Monday, August 27, 2007

Early to bed and early to rise

Makes a man sick and then he dies.

A saying of my mother's which I treasure.

It's been a busy day or three.
Art on the Park is more like an exhibition than a market. So it was nice to have a steady stream of people pointing, muttering and occasionally stopping to say something nice or "look at that one" or " beautiful/lovely/interesting/different". Even once or twice, buying. I have to say, it's good for the ego.
Does my ego need boosting? Well no matter. I like it to be boosted. Cash plus boosting would be even better but what the hell. The stall only cost £7 and yes, I did cover it. Oh, and a commission no less!!!! To do a smaller size of one of the big prints hung at the back of the stall as eye candy :)

Well and then I packed up and met Barney at the pub and sold some cards to the head waitress and a friend. All good stuff really :)
And on Thursday or Wednesday Barney said let's have a Barbecue for all sorts of people we don't normally invite for NYE as well as some we do normally invite. And we did that and he organised it all (while I was frantically adding cards to my stock and refusing to consider Barbecues at all) and today (that would be Monday) they nearly all (30) came and it was very nice indeed.
Now I'm a little bit knackered. And Barney said well, no more big parties till New year. Phew! Then he said well maybe just a few for 4-6 people. Hmm. this is the man who says we will only provide sausages, salad and bread and then comes home with half a pig and a pile of meat to make burgers with. And then goes out and buys enough bread for the five thousand (but no fishes thank heavens).
It's amazing how quickly 4-6 becomes 8-10 becomes 15-20 becomes 30! and I'm feeling bad about two friends who we both thought the other of us was inviting and neither of us did so I suspect we'll have to invite them and a whole partyful of others just to make sure they don't feel left out!

Today was Thursday. After last week's encouragement I felt honour bound to do the market again. But forgot that today was also the day upon which I had faithfully promised to 'fone' vodafone at 1pm. To get my new phone and sim card and everything all connected and ported and well, together.
I had some trepidation about attempting to 'fone' Vodafone while running my stall! Don't ask me why. Something to do with the non-answering habits of 'fone' people? The way you have to guess which automated number will get you the person you need to talk to? The things you might be asked which you can't remember? The (remote) possibility that lots and lots of people might choose to buy cards while I've got the phone under my ear and am trying to remember simultaneously, my birthdate, my phone number and how much is a small card.
No problem. Nicky, (jewellery stall who has a solution to every problem) blithely offered to mind the customers, a real vodafone person spoke to me before my credit or battery ran out (another pair of possibilities) and I remembered all the salient information correctly. It seems I do know my address, my postcode, my phone number and my birthdate! Vodafone person was about to tell me what to do next when we got cut off...........................

Another possibility I hadn't considered was the stress of 'fone' communication turning the air blue with foul epithets around me. Fortunately I remembered where I was just in time and kept my mouth shut. Blue steam may have come from my ears but it was silent. I think?

But it was ok. I now have a nice new mobile of my very own, with my very own phone number and it all seems to work.

My next electronic mission, should I choose etc etc is to get the Navman to navigate. I anticipate more stress and blue steam and I shall do it in the privacy of my own home so I can curse and yell at it at full volume should this prove necessary. But in the meantime it has gathered up all my address book and calendar which was the main purpose of getting it in the first place so I can save the nav stuff till I feel more relaxed.

What, I ask rhetorically, is the cat chasing behind the curtain? We have recently had a serious spider visitation. I don't much object to spiders, especially small neat ones, but I feel a bit like drawing a line when one comes spidering out from the keyboard when I sit down to check my email. I mean think of those cobwebs all amongst my precious computer!

I have to go now. I can see everyone's been too busy themselves to notice I haven't been here for a week :( and tonight I shall go round and see what you've all been up to:)
Have a lovely evening

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Today was the best market day so far!!! I covered my costs (only the day's costs though, not the production costs) and gained £3 towards the losses from previous markets. I suppose this means I will go again next week. There was a steady passage of delightful punters through the market, the sun shone, Frangelita came and ate lunch with me, people said nice things and it was all really very enjoyable.
People said it was a bit of a slow day. All I can say is, if today was slow, bring on the fast days! Yay!
Things were somewhat dampened by the discovery of a flat tyre at the end of the day but Barney rescued me (I think lots of other people would have rescued me but I'd already rung him) and now it's a golden evening and maybe summer is still around after all.

