Saturday, December 24, 2005

Neck brace off - it's Christmas!

So the best and the worst of presents....when I was fourteen I longed for a pair of cowboy boots, like these:

My aunty sent me a parcel and I slipped my finger through a little crack in the wrapping paper. I could feel a soft expanse of what I thought was leather. I was mentally wearing those boots already, wanting to be cool and desirable at the school dance. When I opened the parcel, this was what the 'leather' turned out to be:

Yes. Another great moment of present anti-climax came in the form of a desk sharpener. My dad still uses it to this day - he loves it - but to an 8 year old girl it was dull as a slug on valium .

Here's a picture of one of my best childhood presents ever. Even when the tail fell off, I used to make Sindy gallop up the carpet on a horse with an unfortunate hole in it's bum.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Only a puppet?

Today I took Maddy, my 2 year old niece, to see a Christmas play called The Snow Baby. It was the story of a woman who had to spend Christmas alone. She starts off stoically (Bridget Jones-like) but loneliness creeps upon her. She wishes on a star for company and the snow baby comes to visit her.
There were great light effects, chiming music and snow flakes fell magically from above the stage. The woman danced with the snow baby in her arms. She said, 'I'm SO happy I have someone to spend Christmas with.' In response, the boy beside me shouted out, 'It's only a puppet, and it's got a man working it.'
Of course the snow baby had to go back from whence it came. And the woman hugged it, thanked it for coming and let it fly off into the starry sky. It was surprisingly moving - a moment of metaphor for lots of things in life: for enjoying what you have while you have it; for the suspension of disbelief; for letting go graciously.
Am I getting carried away? Note to self: It's only a puppet. Afterwards all the kids ran on the stage to play in the snow. When we came out, Maddy and I were walking along the street with artificial snow flakes in our hair. Great.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Good old BBC

Despite watching it alone, I inadvertently started clapping as the credits rolled on the final episode of Bleak House. One of these occasions when I feel proud of the BBC and what it stands for. What a series. Stupendous characters in Mr Jarndyce, Mr Guppy, Esther Summerson and the gorgeous Lady Dedlock.

I wish I was back at English Lit classes to discuss the morals of the story: why do most of the characters spend their life chasing the wrong things - money, ill fated love, reputation - and then get ill in the process? Only on their four-poster death beds do they see the error of their ways. They're granted a few pasty faced seconds to repent before slipping away. Is this what we have to look forward to? And why did Esther's small pox scars conveniently clear up for her wedding day? Max Factor wasn't a Dicken's character...

Anyway, it's all good and shiny and happy. Perfect for a dreich Sunday afternoon before Christmas.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Cheery Peeps

I just had an e mail from a pal telling me she was a bit fed up and she was off to check my blog to 'cheer herself up.' I didn't realise I was performing any kind of public service. In fact, I've been feeling a few dips in morale myself. As a consequence, I tend not to post. But let's all just admit to our shortcomings shall we? A bit of honesty could be mutually beneficial.

In winter I tend to resign myself to hibernatory evenings in bed or on the sofa. This weekend, the programme that cheered me up most was Peep Show. It's a comedy about two 30-something flatmates who obsess over social etiquette in Woody Allen type ways. It has dry quotes like -'Look Jeremy, Frosties are just cornflakes for people who can't face reality.'

When I post an entry I usually do an image search on google for an accompanying photo. A search for 'Pe
ep Show' also produced this -
and this...

And a few other shots you can look up in your own time.

Another phone friend of mine with ME was in a bad relapse recently. She was too ill to watch telly and could only listen to the radio. The discussion on the radio station was fairly boring and my pal said she needed some kind of breaking news story to distract her from her pain. "Something like Elton John splitting up with David Furnish and all the panelists could analyze it..." I have to say I burst out laughing. We all have different coping methods but that's quite elaborate. Mind you, I have been known to watch programmes about celebrity body language when the going gets tough.
Lastly, I went to a garden centre today to try and buy a compost bin as an eco friendly Christmas present. They didn't have any. They had armies of robotic santas that played jingle bells when you pressed their boots. Which reminds me, Stuart said he once saw an inflatable Santa on a crucifix in Japan. Merry Crucifixion Everyone.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Chicken and Egg

Meeting a chicken in the road was one of my highlights of the day. It's just the silly unexpectedness of it . Stuart and I had parked the car down a deserted country road and gone for a short walk towards a waterfall. The air was still and fresh and quiet, save for the sound of the river. And this wee chicken came strutting along the road making a throat-purr noise (that reminded me of the noise Marge Simpson makes when she has misgivings). I fed the chicken some crips and it seemed quite appreciative. 'If you fatten it up, it'll be pakora by Friday,' said Stuart. We spotted an eagle, a heron and a couple of robins. I was waiting for a family of foxes doing the conga by the river bank.
We had tea in a sconey shop where most of the clientelle were over 65 and very polite. I think it's cool when you see older couples drinking tea in silence and they don't look like they've fallen out; just that they're comfortable enough that they don't have to force conversation.
Although I do like evesdrop on the odd phrase. I heard the lady behind me say 'I've stopped using soap.' I guess she's looking at alternatives.
I asked Stuart about a friend of ours who used to get stressed a lot. I asked if she was happy now. Stuart said, 'She's got three children - she's no time to be happy.' And I thought, good point. If you have time or room to be happy (or even content), best to look it in the face. Best to feed crisps to chickens when you meet them crossing the road. It works for me.