Saturday, November 26, 2005
Monday, November 21, 2005
I must be one of the luckiest people .....a beautiful sunny morning, a frost so hard it looks like snow. And I have, yes have to drive for half an hour through the glorious Dorset countryside to get to my Monday morning task - to deliver some training to a small group of librarians, tailored to fit the hour before the library opens.
Despite dawdling as much as I dare (most of the cars on the nearly deserted roads are also going to work) I arrive early, and so spend some time taking in the delights of Sainsburys. Supermarkets are a bit of a novelty, living out in the sticks!
The library is light, bright and recently refurbished. I wish I could take a picture on my phone for you to see - but I spent several phone calls at dead of night (no queues) the the nice people near Manchester at Vodafone - Hallo Young Dave, Old Dave and Martin! - and now I can email from my mobile, but unaccountably can't send images by email any more! Swings and roundabouts, eh? Anyway.....I have to wait to give another librarian a lift back to base, and his laptop won't log off the system.
So I am whiling away the time by writing this at the People's Network free computers. Did you know about this wonderful service from all Britain's libraries? Did you also know that you can have an online enquiry chat session with a live librarian at any time, day or night, called Enquire? Even from your bed if you use a laptop! Though you will get an American librarian most of the night of course, as its a partnership.
Oh he's ready now! So off for another trip through the sunny golden countryside, back to my desk with its view of trees and hills.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Ladies' weekend away
There we were – all eight of us, arrived safely in the Bristol YHA. Ladies on the town for the weekend to celebrate Gill’s birthday - a little retail therapy, some laughs and maybe a bit of culture.
The Youth Hostel is in a great location – a converted warehouse right on the cobbled waterfront, next to the Arnolfini galley. Excellent access to the town centre, just a stroll along the old dockside away.
Right , first we’ll sort out our rooms. Four to a room. Off we go. Janet has the keys “Six and eight” she says, and walks into room number six. “Oh, foldaway bunks, and oh… someone is in one of them!” A male voice slowly replies “plenty of room for two”. Janet backs out, turning the key ring upside down in her hand. “ Errr…rooms eight and nine. Ooops!" Those of us in room nine wonder whether a reciprocal visit will happen in the night. (It doesn’t, and the rest of us haven’t even seen him!)
The weather is wonderful – lovely crisp autumn weather, with sunshine and powder blue skies. We shop till we drop, amazing the local yoof with an exuberant group hug before launching ourselves into the Galleries shopping mall. At the end, most of us have something new that we can wear in the evening, on our excursion across the new footbridge to eat in the Watershed café/bar. Thoroughly recommended! Great food and a very relaxed atmosphere plus a smoke free zone. And quite cultural too. We wander about a little afterwards, enjoying the Saturday night buzz.
Back in the hostel there is a coffee area with comfy sofas. One of our company strolls elegantly up the spiral staircase, and from our vantage point below we notice a stylishly swinging price tag. Everyone surreptiously checks their own new items!
Sunday morning turns out to be Remembrance Sunday, and we have the added bonus of city streets empty of traffic, as they are closed to allow the civic dignitaries to walk to the Cenotaph. The Lord Mayor is in open horse drawn coach, with mounted police escort (nearly all women). The alderman in their red cloaks walk solemnly in procession behind. Jean has fits of laughter watching them hurriedly sidestepping the fresh horse poo. Most grin back.
We watch the two teams of young soldiers firing the gun salute over the docks to begin and end the two minutes silence. I’ve only ever been in small towns or villages for this, and its moving to see what looks like a whole city turn out – young and old. A round of spontaneous applause greets the veterans as they march or wheel past.
The party has spit into two at this point – more shopping is required by some, while the rest of us head for the newly developed waterside area. I have a moment of pure bliss, walking along – hearing the bells of the cathedral drifting across with their poignant half muffled sound. I want nothing else at that moment, am totally happy in the instant – the warm sun and the wonderful sound, a full tummy and good friends. Riches indeed.
We decide we would like to spend an hour watching Mystic India – a film on at the Imax. Its just about time, and so we go into the new building. The whole area reminds me of a 3D cyberworld on the net called Activeworlds. The light; water features of shiny aluminium walls with a thin sheet of moving water falling down them; small trees with golden leaves and an air of emptiness – the similarity is uncanny.
Anyway, I buy Gill and myself tickets, and enquire the prices. The young guy lists theadult prices and all the various concessions. “I don’t feel adult “ mutters Gill. And we realize we have been given two concessionary tickets! I don’t mind but Gill is a long way off retirement age, ha ha! Then it dawns on us that our tickets say “Aliens of the Deep”. “I don’t want to see Aliens of the Deep, I want to see Mystic India” I wail. “Come back this evening” says the lad. “ Cant! We leave in two hours!” He has to go through the embarrassment of calling his supervisor to cancel my transaction and get a refund. Gill has slid off out of sight, in case her comparative youth is realized!
Happy Birthday Gill. And thanks for the memories!
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Eats shoots and leaves
My husband of many years has jetted off to Florida, to stay with his sister in Florida and celebrate Thanksgiving with her. He had stayed with our older daughter in London, on his way to the airport. And, as luck would have it, our younger daughter was visiting London too, so they all met up.
I received a text to say he had arrived safely, and was surprised to see the words he used to sign off - “very much love J”. Such a demonstration of affection surprised me. He usually says just “love J”.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I mused. But knowing the habitual lack of punctuation in his business letters (one sentence usually lasts a whole paragraph, without commas) I looked again, more carefully, at the text.
“I enjoyed my weekend with V and L very much love J” Aaaaah!
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
An apple a day.....
Yeah, but not my apples, not my best crab apples....glowing like little rubies on the lovely willowy stem of my treasured Malus "gorgeous".
I bought it only this spring from Kevin who runs the rose nursery in the village. A friend has one that is ten foot tall and so beautiful. It has blossoms that are so frothy and perfect, and in the autumn there are clumps of dark pink little apples. Gorgeous by name.....
I couldn't decide where to plant it - having seen the height they achieve, and so its still in its pot, first having ascertained from Kevin (when I could stop his flow of interesting stories) that it would be OK for this year. And to gain maximun pleasure, its right in front of the patio windows, where I have marvelled at it and proudly watched the apples form and swell.
Until this week. When someone else was doing the same thing.
I had already fended off a husband, hungry for jam fodder - telling him they were decorative.
But someone else knew differently. Someone with a bright yellow beak and persistence.
He must be the healthiest blackbird on the block. One for breakfast, every day. He still hasn't quite got the hang of getting the ones on the end of the slender whippy stem. Trying to fly up at them didnt work, and the usual trick of standing alongside it wasn't a goer either.
So I've had my early morning tea watching him have breakfast, and slowly denuding the jewels from my crown.
Its been a pleasure!