Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Stray Sod Country

Pissing with rain last night but ventured forth to the book launch. The name indicates that you are in trouble if you take the wrong direction, and was taken from the author hearing a woman who lost her way and arrived late for a meeting saying 'I fell into the stray sod and became lost' according to some press reports. I don't know whether the expression is also from some Irish folklore, but in the novel it recurs frequently. Nobodaddy, originally from Blake, is behind the disasters in the novel, and is also represented as a malign character known as the Fetch.

Anyway, arrived at the Gramaphone pub in Commercial Street. The launch was downstairs in the club and Margot kindly met me and found a chair, since there weren't many. Pat read excerpts from the book. Margot had covered a pillar with brown papier mache and made an excellent tree trunk with some repousse grotesque mask faces. There was a kind of goblin figure (Nobodaddy) prancing around and various things happening, such as an excellent singer. Just as the second reading by Neil Jordan began I became totally exhausted and had to leave. Probably because of the early hour I got a cab quickly. I am sure the evening was a great success and if I had been twenty years younger or considerably fitter I might have stayed.

Anyway I shall now settle down and read my copy of this dark novel.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Kooky Better

Kook seemed a bit more perky this morning and did the usual 5.30am waking call and jumped on the bed as usual. However he had a check-up at the vet. He is now less than half a kilo overweight. Seems Julian was right and he recovered alone from his encounter. The vet shaved him a bit in front and there were two quite large scratches, one across his entire larynx, which is why he was panting with stress and a bit quiet afterwards, poor thing. I bought him a Feliway spray for stress, a pack of catnip teabags and a thing called a Furminator, which takes off lashings of fur when grooming.

I shall recover from the shock of the early appointment, purchase a paper and have lunch at the Lye Torng. This evening is the book launch, which I will be happy to attend now that I know Kook is fine. I may shut him in the kitchen at night to try and get some extra sleep, and keep the back catflap locked.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Kooky Still Ill

The vets could not see him until tomorrow. He ate most of his breakfast but seems to be very dopy and has a problem getting around. Julian came to play with him during the day and noticed he was rather sluggish. He keeps sleeping in different rooms. I have put a litter tray out in case he doesn't want to go outside. I have a vet appointment for him tomorrow morning. Julian seems to think he will get over it, and I should wait a day or two before seeing the vet, but I am unwilling to take a chance.

When I arrived at work, discovered that Romy had done everything except frank the post for the invitations, so did this straight away. I left work about half an hour early as I had been worrying about Kook all day. At least he is eating plenty of wet food.

Kooky Injured

Noticed he did not go outside this morning early. He also left his dry food. Went down and found a smear of blood on the throw and wiped his neck which left some slight bloodstains but could not find a wound. Perhaps it hurts when he mews and it is difficult for him to eat dry food. Put another tray of wet food for him and left the back door open. He came up the stairs very slowly, which is rather worrying, but managed to eat the food. I shall ring the local vet and see if I can get him there this morning as an emergency. Seems he needs antibiotics at least. He must have been in a fight early yesterday evening and has been feeling worse during the night.

Monday, 27 September 2010

New I-phone pod and Kooky

Romy called around with an i-phone pod thing she had discovered, and which fits neatly on my phone, hopefully providing a little protection when it is inevitably dropped.

Kooky was slightly strange last night, sitting with his mouth open once or twice. I wondered if he had swallowed a wasp. However he seemed to rapidly recover after an extra meal. I am a bit worried this morning as he did not come to bed last night but slept on the sofa downstairs, where I found him this morning. No loud mewing or demanding food, but he did come up to the kitchen and eat his breakfast. I shall have to keep an eye on him. Normally he is very hungry. I think I will reduce his dry food, but give him an extra tray of wet food in the evenings since he wanders around outside a lot.

I shall be sending out masses of invites to the Railway Children today. Romy has alotted specific seats to people. Just hope I manage to get the envelope labels printed, since this is not my forte. Rather worried about the annual report which has to be in by the end of October and seems to be nowhere near completion. Also must remember to deal with the mandates for the newly appointed punters. Had been hoping to take some leave because I am owed so much, but this prospect is fast disappearing. Oh well.

Quiet Monday

Downton Abbey a bit boring so I fell asleep.

