Monthly Archives: December 2008

Very probably the last post of 2008

So, H and I went away for Christmas. By ourselves. Which was just as well, as the heating had packed up the week before Christmas and all through the house, every creature was shivering, yes, even the mouse (who lives in the attic and canters back and forth up there on quiet nights. Little bastard).

We went to stay in An Hotel, not actually colossally far from where we live, and mainly because H spotted they were doing a special offer thingy several months ago and grabbed it with both hands. We stayed in An Hotel for four nights, and we did the following things:

  1. Ate.
  2. Drank (and, naturally, toasted the gonk)
  3. Lay on the bed and read to each other.
  4. Went for exceedingly long walks through assorted parks and along river banks.
  5. Went to the Sales, even, and brought trousers.
  6. Ate some more. And had another drink while we were at it.
  7. Watched telly.
  8. Played cards without bickering.

And then yesterday morning we came back to the flat, which was naturally unutterably cold and exceedingly clammy. The heating is actually working. Sort of. The emergency repairman did a MacGyver on it with something else’s spare part, and lo, we had hot water! But we are under strict instructions not to overwork said boiler for verily, it is held together with spit and chewed string. Ah well. We will survive on half-rations of heat until the emergency repairman can find the Peculiar Bit Only Our Model Of Boiler Ever Uses And That Will Probably Have To Be Ordered From Korea, sometime in 2011 no doubt. We are currently drying socks and vests on a rack in front of the gas fire, like an illustration of a Victorian nursery.

Anyway. We must wrap up the rest of the presents, for today we are Being Good and heading off to H’s lot for a couple of days, and then we are Being Very Good, Possibly Saintly, and going to my mother’s for New Year (I am packing the Chocolate Lichen).

Meanwhile the Clomid is Officially Messing With My Head, in that I am having daily anxiety – well now, attacks is too exciting a word. Anxiety being-shouted-at-on-the-bus-by-man-wearing-plastic-bag. I find myself feeling increasingly tense and snappish and absolutely sure something, somewhere, has gone hideously wrong, starting with ‘and the boiler has leaked again in our absence’ (it didn’t), cascading through ‘and our families will hate us for not spending Christmas with them and will torment us with it forever’ (even though it’s their own silly fault for spending Christmas abroad a-freakin’-gain), and ending up in the wilder reaches of ‘and a giant asteroid will strike the Earth on New Year’s Eve and the handful of survivors will only live through the ensuing ice-age by eating each other’ (oh, for fuck’s sake). Imagine what fun I was the first three goes, when I had Big Sensible Things to be worried about, like essay deadlines and dissertations?

There was one difficult moment, on Boxing Day. H and I were at Kew, freezing our faces off in the east wind, and as we walked round the lake I suddenly said ‘Look. That’s the bench where we sat and fed the baby geese on the May Bank Holiday, when I was pregnant but we didn’t know it yet.’

‘Oh,’ said H. ‘I hadn’t thought of that.’

And there was a long, rather anguished pause while I stood on the bank and stared out at the adult geese and felt horrible.

But it was just the one bad moment. Other than that, we survived Christmas.


To the Bat-Cave, darlings!

Christmas is a bloody hard, bloody weird sort of time, especially when you are running away from your family for the second year running but will nevertheless have to face them all after Boxing Day, and especially when you’re on Clomid (fingernails? Who needs ’em!).

Therefore, The Hairy Farmer Family sent me a little parcel, that arrived a couple of days before our jail-break. H and I took it with us to An Hotel, and on Christmas morning, in pyjamas, drinking the admittedly unattractive tea you always seem to have made yourself in a hotel bedroom (I know it should have been Bucks Fizz), I ceremonially opened it.

And nearly fell off the bed laughing. I laughed for minutes on end, in fact, and laughed even harder when H said, bewildered, ‘How on earth did she get hold of that?’ And by the end of the laughing, I was more than a little teary-eyed and verklempt, and we had to put big boots on and go for a very long walk to make room for Christmas lunch.


I do so love the Internets. All the best people in the world live there.

For this is what HFF had sent me (and this is why):


It never rains but it sturm und drang

For firstly, the Cold of Filth became the Larynx of Filth, tired of that, attempted the Sinus Infection of Filth, and has now settled down into the Hoarse Barking Cough of Filth With Added Blocked Nose.

