Monday, 30 June 2008


Another golden grandkid-filled day for me, another day of bed, hacking cough and fever for Kevin. He has rallied for each social occasion and then fallen further into being ill. Rough.

I bought a trio of children's books in WHSmith, their usual deal, three for two. One of the books I just love, 'Dinosaurs love Underpants'.
Totally brilliant in a bizarre 'this is my world' kind of way.

At just before five this morning, after a night when I felt I hadn't slept, it seemed as though someone put the lights on. Clearly I had been sleeping and woken up in daylight.
I went up to check that Ben was awake, which he was, but in the end he didn't make the train, it was about to leave as he ran up to it.

In Canada, preparations are under way for Canada day. So I'd get the day off but then I'd have to work it, Salmonfest is on and I'm glad to miss it.

I think I might sleep tonight, and know I've slept.
Things are not looking good for Kevin however.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Last Train

The roller-coaster trip got me up for church, seemed early until Sleepy told me she made it to 8.30 Mass. We rolled home from hers at getting on for 2, at that hour you might think Pompey slept, but oh no, Rue Albert was just throbbing with pent-up emotions. People breaking up in the middle of the street, sitting on the pavement doing god knows what and generally being loud and lively post witching-hour.

This afternoon, we saw my cousin and his family, whom I realised I hadn't seen since Holly's christening. Odd how time passes.
Ben was down for the afternoon but has missed the last train back, so he has to get up at five to get back up to Surrey and work.

In the evening, Sue and I went to a Taizé service at the Cathedral. It was quite extraordinarily emotional and beautiful. It started at 20.00, which suited us, we had spent all afternoon eating, but it's dinner time for many Europeans, so the silence was puntuated by tummies rumbling. It was an incredible experience though.

Saturday, 28 June 2008


A GREAT time was had, company, food, music, drink. Even the weather played along and when it didn't anymore, we went inside.
What more can I say without revealing the secrets of the confessional?

Friday, 27 June 2008


I must humbly apologise to the UK hospitality industry.
Le Café Rouge in Chichester turns out to have service that puts all else to shame, not to mention a great menu, premises and decor. And the staff were not only polite without being obtrusive, but well-presented too. Top marks.

The sun seemed to be largely absent today, but the temperature was warm throughout the day, hovering at a comfortable 20.
I hung washing on the line. Fab.

We took the kids to Staunton Park which seemed to be not far from if not actually IN one of the worst council housing estates on the planet, Leigh Park. It was a country park with farmyard animals and various gardens, plus a maze. The children seemed to be overly scared of the chickens, and especially the turkey, but completely unafraid of the evil-looking goats with big curly horns and eyes with horizontal pupils, making them look like X-Files material.

Kevin woke up feeling, if anything, worse, but a super migraine-strength horsepill seemed to temporarily stem the fever.

I feel the news that the lamb has arrived at Simmi's may have helped.
Austen also is partial to lamb and was pointing to them in their pens and telling the children they were dinner.
My dad would SO have done that too.

Thursday, 26 June 2008


A totally lazy day for me, playing with the kids, wandering down to Palmerston road, drifting round Waitrose, sitting in the garden in the sunshine, reading.

Miserable day for Kevin who has been ill. He seems better this evening and hopefully will be recovered by tomorrow since we have plans.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Small Changes

Things don't stay the same...well some things do and some don't. Karen and I met for hot chocolate at the HaHa Bar - which had gotten rid of the leather sofas and instead had uniform but stylish armchairs. And I opted for the cappuccino. On the way there we passed the Mary Rose pub, now renamed as 'The Dragon'. Who knows why any of that.

In my absence, the Ghost clothes label seems to have expanded onto the High Streets and Karen and I had a good look around in there, I even bought something, but could have spent a lot more on clothes I loved, but had no real use for.

In the afternoon, Kevin and I went on the train to Guildford to meet Ben after work.
We had time to spare and so I spent a small fortune in Marks and Sparks, just on underwear, theirs gets better and better, I even found one to match the dress I bought in Ghost. Then I worked out what I had spent in $ and realised I'd spent SFx2. Seriously, the amount sounded bad when I turned it into dollars.

