Friday, 29 May 2009

Goodbye to all this... for now

To be continued as and when. No guests were harmed during the making of this film.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

A Gentleman Calls at 'Home Thoughts Weekly'

Sorry, but I'm still not sick of this... even if you are! Normal service will be resumed when I've got a bit of thinking space.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Don't Stop Me Now!

A 'behind the scenes' look at 'Hotel' H (I know,I know - but this is such fun and I have just finished my ECA! I will get back to normal blogging, honest!)

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

I blame Lane!!

It's all Lane's fault. I just couldn't resist having a go!!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Demob Happy!

I’ve finished my ECA (my OU end of course assessment) YAY! Well, I’ve finished it for the time being - I need to put it away for a couple of days then worry it a few more times before sending it off. In the meantime – and before the next set of guests arrive - I’m winding down with a good old knicker cull, as you do. (I know some of you are sitting in the sun, but a stiff sea breeze has set in here and it’s cold so I’ve had to find other ways to celebrate finishing my work). In fact, I’ve been having a trawl through my entire wardrobe in case the clothes fairies have left any princess dresses in there when I haven’t been looking. Nothing doing in mine, sigh, but I did have a try on of your bridesmaid dress, Rose, that you wore for your dad’s wedding and I looked quite fetching in it – if a bit boobalicious which was rather scary.

Anyway, Lily will tell you, if you’re interested, that I tend to hang on to underwear far too long – just in case there’s a world shortage of knickers. Well, there probably is actually – they’ve all ended up in my drawer. So far I’ve despatched with a thong I never could quite get the hang of, half a dozen pairs of boy pants (the horrid colours in the pack – like khaki, bleurgh!) and, shock, horror! – my lucky running knickers (really, they are truly past it). Oh, and a couple of pairs of ‘loved-but-clapped-out’ specials. Perhaps the clothes fairies know some underwear fairies who could kit me out again?

I also tried on a number of items lurking at the back of my wardrobe to see if they still fitted. Girls, I’m sorry to say that the leather trousers that so embarrassed you when you were small still fit. As does the leather skirt. I know, I know – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, and please don’t worry, I won’t. I finished up trying on my wedding suit. It’s the one item I’ve ever had made for me, and the lovely lady who made it told me at the time that she would always be willing to take it in for me, but she would never let it out. Phew! It still fits, Mrs Tierney. Ah, happy memories!

Painting is Dinas Head by Tom Tomos - and it really is beautiful in real life, I don't think this computer image does it justice

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Sing-a-long-a BT Protest Song

Okay, pick a well-known tune – I’d say 'Don’t think twice, it’s all right' would be a good one - and share my pain by joining me in a karaoke protest to BT. Deep breath and here we go:-

Well, it ain’t no use me staring at my Home Hub
at lights that wink and flash.
And it ain’t no use me calling up BT ‘cos
they only want me for my cash.
When I tell them there’s a problem with their outside line,
they read their scripts and tell me everything’s just fine.
But when a hard rain falls it happens every time.
Listen twice, please, I’m right!

So, after many, many hours of my precious time being wasted trying to impress on a distant call centre that it doesn’t matter how many times I switch my router on and off, the outside line (as we know from last year) is f*cked, they finally agree that the problem requires a real live engineer. Hoo-berludy-ray!

The engineer arrives, (truly, I’m grateful) runs a test, fits an Okey-Cokey 2009 which he says will make the whole system run more efficiently and everything goes into meltdown, including his laptop. He tweaks a few more wires, runs another test and picks up what he feels is a blip some 300 yards away. Ah, that would be the same blip, the same junction box that the previous engineer picked up last year. The one that fills with water whenever we get torrential rain...

Image is 'Wales - Coast' by Tom Tomos

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Both Hands Waving Free*

*Working those ‘Bob-with-a-twist’ lyrics as originated by Little Brown Dog.

Almost two years after my left shoulder ‘froze’, the thaw has finally set in. Thanks to Hema The Merciless, the wonderful physio, both hands are now waving fairly free. A regime of fiendish exercises, such as patting my back backwards (imagine having your arm twisted up your back, but twice as far as you think it ought to go and you’ll get the picture) and a programme of weightlifting has almost done the job – the rest is down to me. It feels wonderful to be able to just shrug a jacket on, instead of carefully inserting my left arm first – such freedom! Even better, my single bingo wing is morphing back to arm shape. A bit of exercise has made a huge difference... anyone for a spot of arm-wrestling?

Actually it’s a good job I can wave my arms because I’m slightly panicking at how much I need to do. I’ve just completed my final assignment for my OU course and even though I’m really chuffed with my marks so far, I now have the End of Course Assessment, my biggest piece of work, to finish. Coupled with a full diary and some changes at Hotel H, it means I’ve really got to concentrate to keep the balls in the air.

So it’s a bit of a short and snappy ‘home thoughts’ this week, but after my tips about Aldi WrinkleStop (keep slapping on the aqua, glycerin and... Syn-Ake, ‘which mimics the effect of a protein found in the Temple Viper Snake’, oh, that’s all right then!), getting rid of those pesky kimono arms (lift 3kg weights – think Michelle not Madge if you want to avoid that ‘gristle covered with veins’ look), I have one more gorgeousity tip for you (goodness, I’m becoming a bit of Gorgeousity Guru here).