For secondly, the period, oy vey, but where does it get off hurting like that? By hurting, I don’t mean I go ‘ow’ and feel grumpy. I mean I feel faint and sick and have to lie down and groan and can’t eat and no painkiller seems to do more than take the edge off – the worst cramps seem to be suddenly relieved by the passing of a blood-clot of distressing size, whereapon I get a couple of hours of feeling quite comfortable, thank you, before it starts building up again. Is this normal? Anyway, the whole thing is ludicrous. It’s only a freaking period. I’m supposed to have periods. And here the stupid thing is, ruining my weekend, I can’t leave the house I feel so appalling (the Cold of Filth is so not helping with that), it’s Christmas on Thursday, I want a hysterectomy right now this minute, why the hell aren’t I pregnant for Christmas, woe is me, sob sob flail.

And thirdly, the central heating and the hot water both run off the same neat little combi-boiler, which we keep on the kitchen wall. On Saturday afternoon I was pottering in the kitchen during one of my ‘golly, I can stand up straight’ intervals when I noticed a pool of water on the counter. I wiped it up. It reappeared. Shit. H came over to investigate, and realised the water was seeping out from the boiler. Double shit. He opened it up and found the leak, in the central heating part, and also found it was not the sort of leak he could stop with a whack from a spanner. Triple shit. We wedged a bucket under it and tried calling the out-of-hours number for the land-lord, the people who maintain the boiler, all the other numbers for the land-lord, the boiler people again, round and round, no answer no answer, meanwhile the sodding bucket overbalanced and H and I ran around with newspaper and more buckets and said SHIT! so many times it became quite funny, and H even said FUCK! which is quite unlike him (I am the potty-mouth in this relationship), and H fitted the bucket with an extra support and a siphon system, which was exceedingly clever, and we phoned and phoned and phoned and no one answered and I hurt like the bloody blue blazes and had to go and lie down again and all the water drained out of the radiators and with the pressure in the boiler down to zero, the boiler decided it couldn’t possibly do hot water EITHER, and we both nearly cried. And then H had to get up at 4 am to make sure the bucket hadn’t overflowed (it hadn’t, and was nowhere near overflowing as the radiators were completely empty by then). (But if he hadn’t set the alarm and got up, it would have, Murphy’s Law). So now we have no hot water at all and no central heating. Thank everything, there is a gas fire in the living-room. Also, three blankets on the bed on top of the duvet.

On a minor note, fourthly, I have just washed my hair using a bucket of warm water and a large mug. And then it got tangled and I went slightly (or, possibly, completely) mad and hacked the tangle out with H’s beard scissors and then H had to neaten the resulting mess and hey! I have had a hair cut! Not drastic, but a good two to three inches. Which was a slight surprise. And I am very glad I have wildly curly hair as I am quite sure it’s still a bit uneven and dorky. But with curls, who can tell? Please tell me you can’t tell.

Fifthly, H’s grandmother, the alas completely dotty one who is bed-blocking in the local hospital because they can’t find a place in a care-home for her, got a Cold of Filth also and is now too ill to get out of bed, which is extremely worrying. Little old ladies should not get Colds of Filth. I don’t know whether to hope that the person who passed it to her finds out what he or she did and Learns To Be A Better Person, or doesn’t ever find out, because oy vey the guilt.

And sixthly, I realised the other day that I should of course be the size of a freaking house and going on maternity leave right about now. This pissed me off very much indeed.

But seventhly, Clomid take 4 starts tonight instead. So I can go Jekyll and Hyde in style on Christmas Day


Oh, hello, period. You again. Make yourself at home, why don’t you. Ah. I see you have already. My own stupid fault for wearing pretty knickers, no doubt.

This is my mind and I think I have lost it

Item – Where to start?

Item – Oh yes. H brought ice-cream (Ben & Jerry’s, something involving caramel and chocolate buttons that really, really, should not be allowed because how in God’s name do you stop yourself hunting down the carton to dig out more chocolate buttons?) home this evening It was technically medicinal, to soothe my battered throat and bored and fidgetty house-bound soul, but he later remarked that what he really wanted was another mention in my blog as an all-round, 24-carat-gold, super-star husband. Ah.

Item – Yes, I still have the Cold of Filth. The gremlins managed to divert the nasal outpouring down the back of my throat just after lunch, so I have swapped sneezing and tissue-filling for a cough like an excitable cigar-loving seal in an echo-chamber. I’ll get croup again, so I shall.

Item – H sneezed this morning. The bastard.