Guildford is an old, historic town, full of ghosts, even a Ghost.
It's full of swank and decay.
The people there are well-dressed and even better spoken and have wonderful comportment, but there's something amiss that I can't quite articulate, that maybe despite all attempts at modernity, it's somehow stuck in time or a rabbit hole like the Alice in Wonderland of one of its famous citizens, Lewis Carrol.

We went to a large and rambling pub down by the river. I remember it as being called 'The Jolly Farmer', but now it's known as 'The Weyside' and it is indeed by the river Wey. I remember coming here for geography field trips to gasp at its abandoned meanders.
Kevin gasped at a narrow boat that passed us.

The restaurant staff did their best, but English people seem to find the hospitality industry difficult. I know I always did. I think I have become a better consumer since living in Canada, I feel more comfortable communicating my wants and needs to shop and restaurant staff as though they have some merit and not just me being awkward, more able to return things without having to concoct an airtight story beforehand, no longer worried I'll hurt the feelings of the shop assistants and servers.

I have renewed my railcard and have already saved the cost of it. I have also discovered the advance booking system and rock bottom prices.
I love being on the train and I love that you can buy wine from the trolley that moves through the carriages.
But I hate that some red-nosed wino will come and set down beside you on a bench at the top end of Guildford High Street and light up a rollie that smells like burning hay.
And I hate that people throw up in phone boxes and no-one clears it up.
Because really, no-one uses them anymore.

Today I watched cars go past me until finally I saw a woman driving whilst on her mobile phone. She was looking around furtively. When she saw me staring straight at her she clicked it shut and dropped it.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Second Life

Housekeeping. Like the different voltage and plugs thing. On Sunday, I feared I might not be able to use the computer I'd lugged all this way - well, lugged is maybe an overstatement.
The North American to British adapter didn't seem to be working and attempts to find that way round had proved fruitless. But we did, in the end and Kevin attached a UK plug to the transformer on my notebook, so it was all on again.

Canadians, as I have oft stated before, are real foodies and great cooks. Britons are not known for their culinary skills, and yet when I am here, I am surrounded by Brits who can REALLY cook.

But the main difference to me is that when I'm here, I can be a good cook thanks to Sainsburys, Waitrose, Marks and Sparks.

Wandering around Waitrose today, we were shopping for Kev's cooking, but I had to stop myself buying everything in sight.
The gourmandise of the British people is here in the supermarkets.

I'm having my accent MOT-ed. Probably needs a bit of polishing.
And English vocabulary. Funny hearing ladybirds called that again, and woodlice. Cinema, pudding, mobile phone.

Today we looked after Teddy and Ellie while Sue took Holly to visit her new infant school. We watched a bizarre CBeebies programme called 'The Night Garden', narrated by Derek Jacobi. Odd to hear one of the greats saying words like 'Pontypines' and 'Iggle-piggle'.

The cleaning lady quizzed me about racism in Canada, her son wants to work there. I said I didn't think we had it, but I knew I was wrong. She's Colombian I think, so I'm not sure I understood the question, aren't we the same race, just different nationalities?

Everything is so familiar in both places.
It's like I have two lives.

Monday, 23 June 2008


Yesterday was Ellie's christening. The church is very big and quiet and cool, the building itself facilitates meditation.

Most of the family were there, and I realised that the convolutions of modern family in some ways replace the extent of the traditional.
The extended family is still there, but it takes a different form. And as long as you can all get along in some way, there are all these extra people to give support in all sorts of ways, to the children of the family.

In the big, quiet, cool, meditative church, I was reminded of how small and warm ours is back in Richmond. How the warmth extends from person to person as we offer each other the peace. Not very British that.
In Britain, we do it politely, slightly embarrassed in the middle of worship, to have to stop and shake hands with someone. Not very C of E.
But in Canada, in the church I go to, it seems more natural, an opportunity to wander around, to say the hellos you didn't have time to say on your way in.
I like both things, the opportunity to tune in to yourself, to be still and to know God, and the feeling of warmth from others.

