Saturday, 29 March 2008

Closing Day

Drôle de guerre. I awoke at around 5, from a dream in which a bald eagle was flying above our new house and biting the beaks off other birds. A very bright red parrot lay dead on the roof. Hmm...I think both Freud and Jung would have trouble with that one.

We got the keys at midday. Then we set about deep cleaning everything in sight. We won't be watching TV or have internet there until the 15th, so I have plenty of time to clean, PLENTY.
For the time being, the Ikea catalogue never leaves my side.

The weather was cold again today, sadly not cold enough for more snow. It has swung between sunny and dark, thunderous looking clouds, then back again.
Here's a regular interchange about the weather.
'Whatever happened to global warming?'
'Going as planned feckwit, this is what they always told us would happen.'

Tonight was Earth Hour. Here's the measure of it...even Québec took part. Alberta - not so much. They thought it should be at 4 o'clock.

Angela Merkel has come out and said she won't attend the opening of the Beijing Olympics. Let's see if anyone else has the iron to say so. Maybe Mrs. Sarko will refuse to go too. In any case, good on ya Angie, you're a Mensch.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Spring Snow

It's spring. And we had snow. How magical, breathtaking, what a gift. We went out in it and just...were.

Thursday, 27 March 2008


I'm stunned at the headline 'Terminal 5 in Chaos on Opening Day'. Not because of the chaos, but because of the opening day. Who knew that Terminal 5 at Heathrow would one day be finished and ready to open rather than just a talking point? Madness.

I'm not bloody surprised that Berlin Zoo is in the news, I'm more surprised that it isn't more often. It has to be the disgrace at the core of Berlin. Many animals live in dire conditions there, it seems so anomalous. Now they're being accused of killing surplus animals, honestly, I hope they close down over this.

And the Dutch are holding their breath and waiting to see what happens about the film released by one of their MPs, criticising Islam. You can just see them craning their necks, waiting for something to fall to earth. We live in interesting times.

We spent yesterday on a merry-go-round. The house listings were out for the Realtors and our Realtor had a constant stream of appointments from 10.30 until 19.45, eight in all. We had to be out of the house, not normally a problem, but yesterday the Nature House was undergoing its yearly chemical peel, so I was having to work from home.
The Realtor showed the house and then in the evening, she phoned us and said that there were three offers coming in. We went home and waited with her until other Realtors brought their carefully worded offers and we had to decide which one to choose.

Because I have spent so much time in Ikea recently, especially yesterday, I now know that March is meatball madness month. Who knew? Meatball madness. Huh. The mind boggles, quite literally...boggles.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

An Awful Lot of Weather

Oh dearie, dearie me, so it turns out that Barack bin Obama is distantly related to George Dubya Bush.
It means nothing, says the Graun. I'm thinking that it does to Obama.

The weather seems to have gone all wonky donkey, and all over the place too. With unseasonal snowfall in Britain and some promise of some here, and floods in the mid-west of the United States, it's deffo worth talking about once again. As if it ever weren't.
Outside right now, it's raining as though it really really means it.

At work today, work, where I went for a few hours until the annual cleaning and its accompanying chemicals drove me out, Kris had received a very unpleasant e-mail, and it seems there are a lot of them about.
It informed her personally - or at least it would have done had her name been XXXX - that she was going to die because someone had taken out a contract on her and that the only way to stop this was to send the sender of the e-mail money. I would have thought that this might be a way the police could track these jerks, well, and hopefully they will.

Our friends Beth and Dave have a brand new baby girl. Congratulations to them, they have been blessed.

Monday, 24 March 2008


These stones are set in a circle and there are thirteen, representing the thirteen moons in a calendar year. On each one is the First Nations name for that month and a description of what happens in it, what the salmon, weather and plants are doing for example.

So Easter came and went.
Part of it was Easter-like and part of it was stressful.
It's odd when Easter comes, being released from the personal commitments of Lent.

Today was a day of intense early activity and then down time.
I had to get up at 5.30 to take Jeremy to the airport. Then we had to get the house ready for the Realtor and photographer for 10.30, so by then it had to be spot on.
At ten ten I was dashing around Ikea. And at ten past ten, I was pretty much able to do that without the whole population of the lower mainland impeding my progress.

Now we wait.
Dust, clean and wait.
I wonder how the world is doing...

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Easter Eve

'Twas the night before Easter, and all through the house...well, if that house is our house, then all through the house it smells like bleach and paint and upstairs, new carpet.