Item – I have decided not to take Big Heap Medicine for colds, despite all the lusciously inviting adverts for every conceivable brand of decongestant on the telly at the moment, because it is 11 days past ovulation and, well, anyway. So I am feeling considerably shitter than I need to, on the very slight off-chance that I’m not alone in here. Typing that out made me feel small and stupid.

Item – To go with tonight’s small and stupid theme, I peed on a stick this morning. On day 11. And it weren’t the first pee of the day neither. Stick, he say, ‘piss off, stupid female.’

Item – I thought I saw something on the stick a little later. But only in direct overhead lighting conditions while I glance at it out of the corner of my eye from the other side of the bathroom during an impromptu rendition of the Stick-and-Bucket Dance performed on one leg while singing ‘Knees-up Mother Brown’ in a hoarse falsetto. Any closer or less frantic inspection reveals – nothing. Stick, he say, ‘Let the Mind-Fuck commence.’

Item – Meanwhile, the NHS surges up out of left-field and hits me across the glasses with a wet carp. The doctor I spoke to about counselling in the first place, back on the 14th of November, called me, actually called me, to say he’d referred me to the only counselling service in the area that dealt with infertility and miscarriage. Hurrah! Ah ha ha ha BUT, it’s at that hospital, the one where I spent so very very many head-fuckingly awful hours when I was losing Pikaia, where the EPU staff were cretinously unpleasant and where I spent far more time than any woman should throwing up, hyperventilating, and bleeding. I have a sort of post-traumatic allergy to that hospital. The very idea of having to go back there for any reason at all makes my stomach hurt. Of course, counselling would help with that. Ah, but also, clinic hours are weekdays between 9:30 and 4:30. And I would be going once a week for twelve weeks. But… but… but I work full time. My work-place is over an hour from the hospital. Part of my general fucked-upness is the stress of how and how much all this is affecting my ability to go to work and do my work and not alarm anyone at work and now they want me to somehow blag an entire fucking morning or afternoon off a week? Why the hell don’t they do evenings or weekends? Why the hell not? I work full-time, damn it. Lots of infertile miscarriers do. Why on earth would I want anyone at all at work to know I need bloody buggering counselling just so I can bear their pointless little control-freak whining about time-keeping and coffee-breaks when my baby is not only dead but was never alive in the first place?

Item – *ahem* I seem to have freaked out a little there. Sorry about that.

Item – H said, when I told him all this, ‘well, we’d better look at alternatives then’. H thinks that hospital can go swivel too.

Item – If anyone wants me, my pee-stick and I will be hanging out in the bathroom with the last of the chocolate buttons.

Excuse me, I must just sneeze

Item – I went to see dear old Doc Tashless (still, currently, ‘tashless). I showed him the Horrible Letter, and explained that I’d never received the previous letter, sob sob. He said ‘oh, well, I had better write to them and get you re-instated then.’  Oh. OK.

Item – I also asked him about the counselling that I have not heard anything back about neither. ‘I’ll ask my colleage where he’s got to with that. Let me check we have your contact details.’ Oh. OK.

Item – He asked me if I wanted anything for my truly revolting cold, and I said no, it’s a cold. A medicated cold lasts for a week, an unmedicated one for seven days. Hah hah hah! said Doc Tashless, aren’t you sensible! And then he gave me the ‘antibiotics don’t work on colds’ lecture anyway, which nonplussed me.

Item – Day 10 of the two-week-wait. Hmph.

Item – This cold is so disgusting. So very, very disgusting. The skin on my poor over-wiped nose gave up this morning, cracked, and started bleeding merrily. It is remarkable how very, very plain a bad cold can make a girl look. Along with the red-raw scabby nose, I have cracked and peeling lips, very dry, flaking skin all over, puffy red eyes, the snotty tissues up every sleeve and in every pocket are not helping, and I am breathing heavily through my mouth like an adenoidal village idiot. Poor H has to come home from work to this. Lucky, lucky H.

Item – On the plus side, I get to sit in a heap snuffling into my hot Ribena and watching elderly Sci-Fi on the telly all by my horrid self. Which would be bliss if I could breathe.

99 flake

I was tagged by Katie, of What Am I?/Dr Spouse. And as I am stuck at home today with cold of filth, I memed! Hi Katie! Cool meme! Kept me busy for hours!

99 Things I Have Or Have Not Done.

Bold is for “done”, italics is for “Would like to do.”