I was enchanted by this lady. I wanted very much for her to stand by my stall and look like that
Later she was persuaded to try on a different outfit. I don't think it met with her approval
But my friend from another stall was impervious to her disdain. Also, I think she was impervious to his embrace.
Actually I think she was just impervious altogether.
From the sublime (?) to the.......well, sometimes, when it's chilly and my canvas chair is damp, I wonder if I would be happier selling comfy furniture.

Now I need to replace a lot of flower cards and several tiny cards. Also I need more pigs! Pigs were popular!
I am a fairly contented bunny. Please pray/wish for very very lovely weather on Sunday. I would so like to make a killing at Art on the Park!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I had some good random thoughts last night

but I've forgotten them.
Never mind. Encouraged by getting a nice new free upgrade mob, I went and bought myself my very own Nintendo DS lite. This is not so I can play nintendo games (whatever they are) but so I can TRAIN MY BRAIN. Remember Eldest's desire to improve my brain? Well when he and lovely partner and Marmite came to visit, he didn't bring his game for me to borrow so I decided to get my own.*
Later, when I get fed up with finding out how old my brain is I can give it to someone as a birthday present :) This will not be cheapskate and stingy as I shall look after it very very carefully!
Furthermore, I took the Vodafone by the horns and phoned them (should that be foned them?) and have ordered a new sim card with the pac number which Frangelita finally managed to extract from them (since she is already herself and didn't have to pretend to be) and have set everything in place for the arrival of my old phone number on my new card in seven days time. I have to remember to fone Vodafone again on the day!
Also as mentioned the other day, I have purchased a replacement for my old pda. Really I only used it to make me feel secure about my calendar and address book in Outlook. but the change to Vista rendered it obsolete.
It sometimes used to suddenly forget that it was a partner with my pc...or maybe it was the pc that forgot, I was never sure. But after a good deal of cursing and help file searching I always managed to get it working again without losing anything. Until Vista when I forgot to keep it charged and it suddenly forgot who it was itself and probably will never work again. Unless someone would like a reasonably functional pda with all bits and pieces and several spare charging and connecting bits? Going spare and as far as I know still potentially functional with xp or one of the older versions of windows. It runs outlook, word and excel and could even be made wireless, I believe. (though I harbour doubts about this)
Anyway, today's final mission, should I choose to accept it, is to get the new pda working. It's a navman (a rather old model I suspect) and according to various reviews, will offer pda facilities as well as either helping me find my way around the world or getting me lost and throwing wobblies when I tell it we've gone wrong.
I was assured by Comet (who I hate, in case you didn't notice) that if it didn't work with vista I could return it. I've established that it hasn't got a straightforward way of working with vista but it does have windows mobile with which vista (apparently) is compatible. And I didn't tell Comet that I've spoken to Navman support so I'm going to try it out. And then if it fails miserably I shall go and raise hell in Comet which will be fun.
After I've had a shower and e't some toast. This could be a long session. Thank heavens I've trained my brain already today (age currently 64. Could do better).
After I've attempted the Navman connection thing, I need to get everything ready for tomorrow's market. Do I really want to be up at five am, trundling off to unload heaps of stuff in the market place and struggling with the car parking conundrums? Dunno. Certainly I won't tomorrow morning but for now it doesn't look like a too awful idea.

*What do you mean, it's just a game? I don't do computer games. It's just Not-Game. See.

