Tuesday, 28 September 2010


You know that old joke, 'laughter is the best medicine except for diabetes, and then it's insulin,'? well, on TV there was just an ad for insulin. A man says, 'diet, exercise and tablets just weren't working for my diabetes, so my doctor suggested..' and we wait, expectantly, 'insulin'.

So Christine O'Connell, Tea-Bagger extraordinaire, claims she went to Oxford. She claims it on her CV. Turns out she was there for two days as part of a course she attended, the organisers had rented a room at the university.

And this bizarre behaviour in contrast to Canada, where, on the one hand, we are talking about going over to electronic medical records, and on TV we see a doctor turning to her computer screen as the patient walks in - exactly what my doctor always did in Britain.
On the other hand, someone having read the Stieg Larsson novels, (my assumption)we are possibly going to de-criminalise prostitution. This should lead to safer conditions for sex trade workers, and hopefully a decrease in human trafficking.

Yesterday, I couldn't help being amused at the idea, via Womanist Musings, of a multi-coloured muffin, a rainbow muffin if you will, being gay and therefore likely to corrupt. On the other hand, I couldn't avoid the feeling that the religious freaks involved, were really confused about what the word gay means. What a bunch of utter tosspots.

Monday, 27 September 2010

The Dell

Every once in a while, one has a weekend that just works out. Many, many a weekend doesn't live up to its promise of weekendly goodness, but this last one - for me at least, just did.

The promised storm didn't.
And yet Saturday was such a glorious early autumn day in Dingly Dell ....er, I mean Birch Bay, that we took the kayaks out and ventured further than we had before, on sparkling waters.
Then in the evening, the rain came sweeping in and thrummed on the roof whilst we sat out on the deck and watched it, and then as we lay in bed and listened to it.

I had forgotten how much I love the drawing in of the evenings, but that too added value.

And then finally, as I drove towards the border at around 21.00 on Sunday, two cars greatly broke the speed limit to overtake me. So it was with satisfaction that I passed them in the NEXUS lane as they joined the end of a very, very, very long queue, and we...just drove straight through.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Words and Music

Off to the Static this evening, and there's a storm a-coming apparently. The Static is an ace place to be in a storm, owing to the metal roof. This may or may not turn out to be the case. I mean it deffo has a metal roof, the other stuff, we'll see.

The Sleepy Mansions on tour brought me a CD from Austen, which brought me tracks from Mumford and Sons, which in turn were reinforced by the Sleepy Mansions on tour soundtrack.
Anyroad, I'm hooked and went and bought the CD. Four London lads to watch.

So that's music.
Reading, not the sprawling city where Beautiful People is set, but the inactive activity.

I bought an e-book by a historical writer, Alison Weir, and I think she actually is an historian, because I had previously read a non-fiction book by her.
The current book is about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and thus should be interesting, but I find that the constant set-piece sex rather interferes with the story. On the other hand, now that I'm used to it, I suppose it does explain people's motivations sometimes, it's just that it's so 'he thrust his throbbing penis between her damp thighs' type of thing. It's how I imagine Barbara Cartland must write sex, not that I'd ever want to take one for the team and read her.

Sleepy kindly left me her copy of the Hilary Mantel she was reading, 'A Greater Place of Safety'. I thought I'd get a little taster and started reading a couple of pages. Instantly addicted, but I've had to put it down until I've finished with the Queen of England.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


Wednesday, huh.

So, at 10.15 this morning, I found myself at the Liquor Store. I selected some BC stout called 'Blackheart' I took it to the checkout.

