poppet he clearly has a ‘See this? This is ALL MINE’ streak a mile long down his back.

i’m too sexy for my super kingsized bed

Considering that when we first got him he slept on my neck, yep. I’d say he’s growing up to be quite the long leggedy hunk. I’m chuffed that Ryan chose to keep the name. He still looks very Hectory to me.

***

My current TV obsession is Prison Break. I don’t know who it was who turned me on to it, one of the Kirsties, perhaps? Anyway, it’s GREAT. It comprises of several series, it has a long story arc, it has eye candy and it has SCIENCEY ‘what have we learned?’ stuff.

“pretty” has to take his top off because, spoiler – his tattoo is a map!

…So that justifies his toplessness and we needn’t think of ourselves as OGLING. (Which we clearly are).

Like Breaking Bad, Prison Break involves problem solving. From BB we learn that some acids will corrode a body and metal but not plastic, and from PB we learn how good at problem solving engineers are. And sexy, clearly they are sexy.

***

I realize that I have been a bit AWOL. I’ve been a bit ill and a bit busy, and today I had my final important deadline – the resubmission of the PhD proposal. Because I’d been so ill and also dealing with the vile ESA paperwork (application for this year and appeal tribunal for last year both at once) I had failed to notice how quickly my PhD deadline was coming up. In the middle of a massive migraine yesterday I was looking it up and when I saw it was TODAY I thought I’d really messed up and that it would be impossible to do anything productive with it. Today, though, I  have spent all day reading the chapter the supervisor asked me to read, skitiching a reference to it into the proposal, looking at the proposal with fresh eyes and totally reorganizing it, murdering a few darlings, adding a bit of explanation, and finally sent it off.

I am now completely exhausted and await my dinner which is being crafted as we speak by Ten. Which is just as well, because I am ALL OUT of spoons.

***

OOh wait! Also, I made a tumblr the other day elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2013/5/03

An Instagram, Dog Silliness, and My New Hoodie

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Gentle reader, I have been away in Brighton. And on my trip I had my hair cut. And on my trip I had my hair cut and my photograph taken…

i’ve been instagrammmed! like a modern person (thanks julie!)

And on my trip I had my hair cut, my photograph taken, and lots of visitors – OK I am bored with that game now, as are you. Sorry. Anyway, the upshot is that having had my hair cut for the first time since the crazy Russians did it back in Bethnal Green, I felt I was perhaps presentable enough to get a mug shot taken that I could use across social media platforms. I had thought perhaps my friend Grace might do it, since she has a good eye, but the visit was busy and I didn’t grab the moment. Howevs, before we left I asked Julie to do it, because she also has a good eye… and she is all about the Instagrammings so between that and the sunshiny paintings in her living room I have had to do a total redesign here at elaine4queen, since everything before was all pale and light and now I have all the vividry a person could ask for. So, hence the kind of teal background, and the sunset garden – mine, by the way, so properly mirroring the welcome to The Hermitage’s actual location on the Tottenham Riviera. What do you think? Do you miss the picture of Poppet’s feet?

We were there to take the sea air (by which I mean visit friends) and look after Diva, the little ancient staffie. In a previous visit there had been small beasts in a cage in the garden, but it seems they have met their demise. During the previous visit Poppet had to be banned from the garden because she obsessed with the damn things, and even then she spent half the visit hanging out an upstairs window hankering after them. She still thought they were there so was dancing around barking… which gave Ten an idea.

crate training?

Poor Poppet, she seemed confused. Even after inspecting the inside of the enclosure she was still not entirely convinced that they wouldn’t be back and kept checking. This enclosure, by the way, is something which I like very much. It’s called an Eglu and is a designer chicken home. If you click through you can see how fancy, there is a little video. Until I became aware of the Eglu I had had no interest in chicken keeping, but who wouldn’t want to keep chickens if they had one of these?

Lastly and leastly, I came back to a PACKAGE. In it was a HOODIE. I have never knowingly had a hoodie before, and I am enjoying it immensely. This one is a bit fashion and the zip goes all the way up. So I could go about with my face entirely covered. Maybe cut eye holes.

ready to do all the crimes

Doggy Drama, Passport Photos, and Pork Pies

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A-And they called it Puppy Love…

a break between bouts of fight club

There’s been ALL THE DRAMA with the Hector adoption. A couple came to see him and they were really keen and really nice, but they both worked full time. I did think this was a bit ambitious of All Dogs Matter since Hector screamed the place down at the vets, and not because of the snippy snip. He doesn’t mind going next door to Steve’s, but he does cry if I go out, and they had said they would want to take special care of his separation anxiety. Turned out there had been a bit of miscommunication, so the couple were sadly disinvited from adopting him. Better for him, but they really loved him and will be terribly disappointed. I am glad it wasn’t up to me to tell them.

