Category Archives: Memes

Busy week

That’s my excuse…

Completely not thought about what I would write this week. When sitting down to do so this evening I did have one idea and started on my merry way  writing about inspiration and motivation and then had a vague sensation that I’d written something about this topic before… That’s fine, I thought, I can link to it… Found the post in the archives and realised that covered all I was going to say and more… not a bad post actually, don’t think I’d have written it as well this evening.

So, I resorted to hunting around for a meme I hadn’t done and found this one:

1. Where is your cell phone? Plugged in getting charged for the week ahead (well the 2 days it usually lasts)
2. Where is your significant other? In the other room NaNoWriMo-ing
3. Your hair color? Blonde – always has been.
4. Your mother? Artistic, but has never really let herself explore her talents.
5. Your father? Musical. Busy.
6. Your favorite thing? Tough one – love my iPhone & iPad, but the thing I hate to leave the house without and would dash back in to save (assuming May is already safe) from the hypothetical inferno is the ring May gave me for our 6th anniversary.
7. Your dream last night? I rarely remember my dreams, if I do they are usually rather strange
8. Your dream/goal? Largish house somewhere close enough to civilisation for good broadband, but far enough away from the hubbub for peace and quite.
9.The room you’re in? Study/spare room, rather cluttered with domestic appliance boxes and work shirts that need ironing.
10. Your hobby? A year ago I would have said photography in a flash (hahaha, sorry), but I’ve lost my imaging inspiration; so for now I’ll stick with singing, as I seem to be involved in three choirs at the moment.
11. Your fear? Losing control; no idea what of – and as others have pointed out it’s all an illusion anyway. It’s under active discussion with my therapist anyway.
12. Where do you want to be in six years? That house would be nice…
13. Where were you last night? Out singing in a concert, sorry I cannot be more specific.
14. What you’re not? Out of work (which I could easily be at the moment)
15. One of your wish list items? Benda Bilili DVD
16. Where you grew up? Dorset.
17. The last thing you did? Wrote the word ‘Dorset’… caught up with the first episode of season two of the BBC drama ‘The Hour’
18. What are you wearing? Wedding ring, hair elastic, purple t-shirt, dark grey sweatshirt, light-blue briefs, black tracksuit bottoms and purple slippers.
19. Your T.V.? 32″ Samsung LED, a great investment – has lasted well and is just the right size for our place.
20. Your pets? A de Broglie–Bohm kitten
22. Your mood? Somewhere between Meh and OK
23. Missing someone? Grandfather who died earlier this year.
24. Your car? Hired when we need it… if we move out of town and had to get one, then I would very, very seriously consider electric.
25. Something you’re not wearing? A watch. Haven’t owned one for years.
26. Favorite store? Apple
27. Your Summer? Too brief
28. Love someone? Very much.
29. Your favorite color? Blue or purple.
30. Last time you laughed? Listened to The Bugle earlier
31. Last time you cried? Children in Need – yes, they extracted money from my wallet

99 things

99 Things I Have Or Have Not Done. May’s list from a while ago. I carefully quickly deleted her responses to avoid any possible cheating.

