Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's a dry New Year's Eve again

In order for me to secure Christmas Day I have to be on call for my firm on New Year's Eve. Not that I mind really as I have never seen the fun in getting off one's face over a moment in time.

If you think about it there is nothing obvious to celebrate. Unless we all got born on the first day of a year and all met our end on the 31st of the previous year, then the concept is all that it is. It's not an anniversary or a religious event or anything at at all except the celebration of the same day the year before.

Anyway, this year has been a bit of a blur to me. I can't recall much about the beginning of it. The only obvious thing for me this year has been the death of my father.

Oh and discovering a new joy in walking. I started that in August when I had three blissful weeks off work. Everyday I would get up early and go for at least an hour's walk and discovered some lovely spots very near home. I have tried to keep this up but as the year progressed three things interfered.

Firstly, the fading light from the end of November meant that it started to get too dark to get an hour's walk in before work, which leads to the second reason and that is that work has become increasingly demanding (which is a good thing when you are self-employed and employ others). Starting work earlier then combined with poor light and the third reason, the weather has meant that there have been fewer opportunities to have my daily stroll.

The point of these "ramblings" is I suppose that the walks are going to be part of my New Year's resolution. I want to get back to my 10,000 steps a day. It won't always be possible but it's something to aim for. Especially now that I seem to have added a few inches around the waist!

This takes me nicely into resolution number two. Lose some weight. Not a lot, just enough to shift those inches. That means learning some new healthy recipes.

Health means thinking about smoking. I like smoking so I'm not keen on giving up, but I have successfully cut down recently. For a few weeks now I have smoked less than 20 a day. In fact I generally only smoke about 12 a day now, sometimes a little less, sometimes more. It's easier to smoke less when I'm at work as the opportunities are fewer.

I can only see where this will lead. I make no promises to myself about cigarettes but if I do give up I want it to be a sort of natural giving up.

So that's my year, not a lot, I know.


Monday, December 25, 2006

A feast in the making

This is my turkey before the poor thing gets roasted. I loved the colours and the Christmassy feel of the tin foil.

A cup of tea now and then I'll make scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and have a glass of bucks fizz to start the day off.

Pressies were opened last night. I got some wonderful CDs, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday and Dinah Washington and a new Watermans pen as I'd lost my other one. Lovely!

Happy Christmas


Presents for Froggers

Ho! Ho! Ho!

You've all been good boys and girls, well most of you anyway. So here are some gifts that Santa has put under the tree.

If there isn't a gift with your label on blame my elf who had a slight problem with the technology and lost the original checklist. For those whose names do not appear, there are special gifts, in stockings. You'll know what those are.

Everyone gets a stocking with a satsuma, 12 shiney pennies (old money or chocolate whichever you prefer), a selection box, a small toy of your choice, and a christmas cracker).

admin annie - weekend at a luxurious Health Spa in the company of Sean Bean
andycrlucan - "Golden" acrylic paints and sable brushes and Roberson's canvasses (only the best!) and a night out with admin annie so that you can dance like Fred and Ginger.
Aperitif - a date with Johnny Depp - who knows where that will lead!
Annasee - magic harp - it plays all the music whilst you read a nice book, knit, or browse the internet.
Anne P - lifetime's supply of cashmere and other lovely yarns
Aunt Dahlia - a weekend at jonnies hotel
Belinda - a magic bottle of Glenfiddich, when you're down to the last drop it refills itself
Big Sister - Cashmere jumpers for everday of the week, and a case of booze, including Sancerre, Rum, Drambuie and Top Notch Cabernet Sauvignon
Charles Hatton - magic Speedos (don't ask me what the magic bit is for you'll have to try them)
chLuke - magic golf clubs, you win every game!
Chris, London - your golf ball (found it on the beach)
Doctor Hackenbush - A Clash Concert reunited as far as is possible solely for his entertainment - and all the albums
Ed I - Controlling shares in Guiness
FFred - lifelong season ticket for London Irish & Harlequins
Fifi - A vineyard and winery to make her a lifetime's supply of Shiraz
Frances O - glorious rug made by LadySnorkPen AND some long butter soft gloves
gossipmistress - a date with James Bond or George Clooney, or George Clooney playing James Bond.
HelenSparkles - shell earings made with fine silver wire by LadySnorkPenMaiden
Jason Good - lifetimes supply of rose and lemon Turkish Delight, a Mutley Key Ring and a Thesaurus, and a Wii - you get four pressies because they were quite modest requests and a Wii is an excellent choice. If you really get one we can share Mii's and play games online!
LadySnorkPenMaiden -
Mark Intime - a complete set of all Airfix kits relating to military equipment. (Can't do much damage with that, but probably worth a bomb now)
Molly - tickets to panto of choice with favourite celebrities of choice
Mrs Naughtie - your stockings returned by Leslie Williams (new suspender belt to accompany)
Mrs Trellis - a new twinset with pearls
Perky - new mobile phone and camera
RobbieJohnDo - a magic bottle with endless tipple of your choice, and the highest quality, smallest digital radio in the world.
Sara - magic cigarettes, no health risk, no nasty smells, with diamond studded holder for sheer elegance
Simon Worrall - his own restaurant with the best chefs in the business to either cook or assist him in cooking as he wishes
Stainless Steel Cat - a beautifully carved piece of wood by Steve, so that you can touch it for luck and your mother's health
Stewart M - Electronic OS maps that work on my PDA
Val P - frying pan that makes smiley faces on the food, and a crate of Fernando de Castilla PX sherry that'll make your face smile.
whisht - a weekend in a luxury hotel with spa and massage facilities.
Mr Knibbs - a basket on the beach, turkey flavoured pet treats, a festive litter box, and a toy mouse with silver bells on
Lissa - a complete aromatherapy set for the bathroom, candles, oils, fluffy towels, fluffy dressing gown, and a bottle of bubbly or several bottles