1. Started my own blog – Yep, two of them.
2. Slept under the stars – I wouldn’t recommend it. It gets freakin’ cold about three in the morning.
3. Played in a band – Does ‘sung in a choir’ count?
4. Visited Hawaii – Am more interested in visiting Canada, the Shetlands, New Zealand, the Arctic Circle and Tasmania. Ooh, do we sense a ‘doesn’t do hot weather’ theme?
5. Watched a meteor shower – Several times. The best was as a teenager in Australia – the stars were so clear and the meteors so huge and bright and frequent. The most silly was recently, H and I huddled in our back yard here in Urban Central trying to spot a Leonid through the haze of street-light and general British disinclination to clear skies. We saw three. Well. One each and a thing-out-of-corner-of-eye. And then we realised we were really cold, and went in again.
6. Given more than I can afford to charity – I tend to have a spontaneous Big Gesture moment and then go home thinking, bugger. That was all my coffee money for a week. As an undergraduate student, it would sometimes be, bugger. That was my dinner money for a week. I was quite skinny as an undergrad.
7. Been to Disneyland/world – No. Shan’t. Wild horses couldn’t etc. On the other hand, I said exactly the same about the Millenium Dome, and I went like a shot when I got free tickets from a friend. (It was shit).
8. Climbed a mountain – I used to live up one. But I’ve climbed them too. Small ones. With easy routes to the top. It’s a fabulous feeling even when said mountain is a bit of a pimple, really.
9. Held a praying mantis – Not that I wanted to. Their limbs are slightly barbed and stick onto your skin in a deeply upsetting way. Small boys are horrible.
10. Sung a solo – I would love to have the guts. Last year, I sang in a choir workshop for semi-professionals and I did not wet myself and fall down in a faint. You never know.
11. Bungee jumped – I don’t like heights.
12. Visited Paris – Paris is overrated. I have not once been there and enjoyed it. I would rather go to Southern France or Brittany or Normandy or indeed pretty much any other bit of Europe at all. Dear God, but Parisians are rude and stuck up. It’s one thing being rude to braying anglo-american tourists who won’t speak French, it’s quite another refusing to serve a child because she can’t pronounce ‘croissant’ correctly.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea – I’ve done one from an airplane window. Does that count? The lightening goes UPWARDS. Very very scary-beautiful.
14. Taught myself an art from scratch – Crochet totally counts. As does poetry-writing and making ice-cream.
15. Adopted a child – This is not a very likely possibility just at present. But I’m certainly not going to discount it.
16. Had food poisoning – Oh God. I threw up in Oxford Street when I was twelve (I nearly threw up in Laura Ashley’s. They are exceedingly lucky I made it into the street). My Dad was having a ‘worst cook ever’ month. He used smoked sausage to embiggen the remains of a pasta salad the night before, specially for me as I’d got home very late and missed dinner (train problems), he just sliced it and chucked it in uncooked, and when my step-mother finally made it home with the damp limp rag that had been his daughter, she insisted on looking at the packaging and saw it should have been eaten the week before. Thanks, Dad.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty – One day.
18. Grown my own vegetables – I remember the cold days of potato digging, being sent out to pick tomatoes in the roasting sun, watering cucumbers and courgettes, cutting asparagus for market, oh, yes, I have totally grown my own vegetables. Imagine the joy of living in a city – people dig your potatoes for you! And put them in convenient shops for you to find! All you have to do is give them money!
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France – I saw a plastic rectangle fourteen miles away the other side of a cavernous room over the heads of a sea of ninety-seven million other people. I am informed it was the safety panel over the Mona Lisa. Heigh ho.
20. Slept on an overnight train – Several times. Only any fun if the other buggers in the compartment shut the fuck up and indeed, fuck off and let you get the beds down. Bastards. Just because they were drinking and playing cards.
21. Had a pillow fight – Squadrillions. It’s what you go to an all-girls boarding-school for. You at the back there, yes, you, take your hand out of your pocket and leave this blog right now.
22. Hitchhiked – No. Far too chicken.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill – Once or twice. But, I could argue, it was for my mental health, which was definitely fluey at the time. Am currently choking on rivers of blood-streaked snot, so this one is totally legit.
24. Built a snow fort – Yeaaaah! Snow forts! In the mountains it did snow properly some years, and my sister and I were basically wrapped up like Arctic explorers and thrown out-doors as long as the daylight lasted. One year we pretty much built a snow Versailles before it finally melted.
