I always seem to inherit odd things from people – I’ve never been one for taking jewellery, which seems to be the ‘normal’ thing for girls.
I loved my uncle so much, but he was a bit of an odd one occasionally, and only got worse as he got older (which is understandable). We found all sorts of meticulous notes in the battery compartment in remotes (to say when they were last changed) or in the clocks (to say when they were last serviced) etc etc.
Anyway, along with Gemma, a battered old leather-effect pouffe, a crystal sweet bowl, a chest of drawers and a mantel clock I seemed to ‘inherit’ about 10 bars of Simple soap, 5 jars of Cadbury’s drinking chocolate and a vacuum cleaner.
Today, I opened up one of the packs of replacement bags for the vacuum cleaner…and found codes written on each one meticulously by my uncle in his neat script.
But what does it mean?!?!?
On Tuesday, I walked with The Girl from the station to my nan’s house for her funeral. It was the first time we had gone there together by public transport, and the walk from the station round ‘the back way’ is rather convoluted down alleys and odd streets.
The Girl was wondering how I remembered the way, and I became rather poignant when I told her that I’d been making that journey on and off since I was tiny and I suddenly realised that it was a journey I probably would never make again.
I then told her some other childhood stories of the area, including that the post box outside my nan’s also held familial memories. Me and my two cousins always got told off for climbing on it with the local kids, as it was a position of authority to be able to sit, and (even better) stand on top of it. And what’s more, my mum and her brother and sister had done exactly the same thing!
TG: How did you get up there?
Me: Duh! We climbed onto it – it was a knack
TG: And you got told off if you got caught
Me: Yeah, and that always happened as it was outside nan’s living room window. it stupid of us all really now I think about it – we must’ve liked to live dangerously
TG: And did you get punished?
Me: Well, we were shouted at and sometimes called in
TG: And did they tweak your ear?
Me: What?! Who?!
TG: The grown-ups, when they caught you. Did they tweak your ear and drag you back inside?
Me: *look of disdain* I did NOT grow up in a Beano comic!!!!
*The Girl collapses into laughter*
I was sitting down with The Girl, catching up on the week’s Got To Dance. The Man goes to the pub every Saturday afternoon, and we often spend that time watching stuff he’d shout about if he was here because we ALL know that it’s really awful and that we shouldn’t be watching it. But hey, I can’t watch gritty Scandiwegian dramas all the time, can I?
Anyway, she suddenlt said “how do they do that? I can’t even touch my toes!” this, from my 13 year old, skinny-minnie, gangly-limbed daughter.
“You can’t touch your toes?!” I asked, “What do you mean you can’t touch your toes? you’re 13! you’re meant to be at your most flexible! Even *I* can touch my toes no problem”
“Go on then!” she told me. so I immediately stood up, bent down, leg’s straight and touched my toes straight away. Easy-peasy!
“Oh My GOD!” she screamed “How did you DO that? At YOUR age? What kind of sorcery IS that?”
OK, so she was impressed – I don’t blame her, I AM over 40, but “At YOUR age?” Pah!
I have never read a comic book / graphic novel ever. Ever! Even though I live with a total geek who plays XBox at every opportunity, reads as much sci-fi as possible and has a graphic novel reading history (although not in recent years).
Anyway, apart from worrying about being branded a geek myself, I have had no real desire NOT to read graphic novels, it had just not come about. However, I spotted this one available as an Advance Review Copy while I was looking for something for The Man to read, and how could I resist that cute little alien thing on the cover? And it’s purple! I like purple!
OK, obviously I’m far too intellectual and deep to be swayed by looks, and I would never judge a book by its cover, but…well…
Zed is appearing before the Hierachy of the Galaxy to present his invention, along with nine other young inventors as part of a competition. There’s a huge crowd gathered from planets across the galaxy to see not just the inventions but also Krah, the loudest rock band in the galazy. Zed’s proud that his parents have also made the journey.
But when he starts the demonstration of his invention, something goes wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong, and our poor little hero ends up having to battle not just for his own life, but also the fate of his home planet.
I loved this. Don’t be swayed by the cutesie little alien, it covers some deep and dark events, and there seem to be a few missing heads within its pages.