This morning, Pete turned up to help. He tidied up the undergrowth outside, pruned some things and planted the lavender that Julian had donated. Then we both struggled to change the sofa covers, and eventually succeeded, though it was a bit of a marathon task. Finally, he did some filling of holes left in the walls here and there.

Kooky is lying on his back with his back legs in the air. Pete thinks he has grown much larger. It may be the cold air fluffing his fur up. He is definitely becoming a little scary. Especially when he yawns. His mouth is absolutely enormous.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Neon Pee and Vitamin B

Was somewhat alarmed to see my pee had turned neon green. Googled this and found it was caused by taking Vitamin B (which I have recently started, in the vain hope that it will stem the rapidly advancing tide of dementia). Quite a relief, really, that it was not brought on by some fatal condition.

Cheered further by an invitation to the launch of a book by Pat McCabe next week. Really looking forward to seeing Margot again.

Ate too much at lunch time: 190 calorie Sainsbury's soup and a whole packet (200) of crabsticks chopped on a huge amount of iceberg lettuce with a little mayo, two crushed cloves of garlic, some lemon juice and black pepper. Feel a bit bloated.

Looking forward to X-factor and Downton Abbey tonight. Such a telly addict.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Day in Brighton

Still can't add images from my computer - I can get the iphone app, but normally when this blog says 'add images' it goes into iphoto so I can select one. Now this doesn't work. Took a couple of snaps with the new iphone but still not sure how to actually use the thing. Good thing the numbers aren't yet changed over or I would not be able to answer it. I think the number is going to change on Monday. Oh well.

Took two coachloads to Brighton. Most stayed in the town but Romy and I and a few others went to the marina. There was a bit of sunshine but it was slightly nippy and windy towards the end. We lost a couple who had become lost in Asda. We had waited for them and were on our way back home when the manager of Asda rang to tell us he had found them, so we diverted back to the marina and picked them up.

Romy is off to Spain next week. Pete is coming on Monday. I am hoping he will help me change the sofa covers which are very difficult to do, and maybe fill in some holes in walls and if there's time, plant the two large lavender plants that Julian brought round the other day.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Some Help

Julian has come around and helped me with the phone. It was quite a performance just getting the old sim card out, and the rest took ages but finally we achieved.

Having left the phone plugged into my laptop (which is supposed to charge it up) all night, I discover this morning that it has lost nearly all power. I have now plugged it in elsewhere and will leave it all day while I am out. If this doesn't work it may mean that the phone is kaput or at least moribund. We shall see.

Trying to Change Phones

02 have sent me a bill but I cant open it because I have forgotten the username and passcode. Trying to retrieve this they said they would send me a code. Searching in vain in my email I realised that they would send it to the damn phone, which I haven't managed to open to get the sim card in! This is the problem with a secondhand iphone which comes with no instructions. I hate technology. Just googled this and it involves sticking a pin into the phone. Happy though I would be to do this, I think Dorothy said I had to do something, don't know what, before putting in the sim card.

I was warned not to drop the iphone. How is this going to happen? I drop my current phone all the time - in fact just last night it fell on the kitchen floor. If I hadn't signed up for a year with iphone I would be out buying a pay as you go normal phone today.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

People in Black

I think my nasty neighbour was going to a funeral today. Someone dressed smartly in black called and she appeared, also dressed all in black - unheard of normally. Funerals seem to be popular in our street.

Work today and our auditor came to try and help me with various bits and pieces, and thankfully, to deliver our salaries. Struggled with bits of a report for a short time, then left early to regain my sanity.

My upstairs neighbour had a friend with a baby visiting so left the buggy in the hall downstairs with a note in case I needed her to get rid of it (the buggy not the baby - too late for that). Actually it is easier to pick your way past a buggy than a bike for some reason. I suppose you are not likely to bump your head against the wheels.

My PAC code came today, but not my MAC code, and no sign of a sim card. But three pairs of navy knee-highs arrived from - Trasparenze is the make, good solid colours and only a fiver each. Now I am waiting for a Meade Lux Lewis piano boogie CD from Amazon and some culinary lavender essence: one kind for hot food like cakes and the other for cold puddings and ice cream.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Funeral in the Street

Pearl's sister's funeral today.Pearl lives over the road. Everyone was dressed in grey, with mauve blouses and veils for the ladies. The hearse was white, followed by two Rollers and a Daimler, also all white. Of course my nosey neighbour rushed out to her doorstep, before going back in to fetch her father and grand-daughter out to ogle. (When I am wheeled out they'll be cheering and spitting on the coffin, no doubt). Anyway, it was a change from black cars, and obviously very meticulously organised.