'This is certainly the time to come to the Liquor Store,' I quipped,
'Yep, sure is,' said the assistant, 'as soon as the 9.30 rush is over, it gets much quieter,'
'The 9.30 rush?' said I, 'seriously, you have a 9.30 rush at the Liquor Store?'
'Oh yeah,' he said, 'all the regulars,'
'Er, I suppose I'm a regular,'
'Nope, you're not, if you were I'd recognise you,'
'Right, aha, yeah,'
'So, Blackheart is really good, great choice, have you had it before?' he asked, enthusiastically in my opinion,
'I...don't actually drink beer,'
'Oh, well do you drink dark beer?'
'I don't drink beer,'
'Oh, so it's a gift?'
I felt like I was letting him down, but I had to fess up,
'Erm, I'm using it in a stew,'
'Right, hmmm... good that it's good, um, my husband will enjoy drinking the rest...I expect,mmm, right, bye.'

Later in the day, I discovered that torture and Amy Winehouse keep Whisky quiet. Maybe they're the same thing. The torture takes the form of having his ears combed to get the tangles out. So far as the music goes, The Clash works too.

TV has started up. House - meh, they need new writers.

Saturday, 18 September 2010


So happy birthday to Seth, he has been experiencing the long birthday of the distanced-from-home.

Yesterday, in American Eagle, I searched for the son-in-law gift. Some jazzy underpants perhaps, suggested the assistant.
'That would be too creepy for a mother-in-law,' I reminded him,
'It's what cool mothers-in-law buy,' he countered,
'Creepy ones,' said I.
I loathe these people. And most likely, they loathe me.

Today, the Sleepy Mansions road trip down the West Coast, winds to a close. I thought for a while there, we might have to gird our lions (rather than loins) and drive down to Seattle, but all is well....ish. It sounds as though things have not been without incident, but not having to face the I5 unexpectedly on a rainy night is good. Actually, not having to face it expectedly in the rain is good, the I5 in the rain can be rather challenging.

The Book Depository, normally my best friend, has been playing cat and mouse with me.I am trying to purchase an e-book from them and they keep telling me it's out of stock. How can an e-book be out of stock? Then they say they'll notify me when it's back in stock, which they do, but as soon as I click on it, it's 'out of stock' again.

Next week, the telly scheduling goes berserk. This week, there has been a telly drought. BUT....we do have the new - and modern - Sherlock Holmes. Not, however, so modern that either of the main characters could be women.

Yesterday, we had the unappealing sight on TV of a woman, screaming at women priests, that 'Jesus chose twelve MEN to be his disciples,' to support the Pope in his misogyny. Oh yes, many misogynists are women.
Some people are such lazy thinkers.

I hope the Pope noticed that the Head of the Church of England is a woman.

Thursday, 16 September 2010


Another Septemberish day in paradise lost.

Cool in the morning, tending towards rain, decidedly hot in the afternoon. The shops however, are cumbersome beasts whose heating goes on at some set date or minimum temperature, and there it sits.

Canadian Tiresome, a store I needed to visit for two items, was so hot, I felt ill. Around me, other shoppers and staff looked decidedly flushed. No staff were visible and nor where the intended purchases. It became like a rat trap, and naturally, whilst fanning myself with a no-smoking sign, and generally being stroppy to no-one in particular, a not-very-much-English speaker came and asked me where he could find something.

My next stop was The Bay. From Tiresome to the Bay, there must be eight sets of traffic lights, but somehow,somewhere, the traffic light programmer for Richmond is either colour blind, or thinks the green wave system isn't as challenging as a red wave system. And she or he would be right.

This year, apparently, men are wearing neither bathrobes nor dressing gowns. The places where I would expect to find such items had yielded nought. The Bay had two rails and I found a suitable one, purchased it and attempted to leave the store. Red lights started flashing and a loud man's voice said something about their associate having obviously failed to remove the security tag. I returned to the desk. She did the magnetic magic again and assured me that it had been deactivated. Sadly, it seems, some customers just set off the system, and I would have to boldly go...and ignore it. Which, indeed, I had to do.

