2008 — 8 May: Thursday

Would have been my Dad's 91st birthday today. Just time for this placeholder. The plan is a walk in Rhinefield, so I shall be crockpot stuffing and sandwich cutting like a good 'un after a few hours sleep. I shall just have to stop listening to the Björk concert currently on BBC 6Music and go to bed. It's only 00:27 too.

The Eagles...

... are now playing (Lyin' Eyes) on the radio as I type, and heft my second cuppa. It's 08:17 and the crockpot is stuffed and set to its gentle "stun" setting. I can't quite face breakfast yet — food prep removes my appetite in much the same way as food ingestion, oddly. So, a few minutes respite before I tackle either that or the packed lunch. What's going on in the world? Well, remember Douglas Adams and the space colonists who, after crash landing, based their new unit of currency on the leaf?

Couldn't quite say why, but I love the idea of the planet having room for a "Fox Talbot" expert. And who could resist the headline "Americans can't stand to read about gay penguins"? Not me. People who ban books are always entertaining, if rarely as amusing as descriptions of their activities.1

And vaguely on the "twitcher" front, it's a long time (about 35 years in fact) since I read "The Dominant Man: pecking order in society" by a chap called Humphry Knipe. Turns out we may well be more like the chickens on the cover than he imagined:

Book cover

Sadly, Fontana doesn't bother to identify the graphic artist.

Well, it's now 09:30. Breakfast is loaded. The little sandwich box is packed. I need to retrieve the sun-hat from the back of the car — I'm not driving today, though I need to nip out later for some supplies, and again in the evening to go over to Cathy for the rest of her Australian slideshow. My "The days are just packed" sometimes. I hope pollen levels aren't too bad, though there's not a lot I can do about it. I've yet to find any anti-sneeze stuff that doesn't make me even dopier than normal, and I usually forget to take it in any case. Here's hoping the chaps from what used to be called the "Water Board" can turn up, do their water meter stuff, and depart, all while I'm out.

Home again, home again...

It's now 17:40 and that's another seven miles or so of boot leather gently abraded. Lovely walk around the roots of some very tall trees, including the one that my nieces linked arms around during the family invasion of 1987. I should be able to find a photo of that somewhere. On a tangential arboreal front, for my family tree tracking reader (you know who you are, Lis), Dad was definitely born in 1917, four months after dear Mama. They were in the same "year" at Holly Lodge, though on either side of the gender divide.

My neighbourhood watch-man tells me Mr Water Meter Man showed up at 12:45 and wearing a tie. There's an info pack shoved through the door, and a neat, still soft, patch of fresh tarmac around a new "lid" in the pavement under which, I assume, is a new meter that they encourage me to read, though without telling me how to lift said lid. The spurty behaviour of the cold water tap suggests there may be a bubble or two still malingering in the system, and the pressure seems slightly lower. Fingers crossed.

Having showered off the last of the deer ticks, I need to nip out for a small pot of soured cream, some coriander, and maybe a couple of other items, then I'm away again. How do folk who are not retired ever manage to get anything done? Now then, where are my knickers?!

Good grief... dept.

Dr Joey spotted me in Waitrose and gave me the benefit of a fast, informal, health consultation. Walking, eating, sleeping, driving, shopping, cooking, covers most of my sins. (Or those I'm prepared to admit to on this diary, at least!) But (rather to my horror) it also seems that a daily "wobble" is perfectly normal for (up to) the first two years, if you please! As I said to her "I just miss her!" Came the wise reply "Of course you do."

Right. The cream and coriander and a small pack of fresh fruit is popped into a cooler bag, and I'm about to set off for furrin' parts. Let's hope the worst of the traffic has evaporated.



1  As (Sir) John Mortimer said in his autobiographical "Clinging to the Wreckage" back in 1982: "The administration of the censorship laws entails dividing society into the sensible and the idiotic, the strong and the weaker brethren, and we all know, of course, where we belong. Time and again in obscenity cases Judges and barristers say to Juries, 'Of course, we've all read stuff like this for years and it doesn't affect us (and you can be sure it doesn't or there would be permanent orgies in the Judges' chambers, bondage suits on sale in Chancery Lane and the sound of whips echoing from the Inns of Court), but there are people, members of the Jury, whom you may think would be affected...' The assumption is that there is always a second-class citizen, who, at the glimpse of a doubtful paragraph or dubious magazine, would go uncontrollably mad. The attitude of censorship depends on the assumption that there is a superior type of person qualified to tell the rest of us what it is good for us to read."