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

1. Started my own blog – well I tried but quickly ran out of inspiration of what to say; I may well try again, but it’s more likely to be work related.
2. Slept under the stars – not something I’d do again in this country, far too cold; I prefer star-gazing from a hot-tub, bur probably best not to fall asleep in that.
3. Played in a band – played in a windband.
4. Visited Hawaii – no and not near the top of my list either.
5. Watched a meteor shower – not had much luck though, only ever seen a handful of meteors.
6. Given more than I can afford to charity – I give to charity reasonably regularly, but not huge amounts at a time.
7. Been to Disneyland/world – no, just no.
8. Climbed a mountain – at least two – Snowdon and one in Austria; been on top of a mountain in Switzerland too, but admit I took the cable-car most of the way up.
9. Held a praying mantis – nope.
10. Sung a solo – I’m pretty sure I have.
11. Bungee jumped – no and not likely to neither; too much adrenaline makes me feel very sick.
12. Visited Paris – seem to have missed this one on a couple of occasions; would be nice, but not a high priority destination.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea – is it particularly spectacular?
14. Taught myself an art from scratch – photography, much improved over the last few years – finally went on a weekend course recently, which will hopefully give me a little improvement boost.
15. Adopted a child – it’s a possibility, but not something that I’d put down as a ‘like to do’ at the moment.
16. Had food poisoning – probably, I think some slightly undercooked chicken on a BBQ at uni, although far too much alcohol also taken that evening is equally likely to have contributed to the messy night.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty – nope, not been to the USA (and unlikely to) skimming down the list this may be slightly tedious; tempted to replace all the American destinations with a wider variety of world sites…
18. Grown my own vegetables – no garden and several year waiting list for allotments, so this isn’t going to happen in the near future; I would probably grow the more expensive and exotic veg, rather carrots and potatoes, oh and herbs, lots of herbs.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France – so tempted to say yes to this to confuse people…
20. Slept on an overnight train – definitely want to take the Caledonian sleeper to/from Scotland, almost done it a few times, but needs far too much pre-planning to get tickets at a reasonable price; usually hire a car in the end and do visits to interesting places on the journey, which is also great fun.
21. Had a pillow fight – pretty sure I have (don’t have a great memory).
22. Hitchhiked – far too introverted for that sort of activity.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill – hmmm, sometimes I may have exaggerated a touch but always been slightly ill.
24. Built a snow fort – far too busy sledging.
25. Held a lamb – only a roasted bit of one, I think they’re tastier like that; or prettier in the distance.
26. Gone skinny dipping – not since I was a kid mind.
27. Run a marathon – never likely to get to that distance, should really try for a 5K or something.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice – I valued my family and internal organs too much to auction them off.
29. Seen a total eclipse – almost complete solar and complete lunar.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset – sunset far too easy, think this should be just sunrise; think I’ve done that once (not a morning person).
31. Hit a home run – why would I want to do that? what’s a home run ever done to deserve a beating?
32. Been on a cruise – Nordic fjords definitely calling, but being stuck on board with goodness knows who makes me hesitate wimp out; also requires lots of forward planning, not easy to do when TTC.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person – nope.
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors – how many generations back before they count as ancestors? I’ve been to the house one of my grandmother’s was born in. I have traced my paternal line back a few more generations to Shropshire area; keep meaning to do more research in local parish records there.
35. Seen an Amish community – nope.
36. Taught myself a new language – taught myself PHP to a prett fluent level, but had tuition for the more advanced level; considering dabbling in Ruby or Python.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied – not something one can predict as a future event; feel rather guilty leaving as a no though, as certainly living comfortably and not scraping by despite multi-year wage freezes, increased NI tax and now govt wanting to rob me of extra contributions. Materialistically I’ve always wanted to own property but just missed the bottom of the ladder by about two or three years when prices shot up in the 90s/00s. Such a first world issue.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person – only from a train window.
39. Gone rock climbing – see bungee jumping.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David – only the copy in the square.
41. Sung karaoke – I can sing, but never plucked up the courage (or found exactly the right amount of alcohol) to participate; main problem is I’m not confident enough that I can remember the whole melody of a song!
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt – another nope.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant – no, not had occasion to – not sure when one would? Certainly wouldn’t rule it out as a random act of generosity – intriguing concept.
44. Visited Africa – another continent unexplored; given that I burn to a crisp in UK, however, I’m not sure that would be the ideal continent for me.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight – not that I can remember.
46. Been transported in an ambulance – though only as an extra passenger along with May.
47. Had my portrait painted – don’t think so.
48. Gone deep sea fishing – no, not keen on being completely surrounded by water in anything smaller than a large ferry.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person – nope.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris – why so many things in Paris? this one does actually interest me though.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling – no, aqua-phobic for being under water.
52. Kissed in the rain – that has a lot to answer for doesn’t it, May 😉
53. Played in the mud – have a vague impression I was impossible to keep out of it as a toddler.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre – do they have them in the UK?
55. Been in a movie – no, only in a TV documentary (only for less than 10 seconds, was very envious at the time that the camera lingered on my brother for about 30 seconds).
56. Visited the Great Wall of China – it’s just a lot of old bricks isn’t it?
57. Started a business – as part of school business studies project; we created ‘pet’ rocks (pebbles) and other items (like nails) by affixing wobbly eyes and other adornments to them. In adult life I’m far to risk-averse, unless I come up with the next Facebook or retire to the outerwherevers to run a small shop.
58. Taken a martial arts class – never found the idea attractive really.
59. Visited Russia – would love to see the Moscow underground stations.
60. Served at a soup kitchen – something I keep meaning to do.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies – I think it would be slightly creepy if I had.
62. Gone whale watching – see deep sea fishing.
63. Got flowers for no reason – I assume this means procured flowers for no reason, rather than received?
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma – ashamed to say no, and now I’m on blood-pressure medication it makes it less likely.
65. Gone sky diving – see bungee jumping.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp – I visited the holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum though.
67. Bounced a check – my work experience placement at school was in a local bank. One of my jobs was to go through the checks and pull out the ones the bank was going to bounce. Really awkward, as I knew one of the people I had to do that for (never let on though).
68. Flown in a helicopter – I’ve flown in a light aircraft, but not in a helicopter yet.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy – not specifically, there are a few items from childhood still at my parents’, but not specifically toys.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial – I think this would be difficult, having not been to the US!
71. Eaten caviar – only the cheaper alternatives; meh.
72. Pieced a quilt – started but never completed.
73. Stood in Times Square – see US answers passim; very tempted to visit the shopping centre of this name in Sutton just so I could answer yes to confuse people.
74. Toured the Everglades – see above; Everglades in Bromley anyone?
75. Been fired from a job – I’ve been not given job that I had to apply for after contracting in the role for 18 months, I think that counts.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London – several times.
77. Broken a bone – my toe is the most dramatic I can manage though.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle – see adrenaline ‘allergy’ comments above.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person – damn, nowhere in UK with this name.
80. Published a book – unlikely, being a man of few words.
81. Visited the Vatican – I think I’d be too tempted to commit criminal damage.
82. Bought a brand new car – no, it’s first few miles the deprecation is enormous; I have hired a brand new car that only had 12 miles on the clock, it didn’t strike me as particularly special in any way. Why I have marked this as a future possibility is that if I’m ever in a situation needing a car again I’d probably get an electric one and that would more likely be bought/leased from brand new, just because I don’t think there’ll be a big second hand market for them for a decade or so yet.
83. Walked in Jerusalem – you mean the Jerusalem Passage in Islington? no, I didn’t think so.
84. Had my picture in the newspaper – only a regional title, but playing the bassoon in a wind group busking for charity as a teenager.
85. Read the entire Bible – not sure I want to pollute my mind that much.
86. Visited the White House – no, and there are so many to choose from.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating – I’ve skinned and gutted a rabbit, but it was pre-caught/killed.
88. Had chickenpox – don’t remember it much, think I was about age 9.
89. Saved someone’s life – not directly that I’m aware of. I did feature, in a photographic sense, in a drug rehabilitation poster/leaflet, so maybe that helped someone in some way…
90. Sat on a jury – no, very annoyingly my jury summons went to an old address and I didn’t get it until after the response deadline.
91. Met someone famous – a few, nobody particularly glamorous though.
92. Joined a book club – as a student I belonged to a book club.
93. Lost a loved one – I remember the loss of two aunts, a cousin, a grandfather and a great-grandfather in my family and a grandmother in May’s. Most importantly though, Pikaia.
94. Had a baby – ngngngngngngng. It would, of course, be May having the baby, as I lack the right equipment.
95. Seen the Alamo in person – to give you a headcase 🙂 probably not the one you’re thinking of though.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake – nope never been to US for the nth time!
97. Been involved in a law suit – no.
98. Owned a cell phone – is there anyone who hasn’t?
99. Been stung by a bee – yes, and found I was alergic! I was stung on the tip of my finger, but my whole arm swelled and had rash all over my chest. Annoyingly there is no predicting whether next time will be less or more severe. I carry an adrenaline jab around in the summer.