On the way back, an advert on the car radio informed me that, 'the one thing she always wears every day and all day, is her engagement ring.' What bollocks, I thought. The one thing most women probably wear all day, every day, is their knickers, and in probably more cases than would wear an engagement ring, a bra. But although I shouted at the radio, no-one was listening, so I had to settle for hexing the jewellers'.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


When people say,
'One of my Facebook friends,' what do they mean? I mean, do people have friends on Facebook who aren't real life friends? I mean, I certainly have a few people as friends on Facebook that I've never met in real life, but the friendships didn't start, nor are they dependant on, Facebook.
So what pray, is a 'Facebook friend'?

Yesterday, I read an article about a different kind of friend and a different kind of friendship, 'mate hate'. Evil monsters who befriend the learning disabled in order to take advantage of them.
In 2007, a young man was murdered by such a group. They tortured and humiliated him for over a year, and then forced him to take 70 Paracetamol, on its own enough to destroy his liver several times over, then hung him off a viaduct and stamped on his hands until he fell to his death. Every time I think about it, I'm overwhelmed with sorrow and disgust.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Mortal Coils

Right. Right?

Had difficulty getting up this morning. The thumping headache had progressed to thundering and then back to merely thumping and my throat was sore. When I was a child, the doctor used to call this type of sore throat 'dirty tonsils'. My tonsils did indeed feel dirty, and not in a good way.
At my age, it's difficult to make the call that I'm running a mild fever, but I believe I'm running a mild fever.

But enough, my day has been dogged by mortality. By day I mean the last twenty-four hours.

Last night I watched a docu-drama that hypothesised a smallpox outbreak in modern day Montréal, following the same pattern as the one in 1885. It really was quite horrid, especially the impossibility of knowing that one person has it if they only have a mild case. Then the hotel cleaner changes the sheets on the bed.....

I missed how it would break out after it had been globally eradicated in 1979, and also, surely, since it was eradicated as a result of vaccination, wouldn't the majority of adults still alive have been immunised against it or passed on that immunity to their children?

Astonishingly, a doctor on the documentary bit of the programme, said that vaccination was the single most important medical breakthrough of all time, and yet for some reason, people are resistant to it....er, but not in a medical sense natch.

Didn't make me feel any better, but certainly validated my decision to keep my bugs to myself, (as did my friend Bozo5).

This morning, I found the above-pictured mushroom growing amidst my Oregano. As a general rule, one should never eat mushrooms with white gills. This has white gills. In fact, it rather resembles the deadly poisonous Destroying Angel. It is so toxic, it stops the liver and kidneys from functioning and death occurs within 48 hours.
However.....I think it is more likely the edible Leucoagaricus leucothites. Obviously I'm not playing Russian Roulette with these puppies.

In the afternoon, two cars moved on from the visitor parking, revealing a dead rat that looked as though it were asleep. Asleep with flies buzzing round. We don't have to notify the public health authority here, so I merely buried it.

On the way back from Superstore, where I spread my germs far and wide, but not in close proximity, there had been a very unpleasant traffic accident involving two cars, one, an SUV, was on its side and ripped open. There were three ambulances, three police cars and a fire engine attending. People were being removed on stretchers.

I'm sensing a theme.
Not a good one.

Monday, 13 September 2010


After a day of quite literally doing nothing, I have had an almost entirely sleepless night culminating in mild fever, thumping headache and a vague feeling of nausea. Actually, not so much vague as definite.
I'm middlingly unwell.

Middlingly unwell is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs, because I'm not ill enough to doze fitfully in my bed, drinking hot Marmite and watching daytime TV (a small mercy), yet not well enough to actually do anything.

Then the dog joined in. After an extended bout of yelping, he delivered evidence of an upset stomach, which of course, I had to go and clear up.

So now we're in synch. He lies limpidly on the floor, whilst I half-heartedly wash-up. Then I feel ill again and sit down, but sitting down puts me at eye-level with some dust, so I get out the lambswool duster, which re-animates the dog, who thinks of this as a yearned-for toy that he may not have, and barks and leaps at it, making the dusting even more trying. Then we both collapse for a while.

