Britain has been going through a spell of very freezing weather, with temperatures well below zero centigrade during the day and the customary ensuing chaos with all forms of transport. Idiots driving at speed over black ice, planes unable to land on icy runways, trains’ mechanisms frozen, mad dogs and Englishmen going climbing in the midday sunny frozen wastes without the right kit – the usual. We sorely need a few Canadians here to show us what’s what.
However the worst of it is in the north and east of the country, and yours truly is writing to you from the south west. It’s freezing and foggy, but it hovers either side of zero and there’s no snow, so we snuggle down on the sofa and watch the craziness going on around us on TV. That is until last Friday – which is why I’m writing this post.
Apparently rail services between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington were severely disrupted, with people waiting at stations, eyes straining up to scan the electronic timetables one more time... No, they weren’t breaking out in sympathy with the icy conditions prevailing in the rest of the country. What caused the delay was one train.... whose horn had stuck in the ‘on’ position.
It took a long time for flummoxed staff to get advice from their bosses as to What To Do, and the decision in the end, after a long delay, was that it would not be safe to do the 2 hour journey to London with a horn blaring all the way, because trains use their horns to warn other trains of problems, and a horn on constant would have thrown their interpretation of the instruction books into meltdown. No mention of what 2 hours of a high decibel shriek would do to the commuters, however...
So the service was cancelled eventually, and meanwhile all the other services were stacking up behind, with passengers – as ever – not knowing what on earth was going on. Presumably the rail company didn’t want the ignominy of having to announce that the horn was stuck and that they couldn’t even blame the weather.
The icy winds are coming from Russia apparently, and the temperatures are set to rise very slightly nearer the end of the week, because.... the wind is changing direction and it will be blowing from Iceland instead. Well whooppeedoo.
I’m sorry for the radio silence – I’ve had too many other things on the go. After the second unfill I’m back to eating a little too much and not losing anything; a bit of willpower is required. My 2-year contract with Taunton hospital ends on 17th December, the second anniversary of my lapbanding, and thereafter it’ll be up to me to visit them when I need to, at £50 a time. I can see that I’ll put it off and put it off, to save money. But I really need to keep losing weight, it’s so important to me (despite evidence to the contrary). My weight chart over on the right is getting too long and straggly – at some point I’m going to summarise it a bit so it doesn’t take up so much space.
My last post was about my uncle, David Bridger, who died during WWII. I’ve now started typing out his letters, and really look forward to putting the best bits on my blog; he wrote very well and was so interesting.
I’ve been involved in a lovely project recently – compiling all the poems and doggerel written by my partner John over the years, gathering about 120 photos of him, his friends and family, and putting it all in a coffee-table book by using blurb.com. This was a birthday surprise, and it was the best ever. Anyone heard of Blurb? I think it’s a US company with overseas branches here and there. You download their software for free, then do the whole thing yourself online. They give you plenty of advice with FAQs, and plenty of warnings on what to look out for, but it’s basically up to you. They print exactly what you’ve done, with (I think) virtually no human intervention. This keeps it relatively cheap, and if you’ve paid attention to detail, the results are fabulous.
The colours for the background weren't as wysiwyg
as I thought though - this was supposed to be dark green
to match his coat...
I paid a bit extra to have gorgeous paper with a satin sheen...
...and purchased 3 copies, which arrived in 4 days.
With hindsight, I should have just ordered one first so that I could see it properly, and spot the typos - as it was a surprise, I couldn't get any help with proof reading, and you know how easy it is to miss your own mistakes... Alas there were 7 of them, which I later had to correct by typing the word on a sticky label, cutting it out and placing it over the top with tweezers. I'm hoping to buy a few more copies with the errors properly corrected.
John loved it, though he's also embarrassed that his doggerell is being seen by friends and relations, and insisted that I type out an A4 label to stick inside the cover with a disclaimer that he didn't know what I was up to... Anyway, I thoroughly recommend it as a milestone gift.
from Lonicera's non-digital archive
Valencia region, Spain