Today I shall try and drag myself out, since the sun is shining.

Kooky is lying on his back on my bed, trying to tempt me to stroke his tummy - but I know better.

Managed to buy some batteries and a pack of cantuccini in the pound shop (22 cals each, apparently, though I would bet they are about 30). Had a chat with the guy from Sensational and lashed out £60 on a pretty grey jacket, before lunching at lye Torng. Grilled marinated chicken again.

My afternoons and evenings are like Groundhog Day - Morse, Come Dine, Coach Trip, then whichever soaps. I sometimes fall asleep watching, thinking I am seeing a repeat episode.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Wicked Kooky and Sunday Weigh-in

Was rudely awakened by Kook, who, not content with mewing loudly, walking over me, bunting and clawing a bit, started biting my head, at first gently, then viciously sank his teeth right in, which really hurt. Nibby had advised spraying him with cold water so I had fore-armed myself with a spray bottle by the bed with which I sprayed him liberally. He ran off, but came back with more clamour in about fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, my head hurt so much I couldn't get back to sleep.

Weighed myself and had lost another two and a half pounds. Ten and a half altogether.

With Kook's antisocial habits I don't think there is any chance of getting another cat. He would probably eat it. For breakfast.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Saturday Night

Watched Grand Designs and some of X Factor. There was a really chic looking girl called Rebecca, a bit Audrey Hepburn, from Liverpool, terribly shy, but with an astonishing voice. Was glad to see they put her through.

Knackered for no good reason, so early night to read the Cornelius Cardew biography. I met him a couple of times in Barnes, but his wife Stella was a friend of a friend, and seemed very shy with a tiny voice.

Kook is already on the bed, waiting to be groomed and given drugs.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Something Wrong with my Laptop

I was trying to upload a snap, but when pressing 'browse', instead of Iphoto, 'Applications' came up. When I clicked on this it just appeared in the 'browse' thing. I tried opening but I think I now cant download snaps to my blog. Or, presumably, anything else.

Friday Night and Saturday Morning

Dorothy and Julian came around last night with the iphone for me. Dorothy magically transferred information from my laptop into the iphone, including my telephone numbers and I was given a demonstration on how it works.

Meanwhile Julian called Kooky, at first in vain. Julian thinks I should get another cat to keep Kooky company. Hmmm....

Julian had found two huge heather plants for the garden. We drank coffee and tea and Dorothy and I compared diet notes. Seems that Marks & Spencer do a huge container of prepared fresh fruit which he grazes on each day for a prolonged breakfast. Might try one of these some time. I reminded Julian that I would be away for a week in December and catfeeding duties were agreed.

It has become much colder now. I have been sleeping under a quilt, but have now retrieved the duvet from the airing cupboard and was quite warm last night, with no more cramps.

Though tempted by some Marks & Spencer's boots, I have avoided going to Oxford Street until Monday, as lots of roads are closed with the Pope in town. Meanwhile I have purchased some single quilts which will be placed at the foot of the bed for Kooky to sleep on. I have a couple of tatty old quilts I must get rid of.

Weigh-in day tomorrow. Might take some measurements while I'm at it. Do hope I have lost more weight, but lost so much last week I have no great hopes.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Drab Day

In the office yesterday, preparing for the evening meeting. Kook woke me at five thirty. I started work at nine, back home at eleven thirty at night. These days are too long for me. The meeting dragged on without much progress, then people hung around forever socialising. I was really flagging by about ten, and to cap it all, the taxi home was delayed.

This morning I was terribly tired. I had a dreadful foot cramp in the middle of the night keeping me awake. I dragged myself into work to draft the minutes, but left around two. Finished redrafting them in Lye Torng while downing a diet coke.

Watched the last part of The Young Ones this evening. Pity I missed the middle programme last night. This was really good and gave me a bit of hope - I wonder if the effects will last? Certainly if I lose weight I shall find walking a little easier which might brighten the spirits.

Since I had mistakenly purchased too much fresh food from Sainsburys, I decided to make a casserole.