And of course, when you're ill, whatever you have in your medicine cabinet is insufficient, thus rendering it imperative to drive to Shoppers' Drug Mart, where you end up in the line behind the woman who speaks no English yet wishes to interrogate the long-suffering assistant about the points on her loyalty card. Behind me, two men shuffle and mutter. I try to will her to move on, but now she must make another fuss about bags.

Back on the road, things are even more mental. Getting out of the car park is no joke at any time of the day or night, but there appears to be someone weaving back and forth across the lanes and coming towards me. Will the driver mount the curb and plough into me I wonder, but she swerves away, narrowly missing a pedestrian.

Almost home, when, with no warning whatsoever, a car does a complete 180 in front of me. The driver grins at me in what I can only assume is some kind of soppy and useless apology. I give him my grim reaper stare, which is all I can currently manage, but this merely causes him to grin more stupidly.

On second thoughts, I must be more than middlingly ill, there's chocolate in the cupboard and I don't fancy it.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Birthday Girl

Thank-you for all the birthday wishes. It has been a week of eating, drinking and fire-making in this instalment of 'Sleepy Mansions visits the Schloss and the Static'.
Intense and enjoyable.

Today, the birthday proper, we went to see Henry the Fifth at Bard on the Beach.
Firstly, I want to say that I do understand the snobbery associated with driving a car with manual gears, I am that snob, but people, learn how to do a hill start for the love of dog.

But Henry was good, oh so very good.
"Cry, 'God for Harry, England and St. George!' " fair made me swell with patriotic pride.
There was some choreography to represent the battle scenes - superb. And there was some French - hohum, but classic humour to be got from it. And there was a rather cheeky joke in French that....may not have been cheeky if it appears in the original, but if it's an addition, then it is. I s'pose I'll have to get orf me backside and walk to the book shelves.
King Henry himself looked remarkably like my friend J's partner, to the extent that it was disconcerting.
But wonderful.

And then there are the pressies, perfect, perfect pressies. I have my Kobo e-reader from Kevin, I love it. Bowls from the Mansions, to match my extremely expensive and beloved salad bowl from Dix Mille Villages. A book of poetry from Austen and Sue, and the biggest of all my pressies, a London bus looming through a grey Piccadilly circus from Alex and Seth.

And then, and then....the Philly cheese steaks, cooked and assembled to perfection by Kevin.


Sunday, 5 September 2010

Book Magic

Three-day wedding. My friends are well and truly married, which is what should happen if the bish marries you at the cathedral.
Lovely, lovely wedding.

Whilst there, I discovered that the Anglican cathedral has a Rabbi in residence. Truly, I wonder if we have an Imam in residence too. Maybe our church could get a Rabbi in residence, it might be better than some of the locum priests.
Ah, endurance is a skill best acquired young.

I have an early birthday present, finally, I have my e-reader. And I am loving it. I discovered that the back-lighting from e-readers can mess with your melatonin production, which in turn messes with your sleep patterns. Mine has no back-lighting, thus, although, just like with a book, if you want to read in bed, you need light, you CAN read in sunlight, and of course, it doesn't mess with your sleep patterns.

My first e-book is the last of the Stieg Larsson trilogy.
My last paper book was the INCREDIBLE 'Fingersmith' by Sarah Waters. I envy anyone who hasn't yet read this book. Book magic.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


The denizens of Sleepy Mansions are here, and we have been touristing. Whistler, Steveston, monsoon day (yesterday), Liquor Store, Liquor Store, Liquor Store.

And much salmon.

This year, after several lean years, we have a record salmon run, and my goodness, have we had some amazing sockeye. Today, we bought one straight off the dock and it was superb. Er...well after Kev had cooked it of course.
We'll be well above our mercury level before the week is out.

Tomorrow, Alex and Mary get back from the Kerouac tour. I'm looking forward to seeing them.