UPDATE: Wow. It works. Full marks to Vista. It found the pda, opened its windows mobile thingy and connected all without me having to do anything except say yes! Oh and windows thought a good alternative to pda might be pea. I shall call it the pea from now on. The pea immediately reminded me I have three birthdays to deal with. So I'd better :)
Tomorrow I may even dare look into the navigation stuff. Probably this will be a sad failure :) But I live in hopes.
Maybe I'll take the manual (dummy) so I can read, learn and digest wile all the punters at the market are not-buying my cards. If I take the brain game...I mean braintraining not-game, as well, people will think I am very cool and playing games :)

Afterthought: Now I won't be able to go and raise hell in Comet. That's a shame.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Frangelita wanted marmite (???)

Mine not to reason why.....*

......Ohhh! Marmite!
With or without Nutmeg?

*When middle daughter was very small and it was her turn to visit Great Grandma, she once asked for Marmite on her toast. Naturally, Grandma had Marmite in her store cupboard and proudly produced a very small jar.
Middle daughter looked at it in astonishment and asked "Grandma, are you and Grandad very poor?"

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Monday, August 20, 2007

It's a dim damp day

And I'm a gibbering wreck with chilly feet. This is because, yet again, I've spent hours on the phone, not just chasing insurance but also, trying to fix Barney's email.
Periodically, Barney's email goes wrong. I don't understand the way his email this is a regular recipe for rage and despair followed by phone calls to people who ASK me things. Which I can't answer. Because I suspect our earwig isn't quite set up as normal, simple eggboxes are. see!
Then I tried to make my new gadget work (this is a replacement for the one I used to have which will not-no way-in any circumstances work with Windows Vista). Actually it looks as though this new one will also not work with vista but there are possibilities and as long as I try within 28 days of purchase I have the assurance that I may return it. To Comet.
I hate Comet. (partly because whenever you ask them if your prospective purchase will do something, they read the same sales ticket you've just read and come up with the same answer. Dunno. Have to check. DUMMY!!!! I just did all that and now I'm checking....with YOU!). Meanwhile the sink is full of greasy watery stuff because the special little plughole filter thingy, as always, has got blocked up. I hate the little pluggy blocky thingy!
I hate Barney's email too.

The dog smells and is burping at me. WTF is all that about? I suppose I don't hate him. Much.
Oddly enough the cats are keeping out of my way.

I've sent a distress call to Eldest. Perhaps he will realise that Dad's email is driving me to gibbering, snivelling despair and agree to look it all up and then remotely rescue me.

I think I'll go and put some socks in it. Nonononono. I mean on. Some socks. On. My feet.
And clean out the blocky pluggy thing.

Oh and I just checked the weather. This morning, it said we would have light showers today and sunny spells tomorrow. Now it says we will have sunny spells today and heavy showers tomorrow. What kind of weather forecast changes its mind about today at 5pm? Actually we just a had a sunny spell. One sunny spell. That is to say the sun peered weakly through a cloud for three minutes and then vanished again in a helplessly embarrassed kind of way.

In short, my list for today said, fix email, chase insurance, connect new gadget, make some cards for Oxford and make dinner early so we can go and visit Brother in law on his new narrow boat.
What I've done is, chase the insurance (up the garden path) not-fix the email, not-connect the gadget, not-make any cards for Oxford and make dinner early so we can etc etc only Brother in law hasn't rung to say where the boat is so we're currently not-visiting him. Oh and now I think about it, I've not-put any socks on too.

Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure that at least three of my regular visitors are away and won't be able to leave understanding, soothing comments. If anyone else is around, please say something soothing and understanding. Otherwise I may have to commit virtual suicide!


This wonderful woman has published a book, available from Amazon here.

She is a marvellous, funny, honest, clever writer. Sadly the part of the blog which the book covers is now gone. It was an honour and an inspiration to read it through the months and more than many others, it defined the way I feel about blogging. It also changed the way I thought about infertility treatment.* Still, the book will be out in September/October (depending on where you live and she promises most of the blog posts are in it).
If you buy it, you're guaranteed laughter (howling gales) tears, delight and a revealing insight into the pits of despair and indignities of infertility and some of its treatment as well as the joys and terrors of success in conceiving and finally having a baby**. I think there will be more too which maybe wasn't in her blog. I'll just have to wait till October to find out.