They do have someone more appropriate lined up, but I’d rather they went with my neighbour, Brian, who has a staffie, Max, who likes Hector. He is retired and he takes Max massive walks every day. He says he is keen, but even if he phones today the guy who ADM like is coming to see him TOMORROW so there’d have to be something go wrong for him not to want him, I guess, and this guy does sound good… I suppose there’s another doggie who Brian and Max might like. Considering every time they post on facebook I repost with oohs and aahs, so they’re not short of lovely dogs.

***

In travel news, my friend Lottie has asked me if I would like to go on holiday with her and her sister and her sister’s kiddo. Why, yes, I would like to go stay in a lovely villa in Spain paid for by their dad, I most certainly would. As you know I am BRILLIANT at Spanish having bothered to learn “bathroom” for our previous trip, and managed very well with just that and mime. I think it helped that we were in deepest Spain, and I was twice the height of everyone else and blonde. I was probably like a cross between Boris Johnson and Big Bird to them.

Suddenly I remembered my passport had run out and I’d failed to fill in the form for a new one, so I got to it last night, and threw in a pair of photobooth photos with the application. It was only this morning that I thought that the likelyhood was that these photos were even older than my last 10 year passport so I’d better get some new ones done. I opened the envelope and retrieved the ridiculously young me photos and prepared to meet my face in the mirror. I haven’t worn make up for a really long time, but photo booth photos bleach your face out anyway, and since I have near invisible eyebrows and a pale face I though’t I’d better do some colouring in. Just as well, too, since the photos came out rather bleached anyway.

not a serial killer, just not allowed to smile for passport photos

Imagine if I’d gone up there bare faced? I’d have looked like a balloon in a wig.

***

On the 11th I go to the Headache Clinic at the Neuro Hospital. IF they bestow me regular botox I could be looking at having a significantly different prognosis. Also, going into the summer, if it’s anything like last year, I should at least get three decent months. Last year I just needed a break and I took it. This year, knowing that it would be forwardable, I would first of all be into dropping as much medication as possible (already started, CHECK) and dietary reform (already started, LIKE A BOSS). The problem with dietary reform is everything you aren’t going to eat any more becomes super beguiling. Even stuff you didn’t like before. One time I knew someone who was on remand in prison. Edgy, I know. Anyway, he craved pork pies, which, he said he never liked normally. Now that’s me, only without the prisony bit.

Modern Type, a Quiet Moment, and Goodbye Pattie Poo

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1916: Edward Johnston’s hand-drawn alphabet for the Underground

NINETEEN SIXTEEN this was designed in! Not even the 30s, which is what it looks like to me. So lovely. I have to say I am not overly interested in typography or signage – to the point that I very much got someone else to teach it when I was running m’course. Nevertheless, I do appreciate how very modern this lettering is – predating Bayer’s Bauhaus typeface by nine years.

Which, of course, I do like as well. I wonder if, having been brought up in London, I am predisposed to love the underground lettering and signage? I mean, I can see that the Paris metro is pretty, but I feel an actual love for the LU. While we are musing, I wonder if I would feel less attached to London if the signage was changed? Not that they’d EVER do that. There would be uproar.

When I bought a typewriter to write my dissertation (it cost the same to buy an electric typewriter as to pay someone to type it out for you, what people did in the OLDEN DAYS, YO) I chose courier but as soon as I had my first computer, a classic mac (second hand) it was helvetica for me, and then ariel after that. Sans serif looks better on a screen.

***

I have today on my own with the dogs. After a few days on my own at the beginning of the Hectorium I had to beg Ten to come back and help me, because it was all too horribly much. However, the dogs have largely settled down together, and Hector is nearly completely house trained, so it’s easier to be on my own with them. I am enjoying a quiet, non fighty spell on the bed while I write this. Soon there will be feeding time, and then a walk, and then I will be exhausted and only want to watch tv.