Me and The Man read this together last night – it only took us about an hour, and The Girl has just read it. Like me, it was her first graphic novel, and she also loved it! She did say “Ewww!” at a couple of points, but I knew she could deal with it – she is 13! (There were only 2 minor swear words within.) She was more traumatised by the frame where Zed was getting changed and you see what is obviously his little alien willy. When I say traumatised, it wasn’t quite like this moment.
I believe that this book was pulled together from existing stories that Gagné had written over 11 years, and I felt that there were moments that the story didn’t seem to flow very easily but I could forgive it almost anything as the drawings are wonderful! They are a mixture of cutesie, amusing and dark. There were a couple of frame comparisons at the end too which showed an original drawing and how much detail Gagné had added for the final product, which was really interesting.
I will now actively look for more graphic novels – it was great to have something that all three of us could enjoy and discuss.
The Man with his graphic novel experience would give it a good 3.5/5, me 4/5 and The Girl 5/5! Give us more Zed!
Zed: A Cosmic Tale will be released on 12th Feb 2013
As per my previous posts, my wonderful 95 year-old nan was finally allowed out of hospital on 2nd Jan. On Saturday, she was feeling a little perkier, so my mum decided to finally pretend it was mini-Christmas.
My nan has a little radio next to her bed that she listens to LBC on every day. For some ‘old person’ reason it isn’t a mains radio, it’s battery-powered! So, for a silly present, my mum and dad had bought a great big long vacuum pack of batteries.
As my mum handed it to her, she said, “This is a bit of a joke present mum, and be careful as it’s a little heavy.” My nan took one look at it and said, “Is it a vibrator?”
Once she’d opened it and my parents had picked themselves up off the floor, dried their eyes and re-stitched their poor spilt sides, my nan said, “I don’t know why on earth I said that – I don’t even know what one looks like!”
Oh I think she knows. I think she knows.
She’s still totally switched on. She’s still sharp as a tack. Unfortunately her little old body isn’t wearing up quite as well. She’s been very ill since coming out of hospital, but has been crying at the very thought of going back again – which she needs to, but still wouldn’t actually cure her. So we have to respect her wishes and not take her back.
Yesterday the doctor said that it could be a week, or it could be a miracle and be a month. I’m off to see her tomorrow to drink her and all her loveliness and funniness up. And I wont let her see me cry at all.
So, further to my post last night about my nan, she is surprisingly and miraculously a little better today.
Even more miraculous, her youngest sister went into hospital almost 2 weeks ago, very critically ill. She got a little better but on Monday suddenly took a severe turn for the worse and was only being kept alive by machines.
We didn’t tell her about my nan, or my nan about her. On tuesday, the doctor said that he could try these very expensivce drugs to see if they would kick-start her system, but could only put her on them for a maximum of 2 weeks.
She went home yesterday quite happy! The women in my family are troopers!
Anyway, my nan has been continuing being her wonderful amusing self.
As she’s been hallucinating a lot, when the doctor did his round today he asked her if she knew who he was.
She rolled her eyes and answered, “Yeah – Elvis” and then burst into fits of laughter.
Love my nan.
I don’t want to say too much at the moment, as it will all make me cry, but my gorgeous 95 year-old nan is currently in hospital pretty critically ill.
The main characteristic of my nan is that even at her massive age, she totally has her wits about her.
When she went into hospital in the ambulance on Friday, the nurse said her, “So how do you feel?”, and my nan answered “With my hands!”
Anyway, the last 48 hours have been especially difficult for us as because of what’s wrong with her, the toxins in her system (not meds) have been making her hallucinate and feel confused. it has made for some laughable moments (as you can imagine), but it is also very scary.
However, sometimes her moments of lucidity are just as amusing. This evening, while she was slipping in and out of consciousness, she suddenly declared “Oh, if I was forty years younger!”
“What nan? What would you do if you were forty years younger?”
“Peter. He comes and looks at my feet. He’s a lovely young man. If I was forty years younger!”
And then she slipped off again with a little smile on her face.
Love my nan. There’s still life in the old dog yet.
I have a lot of old diary / blog entries on a site that is going to be discontinued, and I am looking through trying to save some of my more poignant thoughts etc from then.