*Further, it caused me and Frangelita to phone and scream excitedly to each other when the baby was due, during the labour and after the birth. Very confusing to our friends and family. And to tell all sorts of puzzled people "Ova Girl's HAD THE BABY!!!!!"

**He's a beautiful baby too:).

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The question before the panel is

Should the lovely Frangelita get married in this dress?

You have seven days to decide. Answers on a virtual postcard* please.

Oh, and hair up or down?

*Sorry, joke. Comment here or at Inside my head


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Marmite has gone. 5 minutes after he left, Mandu came home (from the shed where she had been staying during his visit). Looking rather small and scruffier than usual and keeping a weather eye out for large, floppy, fangyness with huge paws.
With Marmite has gone Eldest leaving behind a nice newly organised website (Traditional and two slightly addled parents.
He was very patient with us though :) and showed me all over again how to edit the website and sorted out a few things that had gone wrong since his last visit. Also bit his Dad's head off at a fairly early stage, thus ensuring co-operation and reasonable behaviour for the rest of the website session.
He's really very good like that:)

Now I shall post a few pics from the pit. (I've done my website homework for today).

Now these 4 lads looked young and cute and all that. I defy anyone however to have guessed at their youth by listening to their music. Two of 'Last Orders'. (winners of the BBC2 Young Folk award) Brilliant sharp music.
Mad Agnes. A girly group. Yes the one on the left is an honorary girly. They said so.
Show of hands (Phil Beer and Steve Knightley) were accompanied by Miranda Sykes on double bass. Now both these blokes are fabulous musicians. But Miranda is a photographer's dream. And plays a hot double bass :)See what I mean?
Speaking of dreaminess, Strawbs played filled a good part of the afternoon with magnificent chords and satisfying lyrics. I love their songs and I couldn't resist this particular dreamy expression.
It was hard to get the drummer in any shots of the band though. He kept vanishing behind bits of stage stuff and kit. He is there.
And Rick Saunders from Fairport is another gift. Prone to leaping and running about rather oddly. But he pauses every so often, to concentrate perhaps. And to do that stuff with the bow.

Him and Chris Leslie doing some sort of Kung fiddle music?The smiles on the fiddlers' faces.
And the Maestro himself, Swarb , with Ashley Hutchins.
Simon Nichol is a really nice guy. And a lovely singer and songwriter and a fabulous guitarist.
Meet on the Ledge :)
After the show is overThe scouts spend all night clearing up the mess!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Festival

Well I'm back from my press adventure. And somehow seem to have ended up in charge of an enormous dog! Dog is called Marmite and belongs to Eldest and his girlfriend who have gone to London for the day. I was warned that Marmite might show separation anxiety when they left and he did indeed throw himself at the door and also the window with large sorrowful whines and small yelps. But he's now subsided into a heap on the floor and occasionally heaves a sigh with a whimper attached. I'm quite grateful that that's all so far. I'm only accustomed to a smallish, ageing dog these days and this large floppy, hairy creature looks as though he could be quite a handful if he really got in a state.
(Smallish, ageing dog is in a state of collapse having been for three or four very long walks with Marmite!)
Ok. Peace descends.

So, Cropredy :)
I like being The Press :)
You get to go between the stage and the 20,000 people behind the barrier and because the Cropredy organisers restrict the numbers of photographers in the pit at any one time you can wander about quite freely taking pictures from all sorts of angles. Beats balancing on tip toe in between the 20,000 people and waving a hopeful camera above your head any time:)
I have to say that the pictures I took, while a million time better than most of the ones I usually take, are no better than the ones you see all over the place of other, non press passed people who've been to festivals. Almost the first thing I saw as I nervously approached the press tent to book my first slot in the pit was this pretty girl with possibly the most enormous amount of camera lens I've ever seen up close. When I confessed to camera envy she said it would make her arms really strong as it was heavy and she'd only had it a couple of months!(My camera probably felt a bit undersized though, as there were a lot of large cameras in the pit. I only saw two as small as mine. And I've become accustomed to thinking mine is rather big. I should have made that cardboard cut out!)

