Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We are back...

and we are ill.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Product warning no.3

I would strongly advise against using Bionsen Stick Deodorant.

In the past I have used the Bionsen crystals deodorant which I really liked. I don't know what's in it, but it's a bottle of mineral crystals which you fill up with water. You can refill it 5 times and the minerals gradually dissolve. It is not an anti perspirant but it stops the BO somehow, and has no smell in itself.

Anyway, my local Tesco didn't stock this, so I bought their stick product instead, thinking it would be similar.

It is distinctly unpleasant to use. It's sticky, slimey and smells very pungently sweet. It claims to 'deodorise without blocking perspiration'. Frankly I would rather have BO than feel like I have got half a jar of jam smeared in my arm pits.

Definitely one to avoid. I am going back to my usual brand - Dove cream deodorant. It moisturises my arm pits which I find essential. I get such chapped arm pits in winter.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Slight feeling of guilt

After readingChris's post about classical music and genius child composers I went on a little rant of my own in his comments box.

Anyway, having got my opinions off my chest I subsequently learnt that Chris was kindly driving into deepest Yorkshire to attend our choir concert which took place on Sunday. How bad did I feel?

Quite bad actually, and also very nervous. After all, I had just spouted on about all this wonderful contemporary classical music we sing, and now that he was actually going to hear it I was worried.

I frantically checked the programme. Was the music we were singing ok? Or would it reinforce his opinion that much of the classical music composed these days is a bit shit.

We went to the pub after the concert and he was very polite about it, and he also bought our CD, so he can't have hated it that much. Then again he did have me and Nick on one side and the conductor of the choir on his other, so making any derogatory comments would have been brave.

Now he is in the comfort and safety of his own home he may feel able to comment more freely. so... Chris?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hunter-gatherers at heart

We have been doing a spot of retail design at work recently. Yesterday this gave my boss an ideal opportunity to expand on his theory that we are all hunter-gatherers at heart. This principle can be applied to many areas of life, and in particular with the design of shops.

so, here is the premise:

Women are the gatherers. Their instinct is to browse amongst the bushes searching out ripe berries and fruits. Clothes shops are designed so that the clothes are hung on bush-like stands, and you have to rifle through them until you find the one you want. Women will quite happily browse the shops all day looking for the best 'fruit'.

Men are hunters. Their instinct is to decide apon a prey, go out and hunt it. Therefore they hate browsing through shops. They decide on what they want before hand, go out, make a quick purchase and take the booty back home.

My boss believes this idea can be applied to all sort of male/female character differences.

Women can (allegedly) multi task better than men. Is this because they can pick a few berries, attend to the children, check the fire is still going, pick a few more berries etc? Men don't need to multi task. They must be totally focused on the wooly mammoth they are stalking.

Woman are very finely attuned to colour and shades of colour. This is because they must recognise when a fruit is ripe or when to leave it on the bush another day. Men are better at shapes, outlines etc because they must be able to spot a deer standing still between some trees.

Men like gadgets. This is because they must have a range of tools for hunting. They must have a spear, a bow and arrow, a pit covered with sticks, a fishing net, an ipod, a PC, a plasma TV, a HiFi, a mobile phone, a PDA etc etc.

Women don't need all these tools. They are just gathering berries. That's why women love handbags.

So you see, next time I need a new handbag, it's not an extravagance, it a primeval urge that I can't control. It would be dangerous to deny me of that.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Following Dad's heart attack scare I decided it was time to do something sociably responsible and give blood.

I went along to the community centre and before I knew what was happening I was lying on a mobile stretcher with 100 other socially responsible folk, staring at a luridly coloured climbing wall and being bled by a human leach called Mandy.

Mandy had to keep asking if I was all right. Obviously I said yes, but in reality I was rather regretting my spur of the moment decision. The problem was my squeamish-ness. I didn't mind the needle, or seeing the blood gushing down the tube, or any of that. No, I was getting squeamish at having to squeeze the little plastic tube they put in your fingers, and at the feeling of the tape that secured the tube to my forearm.

Unfortunately the physical symptom of my squeamishness was getting numb fingers, which made it impossible for me to squeeze the tube thing. Consequently my blood came out really slowly, prolonging my ordeal. So slowly in fact, 2 elderly women came, donated, and went in the next mobile stretcher to me. Each left with the well-meant suggestion: 'just squeeze the tube, it makes it go faster', thus setting off my squeamishness in a viscous circle of blood donor catch 22.

I think I lost more fluid through my squeamish-induced sweating than in the actual blood.

The one up-side of the whole experience (apart from the warm inner glow of the knowledge that I am a responsible citizen of course) were the high quality biscuits that were offered on successful completion of the transaction.

I will do it again, but not with relish.


Me: Would you like a brazil nut?
Boss: No thanks...You are what you eat.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Autumn is here

I like Autumn. I can get out my long boots and I don't have to shave my legs as much. For me the autumn is heralded by a few very distinct occasions.