I tag you, if you didn’t do it previously when May did. You’ve read all the way down to here, haven’t you? You know you want to really.


Apologies for the long absence; to try and get me back into the swing I thought I’d do a meme. This one seemed appropriate, for I am a man of few words. It was only when I had nearly finished that May pointed out I forgot that had already done it in the comments to her original. Well that was 16 months ago! As it turns out some are different some are the same, who’d have thunk it?



Not as easy as you might think…

1. Yourself: battle-worn

2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend [wife, actually]: brave

3. Your hair: receding

4. Your mother/stepmother: sensitive

5. Your dog: non-existent

6. Your favorite item: iPad

7. Your dream last night: foggy

8. Your favorite drink: G&T

9. Your dream car: electric

10. The room you are in: living

12. Your fear: loss

13. What you want to be in 10 years: father

14. Who you hung out with last night: May

15. What you’re not: certain

16. Muffin: ginger

17: One of your wish list items: Dexter

18: Time: evening

19. The last thing you did: ate

20. What you are wearing: shirt

21. Your favorite weather: mild

22. Your favorite book: Dilbert

23. The last thing you ate: lemony

24. Your life: transitionary

25. Your mood: tired

26. Your best friend(s): shy

27. What are you thinking about right now? bed

28. Your car: imaginary

29. What are you doing at the moment?: fretting

30. Your summer: tense

31. Your relationship status: stable

32. What is on your TV?: dust

33. What is the weather like?: autumnal

34. When is the last time you laughed?: forgotten

ABC of all about me

I’ve seen this meme on many blogs recently, and rather liked it. Also, it’s a good way of gathering the threads for any newer readers (I am guessing I have them, because my stats keep slowly rising. Hello, newer readers! Thank you for reading!). Also also, I am feeling lazy but talkative.

A. Age when you started TTC: 30. H was 31.

B. Baby Dancing or Sex: Sex. FFS. The one night that H referred to it as ‘baby-dancing’, we were both smitten with such intense nausea and snark that we couldn’t.

C. Children wanted: I’d always wanted two. Now, one would be a miracle.

D. Dogs/Cats/Fill in Children: We work long hours, also rent and our landlord doesn’t allow pets, or I’d have a dozen cats by now.

E. Essential Oils/Vitamins/Snake Oils: Prenatal multi-vitamins and fish-oil (carefully choosing the non-vitamin-A brands) for me, and a ‘pre-conception for men’ multi-vitamin for H. Mostly because he takes a multi-vitamin anyway and this one comes on sale in double-packs along with my prenatal vitamins. I have also tried: herbal medicines (did nothing at all for anything), acupuncture (seemed to regulate my cycles, did nothing for the menstrual fucking agony despite the practitioner’s promises, or the miscarriages), essential oil massages (well, I smelled nice).

F. Fertility Meds I’ve taken: Clomid – worked for three cycles, then made me anovulatory despite ever-increasing doses for the next three cycles. Provera, to bring periods on, and also, at first, to get them to bloody stop. After that, I started ovulating all by my self anyway. Last summer, I was told to take low-dose aspirin next time I got pregnant, as I have a clotting disorder (but not one of the usual ones). However, the two pregnancies after that were ‘chemical’ (ie caused by defective embryos, as my sticky blood didn’t get a chance to interfere before I lost them, and anyway, I was taking the sodding aspirin), so we’re still waiting to find out how well that will work. Hmm. After two years of trying I morphed from Infertile Girl to Habitual Aborter, so fertility medications aren’t really an issue for me. Before anyone mentions metformin, read next letter.

G. Gain: I was really quite chubby when we started TTC. I put on a fair bit of weight after miscarrying for the first time, because I tend to eat my feelings, and good golly, but I had a lot of feelings to eat. I now weigh about a stone less than I did when we started TTC, but am still overweight/borderline obese. My doctors think metformin can cause more problems than it solves, and prefer me to carry on using will-power and common sense. Seeing as that when I apply them, I DO lose weight, I think they may have a point. People with PCOS and severe insulin resistance may find will-power and common sense really don’t help and they will need medical assistance, I agree, but just because you’ve heard of metformin or tried it and found it helpful doesn’t mean it’s right for me so kindly don’t tell me I should be on it (but see pet peeves).