But to start with, the festival itself. Three days of peace man. (quite noisy peace sometimes but nonetheless peace with a big P). Lots and lots of ageing hippies with their children and grandchildren and dogs and blankets and umbrellas and (regrettably) their beach shelters:). Fairy lights, flags and candles. Glowing thingies. Banners. Hairdos, head scarves and patchwork skirts and trousers. Small children running a lot and waving things. People wandering about with pints and platesful stopping to try and work out if they were at all close to where they left their chairs/partners/children.

On Friday afternoon somebody's luggage arrived. It was addressed to Fairport convention, Cropredy and had come from America to Heathrow and hence to the festival. Well that would save you dragging your suitcase all over the country!

Right, let's meet at the bar. Where are you now?
Between the Caribbean food and the Fish and chips? Ok. You draw a line between the British flag and the white horse flag... what? Oh well the black horse on a white background, you know, like the white horse of Uffington right? But black instead of white. You don't know what I mean? how can you not know the Uffington White Horse. Well, a stylised horse on a white flag. Look it's the only black and white flag uphill from the British flag. Oh. Well how about the white dragon on a red background? How many?? Well I can only see the one.
Oh Ok. well can you see a row of six blue and yellow beach shelters with a sheepdog in the second one from the end? And a pink man? Really, a pink man. A big pink man, you can't miss him. Oh. Right. Well there's a white vest with a pink scarf. can you see that? No on a flag pole I know there are hundreds of them on people. Look up! Got it? good. don't go anywhere near that one. Oh, I tell you what, go to the other side of the field and walk down hill till you can't get any further because of the crowd. Push your way into the crowd until you hit the bar. I'll meet you there.

Here's someone who looks as though he also was not in use.
A place to keep the kids busy
Waiting for my first slot to get into the pit. (I arrived fifteen minutes early because they thought they might be ahead. What sort of festival runs ahead of time!)
A bit of shade in between pitward dashes and platesful of exotic food. And fresh donuts. and coffee and orange juice. (It was wonderfully sunny all weekend. Fantastic)My favourite, the Thai food stall.
A peaceful early morning moment in the campsite
Meet on the Ledge.
For those of you who aren't Fairport fans, it's the song they always finish with. A special moment for a special song.

We used to say
"There'd come the day
we'd all be making songs

Or finding better words"
These ideas never lasted long

The way is up along the road,
the air is growing thin

Too many friends who tried,
blown off this mountain
with the wind

Meet on the ledge,
we're going to meet on the ledge

When my time is up,
I'm going to see all my friends

Meet on the ledge,
we're going to meet on the ledge

If you really mean it,
it all comes around again

Yet now I see,
I'm all alone,
but that's the only way to be

You'll have your chance again,
then you can do the work for me

Meet on the ledge,
we're going to meet on the ledge

When my time is up,
I'm going to see all my friends

Meet on the ledge,
we're going to meet on the ledge

If you really mean it,
it all comes around again

That's all for tonight. I have Eldest to talk to and dog to take out and Oh, stuff to do.
Tomorrow I shall post pictures of bands, if I have time to sort through them :) There are quite a lot :) Sleep well.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Reporter's Mother Scoops at Cropredy

Well not yet but we can live in hopes.
I'm all of a dither. My daughter, the reporter, has arranged for me to take pictures at Fairport Reunion's annual festivel (40th Anniversary of the band) at Cropredy, for her newspaper!!! I will be that press person, scurrying around, occcasionally throwing myself (and presumably my camera and tripod) on the ground to get that awesome upside down shot up the Stars' noses, paparazzi fashion and wearing an official wristband!
I don't have a five mile long telephoto lens so maybe I need to make a cardboard cut-out to give my camera the authentic look? What sort of hat should I wear? Do I need one of those many pocketed vest thingies with camera bits festooned all over them? I can manage the world weary drooping fag in corner of mouth look at any rate. And I'm very good at slouching!