I used to watch House Doctor avidly. I loved that evil Californian bitch woman. But I did wonder about the 'fixes', thought maybe they were pulling the wool over the eyes of prospective house buyers.

Now I realise that the opposite is true. What you actually do when selling a house is all the little jobs you never got around to do for your own comfort.
That bit of skirting board that needed an extra coat of paint, that builder's carpet that you should have replaced ages ago, those holes from something that used to be on the wall that you never got around to filling. That picture that has just sat there waiting for the perfect frame.

Tomorrow will be a day of rest.
Tomorrow will be half a day of rest.
But only for me, Kevin will be cooking for six.
God bless him.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Clean Friday

Amidst the chaos of the week, I received a letter from England. It's addressed to me personally and informs me that my teaching skills are needed back in the classroom. They taunt me with the lowest salary I might expect to earn, so even if I went back without management responsibilities, I'd still be earning 3½ times what I earn now. 'Come back to teaching' they emphasise in bold letters and they look forward to hearing from me.
Oh the irony, the bloody irony.
I'm going to photocopy it and spread it about a bit. I'm also going to bang on about it endlessly to everyone.

Considering it's Good Friday, I haven't done anything particularly Good Friday-ish, although I've done an awful lot of cleaning, and we all know that cleanliness is next to Godliness. And if it isn't close to Godliness, then it's certainly next to Kim and Aggie-ness, the goddesses of the bog brush.

Tomorrow, my daughter is getting confirmed in Southwark cathedral. I wish I could be there for her, I will be of course, just not physically.
And tomorrow my nephew returns to us from Whistler. I'm pretty glad he's organised transport, and thus I'm spared the drive up there and back.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Tales of the Riverbank

For me, today was a break from everything.
Not so for Kevin, he was not only at work, but having to deal with all the Realtor and broker phone calls, the carpet fitter, and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all.

I was gallivanting.
Since it was spring break for the schools and we have no programmes this week, I was able to accompany Kris who was taking the seniors trip out to Blackie Spit and Crescent Beach.
This was somewhere I had been with Sleepy in the summer, so I was pretty excited to be going there today on the first day of spring, and with a professional and extremely good naturalist.

I knew there would be eagles. Here on the west coast, the Bald Eagle is the default eagle. Right now they are nesting.
This one was sitting in a tree just looking down at us, and soon another one swooped down and joined it. There were eagles just standing in the water all along Crescent Beach, and along Highway 99 that leads to the US border.

Then there were herons and grebes, American robins, goldfinches, kinglets, widgeons, sandpipers, cormorants and shore birds. Shore birds could be any number of varieties, but one thing they have in common is a mesmerising way of flying as a flock, so that they appear like something shimmering in the air, a ghostly sail suspended above the water, then in a single instant they all simultaneously bank and become invisible.

But we also saw beaver activity.
This is quite different from beaver action.
The picture may look like a pile of logs, but is in fact a beaver lodge. Just beyond was a pile of trees that had been felled by them and the city had ringed a number of poplars with chicken wire to protect them from the critters.

We ate our lunch surrounded by tall cedars that sussurated in the wind, if you closed your eyes, you could imagine you were near the sea.
And I did.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

One line

Because my daughter worries when I don't blog, all is well, just busy with work and house.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


The realtor told me I'd have to de-clutter my house to show it.
'Oh, that's no problem,' I said (blithely) 'I don't have any clutter in my house, I am the queen of weeding, clutter-free, that's me.'
Ok, well I wasn't quite as annoying as that but, at any rate, I denied that any clutter could be found in my home.

Then I got home and looked around. And of course there is clutter. Not the type of crap that people who go on TV shows have, the ones who can't clean or understand why their house won't sell even though they have a stuffed rhinoceros standing in the middle of the living room, but things that are 'in progress'. Papers on the coffee table, something waiting to be sewn up, a couple of jumpers on my bedroom chair that I only wore for half an hour and that I can wear a bit more before they go in the wash, books waiting to be read, and right now, my seedlings. They're going to work with me, they'll sit in my office, so in my head they're not really there.
Except they are.

And then there's clean.
I went round the potential new house with critical eye and finger. The house is empty, so I'm justified in judging. Good grief, how can they leave a house without cleaning it?
And yet back here, it's mid-week. I don't clean mid-week. I wash up of course, I wipe the counters, but I don't hoover or sweep the stairs. I don't Mr. Sheen anything. I don't attend to the glass table tops.