H. HSG (Hystosalpingogram): Three. The first, after bleeding for four months straight, showed polyps and a possible hydrosalpinx. The second, under general anaesthetic while removing the polyps and a mass of adhesions caused by previous surgery, was fine. The third, after my first miscarriage left me with a severe infection, was possible mild hydrosalpinx according to the radiographer, and absolutely perfect according to the gynaecologist. I’ve been pregnant several times since, so…

I. Infertile Pet Peeves: Nobody dares say ‘just relax’ to me any more. However, I have a list of these as long as your arm: 1) Being told what medication/treatment/eating regime I should be following. Especially by people who don’t know the whole story. It’s one thing to say ‘I tried X and it worked for me, have you considered it?’, and quite a fucking ‘nother to say ‘you should try X!’ or, worse ‘Why the hell hasn’t your doctor prescribed X?’, especially when they go on to imply my doctor is being ignorant or tight-fisted, or blame the NHS for the lack of provision of X. (Don’t make me come over there and tell you exactly what I think of American health provision. I have friends in America who have to choose between the medication that is keeping them upright and functional and feeding their kids. That simply does not happen in Britain). It never seems to occur to said people that I am not taking X because it’s not a good idea for me to take X. End of. 2) “At least you can get pregnant” (Not even vaguely consoling the first time. By the seventh time? An arsehole thing to say if there ever was one). 3) “There must have been something wrong with it” (Yes. It implanted in my shitty uterus). 4) “Lots of people have really early miscarriages and don’t even know they’re having them!” (Yes, but I did know. So fuck off). 5) Anyone trying to make out that having a newborn is harder and worse than having a miscarriage. 6) “Wasn’t there anything you could have done to prevent the miscarriage?” (Oh, yes, dozens of things, I just couldn’t be arsed. What do you think? Did you even think? Bitch).

J. Job title: Book hamster. Information professional. Will catalogue your ass.

K. Kid’s names you’re afraid will be taken by the time you can use them: One of my many brothers already took ‘Beatrice’, which had been THE girl’s name for me since I was 21. So H and I have made a much longer list. Surely they can’t all be nabbed in the next four years?

L. Length of time TTC: Five and a half years, more or less.

M. Miscarriages: Seven.

N. Number of times you’ve switched OB/GYNS, REs, FSs: I don’t switch, I accumulate. I have seen/am still seeing 2 gynaecologists specialising in infertility, 1 gynaecologist specialising in IVF (we don’t call them REs in Britain) one NHS miscarriage specialist, one private miscarriage specialist (The Professor, world-famous, hopefully correct in her diagnosis).

O. Ovarian quality: Only one ovary, afflicted with PCOS. Does put out fairly regularly, after a very lazy start. My weight is probably affecting my egg-quality. Also, I’m 36 now (damnitalltohell). However, AMH and FSH both good.

P. POAS or wait for period: Obsessive POAS.

Q. Quote from an obnoxious fertile: This.

T. Time you tried naturally: Before Clomid, 2 years or so, with interruptions for surgery. After Clomid, 2 years, with interruption for proper diagnosis.

U. Uterus quality: Utterly shit, according to me (adenomyosis, fibroids, periods that hurt like a nail-bomb going off in my pelvis, is arcuate or heart-shaped). Just fine, according to the medical profession, in that my lining is beautiful and none of the issues that make my life hell make said uterus inhospitable.

V. Vagina: Just lovely, thank you.

W. What baby stuff do you already have?: A baby-name book (I claim it’s an aid for fiction-writing). A lace shawl I am making, and can’t bring myself to finish until I get past the first trimester (and then, I tell myself gloomily, I may as well finish it as it’d make a shroud if necessary. This is what RPL does to the soul).

X. X-tra X-tra Hear all about it! How many people know the ins and outs of our crazy TTC journey? Me. My husband. The internets. My family? Not so much. They don’t want to know. It means I win the one-down-man-ship contests and that really fucks with the status quo.

Y. Yearly Exam. Do you still go in even though someone sees your lady parts most months?: The past few years, very time I get the invitation from the GP to go for a smear, I’ve been having a miscarriage and can’t. I should do something proactive about this. I really don’t want anyone else up by precious. Gah.

Z. Zits. I have PCOS. So, yes. Luckily only one or two at a time.

ETA at 4:30 pm: I was missing the S! WfI pointed this out in the comments below, and I thought, what is she talking about? Since when is there an S? Oh. Ah. Sheesh. The absence of the R, however, is universal and inexplicable. S. Sperm. Lots. H’s SAs keep comng back lavishly normal. I’m the main attraction round here, folks.

Hourly diary: 20th of August

I saw this on Twangy’s blog. Twangy, of course, did it in pictures, because she is genius. I can’t draw for nuts and I don’t even own a scanner, so I am doing it in words. This’ll work in words, right?

[Can’t draw for nuts! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!]

I have no idea why I am doing anything so very solipsistic, except that someone once commented (on this blog? On another blog? On their own blog? Can I be arsed to hunt the mention down in the dark backward and abysm of time?) that they liked details about people’s real lives, as well as all the stuff about Barren Woebollocky Dreariness? So, I suppose, this post is for you, whoever you are. (If you know who you are, could you enlighten us? Kthxbai).

It’s Friday the 20th of August. Some few details possibly should have been changed, to protect ma identiteh! Heigh ho.

