Thursday, 29 December 2005

Hello again. Haven't blogged for a little while as I've had a cold, and been lying down rather a lot.

Tempting to say that a lot has happened, but it wouldn't technically be true. However, I am the last visitor still standing sitting down at Dobson H.Q., Adrian and Emma having gone off on Boxing day to see Emma's parents, Neil wandering back to Exeter leaving plenty of time to spare and Nicholas catching a ferry back to France.

A lot of my gifts had to go home with Neil (thanks) including the J&W Omnibus that Nicholas got me, even though I was half-way through The Mating Season - still these things are sent to try us.

The only time I switched on the TV in my room (I object) in a desperate bid to entertain myself while ill I light upon the 100 best musicals as chosen by the public and populated by a million people you've almost heard of - precisely what I needed I think. West Side Story was no. 4, which didn't disappoint me too much. Also, it so happened that Cabaret came free with the Times or something at some point and was lying unwatched, so I rectified the situation. It's an interesting film, but as a musical it wasn't particularly engaging I thought. "What good is sitting around in your room[...]?" Quite.

Went to town today, to try get some fresh air; posted some things, topped up my phone (can text again!) and had an abortive attempt to get some photos of Monica and myself developed which uncle Carlos took. Monica says she got a digital camera for Christmas - I wonder how that will work out, as she doesn't have a computer... Irene does, and I suppose that you can get them developed the same as normal cameras these days too.

Re-read Winnie-the-Pooh this morning, against which Wodehouse has Bertie Wooster say some very harsh and disagreeable things, and found it as politely charming as ever.

Hmm. As I say, not a great deal going on. Will be packing tomorrow, as leaving early on Saturday for Ancona. If anyone taped The Christmas Invasion, they might be interested to know about this commentary. Then again, they might not.

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

I could have had a better return journey, it wasn't too bad until I got to Yeovil Junction, and the unbelievably full train to Exeter turned up. I couldn't even get on the train and ended up waiting another two hours for the next train, which was only rather full. Next time I'm going to travel on the day after Boxing Day, I'm going to hire a car, but hopefully I'll get more time off next year.

Today was far more encouraging, only Me, David and Matt were working at the shop and I really felt that I achieved something, winding all the clocks in the shop, helping David out and getting further with a job I'd barely started before leaving on Christmas Day. The only difficulty was that neither David or Trevor had turned the heating back on since Christmas Eve, and it was freezing in the workshop!

Sunday, 25 December 2005

Well then. Presents:

Mum and Dad: Kaiser Chiefs, Hard Fi, Peep Show, Cufflinks

Emma: Balloon-modeling kit

Neil: Gary Lucas, Street of Lost Brothers

Monica: No less than 3 books on St. Francis of Assisi, a blanket, and a set of rosary beads made with olive wood from Bethlehem.

The Fornis: Toiletries

The Garretts:One mid-size, extremely fluffy, red cushion

Nicholas: A Jeeves and Wooster Omnibus (which, it so happens is what I got Monica)

Adrian and Emma:Eddie Izzard on CD

Dash it I've lost track: Some wonky candles for Monica and I to wonkily light

Not to mention a hyouge box full of organic fruit-based drinks and ginger beer, picallili, mustard, madras, chocolate from Monica for all of us. Believe this partially represents and attempt on Monica's part to steer her roguish boyfriend away from the evils of alcohol; a mixed success - all drink is gratefully received. What with having the whole family plus Emma and some presents for Monica (which I'm not sure quite what to do with) the front room was very crowded. I believe my presents were well received too. Huzzah.

Had a good dinner, though subjected to jokes. Felt incredibly tired afterwards; dozed off under me new blanket. Been reading the Wodehouse, played Uno. Not an undiverting game, but very little brainwork required. Having said that, my brain is indicating that it approves of this holiday idea very much. Monopoly is being played. Declined to join in, but unleashed my factoid that Monopoly was invented by a Quaker lady to demonstrate the evils of capitalism - oh the irony.

Watched Dr. Who, naturally. More of the same, which will certainly do; bought a Troughton era one for Neil, which should be class. Well, might do something productive tomorrow, but kicking back would certainly seem to be the order of the day.
Hello again. Just been to this morning's mass, and I gather that everyone else is at St. Martin's, so may as well blog. Though I could organise the presents into piles for optimum unwrappage, which is certainly not without precedent.

Well, yesterday was fun, but I didn't do very much owing to a persistent headache-type deal. A headache doesn't heighten my appreciation of Bach's Mass in B minor it would seem. I guess I'll try again later. Radio 3 has got Bach right into my head at the moment - seem to be relentlessly humming it.

Midnight mass was very good, the morning mass was okay too. Did I mention that St. Peters and St. John's looks kind of like a barn? Well it does - a very apt Christmas venue.

Kerfuffle about contacting Monica, but she phoned this morning, which was lovely. They've opened their presents already, being an hour ahead. Apparently I've been announced in Italy now, so everyone's very interested to meet me.


On the plus side, it prompted a toast, and I think I'm right in saying that no-one has ever toasted me before.

Well Nicholas is back; he won't get over-excited on his own - he need me to boss him into it, so I'd better get cracking!

Merry Christmas everybody - woo!

Saturday, 24 December 2005

Hey hey, happy holy days!

Well, it's this time of year where I'm at my parents house with not a great deal to do but chill, with broadband to boot, so I shall be blogging not more of my non-exploits. Lucky old you.