But I have polished the door. I've been washing it and yes, that gets it clean, but it has been looking worse and worse. Now it has been furniture polished and it looks great. If only I'd known before.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Real Estate

I have bought property in Britain, and this was my experience.

The estate agent was just anybody. No qualifications apart from the gift of the gab, boy racers, girl Fridays gone feral.
They showed houses, they talked the talk and then they passed on your offers, verbal offers that meant nothing.

If you had an offer accepted, it meant nothing, but you'd contact a solicitor or conveyancing firm. And then you'd wait.
You might wait until a chain of five six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven buyers and sellers manoeuvred themselves into place. Then the wheels of that number of solicitors started grinding slowly.
Chains collapsed.
Some were patched up with a new buyer. Eventually, after any number of months, all of the lawyers, building societies or banks, and all of the people in the chain, were ready set a completion date and to exchange contracts.
Once contracts were exchanged, it was all systems go and on one single day, everyone in the chain would load up their belongings into a lorry or van and wait somewhere, homeless for an hour, until their solicitor rang the estate agent to say the money was in, and they could finally collect their new keys and move in.

Here, I'm having to learn a new system. It's quicker. It's more professional, but it's fecking scary.

The realtor has qualifications. They line up viewings with other realtors and they take you round. You have a realtor not just to sell your property, but also to buy. And you have to work out which you are going to do first, because the longest chain you are going to get is two.
The realtor talks to the other realtors. She or he advises you. You go and sort out finance. And then, when you make on offer, the realtor drafts it, wraps it up tight and then personally delivers it to the seller's agent. Once accepted, it's binding unless you or they fail to meet certain criteria. And it can all be very quick.

Yesterday we viewed.
One realtor, not ours, asked me if I preferred modern or contemporary. I hesitated a second, wondering if this was a trick question.
'They're the same thing,' I said.
'When I say contemporary, I mean traditional,' she said.
'But contemporary means modern,' I said, sharply, fed up now with this game where you can make up the meaning of language to suit yourself, annoyed by her clanging voice and impertinent questions. Appalled by her little suede shoes that turned up at the end like some ridiculous pixie footwear.
Go away, I thought, you're not my realtor, go away.

We're in the system, on the rollercoaster.
My stomach is either way behind me or way ahead and I'm really not sure which.
But that's just me.
Kevin has four days to move mountains. And then some.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Four Days in the Life of

Several things.

On Wednesday evening, I made it to the last half hour of the Rabbi's talk. He was an amazing speaker, thoughtful, quietly spoken, mesmerising and he was from a very progressive synagogue in Vancouver.

Although I walked in while he was discussing Isaiah, with regard to his prophecies about the Messiah, I have wondered before whether the actual Gospels that were chosen as the New Testament were chosen partly because they seemed to fulfill Isaiah's prophecies.

On Thursday, at the clinic, I had to fill in a form which I suppose gave them some assessment of my risk of having breast cancer. One question was about whether close women in my family had had it, mother, sister, daughter. How closely we are linked. If my sister had had cancer, I would be more at risk.
It's a strange thought. I know that if some close woman in my family had it, then I would be more likely to, and yet it's almost as though the risk itself gives us some extra link.

On Friday I went to the vicar's book group. No-one was sure what was supposed to happen at a book group.
It seemed that not many people had enjoyed the book and yet the discussion of it was interesting. I think that the process of going to the writers' group had allowed me to be able to read the book and get a lot out of it without having to like or dislike the characters. I was able to see that one character was skilfully drawn whereas others were simply sketched in. And I think I learnt some things about myself from the way I approached it.

Back at the ranch, I have been reading one of the books that Austen sent me, 'Balzac and the Little Seamstress'. It's such an interesting story and it's a superb translation, thus comes across as really well-written. The story is about two young lads in communist China who have been sent away from their intellectual and therefore subversive parents, to be re-educated. As young adults they come across a novel by Balzac, the first non-communist literature they had ever encountered. It was so powerful for that. The awakening this book produces in these young men makes us see how wonderful it is to have such easy, free access to books.

Today, we went to look at houses. It's always interesting to look at other people's houses, but we are looking at moving to something more suitable to our needs. The most expensive area in Canada to live is Vancouver. Richmond is not too far behind. So here, house sizes are more like British house sizes.
Scary and exciting at the same time.