  • 7am – The radio alarm flicks on to Radio 4 and the Today Programme. I am woken up by Justin Webb saying ‘Excuse me, that’s not the right piece of paper,’ before suavely moving on. This amuses me immensely.
  • 8am – I have taken my laptop back to bed with me and am reading blogs while drinking tea. This is decidedly unusual for me. Normally, by 8am on a weekday, I am in the shower or wandering around the kitchen half-dressed or even sitting in the living-room reading blogs when I should be in the shower (bad habit, that). But today, I am on a late shift at work, so…
  • 9 am – H is in the shower. I am reading a knitting magazine in the nude while waiting for him to get out of my way. Normally, I’d be fully clothed (alas not fully functional. Not before 10) and on my way to work. This is bliss! Haha!
  • 10 am – I am walking all the way to Nappy Valley, where all the gift-shops, cafés and yummy mummies live, to buy this gosh-darned present for V at last. Oh, I never told you guys – I went to John Lewis’s Baby Department a couple of weeks ago, to buy this sodding gift, and ended up standing in a bewilderment of light-up-and-dance infant entertainment centres and lurid plastic chew-toys, holding a machine-washable teddy in one hand and a baby-gro with elephants in hats on in the other, listening to all these happy bulging families choosing cribs, and thinking ‘JESUS FUCKING CHRIST GET ME OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW.’ I rationalised this, eventually, to, well, V’s baby is less than a month old. All he wants is nursing and cleaning and cuddling, and a teddy is not going to provide any of that, so I may as well ignore him and all this revoltingly coloured plastic tat and get a gift exclusively for V. Who is a grown-up lady. So. That is what I am on my way to do at 10 am on a Friday morning.
  • 11am – Help help I am trapped in a never-ending conversation about facial skin with the owner of the fancy toiletries shop.
  • 12am – Just getting on the train to work. The train is half-empty. This is also a pleasant novelty. Normally I do this journey at 8:50 am while being choked by the fumes of 27 different brands of deodorant and trying not to fall against the person wedged in front of me every time the carriage sways.
  • 1pm – I’ve been at work for 10 minutes now, and I am checking my emails and eating a sandwich I bought on the walk from Great Big Station. Nearly everyone else in the office has gone to lunch. I am tempted to have a quick peep at my blog and see if anyone has left any comments. Ooh! Comments!
  • 2pm – Have just discovered that all the previous editions of a book have been miscatalogued, so I am in the stacks trying to find them all so I can rip their spine-labels off and get them re-done correctly. Because it would be nice, would it not, if you could find all the copies of a given book in the same place rather than scattered over three floors according to the whim of my predecessors? I am also multi-tasking by thinking uncharitable thoughts about my predecessors.
  • 3pm – The Maintence Team are back in the office above us and are, I think, given the noise, battering a king-sized nipple gong to metallic smithereens with a complex hammer-and-drill ensemble. One of my colleagues is wandering pathetically round the office, begging for a paracetamol. I gave him my last one yesterday, when Maintence were still merely smashing the walls apart. Any minute now, something disastrous is going to happen.
  • 4pm – Yep, they sawed through the electricals, and now there are no working lights in any of the corridors on our floor. I am counting the minutes, nay, the seconds, until my tea-break. Also indulging in a virtuoso display of presentee-ism, as I can’t effing think with all the effing drilling going on above me. But I can stare at a cataloguing record with apparent intent for minutes on end.
  • 5pm – Have just been queuing in the post office to send V her parcel of scented ‘new mama’ bath goodies. No incidents of note occurred. I am now in a café, drinking tea out of a paper cup, and writing frantically in my diary (the paper version, with all the indiscreet bitching in). (Twangy Pearl, if you’re reading this, you know which café, and indeed, which table!). Today, I am mostly bitching about the fact my ovary is still on strike. Probably. Damn it. ARGH.
  • 6pm – Back at work. I am spending the evening on the Desk, helping our ‘patrons’ with their bibliotechnical questions, rather than up in my nice safe sequestered office. So far, I have been mostly giving people directions to other departments whose job it is to deal with lost passwords, deadline extensions, student bar opening hours, and laboratory equipment. Eventually I clamber over the desk to check that the sign still says ‘Library’ and not ‘I Know Everything! Ask Me Anything!’
  • 7pm – Still at the Desk. Am reading the Guardian online. So are my shift-colleagues. Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful.
  • 8pm – Again, you’ve missed all the excitement, as we roamed the library telling the patrons that we meant it when we said we were closing. I am now merely going round turning all the lights off. As I lock the front door, one last person scuttles out past me, making me damn near wet myself in terror. We had checked every floor – where the buggery fuck was he hiding?
  • 9pm – Nearly home. Just walking the last little bit through the quiet dusk. A few weeks ago, it was still light at this time. Have ‘Oh God, Time is fleeting, what the hell happened to the summer?’ soliloquy as I go.
  • 10pm – Footling about online again, as H has put the first episode of Dollhouse on, and I watched it already, so I can safely tune out. I love my laptop. It lets me (nearly) ignore everything and everyone from the next armchair. H hands me a large glass of red wine.
  • 11pm – Am having spirited conversation with Ann via F*c*B**k IM. We decide ‘PMSL’ is an outmoded and now boring way of telegraphing extreme amusement. I point out I have never PMSL in my life. I have, however, fallen off a chair and ended up lying on the floor in hiccoughs. Ann counters that she has been known to choke on her coffee. Pause. Then Ann types COCFOC! And the viral marketing campaign to spread a new, improved acronym is on! COCFOC, people! COCFOC! Remember, you read it here first! COCFOC!
  • 12pm – I am brushing my teeth. This is very boring.
  • 1 am – What do you mean, why am I still awake? Of course I’m still awake! I’m a professional insomniac! One who has Drunk Wine, too! I’m going to lie here in the dark listening to H’s gentle breathing (nice change, that. He has been known to do vigorous snorting instead) for hours and hours, thinking deep and meaningful thought….. zzzz

Hooray and up she rises

The sweetie that is Secret D nominated me for this, which was timely and kind of her, given that I am in Blogging (And Everything Else) Funk, and I needed a ‘cheer the hell up already’ intervention.

