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


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.


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.

my online life



i am proud to announce my first post as a daily waffle writer! here it is to click on;

how to make a dog smile.

i feel a little bit NOIVOUS. i feel a bit of a fraud constantly categorizing and tagging this blog with “HUMOUR”, and i felt very bambi trying out his first steps writing even such a short thing and using the FUNNY WAFFLE category. cheeky me! after all, is it really for me to say that i am bringing the funnies? well, at least the picture is worth a smirk. if not a LOL. in a sneak previewy sort of a way i am going to tell you something about what i want to do in the future on the waffle – i want to do some drawings. nothing fancy, but you know, i feel perfectly free to gank images for this blog, but i do feel that copyright infringement starts getting a bit naughty at a certain point. and it gives me an excuse to wield a crayon. i did a little one for this blog last week. it was the star i used to illustrate the idea of ‘gold stars all round’.

i didn’t really like the stars i found when i did an image search, so i just drew one. it only took me a few minutes. okay, it doesn’t actually glitter, and it’s not really gold. but i drew it on top of my crayon box which is a kind of grubby gold.

anyway, that’s the plan, and you heard it here first.


now, you may remember that i got a nice award recently, but i didn’t pay it forward because, for starters no one, NO ONE even accepted the last one that i did, and for nexters i was in the middle of migraine awareness month and my birthday and i wasn’t keeping up with reading blogs.

however! this has now been rectified, and i can tell you that i have read some great blogs over the past few days. one such is from a blog called ‘becoming cliche’ and the post is called it really works and it is all about how dieting in the style of a cat is the new atkins. i thought it was very funny so click through if you like a laugh.


just in case you’d prefer to be bummed out, there’s this from my facebook feed;

“The armed forces are already providing up to 13,500 personnel for the Games – split between the venues and back-up for police. Under the contingency plans, this could reach 16,500 – 7,000 more than are being deployed in Afghanistan.”

so, erm, you know the UK is supposed to be quite *free* and a *democracy* and all that? well, not content to arm the police (our police weren’t at all armed until fairly recently, then there were ‘armed units’ which were only to be deployed on actual specific missions and yesterday when i went to buy a bra in M&S there were two policemen just standing around at liverpool street station HOLDING BIG BLACK MACHINE GUNS. i’d go back and take a picture but i am too scared – i don’t want to be arrested or shot.) we are apparently now going to have the army not only manning ground to air missiles on the top of residential blocks in the borough, but also policing the damn games!

read more here Olympic security: army reinforcements called in to fill G4S shortfall if you can bear to, that is.


my first migraine, question time, and scary french stories


migraine awareness month heralds a blogging thingybob where we migraineurs are invited to blog together all month about migraines. now, you know me, i don’t like to bang on about my ailments, but i am going to give this a little whirl. i don’t know if i will manage every day, and i don’t intend to just give you a wall of migraine all month, what’d be the point of that apart from demonstrating in real time what my actual daily life is like and losing all and any readers in the process, i should think.

clicky through image to see the topics

thing is, there are lots of RULES about where to put links and how to tag and whatnot. frankly, my dears, i will give it a bash and if it is not SUPER EASY i will abandon it. and that, as you may have gathered, is how i roll. prompt one is this;

Migraine Awareness Month #1: Your First for the First. Share the story of your first Migraine, what it was like, if you knew what it was, what you did, how you felt.

the thing of it is, that i don’t know when my first migraine was. this might seem a bizarre statement to make, but it took me decades to get diagnosed, and i had a problem with chronic daily headache, made worse by tanking codeine based pain killers, for YEARS. i came off the pain killers under supervision and discovered that i’d been having a lot of rebound headaches.

once the rebound headaches had been weeded out i found that i was still having episodic headaches that would last around three days. i figured they were migraines, and went to my doc. darlings, this doctor was not notable for his bedside manner. and he didn’t like any attempt at self diagnosis. god knows what state he got into once joe and jolene public got their grubby mitts on google and wikepidia.

anyway, i told the doc what i thought and asked for triptans. he told me BRUSQUELY that if my headaches were not migraines they would not help. in a tone which told me in a capslock subtext that if i had diagnosed it myself then i couldn’t possibly be right and the drug wouldn’t help one bit, NO SIRREE BOB!

however, i was right, and the drug did help. for a while.

i remember, as a kid, having headaches and having to go to my bed during the day. i have no idea if they were migraines. my parents seem to think i was making them up. but i remember the pain. could have been something else, though, because i didn’t start having a problem with persistent headaches until i was in my early twenties. we may never know.