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Since last we met, dear reader, my beloved auntie Pat has died. Here I am with her at my cousin’s wedding nearly three years ago.

me and patty poo

The good thing is that she wasn’t particularly ill. She was old, and quite disabled, but had just been to Spain and enjoyed herself ogling at men’s legs and drinking ‘something naughty’ in the sunshine, so there is nothing to be sad about really, except that I liked her. For a while I spent a fair bit of time with her, too. She was cared for at home, and would go into respite care every few weeks for a few days. I went to visit her there and would bring her a flask of gin & tonic or a film to watch or whatever. There was one time I found a ginko leaf on the ground on my way to see her. I gave her the leaf and told her all I know about the ginko tree – it is so old that it has no parasites, so the leaves are always pristine, it is known as the ‘memory tree’ and people take ginko to improve their memories. When I left she said ‘thank you for the leaf’ and I know she meant it. She was the sort of person who would prefer a leaf and a story to any amount of fancy flowers.

Makes me think of the Brian Patten poem ‘A blade of Grass’

You ask for a poem.
I offer you a blade of grass.
You say it is not good enough.
You ask for a poem.

I say this blade of grass will do.
It has dressed itself in frost,
It is more immediate
Than any image of my making.

You say it is not a poem,
It is a blade of grass and grass
Is not quite good enough.
I offer you a blade of grass.

You are indignant.
You say it is too easy to offer grass.
It is absurd.
Anyone can offer a blade of grass.

You ask for a poem.
And so I write you a tragedy about
How a blade of grass
Becomes more and more difficult to offer,

And about how as you grow older
A blade of grass
Becomes more difficult to accept.

Which is one way of saying that despite her chronological age – 86, I think – she was never ever old. We shared a love of the tv series The Camomile Lawn which we had both seen so many times we could quote virtually the whole script. The series was, unfortunately, taped rather than filmed, so the visual quality is awful, but the whole series is on youtube, and the sound has cleaned up nicely.

I love the soundtrack which is a variation on Ravel’s string quartet. I had it as a ring tone for ages.

Four and a half Months, 500 Likes, and a Book Review

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HecTOR is 4 1/2 months old now. We think.

Anyway, it’s a fortnight since we got him, and I have NO BRAIN LEFT. What I do have, now, though, is a new respect for parents. Okay, I do have one or two neurological conditions which make me predisposed to being super tired, but at least I get sleep, even if it’s not the super good quality sleep, the M&S sleep of the healthy. HECtor spends most of the night snuggled against my head, neck or face, which is sweet, if a bit non-breathy.

I only call him Hector some of the time. He never answered to ‘Ben’ which is his ADM adoption name, but I am aware that a new owner will want to name him themselves, and so I call him ‘puppy’ a lot as well as just squeaking *HEY* at him. (And growling NO!)

I note ADM have added a whole bunch of Ian Morrison’s fancy pictures to his profile – the main one being a black and white shot for all the world like an actor’s head shot.

Moody.


They also have him down as a staffie mix, which I am not sure he is. They might know better, or they might just be hedging their bets, since the trademark body type and triangular head won’t arrive for some time yet. What I notice is his paws are nice and big, and his legs are as long as Popsy’s already. And he walks like he had balls the size of tennis balls, even though they are no bigger than marbles. Also, he has a lot of spare skin on his head which makes him look like he is frowning – I think the spare skin is for his triangle head. But I could be wrong, so don’t quote me.

Here’s one which reflects his Scrappy Doo ness.

scrappy doo

Ten’s observation that young Hector has a touch of the Scrappy Doos about him reminds me of a statue in Kew Gardens called The White Greyhound of Richmond which, tragically, Wikipedia fails to illustrate, so you’ll have to click here to read about it after you have looked at the stupidly arty picture on the English Heritage site. When I first saw it I just thought SCOOOOBYDOOOOO!!!!!! But this was pre digital camera, so I don’t have my own image of it. And Kew is bloody miles away from here, so I doubt I will be snagging one soon.

Still! SCOOBYDOOOOOOO!!!!! No?

***

I fail to have much news to impart due to all the parenthood but I will do my best, since I love my blog and I love you reading my blog, my dear readers. I have just passed 500 likes, apparently, so that’s NICE and LIKEY.

