Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Is that the time already......?

Good grief.

Doesn't time just fly.

It's half past 2010 already and what do I have to show for it?

*sits morosely, waiting for the answer to appear from the ether*

*tumbleweed tumble by.....*

Yes, well, there you have it.

Or not.

However the past week has been something of a whirlwind of activity.

In no particular order

  • 2 days camping over the summer solstice
  • Small Dog's vet appointment for booster vaccinations
  • Falling madly in love with a house for sale on the internet.
  • Going to view said house and falling out of love with it. Don't ask.
  • Travelling up to the wilds of Essex to spend lovely weekend with Gorgeous Daughter on a little island, accessible via causeway and cut off twice a day at high tide
  • Travelling back from Essex by train yesterday, via London which was hotter than all the fires of Hades, stoked up to the max, on a really hot day.
  • Attempting to catch up with deluge of emails, post, outstanding 'stuff to do' etc etc etc
And it's still hot.

I am most definitely disgruntled.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Summer solstice......

Tomorrow is summer solstice..... the longest day/shortest night of the year and traditionally marked as the first day of summer.

So we're flying in the face of convention and taking two days out of our busy working schedule to go camping, in order to better appreciate the longest hours of daylight.

Tomorrow evening I fully anticipate sitting outside our little campervan long after the very last of the light has disappeared. I might even raise a glass or two to toast the solstice.

Small Dog has already packed her accoutrements and is fully in favour of sitting in our little awning till well after sunset, candles twinkling, glasses clinking, laughter sprinkling through the evening.

Even if it's raining.

Which it might well be.

In order to offset my guilt at taking time out of the working week I will be taking a box of 'tiny toy doll stuff to do' which usually elicits comments from passing campers along the lines of "Good grief what ARE you doing?!' Oh how they laugh when I try to explain.....

No matter.

Life is way too short to worry about what others think. If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it is 'seize the day and live in the moment'.

Which is EXACTLY what I'm going to do.

Happy summer solstice to one and all............

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Called to account(s)............

I've been s-l-o-w-l-y ploughing through the end of year accounts for what feels like forever.

I started a few weeks ago but was overtaken by events so although they were 75% complete, the recent hiatus forced a delay, since when I have been loath to return to the accounting fray.

It's not that they're hugely complicated. I keep the book-keeping side of things as simple as possible. When I first started the business, I used a rather complex book-keeping spreadsheet thingy, which drove me demented. After a few years I ditched it in favour of a much more streamlined system, which is so much quicker and easier to maintain.

In theory.

However, I must admit to a certain laxity in my filing of receipts etc, which are mostly kept in a large box, all mixed up together. Every April, at the beginning of the tax year, I start off with the best of intentions, and carefully file receipts in labelled envelopes. But by June I've usually reverted to just chucking them into the accounts box, vowing I'll sort them out at the end of each month.

Predictably, by the end of the tax year I have two month's worth of perfectly filed receipts, bank statements etc, and the other 10 month's worth are all milling around in the accounts box, forming unlikely alliances and generally ending up in a right old mess.

This mess takes about a week to knock into shape, at which point the box should be empty, resulting in a neat row of 12 buff envelopes, containing all the documentation relating to each month's transactions.

I can then input all the relevant details into my spreadsheet and 'Tah Dah!' the numbers miraculously arrange themselves into end of year figures.

Of course it's a little more complicated than that, because the taxman needs to know, as my grannie would have put it, 'the ins and outs of the cat's backside'.

However, I am within a gnat's whisker of finally being finished. I'm hoping it will all be done and dusted today.

*fingers crossed*

And just in case you think I've been unduly melodramatic... (WHO?!! ME?!!!!) here is evidence of the scale of the problem.

1) Before - the calm before the storm. Note the neat and orderly filing system.


2) During - Neatly illustrating the point that you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

3) After - order is (mostly) restored.

So, just the online tax return to do now........

Saturday, 12 June 2010

A game of two halves...........

I can't believe I'm watching it.

Having declared this blog a football-free zone I am actually in the same room as a TV, on which the Eng-er-land v US of A is playing.

After an early lead, Eng-er-land conceded a goal, which, frankly, Small Dog could have saved.

PP asked earlier, which team I would be supporting. I said I was neutral.

Which shocked PP to her very core.

How could I NOT support England?!?

When I pointed out that most Scots would support almost any team playing against England she was absolutely devastated.

We were interrupted just before USA equalised by Small Dog vomiting on the carpet. Whether this was a comment upon the parlous state of the English defence is open to debate. In the ensuing melee I almost missed the US goal.

I need to get out more..........

Friday, 11 June 2010

Antidote to World Cup fever..........

If there is even a hint of sunshine tomorrow, we might take advantage of the eerie quiet, courtesy of Eng-er-land's inaugural match, to head off down to the beach, which will hopefully also be deserted.

Small Dog has mixed views on the beach.

If the tide is out she is quite happy to run along the sand, sniffing out small scuttling creatures and getting her paws every so slightly damp. She never actually ventures into the sea and displays a lightning turn of speed if an exhuberant wave threatens to overwhelm her.

If the tide is in, she picks her way daintily along the shingle, which to be fair, to a dog of her diminutive size, must seem more like small boulders than pebbles.

If we take a picnic she will spread herself out on the rug, guarding the picnic basket against potential incursions by renegade, opportunist canines. She also likes a bit of shade so we have to make sure she can lie directly under the sunshade, from where she can can keep an eye on what's occurring.

However, I don't doubt that even Small Dog's beach sceptiscim could fail to be washed away by this.......

Thursday, 10 June 2010

World Cup ennui.............

So finally, after weeks and weeks of escalating excitement, the World Cup kicks off later tonight with a star-studded concert, before the first matches take place tomorrow.