“National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by”


so, well done for reading that. what can i give you as a pudding? well, feast your eyes on this

it’s a new craze brought to my attention by @unfortunatalie who runs a question time evening in hackney where everyone hangs out together tweeting along to question time and ignoring their friends in the room. the dimble dance is named after richard dimbleby, who presents the show.

here’s a taste of the article;

“Question Time is a serious programme,” said one viewer, Chris Nicholson. “But at the same time there is something dramatic and even camp about it that opens up something of a pantomime.”
“There are no big ideas anymore,” said Nicholson. “So the politicians are now shop-window dummies for the audience to jeer at: I guess we’ve found our own comedic Orwellian hate hour now.”


what i loved was the way that nat retweeted all the people who said mean things about it on twitter! what a trouper! made me look, anyway, so bollocks to them! and hurrah to natalie for being such a good sport.


another guardian article caught my eye yesterday. terrifying french childrens books in pictures gave me quite a thrill.

all the horrid fun of shockheaded peter kind of a thing, but en francais! my current FAVOURITE language.

ou est maman? je ne sais pas! malhereusement, petite personne de quoi sexe, on a vu que tu es dans un forêt d’épines. is all i can say, for the moment!

libraries, poppet, art stuff, colourbox, scottish referendum, gardening, instapaper, tea, workfare, cooking.


1. soooo… ANGRY at this. sneaky FUCKERS. and not in a good way. what body of people moves *things* at 2am when they feel comfortable and legal and whatnot with their decision to do it?

almost particularly when those *things* are BOOKS. BOOKS! people! stripping a whole library at 2am. and now i am really going to swear.


2. poppet all better, and taking the best seat in the house (well, garden).


she’s doing well. i think the ear with the stitches in it might get itchy at some point and i will have to put the lampshade back on but she’s mostly NAKED and happily putting it all behind her. and yesterday we went out with mark and charlie, so she had lots of bull terrier fun with her young luvvahboy.

3. these look like some groovy sites for sharing your creative journey. not being active in the visual art world i hadn’t heard of most of them, but i have seen the colour one before. big fan of colour/color.

4. play some more of that colourbox stuff again!


5. so much for 2012. you’d think it was the END OF TIME the way people are going on about it. there will be life after the olympics, and there is a whole nother EVENT to look forward to. or, at least, there is for those that are interested in these things. september 2014 heralds a referendum on scottish independence. the debates are starting now. you can read a bit about it here if you’ve a passing interest.


i don’t live there any more, as you know, so will not get a vote. on the one hand, it will be bad for england if scotland becomes independent, at least in the short term, because MANY more people vote tory here. on the other hand it may radicalize people even more than the occupy/banking crisis/workfare stuff is doing already. and if scotland did become a kind of english speaking scandinavian country that would be kind of cool.

for them.

however, there is another side of NATIONALISM. as amy from lucy’s football  likes to say “what have we learned?” well, we have learned that nationalism can get a bit RACIST. yes it can.

think ON, scotland.

6. i’ve had my mum visiting, for the past few days, from scotland. we’ve been having a heatwave and have spent most of the time in the garden. this has meant that i have started FIDDLING with things. i’ve moved plants around, de-strangled some of the things i’d like to live, and banished the ferny thing to the bit where there is just london clay and pebbles. nothing else will grow there anyway, and it looks nice. you just can’t let it ENCROACH is all.

ferny thing. nice enough, and welcome in the pebbly clay, but a bit of an encroacher.

most things that i have moved have seemed happier where i have put them. all except a really sad poppy which hung it’s head tragically post move. it may rally overnight or it may not. i’ve not moved a poppy before.

i’ve put in some of my neighbour’s herb robert, and am excited about it. you can have the leaf tips as a tea.

7. you know what i like? instapaper. can’t remember where it was recommended, but i have been using it lots. it’s great for people who end up with more tabs than they can even see on their desktop. with it, you can just save a page for later IN THE CLOUD and happily close some tabs. it’s like having a good memory. most pleasing.