25. Held a lamb – I grew up on a sheep farm. I was also once kicked in the face by a lamb I was trying to rescue from a storm drain. I am not too sentimental about dear little baa-lambs. I prefer human babies.
26. Gone skinny dipping – Yes. And sauna’d nude. And hot-tubbed nude with my nude parents-in-law. Who, I promise, are not Scandinavian. Just hippies. As am I.
27. Run a marathon – One day I shall. I used to do cross-country running in my teens. I could totally do a marathon. Maybe. Eventually. *sigh*.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice – I’ve been to Venice several times and have never done this and to be honest, am not hugely bothered. The gondolas are absolutely not the best bit about Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse – So very nearly. The last time there was a total eclipse in Blighty I was about 50 miles too far east, and only got a very nearly total. And that, in the words of Diva, was WELL COOL.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset – Many a time and oft. Especially now that it’s December and I can watch the sunrise from the top deck of the bus if I leave home on time for work.
31. Hit a home run – Once! At rounders! When I was thirteen! I was so proud! Because I am a sporting clutz! Also I think the coffee-with-maple-syrup is kicking in!
32. Been on a cruise – I’d love to go on a cruise, and see whales.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person – Nope. Would rather see Iguazu, or Mosi-oa-Tunya. I’m not a joiner.
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors – *Shrug*
35. Seen an Amish community -Quilts quilts quilts quilts quilts.
36. Taught myself a new language – I wish to learn Japanese, BSL, and Elvish. Not serious about the Elvish. Or am I? Ha ha ha haaa.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied – I have more money now than I’ve ever had in my life. I’m not rich, but I’m not worried either, and it’s lovely.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person – I climbed it! Before they closed it in 1990 and it still hung at a falling-down angle! I climbed it in a thunderstorm! Water was pouring down the marble stairs! You have to go out onto the loggias to get round to the next part of the stair-case and they have no barriers! And slant! Downwards! To certain death! In the pouring rain! I nearly peed myself with terror! Did I mention I hate heights! Gahh! And when we got to the top, they closed it as being ‘too dangerous to climb in this weather’ and we still had to get back down! GAHH!
39. Gone rock climbing – I’ve done a touch of rock-scrambling, and that will do me just fine. Did I mention I hate heights?
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David – Yes. Underwhelmed. It’s a big thuggy bloke with skull-crusher hands, also, not circumcised. What the hey has that got to do with David? Prefer Donatello’s accurate adolescent boy version, even though it is worryingly camp.
41. Sung karaoke – Nope.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt – Nope.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant – Nope. Though I have bought strangers coffee, water, bus tickets and once a taxi-ride.
44. Visited Africa – Nope. But Mosi-oa-Tunya is in Africa, you know.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight – and I didn’t even get snogged. Pfft.
46. Been transported in an ambulance – Several times, woe is me.
47. Had my portrait painted – My sister Trouble has painted me a couple of times. The first time I looked lovely but you couldn’t see my face, the second time I was topless (the things we do for family) and she made me look like the Willendorf Venus. Thanks, Troub.
48. Gone deep sea fishing – I’d rather go snorkling.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person – Nope. Am not vastly bothered. Have seen the Scrovegni Chapel and Orvieto Cathedral and Assisi Cathedral before the earthquake ruined it. I base my not-botheredness on much experience. I am so bloody pretentious.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris – It rained.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling – I’d love to do this.
52. Kissed in the rain – It’d be more fitting to ask a British woman if she’d ever kissed in the sun. I have also kissed in snow, sleet, hail, gales, and indoors.
53. Played in the mud – My mother has marvellous photographic evidence of this somewhere.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre – I was taken to one in Italy on a date set up by my mother (oh God), by the very nice and very dull son of a friend of hers (oh God), who kissed me politely on the cheek once, and said I was too clever to be anyone’s girlfriend. At sixteen, this felt peculiarly humiliating.
55. Been in a movie – Yes! There’s a German made-for-TV movie out there somewhere with a shot of me sitting on a wall watching some street-performers! In a blue dress! Trouble was playing The Heroine As A Little Girl and I was SOOOO freaking jealous. I was not a nice kid.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China – Nope.
57. Started a business – I used to be a freelance proofreader and subeditor. I didn’t earn enough to keep me in pencils. Gah.
58. Taken a martial arts class – Does not appeal.
