You know there's something wrong when you'd rather clean out your spare room than post to your blog. For that matter, you know there's something wrong when you begin a second blog post in a row with the likes of "you know there's something wrong".
Fortunately, I already wrote about de-cluttering here, so go read it again if you want to know what I've been up to. We took a carload of cardboard to the tip yesterday to be recycled.
You know there's something wrong when you'd rather recycle already-recycled blog posts than write new ones.
This nursery near Pinewood Studios has the best poinsettias I've ever seen, in many different shades and color combinations.
Note: When they warn you to keep poinsettias out of drafts, they really mean it. One of mine was left in a windowsill overnight, and it's been dropping leaves ever since. The others are doing fine. I water them from below (I set them on plates and fill the plates with water).
My Last Minute Party (which, it turns out, are as much work as Well Planned Parties) is over so now it's time to think about the next project: Christmas dinner. At this point all I know is that it will involve Brussels sprouts. And anything else in my fridge/pantry, cause I'm not facing the crowds here again.
It's horrible, really, how petty and mean people get during the holidays. You'd think all the constant reminders of Baby Jesus would put people in a better mood, but around here cranky old people seem to thrive in the Christmas season.
While I was waiting for a parking space to open up yesterday, an old man motioned for me to roll down my window, and then started fussing at me about an open disabled space, and the handicapped lady behind me, and after finally realizing what he was worked up about, I saw the space open up in front of me, so I said, "How about if I just move my car into that space?"
"Oh, you don't speak English," he said disgustedly and walked off.
I was stunned, and could barely sputter "I speak very good English, sir!" before he was out of earshot.
I should have just wished him Happy Christmas in Spanish.
I keep a collection of plastic hair clips on a small table in the downstairs cloakroom (powder room for you Yanks). My dog likes to go in there and pick one out. She brings it to me, wherever I am, and asks me, silently, if she can have it.
I always tell her no, but she tries anyway. She's done this since she was a puppy. She'd go into my closet, find something she wanted, usually a bra or a shoe, and come sit silently at the bottom of the stairs, staring at me in my office until I stopped typing and looked at her. She'd never eat the object she'd found, not unless I told her it was okay and she could have it. Usually, however, I'd tell her no and replace it with a legitimate toy. (Yes, I call them "legitimate toys." She understands many four syllable words, especially the ones that describe treats.)
Girly things especially interest her: hair clips, bras, fuzzy slippers. Maybe because her middle name is Pink.
Soon I'll put her presents under the Christmas tree. She'll leave them alone, unless she sees everyone opening their presents, then she'll go pick hers out and happily tear into it.
I wonder sometimes, what do people without dogs do for entertainment?
Last night TypePad was having some issues. It wouldn't let me log in to my other account. (I maintain another website using TypePad.) I've had the problem before, and by clearing my cookies it usually allows me to log in, but this time my cookies were just too corrupt.
Anyway, I posted on Twitter about it, and this morning I had an email from someone from TypePad, offering some suggestions. She'd seen my tweet and tried to head the problem off. I had no idea such prompt customer service existed.
Today I've been updating my other website, and taking a little jaunt over to Wiltshire, and cleaning the house for my party, so that's why I haven't been blogging. In fact, expect light blogging throughout the weekend.
I don't imagine that's a problem for most of you, who are coming here to read about this, so carry on, my corrupt little cookies.
iCal tells me Christmas is next week. I spent the better part of today ordering online, then hitting the local mall for my usual mad last minute shopping.
Next year I'm doing this earlier. I swear.
I am trying to figure out some way to blame Henry VIII. Shouldn't the Protestant Reformation have included moving Christmas to a more convenient month? Like one without so many hours in total darkness? Or perhaps all the influential Protestants emigrated to Australia.
While online, I also signed up for another class. I'm fast forwarding two centuries to Victorian Britain. (By that time, England had joined up with Wales and Scotland to form the empire called Britain. That's why it's "Tudor England" but "Victorian Britain".)
So expect even more kvetching starting in January.
This morning I woke up and decided to procrastinate some more on writing my paper on the young Henry VIII. As I stared at Twitter, wondering what to say, I wondered what HenryT would have tweeted. Next thing I knew, I was channeling him.
Cows are scarce on the ground this time of year, so I've had to resort to my iPhoto files for a suitable cow photo.
This was taken in Scotland, in early October. We were leaving our cottage on Loch Lomond and as we passed these beauties, I insisted my husband stop the car so I could stalk the Galloway cows (or "coes" as they say). From several dozen yards away, I walked slowly down the road so as not to spook her, talking to her in my baby voice and getting my camera ready to shoot.
She—or he—soon grew bored with my nonsense talk, and went back to eating the grass.
I felt pretty lucky to have gotten so close to a Scottish Galloway coe. I wanted to reach out and brush this one's hair. She could use a footbath too.
So. When Wall Street bungles royally, they get bailed out to the tune of $700 billion. I didn't really have a problem with that; the alternative was the collapse of the worldwide financial system. Payback, which Wall Street's managers richly deserve, can wait.
But when Detroit's automakers, who directly and indirectly employ millions, stumble, the Republicans in Congress are unwilling to bail them out. Even though their dire straights are due partly to Wall Street's ineptitude. And Americans' demands for big, gas guzzling cars. While Detroit should have been prepared to offer fuel efficient cars, undoubtedly if they had, very few would have been buying. They'd have been accused of, uh, mismanagement.
Again, I don't agree with that placing of blame—you could argue they had a moral responsibility to offer fuel efficient autos even when the government and consumer demand didn't force them to, but that won't get you far in an Econ class.
To sum up, quickly, since I have to run, I think this stinks. Everyone who voted against the auto bailout bill ought to be sent to the unemployment line without supper.
After I got us lost on our hike today around Hambleden, we ended up where we were supposed to be, in the pretty village of Hambleden. (I insisted we turn at the second electricity pole, onto the metalled road, per the instructions. Apparently, the electric company removed the first two electric poles after the book was printed, because we went too far. Fortunately it was a pre-hike, where we're allowed to make mistakes.)
Anyway, we ended up at the church, as we were supposed to. Divine intervention?
Here's the flint Manor House, where Lord Cardigan was born, famous for leading the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Hambleden is famous as the location for scenes from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the recent remake of The Avengers. While we were there we noticed a film crew, but didn't stop and ask what they were filming.
Probably some adventure flick, about some lost hikers who had to survive by their wits for a couple of hours while braving icy mud and treacherous hillocks.
The sun sinks into the sky somewhere over the Atlantic.
That pointy place in the skyline is Shakespeare Cliff, so-named because it appears in King Lear. It's the closest point to France, from where it can be seen on a clear day. This was taken at 4:15 in the afternoon, a glimpse of what life is like on the 52nd parallel in the winter.
On Saturday, we went over to Dover, about two hours from here. I'd never been to the castle, one of the English Heritage sites open during the off-season. It is not true that if you've seen one castle, you've seen them all. Dover Castle is unique. There you'll find a Roman lighthouse, a Saxon church, medieval tunnels, a Norman castle, Napoleonic casemates (rooms built into the cliffs) and Second World War underground offices. And all the while you can look out over modern shipping routes, as ferries come and go from the busy port.