8. here’s something for our ken;

it isn’t credited on tumblr, which usually means i won’t post, but it’s too good not to show at least my blogging homies. 21,059 reblogs, as well! i wonder if the OP even knows that… no hits on tineye either.

9. you may notice that i yammer on about ‘workfare’ now and then. if you are not in the uk you might think ‘what on earth is she banging on about?’ especially if you don’t realize i am seriously unable to work for a living. here is a guardian column in which the writer covers quite a few of the things that make me worried and ballistic by turns.

10. sorry to whoever i nicked this from on twitter, but here is a hilarious tumblr pipcooksthebooks where the eponymous pip shows us the difference between the ‘showroom’ version of the dish and what it actually looks like when a normal person tries it. you have to click through. i’m not even going to try to find my favourite.

tutu. her cancer and her last cabaret


tutu having her head shaved before going in for chemo. (photo by ashley savage)

the image is from this article in the guardian. about the ‘pinkification’ of cancer, something tutu protested against with every fiber of her being.

“cancer sucks – fight it, love it, live it, survive it”

t shirt shows tutu after her mastectomy. you can buy one here.

i had to choose between going to the funeral or going to the wake, since it was all happening about an hour away – so that’s two hours travel plus the time there. already asking for trouble with fatigue, back pain and migraines, fibro is such fun. i originally offered to escort my friend hazel there, who is not good at mornings and is rather ill herself, but who had been tirelessly at her bed side until her death, so i wanted to make sure she got to the funeral, but it turned out that there were offers to drive her, so i decided to go to the wake instead, since there would be people there i hadn’t seen in a decade, and others who i see seldom, so i wanted to be able to spend some time with them and not just go to the funeral and have to leave straight afterwards.

i may not have gone at all if it wasn’t for ten, who worked out a good route, checked the pub was dog friendly, and escorted me and wrangled poppet on the two trains a bus and a walk that it took to get there.

she had asked that people release balloons instead of bringing flowers, so there was a bit of both and lots of people dressed up to the hilt, and hardly anyone wore black who wouldn’t be wearing it as a matter of course, and even some of them busted out the colours for the occasion.

as well as setting up a punkcancer facebook page, people who knew her shared stories about her on her regular page and by tagging her. somehow this seemed more gentle and under the radar than having everything on a memorial page. from what i have heard i think everything to do with her illness, her death, and the celebration of her life was done with a lot of kindness and love.

somehow i have not been to many funerals. i went to a couple with my dad, who tended to know his elderly relatives, and they were rather hideous affairs, like visiting a dole office. impersonal, dull, and cheap. i had the impression that this was what cremations were all about, but hazel told me that the celebrant at tutu’s funeral told a funny story about her which i had read on the fb page;

I remembered last night that Tutu was the person who introduced me to mashed potato with the skins still on. “I could give you a bunch of crap about vitamins…” she said “… but seriously – who the fuck has the time to peel potatoes?”

and had seen the photographs ashley savage had taken, and had talked about them from her own heart.

you can see them here. disclaimer be warned, they are explicit, and include some pictures of her on her deathbed. so if you feel at all triggery about any of the issues to do with cancer, operations, chemo, bereavement, don’t say i didn’t warn you, but seriously, click through, and watch them as a slide show THEY ARE AWE INSPIRING.

all i can say is that i guess most funeral celebrants don’t see that kind of evidence of the person they are talking about’s  extreme vivacity. even the photographs of her deathbed are alive with love and creativity.

i sat with old old friends. i managed an hour and a half. then ten whisked me away. poppet had done her glad handing – lainey, a long time dog owner, suggested i let her off the lead, and she had a great time, bringing doggy goodness to people.

by the time we reached the station i was utterly exhausted. i would never have managed without ten. today i am still in bed and it’s 7pm. i took the dog out for her first walk, and i will take her out again in a minute, and then i will go to bed properly.

the pictures of tutu on her deathbed are amazing. hazel kissing her, and her girlfriend erika laying her hands on her for the last time made me bawl.

i’ll leave the last words here to tutu – from her beautifully produced memorial card

“I just surf right out of my wardrobe, becoming whoever or whatever I want to be. I am a figment of my own imagination.”