The rules: List 10 things that make your day & then give this award to 10 bloggers.

That seems fairly simple. Off we go. Ten things that turn a grumpy May into a smiley (or, sod it, a slightly less grumpy) May: –

  1. Things in flower. I am well aware that this makes me sound like I’m on a permanent Wordsworth bender. Um. There’s no talking my way out of that one, is there? I am on a permanent Wordsworth bender.
  2. My husband gets up before me and brings me a cup of tea every morning. Every. Morning. The only times he hasn’t, it’s because he’s either been not actually in the same city as me, or so ill I couldn’t possibly be so cruel as to make him. On the morning after the first night we actually slept together, back when he was 18 and I was 17, he got up, saw I was still asleep, meandered downstairs in my parents’ house, said good morning to my Dad, made a mug of tea, brought it back upstairs, sat on the end of the bed watching me surface, and when I opened my eyes and looked blearily at him, he smiled and handed me the tea. At which point, I decided that, yes, actually, I was in love with him. And H hates tea himself and never drinks it.
  3. Coffee from the best coffee-stand in London. It saddens me to admit they are New Zealanders, not Italians – given my childhood, I bloody well should prefer Italians – but the other (big, chainey) chains with Italian names that you can try? Are not as good. Or, to be brutal, as Italian. So there.
  4. Massively getting my geek on at work and cataloguing something weird and abstruse from scratch, perfectly, with elegance and economy and a great deal of detective-work. Even when I’m the only person who’ll ever know or notice.
  5. At the moment, watching Dr Who. I don’t want to make mad passionate love to the new Doctor (H was getting a little… worried… about my David Tennant enthusiasm), but he is adorable, and Weeping Angels? Rock.
  6. Knitting. The pair of cheerful Gay-Pride-bright-and-rainbowy socks I am making for myself right now make me smile every time I pick them up.
  7. Clean sheets.
  8. Getting comments on my blog. Especially long ones. Look! People like me! Real people really like me!
  9. Spending an hour or so lying on the bed and reading a good book. Most restorative to the frazzled synapse.
  10. H spontaneously offering to rub my feet (hint hint).

Some people who also regularly make my day:



Ann of Hairy Farmer Family

Twangy Pearl





MFA Mama



One word answers

I stole this from Thalia (hi, Thalia!), because, seriously? My brain? Has dissolved. One word at a time is about my level right now. (We’ll talk about the causes of brain dissolution when I finish scooping the remains of my intellect into this bucket here).



Not as easy as you might think…

1. Yourself: Shattered.

2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend [husband, actually] : Depressed.

3. Your hair: Frazzled.

4. Your mother/stepmother: Abroad.

5. Your dog: Imaginary.

6. Your favorite item: Duvet.

7. Your dream last night: Ditches.

8. Your favorite drink: Coffee.

9. Your dream car: Spider.

10. The room you are in: Living-room.

12. Your fear: Miscarriage.

13. What you want to be in 10 years: Mother.

14. Who you hung out with last night: Husband.

15. What you’re not: Contented.

16. Muffin: Yuk.

17: One of your wish list items: Holiday.

18: Time: Bed.

19. The last thing you did: Nail-bite.

20. What you are wearing: Flip-flops.

21. Your favorite weather: Today’s.

22. Your favorite book: Uncountable.

23. The last thing you ate: Chocolate.

24. Your life: Unsatisfactory.

25. Your mood: Sad.

26. Your best friend(s): Appreciated.

27. What are you thinking about right now? Pikaia.

28. Your car: Nonexistant.

29. What are you doing at the moment?: This.

30. Your summer: Yearning.

31. Your relationship status: Taken.

32. What is on your TV?: Nada.

33. What is the weather like?: Blissful.

34. When is the last time you laughed?: Earlier.

No, really, I am beautiful. So are you.

Dear God this is embarrassing. Weeks ago, both Secret D and Heather nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Weeks ago. And I was all, wow, you guys! I am so flattered! And touched! And, about, say, fifteen years old? In gushing terms?

And then I tucked the Award lovingly into my back pocket and sat on it for, like I said, weeks. And every few days I’d take it out and pat it lovingly and think, I’ll do that later. When I’m in a better mood.

At this rate, I’ll be in a better mood approximately seventeen minutes before Hell Freezes Over.

So I shall do it now.

* Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
* Copy the award and place it in your blog.
* Link the person who nominated you for this award.
* Tell us 7 interesting things about you.
* Nominate 7 bloggers.
* Post the links to the 7 bloggers you nominate.

I’ve done the first three. Now, 7 interesting things about me. Hmm. I’ve done similar listy-memes before, here, and here, and here, ooh, and here, and I’ve just found another one, and here, and I’m sure this is the last. No, wait, it isn’t. Crikey, but I do love to yap a lot. 7 more interesting things about me? I think I may have to scrape the bottom of the barrel a little. I can do that. Tell you what, I can get H to do that. H? H! Seven interesting things about me, please.