You may remember that my dear friend, Jill, bought me, Rose and Lily a thoroughly generous present of having our colours analysed. I can truly say that finding out we were Two Golden Springs and a Sweet Pea Summer with the lovely House of Colour Consultant, Manon Davies, has made shopping so much easier for all of us (and I hate clothes shopping, believe me). We’re all so much more confident about the colours that suit us and we had a really enjoyable day too. For anyone fortunate enough to live near Cardiff who feels like treating themselves or a friend, I’ve included a link to Manon’s contact details, but it’s easy to find your local consultants by going to the website. Well, that’s it – that’s exhausted my gorgeousity tips. Time to do some work.

Painting, by Tom Tomos, is 'Preseli - Rain' which just about sums up what's going on outside my window at the moment.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Forever Young

Looking at the blurb for my new Lacura WrinkleStop from Aldi, I see that its active ingredient has been ‘proven to help
• Reduce forehead wrinkles by 52%
• Reduce crow’s feet by 24%
• Restrict 82% of wrinkle muscle activity’

That’s quite a claim, isn’t it? Frankly, after years when my face looked like a lunar landscape thanks to the joys of acne, these days I’m just grateful to see a fairly blemish-free skin. Part of me wants to believe that the wonder cream’s making everything looking a bit smoother and tidier, but, hey, there’s also a lot of ‘aqua’ and ‘glycerin’ in the stuff, too. Besides, I could tamper with my skin as much as I like (and I don’t), but I’ve only got to stand next to my beautiful daughters to see the difference. Ma has wonderful skin, so the chances are there are some helpful genes in the mix, but my dad died far too young of cancer, so it’s not all good news.

My dad was a carpenter. ‘You can’t get age from a tin, Miss Chris,’ he’d say when rubbing his hands over fresh timber. None of those ‘antique’ finishes was a substitute for a lifetime of ageing, the knocks, bumps, the patina of years. We should value our ageing faces in the same way, but we don’t. I’ll take happiness and health first every time, but if the Aldi wrinkle cream does what it says, I’m superficial enough not to complain.

Monday, 4 May 2009

A Game of Tag

ELizabethm and Withy Brook tagged me then Little Brown Dog, in her own words, cranked up the pressure. Thank you (I think) dear hearts. Here goes:

What are your current obsessions?
Writing. If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. It’s my default mode and it’s what accounts for that faraway look in my eyes. Well, that and the drink.

What are you listening to?
As well as rocking my Spotify ‘guilty pleasures’ playlist, I’m having a bit of a vinyl revival.

Over the years I’ve lost custody of some good LPs, but my Faces (Yes? Something to say?) albums have stayed with me. I was off school with the lurgy when A Nod’s As Good As A Wink came out, and I begged Ma go into town to buy it for me. Despite protests of ‘If you think I’m asking for that you’ve got to be joking’ she did eventually cave in. I’ve also inherited my dad’s classical music collection. The only problem with those is that I occasionally select a record still bearing my dad’s fingerprints and it cuts me to the quick every time.

Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
Ooh, let me see... opening walk-in ‘Sex and the City’-style closet. Oh, no! The clothes fairies have been and taken back all their ball gowns! Thank goodness for my beloved jeans!

What are you reading?
I’m glad you asked me that. I’m working my way (rather too quickly, unfortunately) through my year’s worth of Honno books. I’ve just started In Her Element [(2008) Jane MacNamee (ed.)] which is the most exquisite collection of women writers’ deep personal connections to the landscapes which have shaped their lives. Highly recommended.

I also keep a couple of volumes of poetry to hand, my enduring favourites being Poems of Love and Longing [(2008) Viv Sayer (ed.) Pont] and Emergency Kit, Poems for Strange Times [(1996) Jo Shapcott and Matthew Sweeney (ed.) Faber and Faber].

What’s for lunch?
Who cares? Unless we’re going to L’Escargot, of course.

What makes you helpless with laughter?
Actually, I do get helpless with laughter, often at the most inappropriate times and over things I really shouldn’t be laughing at. I’m put off by self-styled ‘comedians’, but adore quick wit and clever word play. My daughters make me roar with laughter and so do my lovely Ace Gang. A discussion about what we don’t like about our bodies (Haze, it was what Bob said!) the last time they were at Hotel H had me weeping with laughter.

What was the last thing you bought?
Loo rolls in Aldi. But Mil treated us both to Aldi’s new ‘Wrinkle Stop’ billed as Botox in tube. By the time you read this I shall be glowing with gorgeousity, but with a strangely immobile face.

Favourite plant of the moment?
Plant? I can’t say I have one favourite plant, but if I did, it would be the one with the miracle ingredient which could have treated pancreatic cancer so I would still have my dad.

Guilty pleasure?
Yes please! I rather like a glass of Talikser in bed, and, for added decadence, it must be in my favourite crystal tumbler. It depends on what time of the day it is as to how guilty a pleasure it becomes.

If you were a god / goddess, which one would you be?
Well, I’m an atheist so I wouldn’t believe in me. But if I was a dog, I’d like to be greyhound, all long lean lines and elegance. Alas, I’m more of a Jack Russell; busy, snappy and too near the ground.

Care to share some wisdom?
Be a grown-up. Take care of those who need taking care of.

Sum yourself up in a sentence
Nasty, brutish and short (see, If you were a god etc above).

The Rules
Respond and rework. Answer questions on your own blog. Replace one question. Add one question. Tag some people.

I did see someone on Elizabeth’s blog who hasn’t been tagged yet; Connie, it’s over to you! And BT, revenge is mine. Tam? Stop hiding. Celtic Heart? Have you played this game yet?

And finally...
The image above is ‘Silence – Katyn’ by Tom Tomos, currently featuring on the Saatchi Gallery Showdown. If you like it and would like to vote for it, you can do so HERE. Thank you!