Fried some tiny slices of chorizo and added a red onion and some garlic, then water. Then seasoned and chucked in half a white cabbage, a few onions, some smoked paprika, fines herbes, and lots of garlic. Cooked for a bit then added a little tomato puree. Topped with three sliced potatoes, more fines herbes and more seasoning. Simmered on the gas, covered for about 20-30 minutes. I had previously added all the calories and it came to 900 for the lot, so ate one third for dinner.

The toasties made with a small Warburton's loaf, a thin slice of ham and cheese with Worcester sauce are a great success at only 220 calories. I find that eating less during the day and 'saving' plenty of calories, ie. 6-700 for the evening works well, in that I usually end up eating fewer calories altogether.

Oh dear, I am such a diet bore. Stop now.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Dear me, the financial figures only arrived yesterday in time for the meeting tonight. We appear to have spent a little more than anticipated, but underspent so much in previous years that it shouldn't be a problem.

I cannot believe that Sainsbury's carrot and coriander soup in large tubs are only 50 calories for half a tub. It must be a mistake.

Tonight it's the meeting. I really hope it doesn't go on for too long.

Watched 'The Young Ones' last night - about famous old people stuffed into an appalling seventies place and made to do things in an attempt to make them younger somehow. A bit like a geriatric Big Brother. The presenter said that there are more people over 80 than under 16 in the UK. Seems the programme imitates a very successful experiment in rejuvenation from the States 30 years ago. (It reminds me of the Japanese architect who makes flats for people which have inbuilt problems such as narrow corners and up-and-down floors, to challenge people to deal with physical difficulties). I may keep watching this, as I could do with a few tips. I rather agreed with the old newspaper editor about the isolation. Talking of which I should take advantage of this to get some painting done. I have a most unsatisfactory sea painting on the easel calling out to me to make some improvements, which I have resisted so far. After work tomorrow or Friday, perhaps. We shall see. Kooky is not setting a good example; lying curled up on the bed, having stuffed himself with breakfast.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Monday Night

Work tomorrow morning. Am anxious to finish the annual report but having to await the audit finish. Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Watched Jamie in America. Dear me, I thought our food was crap. They stand no chance at all over there without a great deal of change. I felt guilty at home giving my son fish fingers when he was a child. When my husband worked for Wimpy he used to bring back chicken or turkey bits covered in breadcrumbs and stuff and I seem to remember trying to get it all off before I cooked them. Yuck.

Kooky has disappeared into the night. I do wish he would stay in and be groomed and sleep on the bed.

Food Obsession

Have discovered that Warburton's do a small wholemeal sliced loaf at 50cals per slice. So I can put a real strong cheddar slice (60cals at the most) on one side, a few drops of Worcester sauce, then a mini slice of ham (30) followed by the other slice of bread. In a toastie bag that makes quite a decent breakfast/giant snack for only 200 cals, eaten slowly with a cup of Lapsang. I am also eating vast quantities of Iceberg lettuce with crushed garlic and some balsamic vinegar, plus or minus some tinned salmon or tuna.

I am drinking the no sugar added Robinson's lemon, and am definitely managing 8-10 glasses a day.

My awful neighbour is on her doorstep again, arms akimbo, trying to chat up any passer-by, including my upstairs neighbours who have just had a baby.

Kooky is becoming very demanding, begging for snacks of dry catfood at all hours. I can't believe he is that hungry. He is becoming my boss.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Crap Internet

My internet 'reception' is hopeless. Halfway through a grocery order it disappears, despite turning things off and on. Better write this fast.

Ordering groceries, I have decided to go with Ocado, then Tesco, then Sainsbury's, then Ocado again etc. For cheapness, Sainsbury's is winning so far but the first delivery will be on Monday, so we shall see.

My first weigh-in this morning and lost 8lb - though probably most is water weight. If I can lose around 2lb a week I shall be happy. Have been feeling slightly ratty this week, but I usually do on the first week or so of a diet change. Rather than drink diet coke as I am not keen on water, I have discovered that Robinsons no sugar added lemon is OK, without that awful scented taste that most squash drinks have.

Seems that Madeleine has done the sensible thing and escaped from London for a few days. Well done!

