Monday, July 30, 2007

Soothsayer in Surrey?!

Frank has left us a sacred offering. I have spared you a photograph, although I was tempted.

The severed head of a small rodent and its expertly extracted intestines lie by the back door, awaiting interpretation by a handy haruspex.

Apparently, entrail reading is approximately as accurate as the polygraph test employed in the US legal system.

I put "soothsayer" into Surprisingly it gave me two results.

The first was for a vintage comic store in Glasgow. The second was for a CBT practitioner in Surrey!

Ms Melancholy? Any comments?

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Name that fruit or vegetable

So. I'm at the checkout in Tesco. I'm placing the contents of my trolley on to the conveyor belt, in a strict order, because that is what I am like. Fruit, then veg, then other fridge things, then stuff that belongs in the larder, then bathroom and cleaning products. We've only just started and already the checkout girl is looking a little flummoxed. Luckily the boy on the next til is willing to help.

It's a starfruit ...

Oh right ... and what's this? Are these the same?

No no, those are mangoes, and that is a papaya ... in exotic fruit, but it should have a barcode.

Oh, ok ... I'll get the hang of it soon ...

The girl is at least 25, but I figure mango and papaya aren't staple to the average Surreyite. I chip in with a bit of friendly banter about when I used to work in a supermarket, in the days before barcodes and picture tils, and we had to learn long lists of prices and product codes. She is sympathetic, and I assure her that she'll soon get the hang of it.

And then she picks up my one of my peculiar exotic vegetables* and asks what it is.

It's a courgette. I say. Astonished.

Ah! Sorry ... I've only worked here a week ... she offers, as if this is some kind of explanation.

I managed to hold back from advising her that if she ate a few more vegetables then perhaps she wouldn't look so pasty, but it was close.


*Obviously a courgette is technically a fruit and not a vegetable, but I think that would have blown her mind.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cleaning is the new black

I was 3 years old in 1979 when the lovely Jenny Logan first 'shake-and-vac'ed into my consciousness. The advert was shown for another 10 years, and that persistent delivery of a jingle which is 2 parts ear-worm to 1 part message has finally paid off for Glade. Last week I parted with a whole 68 pence to make my first ever purchase of Glade Shake n Vac Citrus Fresh.

What amazes me is the conviction of my purchase. Having washed our carpets a few weeks ago, I found my bedroom carpet emitting a few strange aromas as it dried very slowly ... nothing requiring gas masks or immediate relocation, just the odd whiff of something ... odd. And before I could even say "cash cow" I was at the supermarket checkouts, confident that in just a matter of hours my carpet, and my room, would smell fresh again. I didn't look on the internet, didn't even google "remove carpet aroma after washing". I didn't wander up and down the household products aisle wondering what to buy, or ask assistance from a friendly shelf-stacking person. I just remembered what to do.

Not only that, but I didn't read the instructions. No no, I recalled the distinctive wrist action, found it to be really quite a satisfying movement (though the hips were beyond me), and I shook, and then vacced. And it worked.

Thank you Jenny Logan.

In other exciting news this week, I have sorted out my tupperware. It was quite out of control, and the trouble with cleaning your house is that as each task is tackled it only serves to hilight the chaos remaining around it. So, the tupperware mountain that threatened to bury myself or Badger in a polyethylene avalanche any time we went for milk from the fridge became a Priority. Yes, I am quite aware that I just used the words tupperware and priority in the same sentence. Oh dear. Well. Anyway ... luckily Badger was on hand to oversee the process, in her own very special blunt way she looked me in the eye and said "You DON'T need THAT", as I nervously dusted my lettuce spinner. "But ... but ... but ... " I blustered, thinking fondly of the two occasions on which I had put it to use in the previous four years. I conceded. I took it to oxfam, which may or may not be a charitable act ... I can't quite decide.

PS - Hello Steve's mum :)

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Monday, July 02, 2007


Did you miss me?

I have been finding myself spending time usually reserved for blogging and reading the interweb doing things. Worse, cleaning things. I have lived here in our shack in the woods for just over a year now. 10th June 2006 we moved in. Suddenly, last week, I was overcome with an urge to clean and mend - really deep clean and mend - to line the nest with new feathers and no, no, I am definitely not pregnant!

This weekend I cajoled Badger and Dr But Why? into major action, and trotted along to HSS hire shops to procure a carpet cleaner. My bedroom carpet was installed in the sixties, and the office one in the late 70s. I doubt that they have seen much more than a cursory vacuum since then.

So. Every single Thing in my bedroom was brought out into the lounge. Actually, there weren't too many Things - a bed, a chest of drawers, 3 washing baskets (I have washing sorting OCD apparently), a bedside wheely thing and Ruby's crate. I filled up the dyson with the dust from under the bed while the cat made herself comfortable in the drawers full of clothes that I had left on the sofa.

I shampooed the carpet. I emptied bucket after bucket of brown sludgy water down the toilet. I rinsed the carpet. I emptied more buckets of brown sludgy water down the toilet. It is incredibly satisfying, pouring dirt away like that ... dirt you didn't even realise was there.

Badger helped me replace my furniture, and I fell into peaceful deep sleep in a spotless room with clean sheets on the bed.

Sunday ... sunday ... we tackled The Octagon. I love that we call our office / spare room 'the octagon'. I feel like a superhero every time I say it. 3 desks, one filing cabinet, a bookshelf, 2 sofas, one window seat, assorted musical instruments, speakers, tv, tv cabinet, 3 office chairs and lots of smaller heavy electrical items were duly shuffled and shoved, dusted and polished and wiped and tidied, and the carpet was hoovered shampooed and rinsed, and brown sludgy water disposed of, while Badger cleaned all the windows and mopped the floors and the cat made herself comfortable on the sofa.

And it feels good. It feels amazing. I realised yet again that I love this house. I truly love it - in the way that one can only love a living, breathing thing. Because it is a living, breathing thing. Our house nestles in the trees, soaks in the sunshine and showers in the rain. It is gripped and woven by vines and ivy. In the autumn it hangs heavy with grapes and in the summer the plums are only a quick stretch out of the window. And in the octagon there is the window seat, and this is why I am nesting - because I have remembered, once again, how lucky I am to live in a tree.

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