All pressies wrapped by Tumbleflump Berry-Cracker
Delivered by Santa Claus

Merry Christmas everyone.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve and a story for Sara

And I'm in my kitchen.

I went for a walk in what I think of as my wood this morning. The picture posted here of the holly was taken there earlier this week. I had hoped to take another photo of a water vole, but he wouldn't stay still. Then there was a robin.

I'm now in my kitchen starting the preparations for tomorrow's meal. I love cooking Christmas dinner. I love the way it takes so long but only because for once I have the time to take care over a meal.

So the picture I post here is of my first steps towards the celebrations. I am making Giblet stock for the gravy. When it's finished it will go in the fridge till tomorrow.

Next up is the red cabbage and apple (with cranberries this year).

Whilst I am thinking about doing that I want to say something about mothers, mine in particular but it applies I think to many other women.

I'm not a mother and never will be and for that I think I'm quite grateful. It's a tough job, and some people don't get it right. I dont think I would have done.

My mother died aged 51, the same age that I am at now. She was very beautiful, but she had a terrible temper. She suffered a lot in her life with mental and physical ill health, but even when well was a very difficult person to be around. She was a popular person outside of the family.

She practised emotional blackmail beyond compare. I've forgotten most of it as we became friends before she died. However, I will never forget being landed with the thought that her ill health was rooted in the very difficult labour she experienced having me and that how she nearly died! Try living with that!

I finally had enough when I was 27. She said some very nasty things to me and I snapped. I queried whether she really loved me and she said of course. I said that it was hard to believe that considering she never had a good thing to say about me or to me, and that she hated just about everything I stood for. I told her I never wanted to see her again.

She tried phoning me on several occasions and calling at my home - something she did frequently without invitation no matter how inconvenient it was for me. I refused to take her calls or come to the door. One day I forgot not to answer the phone and she was there at the other end. She was very quiet, very hesitant and asked if she could come to visit (a first). I said it was OK. From then on I realised that a mother has far more invested in her children than her children have in her. I realised she needed me. It doesn't sound much but it was a revelation. Our relationship changed. We became friends. It lasted about three years.

Now! Back to the red cabbage.

I love Christmas


Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Picture

Thoughts of Baghdad and Birmingham

I've just finished listening to Baghdad Burning based on the blog by Riverbend, so I thought I would actually look at her blog. It makes for fascinating reading. I was particularly moved by her farewell to her Christian friend and her reason for wearing the Hijab. I've decided to link her blog here.

My life is so dull compared to what she and her family and her countrymen and women are going through, and for that I should be, I am grateful.

On a lighter note I got my pictures up on the PM Blog's advent calendar. I must admit to a fair bit of nagging and in the end an email to Eddie Mair. He sent one back which I will treasure!

So whilst Riverbend is living in a war torn country losing her friends the highspot of my life is an email from a BBC Newsreader. For that I am truly grateful.

I'm going to try to post one of the pictures I sent to PM, of holly. Sort of Christmassy, and from my favourite spot.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's what you need ...

... just before Christmas.