This morning we called on Sleepy unannounced, luckily for us she wasn't phased and showed us the garden and made us coffee in her jammies. Sassy came round and we sat and chatted, totally cool.

Jetlag hit around mid-avo and we dozed for a bit. When Austen came home from work he made us cannelloni with spinach from the garden and that was yummers.

You have to know Pompey to get how amazing these two gardens are. Both Sleepy and Austen have gardens that are bursting with fruit and veggies and yet this is a densely populated city where the houses all seem to be jammed in on top of one another.
Dunkirk spirit.
Bloody brilliant.

Saturday, 21 June 2008


And...we're here. A flight from Texas arrived around the same time. Standing behind us in the queue for UK and EU passport control were a (I presume) father and daughter. Daughter was saying how she thought they were in the wrong line and father replied that it was right because it said UK passports and they were coming into the UK.
Later, as I went to buy coffee, someone from (presumably) the same flight was ahead of me in the queue.
'Water,' she said. Just that, no more, no please, no thank-you. The person behind me did the same thing. No manners. WHo would want to be in the hospitality indistry at an aiport?

I'm jetlagged and need to sleep.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Homeward Bound

So, it's half past midday here and my friend is arriving at 13.00 ish to pick us up and take us to the airport. God bless her.
We have packed and repacked.
I have completed my list.
I'm on my way.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Iron..or rather Titanium

'L'enfer c'est les autres,' - too bloody right Jean-Paul Sartre mate.

Last night, we went to see 'Iron Man'. Although it is almost at the end of its run and it was a Tuesday evening - I bet that more people die on a Tuesday than any other day but wha'ever - we were not the only people in the cinema. Well, we were, but then we weren't any longer.

Some twenty-somethings insisted on sitting next to us and one of them was the most annoying person I have EVER sat next to during a film. It was as though she had some kind of special cinematic Tourettes. She kept exclaiming, squealing and sighing throughout the movie. At some point, a big discussion occurred and one friend was sent to get supplies. She got up and just stood there. Not a word, no, 'would you excuse me please,' just stood there.

The film had good FX. It was interesting, I wasn't bored. I wasn't even vaguely happy about the role women played in it, but hey, just because women are over 50% of the population doesn't mean to say we can't be demeaned at every turn and after all - there was I, paying good money to see women being shown as stupid airheaded cretins. (Don't even go there with your accusations of tautology). Oh, and yes, I didn't actually pay either, we had free passes, but that's not the point.

Robert Downey Junior was - well, full-on.
Gwyneth Paltrow was as insipid as ever.
Strangely, Jeff Bridges as the evil villain (I said don't mention tautology) didn't even have a hint of an English accent. I said, good FX and the screenplay was certainly miles better than anything George Lucas can produce.

Of course, the SECOND the film ended, the pillocks were standing again, waiting to be let out.
'I suppose you mean, "Excuse me please," ' I said and they looked stunned, as though I'd actually done what I wanted to do and kicked them all in the ankles, pushing them tumbling over the seats in front.
And an RP English accent always sounds so snotty over here.
I must work on my Mockney. I'm sure I could be more vicious if I adopted a Bow Bells spit.

Oh well. I was rewarded for my annoying habit of watching all the credits. There was a scene at the end that only about a dozen of us saw.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008


*Sigh* I noticed a shop called 'Janice's Cakes' yesterday. Oh the irony almost.

In BC news, a fifth foot has washed up ashore. This one is different though, it is a left foot, obviously the police are working on finding out if it matched any of the right feet.

In New Scientist, not this week's mind, I'm far from caught up, there was an article about predicting when civil unrest will occur. Now the social sciences struggle to be recognised as being a science, but in my opinion, this study puts them firmly up there with the best of them. Well, maybe not the best of them, since that's Quantum Physics, but on the ladder at any rate.