Meanwhile my car is in for a service so I can't go off to foreign parts (that's the next county) neither to the backside of B&Q in search of pictures of the canal (for card making purposes). It's quite a relief actually. I've been doing this for the last two (three?) days and coming home, resembling a slightly soggy barbecued object with millions of pictures but not very many good ones. I've confirmed my suspicion that going to a place to look for photos is not at all the same as leaping out of the car and grabbing fifty pics of one inspiring view!
There are some good ones but the vagaries of cloud and camera batteries have cramped my style somewhat. I've discovered that battery no 3 will only take 70 pictures while no's 2 and 4 will take 200 odd each. And No 1 may even stretch to 250!
So yesterday ended with me balanced on a rock between a marsh, a river, a thorny hedge and a delightful little aqueduct on the Kennet and Avon canal, poised to switch the camera on as soon as the clouds (large, white, fluffy and with intermittent gaps) unveiled the sun. They did, I did, and the camera took one last picture and I fell off the rock. The two events being simultaneous so the resultant picture is...interesting. At best. Marshes are soft though so it could have been worse. It could have been the river or the hedge! Or cowsh'! Of which there was a lot.

On the other hand, or in the other hand as it happens, there is the dreaded phone call to the insurance company.
Remember them? Them what don't answer phones or return calls?
Right now, they've assured me (automatically) that my call is important to them and asked me to wait till a thingy becomes available. While waiting for said thingy, I've typed the whole of this post with one hand. With pauses for thought and cigarette rolling.
Thing is, although they were all sorted and the cheques came, duly made out to the chosen contractors, one of the contractors has done his back in. We are interestingly scaffolded but not pebble dashed. He may never be able to do the work. the cheque is made out to him and anyway, as his was the cheapest quote, we may not be able to get anyone else to to the work for that price. So we need to know what the insurance company (currently, no doubt, wading through a million flood insurance claims) will do. And while we have every sympathy with pebble dasher's back problem he might have let us know sooner that he was out of action. And indeed, he rivals the insurance company for non-answering of phones and has no ansaphone on which to leave a message. This is turning out to be yet another epic tale of messages sent out into the electronic void. Unopened virtual bottles floating in the aether! If you should find one washed up on your virtual beach, could you label it "URGENT" and push it out again?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Pastoral delights

Today I got up early, surprising Barney on his way up with my cup of tea (neat timing that) in order to make an attempt on the early morning mist. Missed it by a couple of hours actually but no matter. I caught it last night in the moonlight.
Still it seemed like a good idea to wander off down to the scenes of last week's rural floods and I thought I'd investigate a lake which was dug in the grounds of a local public prep school a few years ago. By now, I reasoned, it ought to have grown a good lot of undergrowth and be looking quite picturesque.
Well yes and I was certainly right about the undergrowth. Acres of well grown thistle and nettle surrounded it and a few quite nice trees. Good. and although the mist was gone, the dew (?) remained. All fairly knee deep but a photographer must be prepared to swish through this sort of thing right ?
So I did that, pausing to climb over various horsey event type obstacles which might have made me expect horsesh' here and there. There was that! After a while I sat in some. Inadvertently of course what with the slightly slippery dewyness and the wandering backwards through the pastoral richness. At least it wasn't cowsh'.
No problem. It's not a long walk and oops, the last bit is up the road. Quite a well used road. Used by local people, several of whom I am acquainted with. Really, the last thing I want is the word to go round at the local pub that I had been seen the other day walking up the road with a spreading brown stain on the seat of my trousers - as we're already well known for our slight eccentricity! On top of which (er, maybe I should rephrase that). As well as which, I think I ate something a bit old yesterday and it was getting to be a matter of some gentle but insistent urgency to get home to the loo. So there I was, walking with a slightly stiff-legged gait (as you do when your backside is clinging to a sticky brown dampness and something is trying to get out that shouldn't be in) and it seemed wise whenever anyone drove past, to leap out of their way and press myself into the hedge as if to give them more room. So what with the nettles and thistles and thorns, and other discomforts I was really, really glad to get home.
And I found this lying on the ground at the front door :)

And it's only ten oclock. What shall I do next?

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