I have to admit, I remember this particular moment with The Girl extremely vividly. This was in April 2003, when she wasn’t even four years old.
I wanted to post it here as I’d like to keep it with myother ‘Conversations With My Daughter’.
I love my munchkin – she’s great. I’ve been having a hard time with her recently due to the ‘Dummy Fairies’ coming and taking all her dummies away (and leaving her a Barbie scooter I hasten to add), and also she can’t seem to get her head around going to bed when it’s not dark.
Anyway – that’s all boring really, the long and short of it is that she’s been getting out of bed a lot lately, when she shouldn’t be! this has been causing me a lot of stress.
Last night she was sick, poor lamb, and that wore her out so much that she went straight to bed, straight to sleep and didn’t get up again until about 6.45am
She climbed into bed with me, gave me a great big cuddle and kiss. It was lovely. She wrapped her arms around me, put her head on my shoulder and looked into my eyes. She looked so perfect, and after the last few nights of me ripping my hair out, it was a wondeful moment in the sunlight thru the curtains. I wanted to just capture it.
Munchkin: I was a good girl last night mummy
Me: I know you were darling, you were very good
Munchkin: I stayed in bed all night
Me: I know babe, you were very good
Munchkin: And I didn’t get up and you didn’t have to shout at me
Me: I know darling, you made me very very happy last night
We hugged a bit more and I looked at her and she was glowing and smiley.
Me: You are SO beautiful
Munchkin: And you’re beautiful too mummy
Then she pointed with her finger right on my chin
Munchkin: That looks like a potato!!!!!!
I guess I should mention my ‘news’ from 25th August. The top was written in the sand by me at Porto De Mos in the Algarve. The bottom was my reply from The Man from the Rose & Crown pub in Walthamstow
We were kind of planning it for next year, but hit a little bit of a hitch as I hate weddings. I couldn’t have the wedding that I actually wanted, so it was really just goign to be a ‘Lets have a big party and ask everyone we love’ kind of thing. Us getting married isn’t a new idea, we just haven’t bothered because I haven’t seen the point of doing it if we couldn’t do what we wanted…but then in the summer, things shifted a bit and I kind of thought ‘Why the hell not’ – the idea of being married is quite nice, it was just the idea of GETTING married that I hated.
And then a couple of weeks ago, I found out that they have relaxed marriage laws, so there is a chance that we can actually have the wedding that we want. With that as a goal, we are going to plan it for 2014 to give enough time to save money and plan it properly without rushing and becominf Bridezillas (he loves Don’t Tell The Bride, so I think he could be worse than me!)
I found this entry in an old diary I had from January 2005. Yes, that is how long ago me & The Man decided this was ‘it’!
The thing is, I want something ‘non-conformist’ for my wedding. I don’t like weddings really. I’ve done the big meringue thing and I’ve done the arriving at work late and saying “Can you call me Mrs F now please, sorry I’m late, I just got married”-thing, with noone else there (apart from my ex-SIL and the lovely Lorna).
I want something more ‘me’, more Andy. Something more……….earthy.
I want to get married in a forest at midnight with twinkling lights and be wearing fairy wings. I want drums. I want my friends to be with us…..I’m not that worried about my family – I expect that I’ll have to do some kind of blessing or do or something for them, but that’s not the important bit, it will be for them, not for us, not what’s important to us!!
But where do I start??
Another idea that I have had is that we can hire a ‘cottage’ in a forest that will atke about 24 of us for a weekend. I even have somewhere in mind as I stayed there once…..but where do you get a priest from?
OK, so I haven’t really said much about it, but while I was in Portugal, I kind of got engaged.
Me & The Man have had a pretty rough and rocky year this year. A couple of months ago I thought that it was all over, and that we should split up. BUT he wasn’t having any of that.
I think teetering on that brink, and being dragged right back in, being reminded why he’s lasted 8 1/2 years and recognising what our issues have been, and knowing they were fixable kind of made me decide “It’s all or nothing!”.
So, it’s going to be all.
We need to get our arses into gear and work out exactly what we want (and it has to be on an exceedingly tight budget), but hopefully, by this time next year (perhaps August) I will be Mrs Fletcher (name change number 7!)
I hate weddings.