  1. My Myers-Briggs personality type is INFJ. We make up about 1% of the population, the rarest of all 16 types. H likes this fact. He always knew I was Not Like Other Girls and this proves it. He also knows, in case of any dispute, it’s Me and Not Him. Even when I’m completely, totally right about whateveritis, it’ll be something most people aren’t usually right about.
  2. I am a geek. I actually like cataloguing and classifying. I amuse myself by classifying random books in Oxfam shops, just to see if I can.
  3. My taste in music is, apparently, unusually broad, in that I like everything from Handel to Manu Chao, from Cornershop back to Hildegard of Bingen.
  4. I have read every single word that J.R.R Tolkien ever published, including all the academic essays and literary criticism (what? He was an Oxford Don, you know) and am working up to being able to say the same for C.S. Lewis.
  5. I am an atheist. A diamond-hard, to-the-core, none-of-your-agnostic-shilly-shallying, atheist. I still have my Baptismal candle, and I will cross myself and light candles to the saints when I am in a Catholic church. Richard Dawkins would despair of me.
  6. I grew up on a farm in Italy. It seemed a perfectly reasonable thing to do at the time, but H, bless him, finds it interesting.
  7. H also finds it interesting that I own, love, and can quote extensively from, a great many books by John Donne, Shakespeare, Austen, Tolkien, Pratchett, Le Guin, Dorothy L. Sayers, Primo Levi, Neil Gaiman, Dickens, Trollopes Anthony and Fanny but NOT Joanna, Stephen Jay Gould, Diana Wynne Jones, C.S. Lewis, Lord Dunsany, Milton, Murasaki Shikibu, Margaret Atwood, Wordsworth, Marlowe, J.K. Rowling (I feel a teeny bit ashamed of that one), Coleridge, Iain M. Banks, Douglas Adams, Stephen Fry (can you tell?), Asimov, Bill Bryson, George Eliot, A.S. Byatt, … OK, H is getting a bit impatient of this now. We’ll stop there. You get the point.

OK. Seven beautiful bloggers to hand this out to. Well. *Thinks*. I know far far too many beautiful bloggers. How do you do this without feeling you’re leaving people out?


OK. Let’s go with this lot.

  1. Twangy Pearl, because she is so very sweet and very funny, and her drawings really are really beautiful. And cute. And witty. Check out her cabbage.
  2. Hairy Farmer Family‘ fabulous Wifey. Because I adore her.
  3. Meganlisbeth, because she has been a staunch supporter of all things May since 2007, and I am so grateful.
  4. Valery, who hasn’t been blogging long, but is charmingly whimsical, and (don’t we all?) deserves a hug.
  5. Xbox. Who can be a handsome blogger, if he prefers. His posts on the birth of his long-awaited daughter made me cry happy tears (happily! It was lovely!) Because that really was beautiful.
  6. MFA Mama. Who makes me laugh myself hysterical, bless her, and who is brave as a lioness.
  7. Korechronicles, because I miss her beautiful, beautiful photos.

And I would have nominated Womb for Improvement as well, but someone beat me to it. So I shan’t bother.

There. And as for those of you I haven’t nominated, well, you deserve a nomination anyway. Several nominations. Many, many nominations. Big shiny nominations with stars and flowers and Cupids on.

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.

At sixes and sevens

ljaus tagged me, ooh, a very embarrassing TWO WEEKS (blush blush) ago, to tell you all seven random or not-so-random things about myself. Umm. Sorry.

Worse than that, I have gone completely mad (can you tell I was trapped in a very very boring meeting on Friday morning?) and am giving you Six Sevens, for no particular reason at all, but I have gone from migraine-stricken fried egg to cough-afflicted enfeeblement, so it seemed funny to me.

Seven messages to those who do so annoy me.

  1. If I can hear your personal stereo/ iPod/ Whateverthehellyoucallit across a crowded train, it’s too loud. Turn it down before I start leaving the house armed with wire-cutters.
  2. Young man, when you wear your trousers like that, I can see not only the outline of your entire butt-cheeks-and-crack through your under-pants, but also a slight stain. I hope it is sweat. Please let it be sweat. Please pull your trousers up.
  3. Dear quite a few people, I’m glad you can afford to apply perfume and after-shave by the half-pint. Lucky you. Perhaps you can also afford to replace my corneas when your designer version of mustard-gas has finished burning them away.
  4. Dear students, being polite to the librarian means the difference between the helpful answer and the subtly misleading and time-wasting answer. Yes, I know that’s unethical. But so is guffawing away on your mobile phone to someone called ‘Tone’ when I am trying to discuss renewals with you. I am misguidedly trying to do you a favour; and now, oops, I am not. Have a nice day.
  5. I am benignly tolerant on the subject of poor spelling. Spelling, in English, is counterintuitive and fiddly. The grammar and punctuation, however, is not. If you want me to read your blog, and you are a native English speaker, write in English. kthxbai.
  6. On a bus, on a train, on a tube, if you are under fifty, and not pregnant or injured or unwell, GIVE YOUR FUCKING SEAT UP TO SOMEONE WHO IS, ALREADY. OK? OK. We’ll say no more about it. Arsehole.
  7. Dear colleagues, please don’t hate me, but I really do not care, even a tiny bit, about a) football, b) soap operas, c) Big Brother, d) Strictly Come Dancing, e) the sex lives of minor celebrities or f) the pregnancies and babies of your distant relatives who I shall never meet and never care to meet.