A number of criteria were used, including poor healthcare, the level of democracy and the state's willingness to trade.
Previous trends are also indicators, for example, in Africa, any leader who has been in power for over 15 years is likely to face violent opposition, and thus, the February riots in Cameroon were forecast by experts at the University of Arlington, Virginia, in 2005, in spite of Cameroon having been relatively stable for a number of years.

As more and more precise data is fed into computer simulations, predictions have become increasingly accurate. The University of Georgia, is currently turning out predictions that come true eight out of ten times. That's more bloody accurate than reading the TV guide to find out what's on that night.

I find this impressive. I find it incredible that people behave so predictably, incredible and yet at the same time, totally credible.

Sunday, 15 June 2008


Picture is Christopher Bolton from 'Rent-a-Goalie'. Courtesy of someone I guess.

One of the things that yesterday's strawberry tea involved was cake. Now, I don't enjoy cake and sometime in the past little while, I have finally admitted this.

It's oddly difficult to say that you don't like cake, because you are supposed to like it, it is expected to give tastebud satisfaction.
Cake is given and served for celebrations, for a treat. So it's being a party pooper to say,
'Well, actually, I'm not that fussed..' And that's the bottom line. I don't DISlike it in the way that I dislike some other things, but I don't enjoy it. And since flour products can cause me tummy problems, to just eat it because it seems rude or pissy not to, has a price.

Here, because we have places that sell a huge range of doughnuts, you can even get doughnuts that are really cake instead of dough. This particularly annoys me. You expect something with the texture of bread, what you get is something cakey. It doesn't annoy me too often though, since doughnut eating is relatively rare and comes at the same floury price.

Cake is also the name of the owner of 'Rent-a-goalie' in the comedy of the same name. That, as you know, I love. I admire Cake's management style. I like the way he handles O'Malley, wrangles the goalies, yearns for Francesca. I like that his best friend is Goth-Girl, who isn't a Goth.

I did like the Skoda cake advert though, very cleverly done, I just never wanted to eat it.

I did, naturally, like the track by Cake, 'Short Skirt, Long Jacket.'
Like? I meant love.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Strawberry Tea

I have had a brace of church -related engage - ments, book group last night, which went on until almost eleven, at which time I left, everyone else seemed to be going strong, and a strawberry tea this afternoon, which was like Wimbledon without the tennis. Ideal then.

Kevin spent the afternoon making ribs for Laurence and me, superb, and then we decided to go to the cinema to watch Iron Man. Sadly, the rest of the population seemed to be there too, largely line up outside, goodness knows what that was about, maybe the Incredible Hulk, maybe Kung-Fu panda, hey, I'd watch a cartoon panda that was really Jack Black.
In any case, we didn't stick around, we came home and watched a couple of films we'd recorded earlier.

The first one was last year's hit, Juno. We both found this a really engaging film, the characters were all so well drawn, the relationships brilliantly observed. Several people had told us that the dialogue was very slangy and not easy to follow, but we really didn't find it a problem at all. It was a masterpiece, like reading a well-written book.

The second one was an older film, 'Winter Passing' with Zooey Deschanel, sister of Bones, and Ed Harris. Will Ferrell was also in it and it was likewise, engaging, a look at the lives of a dysfunctional father-daughter relationship.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Number 16

A perfect late spring afternoon. Sunny, but not too hot.
The Park was popping with beasties; snakes, turtles, frogs and tadpoles galore, hummingbirds, finches, waxwings.

We had a school from East Vancouver in all day. So I got to teach First Nations youngsters about their own people's use of Native Plants.
They didn't seem to mind, the only thing that one boy had a problem with was my pronunciation of 'vitamins'. I asked him whether he'd correct the Queen if she came to visit and he thought maybe not.

As inner cities go, Vancouver is rather a green one, but the children didn't seem to go very far, so it was rewarding to witness their excitement at the forest, the spongy peat-bog and the pond.