***

At night I like to listen to Radio 4 plays and stories. There’s been a serialization of The Bell Jar lately, there’s always the Afternoon Play to catch up on, and I like The News Quiz, which is a satirical offering hosted by Sandi Tosfig and featuring Jeremy Hardy, both of whom I LOVE. What I didn’t love, the other night, was Thinking Allowed, which is hosted by sociologist Laurie Taylor. It’s not my favourite programme, but I do have a passing interest in things sociological, having done a postgraduate course in that area. Usually it’s pretty inoffensive. It’s not very challenging, but it sometimes airs some interesting things, and this episode promised a look at ‘neds’ – a sort of Scottish version of ‘chavs’, and for my American friends ‘white trash’ or for Grady – ‘zefs’. So far so predictable. Then he had another guest on, one Simon Harding, who has authored a book called ‘Unleashed’… a £70 tome about “attack dogs” and their owners. Priced presumably to catch that niche market ‘lawyers prosecuting dog attack cases’ he revealed his position to be an example of what, in sociology, we call a “common sense argument” – that is to say, ill thought out bollocks.

Relying mainly on statistics, Harding found that it was hard to get any qualitative research done since his interviews, designed to highlight these dogs owners as having ‘status deficit’ resulted in him having to RUN AWAY in the middle of them. Quel surprise.

What pissed me off was that my going to sleep cozy gravy of programmes had been RUINED by a spike of adrenaline as I listened to this smug tosser opine about the uneducated working classes.

He managed to make a strangled coda of ‘well, staffies are different’ but it was rather too little too late for my liking. My only hope, which presumably is his hope, is that having become an ‘expert’ in ‘attack dogs’ he will be asked to act as expert witness in dog bite cases. What will happen then is that the jury or, more likely JP, will discover what a total tosser this guy is as he reveals his ‘research’ to be merely prejudiced opinion.

You will hardly be surprised to discover that I wrote an Amazon review PDQ – although I had to fillet out all the swearing I had so creatively used in my facebook update on the same topic.

Hector’s House

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HOLD THE FRONT PAGE!

Today might be the day I foster THIS DOGGY!!! And by *I* I mean WE… Poppet is hardly likely to ignore this little chap, Ten is staying today in the hope that he arrives – I asked him what he was doing today and he said “Sniffing puppy” and Stephen next door is pretty keen, too.

he doesn’t seem to have a name yet. i am thinking “hector”

I was going to blog about my new tumble dryer, because I know how interested you’d be in that, but when Ira from All Dogs Matter emailed to say that this little chap (4 months old) needed a foster home last night, it kind of pushed the laundry excitement off the front page. We’ve had some near misses for fosters before, but this one is looking very likely, and despite thinking I am crazy, Ten is pretty excited.

***

In case you are disappointed not to hear all about the tumble dryer, here’s what I was writing when Ira emailed.

For someone so clever, why aren’t I clever?

D’you know, sometimes I wonder at my incredible ability to be slow on the uptake. Years ago I discovered that no matter how many times I went to steam baths and how much I enjoyed going to them I would always end up with a killer migraine. Also, in the past I’d get quite bad arthritic fingers, and I often wondered if arthritic pain might be part of my headache problem. Since seeing my current neuro, he has drawn me in to his very pragmatic view which is if your neck hurts take a triptan.

meet b

This might not LOOK like the most exciting photo ever, but believe me, it represents a dramatic improvement in my migraine situation. Last time I had the botox treatment it was as if I hadn’t had it at all. I put this down to two probable causes, the fact that I had taken some codeine in the previous weeks, which it turns out can nullify the botox effect, and the general winteriness of the onset of winter. However… what happened was that I had a week or so of leaks from the labyrinth of pipework behind my dishwasher/sink/washing machine arrangement. Hence, you see, I wasn’t using the washing machine for a while… AND, for the first time in a few months I was not sleeping with wet washing in my bedroom.

I did feel like a bit of an idiot when I realized the connection. I hurried onto the interwebs and researched the world of tumble dryers. You see, this is the first time I have lived somewhere where there isn’t a window in the bathroom, so you can’t dry washing over the bath. I haven’t used it an awful lot, but I also haven’t slept with damp washing in my bedroom either, and I have been remarkably well for the time of year, which has stood me in very good stead over a recent dreadfulness with running out of medication – ALL THE DRAMA, and not the nice, puppy driven kind of drama.