I said goodbye to Monica for a week on Thursday evening, after a long day at work, and goodbye to Exeter for two weeks after a short day at work, which, nonetheless started rather early. As is my wont, left about three times the requisite amount of time in which to pack. Thus is was that I ended up watching some of the first series of Bottom. Hu, and indeed, zzah. I didn't want to take too much luggage to Italy, so I'm slightly concerned about my capacity for presents, not helped by the fact that some of Monica's presents are here. Ah well.

On the way to St. David's I saw a bunny. Aw.

Came to Reading on a whizzy train from Penzance. They put me on the quiet coach, which I didn't mind, but neither did I propose that I should be so situated. I wonder, do people request the quiet coach? Bit of kerfuffle with the trains to Blackwater, but it turned out nice again. Dad picked us up at the station and momentarily I was back in Camberley, with all the glittering delights thereof. Seems to be a bit of an ethnic shopping contingent growing up, which is interesting. If I want a veil I'll know where to go.

Cordially punched Nicholas in the stomach on arrival, bested him in a "try and strangle me" demonstration of his jitsu propensities and laid into Adrian's joke-telling capacities. Seem to remember making Mum crease up somehow. A collective effort that one I think. Anyway, a good time was had by all, and I had a Golden Glory, which, as Ben would say, is a lovely drop. Oh, and kedgeree, which is good.

Wow, Badger Direct! Not a site for the purveyance of bespoke badgers, which would be superb, but, almost as splendid, Badger Beers.

And that's Ciao, for now.

Saturday, 17 December 2005


Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Today is the day I handed my notice in at payroll, with the intention of leaving at the end of February.

Friday, 9 December 2005

Hi there.

I'm currently killing time in the office; it's the payroll Christmas meal tonight, so I don't need to cook, and it's not worth going home as I've a choir rehearsal before that. Should be a fun evening, though I'm rather tired, and I must not be persuaded to go clubbing. Much as I'm looking forward to home at Christmas, it's a pity I won't get to sing all of the cool Christmas pieces that we're currently rehearsing at Sacred Heart.

Today has been ooooooooooooooooooookay. Had a rather depressing week due to various things, which, though not hunky dory, are now in a much better state than they were earlier, so I'm fairly content. Work is odd - my allocation of it has largely disappeared, so I'm doing other peoples' work and checking the work of others too. Most unusual.

No. Christmas. Shopping. Done. Whatsoever. Need to think about it - browsing just doesn't seem to work. Anyway, my Amazon wishlist is still here. Also, I think it would be pretty damn cool to have a phone with a loudspeaker so as to include more people in a conversation, and I told Mum of some other CDs that I would rather like. Yesterday Monica and I tried Christmas shopping, but all we got were some cards and a complete Winnie-the-Pooh.

Monica made me an advent calendar; she's great. She even said she liked some beer the other day - egad. Plus, it seems that she brings out my ability to cook fine omlettes, which can't be a bad trait in a ragazza.

I note with interest that The JCB Song is doing the rounds again. Are they aiming for a Christmas number one? Surely not. There's also a song that keeps cropping up on our local news, one which a Mum co-wrote with Billy Bragg for her daughter - wonder if that's in with a shot... it's not inconceivable that it could go national.

Apparently one of our managers bumped into the new Bishop of Crediton t'other day. Suspect he must be an independent church type, 'cos he didn't get episcopal vibes from the purple shirt. I suspect Crediton is an Anglican bishopric, but I'm not sure; Chris is Mr. Plymouth and there's a chuffing great Cathedral in Exeter...

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

My brain hurts

Saw an article in the Guardian today about autism. Brain scans of children with autism were compared to those without while viewing facial expression. Similar article in Scientific American. Thought this would be of interest to some readers/contributors.

Sunday, 4 December 2005

Ho Ho Ho

It's suddenly got very busy on the musical side of things. Being in two choirs doesn't help, especially as one of them is church based! Last night was my Christmas concert with CAOS, Tuesday night is carol singing, again with CAOS (no rehearsals now, so we're off to the Christmas markets in town for mulled wine & pancakes), and on Thursday I'm singing with the choir at the Holy Name. I think it's the feast of the Immaculate Conception, which seems disturbingly close to Christmas to me...
On a tangent; if one of the Catholic readers of this august blog could let me know why Mary gets referred to as "Star of the Sea" in no less than three of the pieces we practiced this week, I'd appreciate it. It's an odd nickname for anyone & I can't recall anything of Mary's nautical adventures from the New Testament.

Back to the Christmas concert: the choir side of things was going very well. No worries about that. I was mostly concerned with the orchestra half. Since I don't play an instrument, but have been in the choir for much longer than is healthy (being a student society, 4 years of membership qualifies you for "furniture" status) Al asked if I wanted to do percussion. This resulted in me playing the cymbals in Verdi's Nabucco Overture and Tchaikovsky's Slavic March, the tambourine and the triangle in Carmen.
In the end it went really well. A couple of people said afterwards that I looked like I was really enjoying playing the cymbals (banging two big bits of metal together is quite fun!), and the tambourine part (which I was most worried about, since it's exposed & a little tricky with timing) was just right. I didn't go out of tune once!
It was good fun too. Al, Dan and Ping were the other percussionists, all long time CAOS people, and a good laugh. Think I might volunteer for the Easter concert too. Thanks are due to Emma for not complaining (much) about me spending most of the week listening to the orchestra pieces on CD whilst banging a biscuit tin.

Aftershow was fun: got to bed at about five, and got up today (just) in time for a rehearsal at the Holy Name.

Hmm. Random CAOS photos.