1) The swapping of the summer duvet to the winter duvet. This is then followed by a few nights of indecision as to whether we are too hot, and dreams of being crushed under a heavy weight.

2) Turning on the heating. Again this decision cannot be taken lightly. It usually starts one chilly evening.
'I'll just pop the heating on for half an hour' I think to myself. 4 hours later I'm sitting in my pants with the windows open contemplating that global warming seems very bad this year. Then I remember about the heating, the fact that the thermostat in our house is bust, and fret about the size of our energy bill.

3) Family weekend. We have a family reunion every October. There are usually about 40 assorted relatives from around the world who descend on a hotel for the weekend, eat far too much and gossip about the good ole days.

This year we stayed in Bowness on Windemere in the lake district. On Saturday we went on a boat trip and then visited 'Lake Windemere's best fresh water aquarium for 10 years running'. We did ask them how many other fresh water aquariums there were situated around Lake Windemere, but were greeted with a frosty look, so we scuttled off the look at the otters. Admittedly it was quite a good aquarium, but there are only so many brown fresh water fish you can look at in a day and still feel a frisson of excitement.

The evening meal in the hotel was lovely, marred only by the radioactive-looking green ice cream that accompanied my delicious chocolate parfait. It was during this desert that cousin Patrick boasted proudly that he once went out with Miss Scunthorpe Evening telegraph.
'oooh' we all said, impressed.
'Nice one' said the blokes around the table, nodding with respect. Patrick continued eating his lemon tart.
'Oh hang in a minute, I've got that wrong,' he said sheepishly. 'She wasn't Miss Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, she was Miss Scunthorpe Wet T-shirt.

Unfortunately my parents didn't come to Family Weekend this year. On Tuesday my Dad was rushed into hospital with a suspected heart attack. Obviously this was a real shock for us all because Dad is fit and healthy and not that old.

I went down to see him on Wednesday and he had had lots of tests to see why his heart was doing funny things. Turns out he has a virus which causes the lining of the heart to swell up, squeezing the heart and making it generally unhappy. While it's not good news, it's vastly preferable to having an actual heart attack, so relief all round. He is now back home, feeling right as rain, and enjoying his enforced absence from work.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Me: urgh that apple I had at lunch was horrible.
Nick: I know, I had one too - all dry and bitty and sour. Anyway, I hate Granny smiths.
Me: do you? I thought they were your favourite?
Nick: God no. I only buy them cos I know you like them.
Me: but I don't! They are the worst kind of apples. I only buy them cos you like them.
Nick: but I like golden delicious.
Me: So do I!
Nick: ...How long have we been together?
Me: Obviously not long enough.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Eleanor and Alex came to stay this weekend. We had a fun busy time and squeezed in the following:

A walk around town followed by a walk around the Loch.
A few pints at the pub
Lots of home cooked meals
A trip to the Scottish Quilt annual exhibition (more on that later)
Hours of computer game playing (Nick and Alex)
Making a little beaded drawstring bag (Me and Eleanor)
Trip to the cinema to see 'The Queen'
Fat boy's breakfasts.
Walk along the canal
Trip around Linlithgow Palace
Scones in a cafe
Afternoon naps
More food, including Nick's special apple pudding (secret recipe.)

Eleanor and Alex like to be busy as you can see! We are exhausted!

While Nick and Alex played lego star-wars on the x-box, I took Eleanor along to an exhibition of quilts and fibre art in Edinburgh. Despite us being the only 2 people in the entire building under the age of 50, it was actually really interesting with some amazing quilts on show. There were also workshops and demonstations that you could participate in. It was at one of these free demonstaions that we made our first quilting faux-pas.

Us: (entering the room marked 'workshop 1' full of women sewing)
Angry looking woman: Yes? Can I help
Us: oh, is this the demonstration?
Woman: No! (frowning) that's through there.
Us: (scurry through into another room, where 15 woman are standing around a table. We creep to the side, and I sidle into a chair which enables me to see what she is doing.)
Demonstrating woman: (stops what she was doing and stares at us over her glasses) have you got a ticket?
Me: er, no. Do we need one? I thought this was a free demonstration?
DW: Well it is, but you still need a ticket.
Me: (getting embarrassed because everyone is staring at us) Sorry, we didn't know.
DW: Well all the seats are taken.
Me: (looking around at all the empty chairs, but rising from mine to stand anyway.)
DW: You are welcome to stand at the back though, if you want.
Me: (now trying not to smirk) ok, thanks
Eleanor: (not daring to look at me in case she laughs)
DW: (sigh) right...(recommences her REALLY BORING demonstration)

We stood through 30 minutes of watching the pompous woman stick ribbons onto material then colour it in green, like it was the most complicated thing in the world. Honestly, I could have done that demonstration on 10 minutes practice, and I wouldn't have been so bloody patronising or on a power trip.
Free Web Counters