***

It being Terri’s birthday I made a little tumblr yesterday for her. It’s heavily stacked in favour of pictures of animals, and has no fancy art in it, so if this kind of thing is your bag click through. elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2013/2/08

Princesses, Films, Dogs, and Shopping

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So, here’s me and Poppet snuggled up ready to watch The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

many pillows in the viewing pit

Ten said I looked like a princess, so I let him take the photos. Although we all know who is the real princess in this house. Poppet is the young pretender. But she will have to wait, much like Prince Charles does.

all about the regal

And this is what it looks like OUTside the window…

the tottenham riviera

That’s at best, actually. Most of the time it’s been pissing it down. Poppet has had to get wet most walks, which means drying off, which she doesn’t like. It’s her own doing a lot of the time, since she actively walks into puddles and the day we found the dog she went into a really big one up to her middle. Of course, stray dog one upped her by falling in the canal, but in reality, it was Poppet who nudged her in. They were scampering about playing and stray dog was quite jumpy and lithe, and Poppet is a clumsy tank. It was bound to happen. Just lucky the little blighter didn’t drown.

Christmas is now over, with minimum fuss, and we still have The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest to watch today so I’m calling it a good one and will be ready to move on to the new year PDQ.

We are now bickering about lunch, and one of the options is salad and the other is Caribbean curry, so I think we are done with the Chinese theme of Jews Go to the Cinema Day even if we’re not finished with the viewing.

Ten and I both have TASKS to get on with, but I’m not sure we will get onto them today since we still have the trilogy to tidy up. All Dogs Matter phoned this morning, and it looks like we are going to be getting a foster dog after all. Or at least, we are going to try a dog with Poppet. She’s a pretty good hostess in general, but we’re narrowing the field to a calm male staffie type dog, just for optimization. ADM get a lot of staffies, so it’s not going to be a case of waiting for one to come along. I don’t know if we are cut out for fostering, but I’m quite into giving it a go.

My mum gave me a Kobo for xmas, which I asked for. It’s pocket sized. I don’t carry bags, so was quite drawn to the pocket-ness. My brother gave me money which, naturally, I have already spent. So now I am waiting for a parcel from Brand Alley. They do discounted stuff from a whole slew of brands, and this one is a fancy Danish one, so I will be appropriately attired when Borgen comes back on the telly.

I looked up the brand name DAY Birger Et Mikkelsen on Yelp and the two reviews were in Norwegian. I had google translate them for me and they were both really grumpy, not just complaining about the prices but also the snooty shop assistants. Ah, the joys of shopping online!

So-called Screensavers, A Stray Dog at Christmas, and Scary Santas

Standard

The Guardian kindly offered us a seasonal selection of what they called, quaintly, “screensavers”. They’re not, they are desktop pictures, but never mind. So I chose this one

ai weiwei

which looked marvelous projected up in between our xmas viewings. We started off watching the rather bizarre little film Love of a Kind, then we ate some Chinese food, then we settled down for the main event which was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. This, courtesy of one of the mystery Kirsties who I have mentioned before, and who like being mysterious, so mysterious they remain. Anyway, she’d sent me the set, and as it turns out it is the set I would have preferred anyway, featuring, as it does, Swedish with subtitles. We are now a third of the way through and thoroughly hooked.

I will now be changing our so-called “screensaver” to Cornelia Parker’s one.

cornelia parker

which will be less festive, but which I think will look super nice projected up.

***

Now then, though, I didn’t tell you what happened before that. We were taking the dog a festive walk to the chemist (I am awaiting, nervously, a shipment of triptans, which I knew I would run out of during the festive, bank holiday littered, season. And Lo, it has come to pass. I am now mid migraine and have officially RUN OUT.) Anyway, a guy with a dog said he’d seen a dog around without an owner and he asked us to keep an eye open. We found the dog and took it home. Poppet liked the little girl, and they played all along the towpath – until new dog FELL IN! It’s just as well we are on flood alert, because Ten managed to drag her out. We went home, dried off both dogs, fed newdog, then went back to try the chemist (who said to phone him on Thursday – I am on sodding tenterhooks, here) whereupon this guy said she was his dog and we had to give her up. I was quite sorry, her and Pops got on so well, and he seemed ill equipped to be looking after two dogs. He hadn’t brought a lead out for her and dragged her by the collar, and she did properly flinch at one point… still, nowt to be done.

***

And finally, our Amy of Lucy’s Football posted a link to something truly frightening.

boyoyoyoyoyoyoing!!!!!

A whole collection of 10 scary santas. In a fight against scary clowns I think the scary santas would have pretty good odds. And that is saying something.

I leave you with David Sedaris reading Six to Eight Black Men, which seems topical on more than one front right now.