The big news here this week, after the weather, has been the retirement announcement of Vancouver Canuck, Trevor Linden (Number 16). He is a hockey legend and he just seems like an all-round nice guy, a proper Canadian.

I wanted to buy something from the Jesus shop. Oddly, what I wanted was kept under the counter. Puzzling.

The actual idea that there is an Independent Schools Council doesn't particularly worry me. And the fact that they decide after only seven weeks, to get rid of their Top Cat doesn't really show up on my radar. But I go all meercat when I see that one of his embarrassing little outbursts was when he said that some state school pupils are unteachable and their parents are ignorant. Because he was bloody spot on with that one! It needed to be said by someone up the ladder somewhere.

So the African leaders think Obama might be worse than the whiteys huh. Well here's a thought. Maybe anyone's colour isn't really an issue. Perhaps white people and black people are just people. Oh...except Obama pretty much ran on that ticket thanks to the other O.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Shepherd's Delight

One's in focus, but the other one has the colour right.
Bit of Shepherd's Delight.

We have had a half an hour of sunny delight this avo but then it clouded over again. And sprinkled a touche.

Sleepy sent me a brilliant link. Even though it's the Independent, which is the journalistic equivalent of the relative with dementia. Andy Gill says everything I always felt about Coldplay, he just says it in print and with great eloquence. seems we can't eat tomatoes from the US, which is good for BC, homegrowns don't have infected poo thrown on them. So we should be happy.
But no.
Because our biggest crop, our $1 billion one, is apparently rotting in the fields because of the rain. Well, maybe not the fields exactly, I'm not sure where the outside cultivation of BC bud goes on, and I guess it won't bring the Provincial government to its knees through loss of revenue.
Of course, they might want to stop and scratch their heads and wonder how much revenue they are losing by not allowing that billion dollar crop to be legal.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008


Yes, yes, I know it's not King Lear, it's a hummingbird.
Yes, yes, I know everyone thinks they just hover and never rest. This one rested for a good five minutes.

So, King Lear. We saw the dress rehearsal tonight, strange to see it all not quite set up. The only people who were there, like us, were invited.

Strange also that I had to give my full name because there was another with the same initial and surname collecting tickets.

The artistic director of many years with Bard on the Beach, Christopher Gaze, played King Lear. In my opinion, he eclipsed the entire cast. His performance was supreme.
I'm not a big fan of the 'modernising' of Shakespeare, but I get why they do it. I think it would be possible to set many of the plays outside of time so I don't know why they don't do that. This was a modernised one.
On the one hand, it added something to Lear's dementia that Gaze spent the majority of the play in a wheelchair. Likewise I liked the fool replaced by a nurse. But... I could have done without the modern clothes really.
I think I'm disliking it less since becoming addicted to Bard on the Beach, but, meh, I think it is sometimes as lacking in imagination as leaving it as it is.

Still, nothing can detract from the fact that Christopher Gaze's Lear was magic.

Oh, and earlier in the day - the sun shone. This didn't stop me from wearing my snowboots to Lear though. And I was glad I did.

Monday, 9 June 2008


The weather continues unabated as though low pressure systems were the new black.

My son is trying to educate me, open my reading to include things other than Sci-fi. It's kind of his job. He's an English teacher, I'm his mother, ergo...

And it's working.
I have always loved poetry, but in the way that one loves mustard or marmite, a little goes a long way, but life is richer for it.

Now I have been shown the work of Carol Ann Duffy, who I believe is a strong possibility for the ten-year position of Poet Laureate, and it is quite addictive. The book I have (been given) is her 'Feminine Gospels'. They are superb, often surreal word paintings and sometimes stories that keep you spellbound and make you read and re-read. I hope she gets the laurels.
But...I won't hold my breath, after all, she is a woman. (And I believe 'Family', Sleepy.)