Firstly, about a week ago I realised that my landline wasn't working. No dialing tone. BT were contacted and they wanted to come and visit at a moment's notice whilst I was at work.

They didn't call back on Saturday, so I've had to get in touch again. I'm now waiting in for an engineer to call.

I did a bit of clearing up on Saturday and discovered some terrible damp in my flat, so I've had to contact the Landlords as I think it's the dampproof course! I hope this isn't why the phone isn't working. No idea why it should be but -

As if that wasn't enough, I spilt wine on my computer last night, and have had to buy a new one today. Too much expense at Christmas time. I have now spent far too much time trying to resurrect all my favourite internet sites and set up this new laptop. I'm nearly done!

I'm also hungry.


On a different note I hear they've arrested not one but two people in connection with the Suffolk murders. I'm truly pleased that I don't have to be the lawyer that sits in on those interviews. How harrowing.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Getting close ...

... to Christmas.

Normally I love the build up to Christmas. I'm not religious, but treasure the day itself as a moment's respite in a frantic world.

I live in a City and there is always a constant hum of traffic. My favourite time is about 7am on Christmas morning standing in my kitchen contemplating stuffing the turkey, drinking coffee and listening to absolutely no sounds at all. Bliss.

It's our office Christmas meal tomorrow evening which I am looking forward to. We're doing a Secret Santa for the first time organised by our Office Junior (horrible title but we all know she's an important person). I wonder what I will get. I love presents.

I must remember not to drink too much as I have a cleaning plan set up for Saturday and a shopping plan for Sunday.

I've been taken up with thinking a lot about the Ipswich murders and about how chilling it was that the murderer murdered one of the women interviewed on the TV after the first killings were discovered. I just feel that she was targetted because she was on the TV. Does this mean the murders are calculated to gain notoriety? The bodies were not hidden although they were dumped in the countryside.

My heart goes out to those women and their families and I trust that the police have the proper resources to apprehend the murderer before any more deaths occur. My heart goes out to the police too who I know will be feeling very strained by the huge responsibility placed upon them.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I didn't go for a meal on Sunday as I was just too tired! Instead I had a nice ready cooked meal in the evening.

Monday was spent at court and there was one particular client who tried to sack me; he does that every time we meet, it's very irritating. The court persuaded him to stay as I was an "experienced advocate who knows what she's doing"! Oh that the second part was true! Anyway he stayed with me, but next time I will sack him. I hate being messed about with. I will still do my best for his case, but my patience is wearing thin.

The Christmas traffic is building up horribly and it's really frustrating to find that a journey that should take 20 minutes is now taking at least twice as long, if not three times.

I have now done my Christmas shopping (presents). That sounds quite efficient but I don't have many to buy. I bought myself some new clothes to take away the pain! I rather like shopping though.

Not much to speak about at the moment, well not things I would want to say on a public site.

As for the world at large I find the murders in Suffolk really upsetting, and wonder what makes the murderer tick? If I met him in the street would I suspect him? I rather think not. I have enough experience of criminals to know that you can't tell the book by the cover. That's scarey.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Police stations and Wiis

I have spent the last two days working solidly and through the night. I've been advising folk at police stations. I can't tell you how much time and public money is wasted in the police investigating the biggest load of rubbish imaginable. I never get the murder cases or posh or rich people just very ordinary stuff. Having said that the stories are funny, heartbreaking, fascinating and always challenging. Like the illegal immigrant who came here with no English in the back of a lorry, didn't know which town he was in, slept on a park bench the first night, then walked the streets and got himself a 12 hour a day, 7 day a week job being exploited. He's probably on his way back to his wartorn country as I type now!

Anyway, I got one hours sleep between 7:30 and 8:30 am and even that was interrupted by my cat Barney at 8:10! I finished at 4pm rushed to get my Nintento Wii only to find the new guy who owns my local shop hadn't kept me one. I nearly cried! Anyway, he relented and sold me the one he saved for himself. He'll never make a fortune if he consumes his own stock!

I'm too tired to do anything with the Wii. I've foolishly unpacked it and it lies around in pieces whilst I pour a well deserved white wine and settle down to ... the XFactor Semi Finals! Bliss at last!

I'm being taken out for a belated Birthday lunch tomorrow where I'll probably fall asleep in the starters.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Traffic and the past

is getting worse! It took me 11 minutes to leave the car park in town this evening and then a further 14 minutes to get about 1/2 a mile. It was a similar story this morning.