I am already fed up to the back teeth with it all.

The only plus is that Tesco will be a barren wasteland during pivotal games, with only the occasional ball of tumbleweed, rolling morosely down the deserted aisles.

No unwashed hordes.
No screaming children
No checkout queues.


Except for the plethora of St. George's tat, masquerading as essential England supporter's kit.
It isn't even restricted to the entry aisles, where shelf upon shelf of mainly plastic rubbish, all emblazoned with St George's Cross, compete with cut-price, belly-busting buckets of tortillas and vats of beer.

You can even, if you are so inclined, purchase England supporter's teeth.


Elsewhere in the store you're equally hard pushed to find anything which isn't somehow linked to the upcoming football fest, with even the most innocuous packaging literally flying the flag.

With stunning originality, Tesco has pulled out all the culinary stops and is offering a World Cup Meal Deal consisting of a pizza and two bottles of beer.

What sort of meal is THAT?!

The madness is due to last for a month. That's 4 whole weeks of a roller-coaster ride of hope and optimism, immediately followed by and a black hole of despair.

At least for England fans.


I'm determined to see NONE of it, except possibly by accident when flicking through the TV channels trying to avoid anything even remotely football related.

God help us all.

Curl up and dye............

Multitasking like a demon today.

Aside from casting, casting and more casting, I've also been making lots of tiny curls and tendrils, as well as dyeing some silk ribbon.

I needed an exact shade of pink, and despite having bags and bags of what I naively thought contained ribbon in every colour of pink under the sun, I just couldn't find the right shade.


Nothing else for it but to try to dye. Which is a process of trial and error.

However, after a few false starts I did finally manage to create the desired shade of crushed strawberry, and my silk ribbon was duly dyed.

I was then presented with a quandary. It always seems so wasteful to dispose of the dye, even though it's only a few fluid ounces. So I'll keep it for a few days just in case I need it again. I have an idea for a tiny wee fairy princess doll who might be just perfect dressed in layers of pink silk net.

In the meantime, in the interests of elfin safety, I thought it best to leave a note on the jug. Don't want anyone mistaking it for crushed strawberry cordial.

Perish the thought.....

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

In defence of Small Dog.........

It has been brought to my attention, following yesterday's Rant of the Day, that Small Dog may not share my views, vis-a-vis spelling, grammar et al.

I relayed this to Small Dog who was both shocked and stunned. Admittedly her spelling may best be described as 'experimental, but...

  • She writes all her own replies to comments etc. WITH PAWS!
  • It is a well known fact that dogs think (and write) phonetically.
Her vocabulary is far and beyond that of most 18 year olds. How many of them would know how to spell 'parmentier', let alone know what it means?

I would say that her grammar is very good, for a Yorkshire Terrier, and her grasp of semantics is second to none in the canine canon.

So there!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Rant of the Day.........

As part of my rigourous adherence to a week of no displacement activity, I merely glossed over the online news this morning.

However this article from the Guardian caught my eye. Apparently the Queen's English Society is planning to set up an English Academy to protect the English language.

And about time too!

As a committed logophile, I deplore the modern way with words. Or rather the lack of it.

A recent study by the Head of Linguistics at Lancaster University, professor Tony McEnery, found that teenagers use just 20 words for a third of their verbal communication.


Just in case you're interested, these words are:

You, I, The, And, It, A, To, Yeah, That, What, No, In, Know, He, Of, It's, Oh, Is, Like, On.

Not quite sure what happened to 'but.'

Don't even get me started on textspeak and the complete inability of even some adults to punctuate properly, or make a stab at correct grammatical structure.

I don't think that the English language should be preserved in aspic, but it certainly should be prevented from degenerating into a 'one word fits all' mentality.

Which brings me to my guilty secret...

I actually ENJOY spelling tests.


Yes I know.

I probably should get out more, but there you are.

So fellow logophiles might be interested in this

Which, incidentally, in No Way qualifies as displacement activity. I like to think of it as a mental workout while simultaneously honing my writing skills.


Monday, 7 June 2010

A series of unfortunate events.........

The recent blog hiatus has been due to a close member of PP's family being taken seriously ill very suddenly last week.

Rapidly unfolding events included an emergency ambulance journey to hospital, several days in ICU and the prospect of cardiac surgery as soon as possible. Thankfully the patient is now both conscious and stable but the past 5 days have been a bit of a roller coaster ride and normal life was put on hold for the duration.

Now that things have calmed down somewhat, life is slowly beginning to return to some semblance of normality, insofar as anything can be normal under such circumstances.

I was even able to make a tentative return to work today, which is just as well as my 'stuff to do' list was dangerously close to spontaneous combustion. Thankfully the weather is set to be cool, cloudy and probably wet for the next few days so any temptation to spend time lazing outdoors will be put firmly behind me.

So I'm determined to get back on track and play catch up this week.

Which means absolutely, categorically, definitely NO displacement activity in any way, shape or form.


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

There's been a muhrduhrrrr.....

The other day, PP ventured purposefully out into the garden with a spade.

I thought little of it, preoccupied as I was with work stuff.

She was quiet for quite a long time, which is unusual in itself.

After a few hours, she came back indoors and requested I come outside to view the result of her labours.


Coming upon such a scene, (and be honest now) what would be your immediate reaction?

Mine was to ask who she had, or was proposing, to bury. You must admit, it does look uncannily like a newly dug grave.

However, apparently it is our new vegetable patch, albeit a bit late in the season.

Since then a few days have passed. It has been mostly cold and rainy.

Until today, which has been lovely and sunny.

Which is why Small Dog has spent a lot of time outdoors.

Explorin' 'n that 'n everythin'.

And also might explain why she decided to try to exhume the 'body'