59. Visited Russia – Nope
60. Served at a soup kitchen – I was volunteered by a Very Christian friend who I was staying with one weekend. Naturally, the atheist was the one who fell over while carrying a two-foot stack of plates and broke every single one of them. Owie owie owie.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies – Nope.
62. Gone whale watching – Ooh, ooh, yes please!
63. Got flowers for no reason – H has indeed got me flowers just because I’d been a bit meh and he thought I needed cheering up. I do love that man.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma – Yes, lots, but not since the whole trying to get pregnant, surgery, clomid, miscarriage, surgery, antibiotics bollocks started.
65. Gone sky diving – Oh please no.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp – I can’t. Some of my family actually died in them. I can’t do it. I was traumatised for weeks just for visiting the Holocaust display at the Imperial War Museum.
67. Bounced a check – Funnily enough, no, never. Also, I have a slight phobia about doing this.
68. Flown in a helicopter – Nope.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy – My teddy-bear, Pearl, and my china doll, Sara-Claudia, are still with me today. Pearl lives in the pile of books on the bedside table, and Sara-Claudia lives on the study bookshelf.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial – Nope.
71. Eaten caviar – I was underwhelmed. It was… fishy. I prefer smoked salmon.
72. Pieced a quilt – Correction. I am piecing a quilt. For a friend. As a wedding present. She got married two years ago. Shhhh. On the other hand, she is spinning me some yarn and has been for the past FOUR years, so I think we’re even.
73. Stood in Times Square – Nope.
74. Toured the Everglades – Nope. Look, I’ve never been to the States at all, OK?
75. Been fired from a job – Nope.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London – Yes! And not on the telly neither!
77. Broken a bone – wrist, several times. Toe, once. I am a very clumsy person.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle – My step-father used to collect us from school on his, and we’d hang on to him and each other like grim death as he zipped and bounced over mountain roads. In fact, why aren’t we dead? Or at least hideously mangled? Because that was mental.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person – NO. Have not been to States. Have you seen the Giant’s Causeway? Helvellyn? The Kyles of Bute? Trafalgar Square? Lavenham? Edinburgh Castle? The walls of York? Wells Cathedral? No? Why ever not?
80. Published a book – Prime ambition, up there with reproducing successfully and bringing about World Peace?
81. Visited the Vatican – Katie Dr Spouse said: “you know you can’t visit the Sistine Chapel otherwise, right?”. I concur. But you can visit the Vatican (at least the outside) and NOT the Sistine Chapel.
82. Bought a brand new car – Nope. Can’t even drive. Ha ha ha ha.
83. Walked in Jerusalem – Nope.
84. Had my picture in the newspaper – A couple of times, twice as a child being cute (as woolly-hat-wearing toddler niece of ski champion, and at a political rally in Italy), and once as a ‘concerned passerby’ kvetching about local politics in the local rag.
85. Read the entire Bible – Which is why I am an atheist.
86. Visited the White House – Nope. See above.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating – Well, I have prepared animals my mother or step-father killed, many a time.
88. Had chickenpox – and I have the scars to show for it.
89. Saved someone’s life – debatable. I gave blood. I once grabbed a little kid out of the road before a car thundered past at the speed of sound. H and I once played ‘race you to the bathroom’ and I cheated outrageously to win and as soon as I nipped in and slammed the door, shrieking with giggles, several bees stung me, one on the neck. H is allergic – adrenalin-jab carrying allergic – to bees. My blood still runs cold when I think about it.
90. Sat on a jury – Nope.
91. Met someone famous – I once accidentally followed John Thaw into a lavatory, whereapon he turned round and said in a pained voice ‘I don’t do autographs’. I hadn’t recognised him until he did turn round and I was MORTIFIED. Have also met Barry Unsworth, Leon Garfield (who was a gent), Salman Rushdie, Timothy Mo (who let me play with his very expensive draughtman’s pens), and I know someone who knows Alan Lee and Neil Gaiman.
92. Joined a book club – Nope. I am not a joiner. Also, I talk too much.
93. Lost a loved one – Yes. Grandparents and aunts and cousins and good friends.
94. Had a baby – No. Just… No.
95. Seen the Alamo in person – Oh for…
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake – No.
97. Been involved in a law suit – No.
98. Owned a cell phone – What? Who on earth blogs but doesn’t own a cell phone? Or mobile phone, as we call it this side of the Atlantic.
99. Been stung by a bee – Bees! Lots! And wasps! And scorpions! And hornets! And ants! Invertebrates hate me!

I tag you. Yes, you. You’ve read all the way down to here, haven’t you? You know you want to really.