29 March, 2009

Earth Hour

We did that Earth Hour thing last night. It was really nice. Baby Squish and Baby Squish's Steve (BSS) were round for dinner (steak pie, since you ask, followed by Irish Academic's excellent cheeses). We sat around the fire singing the old folk songs (mainly Rodgers and Hammerstein), as our ancestors did in days of yore. It was not really dark, as light poured in from all the streetlamps. When we switched the lights back on again at 9.30, they seemed so hard, flat and prosaic, we immediately switched them off again. I'm planning to set a 9pm curfew from now on - we'll get some tealights and dispense with the electric lighting. Saves on utility bills too!

27 March, 2009

Exotic Bird of Passage

Irish Academic paid us a flying visit. She was in town to try to get a Mozambican visa, more fool her. Unfortunately it was on exactly the day that my incipient sore throat turned into full-blown 24-hour flu, so all I could do was lie in bed pathetically. Oddly enough it is the first time I have been ill since just before last Christmas, which was also the last time that Irish Academic paid us a visit. So now she thinks that I am constantly ill. Either that or I just don't want to talk to her and I am just putting it on.

Oops just remembered that I have invited Baby Squish round to dinner tomorrow and I may have inadvertently forgotten to mention it to LSS, which is a bit silly considering it is he who is going to have to cook the dinner. Maybe I should let him know...

19 March, 2009


Popped round to Clapham today to pick up a whole year's back issues of the London Review of Books from a kind Freecycler. I took the precaution beforehand of telling LSS the address, just in case it turned out NOT to be a kind Freecycler, but rather a psychopath bent on luring innocent book-loving females to their destruction, using free LRBs as bait.

It turned out, of course, not to be a psychopath, but just a wild-haired middle-class bloke with a meek tenor voice, in a house that smelled strongly of English curry, who rather spoiled the effect of his undoubted generosity by saying, as I left, "You'll either love it [the LRBs], or it'll go straight over your head, [you poor dim Chinese woman who probably thinks that the LRB is some kind of upmarket Grazia]." It constantly amazes me how rude people are, without even realising or intending it. Mind you, I am exactly the same. If I had a pound for every time I have accidentally insulted someone - well, I wouldn't still have to be working for a living.

Went to Swan Lake last week. Word to the wise - don't get the standing "seats", you can't see anything that happens on the side of the stage. Otherwise it was lovely, just the Swan Lake-iest Swan Lake imaginable. You know how when you're a kid you imagine how something will be and when you eventually grow up and see it, it turns out to be a miserable naff vulgar commercial letdown? Not this. Nor had the director decided to try to make his mark by having all the swans as men or setting it in a crackhouse in Brixton.

15 March, 2009


Today I sat outside on our old sun-warmed teak bench and read the Observer and listened to Radio 4 and drank a nice dry Soave and had a little perfect moment. There is a big fat bird in our garden - it looks like a normal songbird only about twice the size it should be. I swear it has doubled in size since I first noticed it 3 weeks ago. It is the only bird in the garden - I think it has killed and eaten the rest and now it is the size of a quail. It despises us and when we go into the garden, it just looks up from its incessant eating for long enough to give us a You looking at me? look, then goes back to its repast.

Last week, after I tempted fate, by bragging about our middle-class heaven, the heavens literally opened and rain came pouring down the side of the house, in through the cracks in our bathroom casement window, through the floor, through the ceiling and down into the kitchen. Simultaneously the pump in the other bathroom stopped working. So I had to spend muchos dineros on plumbing fixes.

Went into Chinatown today with the girls, at Curly's special request (the boys were off go-karting for Mo's birthday), and ate belly pork and preserved vegetables, and instant soup noodles with luncheon meat and a fried egg, at - where else? - the Cafe de Hong Kong, on Charing Cross Road. We lak vair much. Went on to Oriental Delights and bought a five-pack of Maggi Mee assam laksa flavour instant noodles, another of Superior Soup flavour, a pandan chiffon cake, and an industrial-size vat of chilli oil - with chilli dregs!

Saw Doctor Atomic at ENO on Friday - GBP10 tickets in dress circle! - which was very Mad Men. Quite liked it, although I fell asleep during the climactic last five minutes when they are waiting for the testbomb to drop - hey, it was warm, it was dark, it was past 9pm - I can't be expected to stay awake under those conditions. Then on Saturday night stayed up till 2am obsessively watching Entourage series 5 and the Sinead O'Connor video for Nothing Compares 2 U. I have a trashy mind.

Work mega stressful at the moment. Going to deal with it by not thinking about it.

07 March, 2009

Middle Class Heaven

Mo beat me at Othello today. This is the first time he has ever beaten me at any game that did not involve an element of chance, and he beat me fair and square. A proud day for any parent when they are intellectually outstripped in anything by their children! Of course, now I will have to kill him.

Made an apricot and almond cake today and it was razzer yummy.

Also unearthed the remains of a water feature in our garden - I thought it was just a heap of stones in the middle of one of the beds, but the more I dug, the more stones I turned up (and woodlice), followed eventually by a kind of pipe thing, a big hole in the ground, a circular plastic thing, a reservoir and a pump. It was like an episode of Time Team. SMW says water features in gardens are good things, because they attract frogs. But there's precious little bits of our garden that get the sun in the first place and it seems silly to waste this particular patch on a water feature, rather than the say in the shady north-facing bed, which will clearly never grow anything except rhododendrons.

Put our first kitchen scraps into our brand new subsidised composter from Wandsworth Council today. It's been middle class heaven around here today, what with the composter and the green wellies by the kitchen door and the knitting and listening to the chronic afternoon play on Radio 4.

Listening to a mix CD that someone at work gave me - really nice stuff by a bunch of people I have never heard of. I have lent him Eichmann in Jerusalem in return. Is this a fair exchange?

Larry is learning Auden's O Tell Me the Truth about Love this week. Mo and I are reading Caesar's commentaries on the Civil Wars. I refuse to do any more bedtime readings of books that I personally have no interest in reading.

04 March, 2009

A Breath of Mountain Air

SMW came to visit, complained bitterly about the lack of central heating, respectively dispensed and consumed gardening advice and lavish quantities of Rioja, took my old blue jumper that I bought from the Phase 8 on Bellevue Road on Wandsworth Common back in '98 (that was a very good year for jumpers) and vanished in a cloud of Slovenian bee pollen.

02 March, 2009


Curly: [sings] She's got glands! She's got paramedics!