Julian laughed like anything when I said that Kooky has taken to clawing my toes to wake me up in the morning. Nibby thinks I should use a water pistol against these attacks. Looking forward to a chat with her today.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Thames Day

Today, apparently. Morris dancers with sticks up at Borough Market. Crowds everywhere. Bought a decent bunch of flowers for my neighbours and cabbed back.

Lunch at Lye Torng - they are doing quite a decent chicken grill.

I don't know why but after hearing on the radio about Churchill painting in the South of France. I remembered the first time I had ever painted landscapes - in the boiling heat in August in the Alpes Maritimes around Breil-sur-Roya. Proudly showed my paintings to my mother. They weren't very good, but reminded me of a wonderful summer. A couple of months later, I couldn't find them, and discovered my mother had thrown them away, which convinced me they must have been hopeless.

Saturday Morning

Strange week. OK week at work, and at home rather up and down. Romy has had some very bad news, but is coping very well.

After an uncertain few days, with comings and goings at frequent intervals in the flat upstairs, the neighbours rang my doorbell with some slightly out-of-date smoked salmon for Kooky, who ate half greedily before becoming bored with it. Seems they now have a huge (over 10lb) baby boy, who wasn't well when born and had to stay in hospital with a chest infection, but has now recovered and is back home.

Julian came around yesterday, bearing a garlic crusher for me and a couple of heather plants for the garden, which we dug around a bit.

I have been feeling slightly ratty with the diet, but keeping the fluids up helps a lot. Spoke to Dorothy who has been successfully doing this and losing 2lb a week regularly, who told me that snacks had been virtually eliminated in favour of larger meals. I, on the other hand, am snacking like mad, but at least on fruit and stuff.

Had lunch at Lye Torng yesterday. They have a beef stir fry which is almost all meat with a tiny bit of vegetable, so tried that yesterday with a dessertspoon of rice. Made a change. It's the weigh-in tomorrow.

I am rather concerned about Madeleine, who seems to have shouldered the burdens of the world recently. I think she needs to come up to town, have a coffee in Selfridges and wander around the Wallace Collection. Or something. Preferably frivolous. For some reason Liberty's comes to mind.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Monday All Day

Things very quiet at home, but the weather has taken a turn for the worse.

My diet with yourfitnesspal is just getting under way, but have to remember to enter all snacky things.

Spoke to Madeleine who had some rather upsetting news about the family. We chatted for some time and can only hope for the best for everyone.

I actually ordered a Barbour type hat from the House of Bruar which arrived today. It is quite old fashioned but may prove handy in the winter weather and will match my khaki mac.

This week I start work tomorrow and will be working for my allotted three days, but need to take more leave before Christmas since I still have quite a few days left.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

New Life, a Funeral and Dinner Party

Dorothy is surviving the new job and seems to cope well.

At about 3.30am on Saturday morning, I heard footsteps from upstairs and assume my neighbour was going into hospital to have the baby. No word since, someone occasionally going in or out, so hope all is well there.

Went to Hilary's funeral at St. George's Cathedral. Huge turnout of course, and quite a moving service. I did not hang around afterwards since I had the pudding to finish for my dinner party that evening.

Lunch at Lye Torng, had a rest, then made the rest of the fruit salad. I had already sliced oranges and juice and combined with some sugar and a cinnamon stick. Left this in the fridge overnight. I then added, one banana, one apple cut very small, three passion fruit, one punnet of blueberries, a few chopped cherries, and three kiwi fruit. I halved some sweet white seedless grapes and put these in. I finished off with a good glug of St. Germain elderflower liqueur. I set forth in good time, but the taxi lurched a bit, and when I arrived, most of the double cream had escaped and covered everything, so it was straight to the sink to rescue the rest. Fortunately I had also packed some clotted cream. The couple holding the party were very pleasant, I met another couple who I already new, and another guest who I had not met before was there, so there were six of us. We started with wine and little pastry pinwheels with excellent fillings, half chorizo, and half anchovy and parmesan. The food was excellent and I was quite glad I had brought a light dessert. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and we didn't leave until about 1am.

Although I did consume a little wine, I was only tired rather than totally jaded when Kooky attacked me at 7am this morning.

Dorothy is very enthusiastic about calorie counting, and now there is a site called my fitness pal or something like it which does all the hard work and you can work out calories, keep a food diet, etc. etc. which I started this morning. I now know I had 250 calories for breakfast.