Another book that took me by surprise was 'Things Fall Apart' by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. Reading was slow at first, in part due to my inability to not hear Omid Djalili's Nigerian accent impersonation in my head, but the book was written at a time when I was living in Nigeria with my parents.
The description of life in rural Nigeria was matter-of-fact, gentle and yet acceptingly brutal at times. And then something happened in the story and it deepened my understanding of some small aspect of the country I once lived in. A fascinating, thought-provoking book.

New Scientist keeps coming at me like the rain, but I am making progress with that too. Dr. James Barry, a renowned medical doctor with the army until his death on the 25th July 1865, oddly, St. James's day, served across the empire and was a reformer who improved the health of civilians and soldiers.
On his death, however, Dr. Barry was discovered to be a woman. Of course, this was discovered by another woman, the one who laid her out, Sophia Bishop, so of course, her testimony was denied and disbelieved. Now, however, new research supports her witness. Imagine, she was taken seriously, allowed to study, her ideas and work informed healthcare reform, and all because everyone believed her to be a man. Even though she had the body and the twiddly bits of a frail and feeble woman.
Oh, whoops, sorry, just mis-quoting Britain's greatest ever monarch.
Ho-hum, 'magine that.

At the age of 14, Hillary Rodham sent a letter to NASA enquiring how she could volunteer with them. A letter came back informing her that women need not apply.

In her senior year at High School, she ran for class president. Her opponent immediately started a mud-slinging campaign, to which Hillary refused to retaliate, and was then told that she was 'stupid if she thought a girl could be president.'

For more, or maybe even ALL about misogyny, I point you to David Gilmore's 'Misogyny : The Male Malady'. Perhaps it should be made compulsory reading in certain school systems. Oh, pardonnez-moi, did I say certain? I meant of course, all.

Sunday, 8 June 2008


Baby starling, scratching itself in the tree outside the living room window. That tree is just a mess of birds at the moment and I can't identify all the babies until their parents arrive.

We maybe had an hour of sunshine today.
Our friends Christine and Steve came over for dinner and Kevin cooked the most amazing cut of beef tenderloin I have ever tasted. A very convivial meal.

I have a feminist tirade about to be unleashed, but it will keep. I'm tipsy and tired, but rather glad that the home alarm that has gone off in the vicinity every night for the past four, seems quiet as yet.

Saturday, 7 June 2008


I drove down to Birch Bay last night. Driving towards the border on Highway 99, it looked as though soft flakes of snow were whirling towards the windscreen.
There was no wait to cross, none at all. No unpleasantness.
Sitting under a tin roof, the rain came again, calming, continual.

By midday today, the weather had warmed up. The summer snow of cottonwood fluff drifted constantly down through the blue sky - one of those Ridley Scott afternoons.

In the shopping mall, I bought a book by Carl Bernstein about Hillary Rodham Clinton. I'll undoubtedly drone on endlessly about her life.
I'd like to say that the American people will get the tosspot they deserve for their President, but that's not true. I know good people who feel let down that they won't have the opportunity to vote for Hillary and clearly the registered democrats of America have turned out in droves to vote for her, stating loudly and clearly that she is who they want to represent them, but their voices will be ignored.

Crossing back into Canada, I checked the voicemail on the cell phone and learnt that I had lost a friend. Dolly died last night. I'm glad she didn't have to face the suffering she feared the most, to slowly deteriorate into Alzheimer's, but still, disease can play a brutal endgame.

Thursday, 5 June 2008


Ah the good times. Well, rain at least. Today we had a repeat weather performance of Tuesday, except that I felt rather better.

Today a boy told me he was the goodest reader in his class. I hoped to god he wasn't but worryingly his teacher didn't bother to correct him. I waited out of politeness, but then couldn't let this pass, not THIS one.

The newsreader on the evening news has a disconcerting fringe. It is on a 3:1 gradient from left to right as I look at her. I think Dawn French had such a fringe at one point and it too I found disconcerting.