My job requires me to be mobile at a moment's notice, so I can't risk public transport. I wish I could. I wish I could walk to work, stay there for the day and walk home. I'd be really happy even in the cold weather. I can't stand driving.

I'm going to be really annoyed if I have to pay per mile to drive. Firstly I don't want to be tracked by the government and secondly I don't have a great deal of choice about driving.

Ah well ...


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Happy Birthday to ...

... ME!

Not much of a day really. I got stuck at Redditch Magistrates Court all afternoon. The client was lovely and kept apologising for keeping me on my birthday and bought me two cups of rather horrible coffee from the machine.

I wanted to take a picture at 5pm for the PM programme and I did, but because I was taking it on my mobile phone and through my car window it came out all black with a tiny bit of orange which you can hardly see. Still I sent it in. Then listening to the radio on the way back I heard that Audrey Hepburn's dress from Breakfast at Tiffanys had been sold for an astronomical amounts! I loved that dress. Then I found out it was a size six. So it doesn't matter that I couldn't afford it. It wouldn't fit.

Ah well! Happy Birthday to me!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Back to work properly

For the past two weeks I've been working partly from home as my dad died a couple of weeks ago very suddenly and in a way most of us would probably want provided we had had a good life as he had. He had been out for the day with his wife, then went for a nice meal with friends in the evening. He came home and collapsed. A weak muscle in the heart finally gave up.

My sadness has been strange. An odd depression and a feeling of my own mortality. Anyway, my first full day at court with a variety of not particularly interesting cases and a couple of truly unpleasant clients. One in particular I was hoping would sack me but he didn't sadly, as I'm far to firm and reasonable!

I drove home listening to the marvelous Eddie Mair on PM (my absoulte media hero). He was talking to Margaret Beckett and she was just a tad frosty with him. He handled her so beautifully that she sort of melted.

Now I'm home and I'm getting just a little excited about my birthday tomorrow. I don't know why. But there it is. I love birthdays!

Maybe more tomorrow when I shall say happy birthday to myself just in case no-one else does!


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Wasn't going to ...

... make a new post as today went much as planned doing very little.

However, I've decided to make this members only again, to ward off possible spam!


Sundays and comments

For years I loathed Sundays. I think it was a mix of having to go to church and getting ready for school and later work. That changed a few years ago although I can't quite remember when. Church going pretty much stopped when I got to about 18. Nowadays, I normally get up and go for a walk. I like to be home to listen to the Archers and have some breakfast, usually scrambled eggs on toast and coffee. Today, I missed my walk by oversleeping. After breakfast I tidy up and settle in with a good game on one of my consoles, listen to Radio 2 after the Archers and potter in the kitchen getting the dinner prepared - roast lamb today. I love cooking at the weekends when you can take all day over it.

Evenings are spent watching TV. Writing about it the whole thing sounds really boring but I love it.

On the comments bit of this blog. Robbie John Do had trouble signing in. I had that a couple of times. I just said I forgot my password. You get an instant email from google and you just set the same password again. It happened only twice. I'm considering members only again, but for now I'll leave it as an open blog.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Later the same day ...

I've had a nice day.

Having resurrected this blog I went and started Christmas shopping, pudding, cake, biscuits and chocolates.

Next week I'll start on the wine collection, cards and a few other bits and pieces.

I don't really start Christmas until my birthday has passed which is on Tuesday. So my tree will go up next Saturday. Then I'll really get into the swing of things.

I bought a game for my Xbox 360 Viva Pinata. I wasn't really sure about it but it's wonderful. You get a patch of land which you cultivate, grow things in, make ponds and then attract strange wildlife which look like South American toys. It's charming and addictive. Best game since Game of the Year Oblivion!

I couldn't be bothered to cook tonight so I've got a curry from Waitrose (my favourite shop) and a bottle of white wine.

Now to settle down to watch my other favourite addiction - the XFactor. If only I were younger I would enter this competition! I know it's sort of tacky but I love it!

More some other time ... maybe?


First in ages

I have been reading the PM Blog for a while and struck by Basil Brown's posting about smoking I thought I'd start one of my own, a blog that is not a posting about smoking. Maybe more on that later. Anyway, I've discovered that I already started a blog way back in February of this year. I barely remember doing it, and can't remember why.

It's got a stupid title though. I shall have to change it. But I do like video games and strangely that enjoyment is what drew me to the PM Blog in the first place. That's a long story too.

So - it's a Saturday. It's very quiet at the moment. I'm deliberating on what to do with my free time. I'd better not spend too much time or I shall have wasted the free bit.

More later perhaps