Thursday, 13 March 2008


A couple of the so-called routine medical tests that we women have to endure entail equipment that resemble quite closely mediaeval torture devices. I know this because I went to a museum that displayed such torture devices in Rudesheim.
And of course I am a woman.

Now, I am fortunate enough to have crossed the age threshold to a new test, the mammogram. I was, quite frankly, dreading it.

Kevin took me, and I was glad he did, my concentration wasn't 100%. Plus I was mightily glad of the support.
And the truth was, it was uncomfortable, but it wasn't awful. It was well set up. There was a breast-screening section near to one of the entrances to the hospital. The process was calm and efficient. The technician was courteous and reassuring. The test itself was quick.

I hope that screening technology will improve so that in the future women don't have any of that discomfort, but it was nowhere near as horrid as I'd anticipated and for that, I'm glad.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008


Our indoor programmes finish this week at work and then spring break happens. Happily, this year, spring break coincides with Easter.
I say make it Easter every year, but the Canadian government steadfastly refuses to comply with my demands, it's like they are deliberately ignoring me.

I have seen green frogs two days running now, but today, the temperature was a bit lower and there was no sign of the wee beasties again.

And today, the skunk arrived. We have been awaiting the skunk's arrival for two and a half years now - longer than I've been at the Park. The taxidermist was rather unwilling to stuff a skunk due to the difficulty of ridding it of its horrid, skunky smell. It seemed as though he was avoiding Kris every time she called him. But finally, de-stinked and perfectly posed, 'skunk rampant' or whatever, he or she is in our kitchen at work.

Thus far, I haven't yet seen a live skunk, which is fine by me quite frankly, given their stress-relieving habit of squirting foul-smelling liquid whenever they feel threatened. Skunks are related to weasels, and we all know that they go pop.

In work-related matters, I have to go back there this evening for the monthly board meeting. This interferes most annoyingly with my Rabbi-viewing plans, but, well, I should blame the Rabbi really, for not turning up the first time.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


Ah the books! Ah the irony!

My books arrived, as for the entire population, whilst I was at work, so I had to go to the Post Office again to collect them.
I felt secure-ish, since the parcel had the same name as was on my Driver's Licence.
The assistant took the delivery note.
She found the parcel.
'Are you Janis?'
She gave me the parcel.

The contents were the more exciting because I couldn't remember what I'd ordered.

From last week's parcel I have started reading a book by a Nigerian writer.
This isn't going well.
It's not that there's anything wrong with the book, it's interesting. It's just that... I am hearing the words in my head in Omid Djillali's voice, doing his Nigerian accent. I've tried to make it go away. I've tried to hear the words in my own voice, I've even tried reading it aloud, but alas, Omid just keeps creeping back in, and when I read it out loud, I then start copying the Nigerian accent.
I blame my boy for this. Chief son. He introduced us to Omid over Christmas and he sent me the books.
And I have to beat it, because in my new parcel from Amazon is another book by a Nigerian writer.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Short Day

Goddammit, we lost an hour today. So early in March too, ridiculously early. Oh well, we had to pay back that free hour from October sometime.

Last night's SNL Hillary/Obama sketch was a bit too near the knuckle. Many professional women, myself included, have had the experience of being passed over for promotion in favour of some less qualified, less experienced man. At the time it happened to me, I was told, off the record of course, that my application was superior, my interview exceptional, but that they had had to go with the male candidate because...fudge, fudge, fudge. Then, like the sketch, spent the next couple of years until I got my promotion elsewhere, being consulted by him on every detail of his management of our faculty, that I already had experience of, because I had run a department and he hadn't.

So like I said, the sketch.
Too, too near the mark and many women have experienced this.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

International Women's Day

8th March, International Women's Day. There have been events all over the world, London, Vancouver, Kandahar, to name but three, because women still suffer violence and discrimination the world over. Yes, those of us in the west have it way, WAY better than our sisters in countries where they have no life because of male control, but however far we have come, we are still not treated equally.
Traditionally female jobs are still lower paid, rape is still not taken as seriously as it should be. In South Africa recently, a woman was sexually assaulted for wearing a mini-skirt and onlookers laughed.

Women's writing, when identified as such, has to be twice as good as men's, women's research, again, when identified as such, is still rated lower than men's, sometimes turned down for publication.
Hillary Clinton has been persistently subjected to a long litany of misogynistic abuse.