A British documentary I have been watching on TV poses the question, what would it be like not to have touch? Close your eyes and you can imagine in a tiny way what it would be like not to be able to see, block up your ears and you can imagine momentarily, deafness. But touch is more than we realise. One subject is a man who has lived with no sense of touch since an infection many years ago. He has no body awareness, proprioception. For example, even with our eyes closed, we know where our limbs are, how to move, he doesn't. So after his illness, to sit up, he had to look at his stomach and make his muscles contract.
He can't feel pressure, so to teach himself to walk, when he can't even feel the road or pavement beneath his feet, was a unique achievement. No-one else with his disability is known to have done this.
It's a weird concept.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Can't be done mate....

Very long day today, late meeting and all.

Last night I was excited to discover that two of my favourite gays, Colin and Justin, had followed me to Canada and were now improving the decorating of another nation. And they did splendidly as ever. I don't always like what C&J come up with, but I can see it has style.

It was funny to notice how they treated their workers. On the British shows, they ask for something impossible and the builders shake their heads, pull the full Gordon Ramsey, swear some more, just for luck and tell them there is abso-bloody-lutely no way it can be done. Then they all piss and moan about C&J behind their backs, but of course to the camera, then they do the thing that couldn't possibly be done.

On the Canadian show, the contractors look at them with a hurt expression. Then they think about it and say it can't be done. They shake their heads sorrowfully, they really WANT to be able to do it, but, no. Well maybe. Well, ok, they'll do it. And then they don't, at least not by the deadline.

Kev's down in the States for a couple of days.

Talking of the States, I'm not. My fingers are in my ears and I'm going, 'Lalalalalala,' so don't EVEN GO THERE!!!! You KNOW what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Constipated Heron

Yesterday I felt rough, really rough, lousy in fact. I wanted to eat comfort food but couldn't muster the energy needed even for that. I wanted to curl up like a cat and sleep somewhere with the sun on my fur.

And I did sleep.
This morning we awoke to rain. And so my day went. Soaked going into work, soaked doing the morning programme, soaked doing the afternoon one. And then I started to feel better. Not great, but not as though I were crawling along the bottom.

Crawling along the bottom. I led the merry band of grade fours through the coyote tunnel, rain dripping from the bushes down my neck, wicking up my trousers. I stopped. Ahead of me a pair of white socks... and a condom containing fluid. And a tissue.
I'm glad the citizens of Richmond are practising safe sex, oh and taking their socks off, but seriously, go somewhere else.

Crouched in the dripping tunnel with kids backing up behind me, I did the constipated heron stance and scraped mud up to the offending item with the side of my shoe. Moving fluidly into the peeing dog with a twitch pose, I side flicked the Johnny to one side and carried on.
The kids made much of the socks, but saw nothing else. When we passed Alex, I forewarned him and he went in with a stick and was able to get rid of the thing.

Odd, working these last few weeks with Alex Y. I feel like a TV show cop. You work with one person on all these programmes throughout the year, puppets, plays, double act, you speak, I speak, dovetail, team teach, teaching partner, and then the year is done and he'll be gone to get on with his career. That's my mantra. It would be so easy to go through the year again, this time knowing the programmes, improving them because we know them so well, but I also know that it's easy to get stuck.

Meanwhile, in a universe far, far away.....

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Banana Slug

The idea behind Slugfest was to inform people about how slugs are recyclers. The problem, the slug if you will, in the ointment, is that invasive species are a little overenthusiastic in their recycling of living gardens.

The banana slug is native here and is only ever found in woodland. They recycle dead plant matter and animal scat.

The slugs that do the damage, are the European garden slug and the milky slug. They will both eat living plants and hang out in people's gardens.

So basically, we're on a hiding to nothing.

Summer - which I appreciate it isn't yet, always strikes me as the dirtiest time of year - in the literal sense. You have most skin exposed and then cover it in protective creme, which attracts all kinds of dirt and small bugs all day, not to mention sweat, just to experience a great sense of relief when you get home and can shower it off.

Although the weather forecast predicted rain today, it was sunny when I went out, so I put sunscreen on my face, and then when dressed, sunscreen above my neckline. I must have missed a swathe though, since I now have a stripe across my collarbones.