Alrighty then, that’s off my ample chest, so here are Seven Lovely Things:

  1. Trees in flower. There’s an avenue of cherry trees in my local park. Bliss in April.
  2. A large G&T, made with Bombay Sapphire Gin and Fever Tree Tonic Water, and lime (the lime is important), on a friday evening.
  3. The nuzzly bits just above H’s collar-bones.
  4. LOLcats. Sorry.
  5. Hand-knitted socks, made to measure. Oh, the fabulosity, the smugness.
  6. Tea. Russian Caravan tea. Leaf (because I am snitty like that). In my favourite mug. Mmmm. Tea.
  7. Internetty friends. I have met some exceedingly lovely people via the internets. I’ve even met a few of them in actual person (hello!), and contrary to accepted wisdom, I have yet to be disillusioned or disappointed. So there, Mum.

Seven weaknesses:

  1. Pretty yarn. It doesn’t even have to be very pretty. Slightly pretty will do. And then I will buy it.
  2. Lattes. From the organic coffee stall near work. They are NOT cheap. But they are spiffing, and the stall-holder is so sweet.
  3. Books. I am a member of six libraries, a few of them world-famous, but I still buy books. Heigh ho.
  4. Millionaire’s short-bread. Can not resist. Must try to escape caramelly force-field. Must run from pastry display. Help.
  5. Star Trek, Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Red Dwarf, that sort of thing. I once tried to call a cat Uhura. Yes, I know, but I also collected stamps, had acne, braces and glasses, and was five foot six by the age of eleven. I had no choice.
  6. Theatre trips. Bloody Jacobean tragedies a specialty.
  7. Nice things to put in the bath. I’d include husbands in this category, but H never could see the appeal of sitting a soup of bath-oil and your own grot. *sigh*

Seven things that scare me and clearly no one else at all:

  1. Slugs. Inexplicable. But there it is.
  2. Long fingernails. I apologise to any Gentle Readers who are justly proud of their lovely long elegantly lacquered finger-tip scalpels of unhygenic lacerating doom, but there it is.
  3. Heights AND enclosed spaces. You want both at once? Go potholing. Watch me scream.
  4. Crowds. In enclosed spaces. I’m a riot during rush-hour on the underground.
  5. Teeth. Marathon Man teethy things. H once smacked his mouth on an iron bar (umm, yes, but really, that is what happened) and came to show me his broken front tooth and do you know, I inexplicably never thanked him for that.
  6. I can do innards. I grew up on a farm, I can do disgustingly and exceedingly dead things. I can’t do pain and even small cuts on living things. Have been known to faint when faced with someone else’s sliced fingers.
  7. And now, miscarriages. Obviously. Because, according to one work colleague, they’re just like a bad period, when they’re that early. Aren’t they?

Seven things I am very bad at:

  1. Vinaigrette. Just don’t ask me. Don’t. You do want to eat the salad, don’t you?
  2. Cake-baking. Anyone fancy a sweetened discus, I am your woman. My mother, the Queen of the Carrot Cake, thinks I am a changeling.
  3. Mental arithmetic. Seriously. I can do long division with a pencil and the back of a receipt. I can do algebra. Really. But I cannot quickly multiply 7 by 19.
  4. Being tidy. No can do. Living room floor has disappeared under drift of weekend newspapers, knitting yarn, library books and mugs with one-half-inches of cold tea in.
  5. Putting make-up on. I can do you a small quantity of eye-liner and a tinted lip-gloss. Anything more complicated and I look like Danny LaRue.
  6. H says I am bad at suffering fools. At all. Stuff gladly.
  7. Going to bed at a reasonable time, and then, having got there, going to sleep. Apparantly I was like this as a very small child. Sorry, Mum.

Seven things I am very good at:

  1. Cooking. The vinaigrette and the cake-tastrophes are aberrations. I am a good cook. I even vaguely like it.
  2. Knitting. Though possibly I could improve my ‘finishing knitting’ skills a little. Seventeen projects currently on the needles, people! I think I’ll try for a record next year.
  3. Reading. I can read over 1000 words a minute, and, what’s more, remember them. This very much surprised an educational psychologist, when I was eleven, as he was gently examining me for mild retardation at the time. Hah hah.
  4. Editing. I was a professional proof-reader and sub-editor for a while, before I was done out of an (actually slightly tedious and not very lucrative) career by the horrible rise of spell-checkers and that foul paper-clip, patronising little bent metal horror that it is. If you want a CV beaten into shape, I am your woman.
  5. Writing poetry. No, really. Stop laughing at the back there.
  6. I am a walking encyclopaedia. I know the most astonishing amount of trivia, historical tittle-tattle, stray facts, abstruse spellings and mythological fluff and scratchings. And if I don’t know, I know how to find out. Born librarian.
  7. H says I am good at arguing. When I got over my pouty face, I examined him further on the matter, and realised he actually meant it as a compliment. For I have the rhetorical talents of a young Cicero, and the more cross I am the more eloquent and elaborate my arguments get. Poor H. I’m not only always right, but devastatingly, wittily, complicatedly so. If I were married to me, I’d run away with a Trappist monk. Luckily, I save most of my eloquence for the news on Radio 4 of a morning. That’s how H knows I am awake and need my tea.

I must tag seven people now. I might do that bit tomorrow. It’s midnight, and why on earth am I not in bed?