The language itself is used against us and we are blamed for all the world's ills, from original sin to global warming, oh alright, in honesty I haven't yet seen us being blamed for global warming, but it'll come, you mark my words.

Friday, 7 March 2008


'Irish Stew in the name of the law,' as we used to say as kids.

I searched my own blog for the word stew and I hadn't mentioned it as often as I'd thought.
Kevin has made a lamb stew, which is fine, because we have reached a happy compromise where, because of artistic differences, I do the food shopping and he doesn't. Kevin's approach to food shopping is to motor straight to the items we need, put them in the trolley, be stressed by the experience, pay and get out. Mine is to swan around, looking at all the new things, talk to people, engage in camaraderie at the checkout and then pay and get out.

Every so often I acknowledge that this tends to lead to us not having food items that I dislike and thus will deliberately buy something that I know he likes and I don't. Hence the lamb. I can tolerate lamb only when I can't taste it, therefore when it is curried or spiced in some way that hides the essential lambiness of it.
And I don't like stew.
I have met several people here who see stew as comfort food. And in all fairness, I have eaten stew here that was very good.
But stew reminds me of school dinners. Lumps of unidentifiable meat quivering in bad, tepid gravy.
Stew was the worst school meal of all.

Somewhere in the grey zone between stew and the edible, was casserole. Casserole never seemed to have too much in the way of flavour, but on the plus side, the meat in casserole was invariably chicken, and not just something that 'tastes like chicken', no, actual chicken. Chicken fat is more acceptable than...larger meat's fat.

At some point in the culinary timeline of my life, French versions of casserole arrived, chicken chasseur, boeuf bourgignon, coq au vin, cassoulet. We had crossed the shores of edibility and landed on the beach of desirability.

I think the idea of actually paying for stew was a tough one to get my head round, but when we went to Ireland, Kevin was only too happy to order Irish stew served in a cottage loaf and pay good money for it, not only that, but he enjoyed it.

And this evening he enjoyed the lamb cooked in Guinness stew.
And I...enjoyed something else.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Time Travel

At the beginning of the week, we were deprived of a late snowfall that others nearby were able to enjoy. Poo. Meanwhile, friends of Kevin's on the other side of the country lament the long, cold winter. Jammy bastards, they should share or shut up.

Here, we anxiously await the return of the hummingbirds from Mexico. I know that sounds like we're waiting for the flight of the conchords, but no, the real hummingbirds usually come back around St. Paddy's day. Kris heard and saw one in her garden last Sunday, so we've put the feeders out already.

A recent post on the F-Word blog about sexist language, led me to another blog, 'Alternet' which quoted a brilliant experiment by Douglas Hofstadter. He said, let's suppose that language were based on race, not gender.

"His article ("A Person Paper on Purity in Language") creates an imaginary world in which generics are based on race rather than gender. In that world, people would use "freshwhite," "chairwhite" and yes, "you whiteys." People of colour would hear "all whites are created equal" -- and be expected to feel included. Substituting "white" for "man" makes it easy to see why using "man" for all human beings is wrong."

Language is unbelievably important. I'm sick to the back teeth of being told it isn't. It shows your attitude, it shows your thinking and on language shall you be judged.

An article I don't understand in the New Scientist a couple of weeks ago, suggests that this could be the year when time travel starts.
What I think I understand is this.
There will be a new particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva, a Large Hadron Collider, which will be switched on this year. It may be possible because of this new LHC, to physically link the future to the present by way of wormholes. We can't link to the past, it will only be possible to link to the first time a Time Machine exists which - could be this year.
Yes, well that seemed pretty clear, mainly because I've left out the entire mathematical part.
Later in the year, expect people in the future to start visiting.
Oh, just look at the diagram.

Picture © New Scientist.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


The Imam turned up at church this evening. I thought there were two in fact, you know, the uniform, but one was just there out of interest.

It was interesting. He was definitely the good face of Islam.
He had a Qu'ran written in Arabic, therefore it was back to front. The front cover, was on the back.
I think he was a bit wary of us. Every time he mentioned Jesus's name, he had to say, 'Peace be upon him,' but then, he said that after the name of any prophet.
Jesus is mentioned 25 times in the Qu'ran. Mohammed is mentioned 5 times.

He was keen to impress upon us that he was a Shia Muslim, and the other brothers - he was Iraqi - well, he didn't understand why they couldn't see the peaceful message of Islam. He would like to sit down and break bread with the Danish journalist and show him what real Muslims were like.
He was equally keen to impress upon us how much Mohammed respected women and exhorted his followers to value them. We asked if there were any women Imams and he assured us there were, although he seemed to be talking about learned people. I pushed him. He said there were women Imams as religious leaders, his own wife was one.

In other Muslim news, I received one of those forwarded e-mails explaining how much Islam was in the background of Barack Obama. I didn't forward it, or even pay it too much attention, except I thought to myself that this needed checking out, remembering the e-mail that did the rounds giving completely false information about Britain taking the Holocaust off the National Curriculum.
Indeed. By the time I got home, there was another forward from the same person with a refutation. None of it had been true, who'd have thought?

Anyway, better go, gotta watch 'Little Mosque on the Prairie'.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

New Post

Books, interesting books, like yummy little morsels keep coming at me. One I had ordered from Chapters for the vicar's book group arrived. Ones I ordered from one night as a result of talking to Sleepy have been dispatched and a mystery parcel was waiting for me at the Post Office.
I know, because the P.O., who usually can be relied upon to leave it at the door, instead left me a delivery note in the mail box.

After work, clutching my note, I presented myself at the Post Office counter. I knew who the package was from, there was a clue.
In front of me, someone else was collecting a parcel.

'Can I see your photo I.D. please?' asked the assistant.
My turn.
'Photo I.D.?' I hand her my driver's licence.
'The last name on this is different.'
'Yes, I know,'
'So you are collecting it for someone else?'
'No, the parcel is for me, just that, well, that' husband's surname,'
'Well, do you have something with this name on?'
'No, but...but if you look at the parcel, it will have the same surname as mine on it, the parcel's from my son,'
She turns the parcel over.
Oh crap.
It's from Amazon.
She shakes her head.
'Your son doesn't know your name?'
'No, yes, well, yes, he does, it's a kind of tease,'
I realise that out of the two of us, I am the foreigner, but....I'm also the native English speaker,
'Sort of.... a joke,'
'A joke,'
'Yes, it's...a joke. Would it help if my husband came in with me?'
'Is his name Ms. J. D-F?'
'Well no, no,' - I avoid the 'of course not,', 'that would be me - if there were such a person, but, well he has the surname and I have the...initial. And the Ms.'
She looks at me. She looks at the parcel. She looks at the line behind me and hands me the package.
'Have a nice evening.'
'Thanks, you too.'

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Mothering Sunday

'My mum is wicked, ai.'

Today is Mothering Sunday. I spoke to all my children. Bizarrely, the fewest words were with the one that lives with us. He's had a tiring couple of days and was pretty well comatose.

Our friend Steve's TV mini-series, 'The Englishman's Boy' was on and Steve did a great Scottish accent, in fact, his character was great, although I did have to look away when Steve's bum was on TV, you can see too much of your friends;)

Amy Poehler did another amazing Hillary and Obama sketch on SNL last night, spot on.

That's all.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Dewi Sant

St. David's Day and yet again, no daffs to be had, just these few at the front of my house. I had leek and mushroom soup for lunch, mostly leek though.

St. David was baptised by St. Elvis of Munster. Sounds a bit unreal, but I love that there was a St. Elvis.
Elvisly yours.

In his last sermon he (Dewi, not Elvis) told Christians to 'gwnewch y pethau bychain.'
I would have no idea how to pronounce this, Welsh pronunciation rules are ... different, but it means, 'do the little things'.

I'm going to think about that, that and exploring my Welshness.
On the road to that, I have looked at many pages about Welshness. Sadly, the most Welsh thing you seem to be able to do is read Welsh. And I have nothing against attempting to doing so, except that it seems quite the commitment.

When I studied Mediaeval French, we had to read a number of important texts that influenced the French. One was the Mabinogian. This led to exploring a bit of Welsh pronunciation - the book came with a guide. Mostly it allowed me to know how to say 'Daffyd' - which of course came in handy later.

So, back in cloud cuckoo land, David Cameron is going to give a third of senior government jobs to women. Ok, well on the one hand, it would be horrible if the Tory party won, on the same hand, a third would be an improvement, a BIG bloody improvement, on the other hand, over half of the electorate are....what was it now, oh yes, WOMEN, so I would think that it might be prudent to suggest that he will at least aim to give fifty percent of all senior government jobs to women.

Still, mustn't grumble.