Monday, October 29, 2007

Christmas 2007

One of the huge range of resin miniatures for Christmas stocked by Woodies

Did Gustave Eiffel have this trouble too?

So with the dust rapidly settling over the recent invasion of plumbers, the dismantling of built in furniture, the hauling and moiling and toiling to get junk out of rooms and out of the way, and finally the whole effort to put things back into some form of organisation, the question that Herself lies across the railway track of my quiet train of thought this afternoon is a momentous one:

"Where are my slippers?"

Now how in the name of Jaysus am I supposed to know where your slippers are? I ask in the quietness of my own mind. I know the possible consequences of saying this out loud, of course.

"I think they're in my wardrobe," she says.

This means I have to go root about in a wardrobe into which we flung everything in a frenzy three days ago. I am on my hands and knees with a torch between my teeth being threatened by an avalanche of handbags and carrier bags of Christmas decorations. There is a jungle of hanging clothes right above my head. A belt buckle swings down and hits me smartly on the ear. The thin, plastic cover of a dry cleaned something tries to grab and smother me. It's getting dangerous in here.

After five minutes struggle I give up.

"Can't find them."

She sighs and disappears up the stairs. In about three seconds she reappears, wearing slippers.

"Where were they?" I ask.

"In the wardrobe."



"Nothing. Just clearing my throat."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Happy Anniversary

My father reminded me that it would be six years on Saturday next since my mother died. It's understandable, I suppose, as we trundle on that we seem to measure time by the number of people who have died, or have had a Month's Mind, or whose gravestone was put up, or whose grave is in a disgraceful condition or maybe not so disgraceful now we've fixed it.

I do have a strong feeling of family, even among those uncles, aunts and cousins whom I don't see very often. We are a peculiar lot we Walshes and Sweeneys and Redmonds and Tanhams, Hills, Spears and Rodgers. We leave one another steadfastly to ourselves for most of the time until something happens to bring us back together. Then someone not seen for a long while turns up unexpectedly, mostly, it seems these days, at funerals. We cluster together and try to figure out who the people in other little clusters are. Someone will intoduce themselves and shake a hand or kiss a cheek and an old friendship will be rekindled or a new acquaintence begun. Myself, I am wholly satisfied to know that the family is out there doing its own thing, moving on with itself and also that we can nod at each other a bit from time to time in passing. It's enough.

I know my Mam would have been astounded and astonished to see the picture my sister sent me this week of her daughter's baby asleep in the womb. A 3D scan taken in the hospital in closeup showed the wee laddy or lassie (we still await the surprise on that one) as clearly as if a picture had been taken of the babby in its own warm cot. And it won't be in one of those until December, when it's due.

Our Mam's third great-grandchild. And my father's too, of course.

He stared, astounded, at the photograph on the computer screen.

"Isn't it amazing what they can do now?" I said, to fill the silence.

"Yes," he said, his voice catching just a little.

So we're off and doing what people do. The family growing. And thinking, at this time of the year, where we've come from. My Mam would have found a reason in it to pour a giant whiskey and colour it with red lemonade and call herself "Mad aul' wan" with her wicked laugh on her. She would have poured us each a bigger measure, tut-tutting when we protested that we'd be drunk or had to drive or even walk somewhere.

"You only live once," she'd say. "The doctor says I'm not to have it at all!"

Sure, what does he know, Ma?

"Plenty, maybe. But I don't care."

Cheers... Mad aul' wan...

And she'd laugh and sip whiskey and watch the television.

When the adverts came on, she'd look up at the photos on the wall and say:

"Imagine all those are my family! Edie would never believe it."

And she'd look at the picture of her mother, Edie, til the ads were gone.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Why Howard Hughes stopped using public transport

The single decked 49 bus is not a favourite of mine as you may recall from this post. Too many odd things can happen on a single-decker when all your whole muddled, post-work brain wants is the familiar stale sweaty smell and shrieking noises of a regular, overcrowded one-up-one-down on wheels.

Tonight a lady in her 50s sat down in the seat ahead of me on the single-decked 49 bus. Well-dressed with skirts that almost touched the floor, where her three or four bags of newly purchased Dunnes Stores clothes or home wares were nestled, she had on a smart camel hair coat or its fake equivalent. A nice, well-turned out lady you would think.

As the bus reached Aherns pub on the Old Bawn Road, she saluted it by tilting to the left on one cheek of her bum and letting off a smart, sharp, retorting fart that went "Fra-a-ap!" Then, quite unperturbed, she gathered up her bags and alighted at the next stop.

A young Asian man who was uncomfortably perched on an aisle seat threw himself gratefuly into the unoccupied space by the window.

I was thinking of tapping him on the shoulder and asking if he thought the seat was unusually warm.

I hope I'm on time for the double-decker tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's a little tight in here

Snail - Click to view patternMyself and the local Rector are not quite people you might say are in need of a good feed. So it is a little uncomfortable at the moment showing him the latest updates to the parish website with the computer table shoved into a tight corner. My knees are jammed at a kind of 45 degree angle to the desk so my back isn't crunked against the dining room table behind me. He has to sit on a chair a little off to one side craning his neck and peering over the top of the printer. But we manage. Just.

The reason for the hardship is, of course, the imminent arrival of workmen to install our new heating system. We have ear-marked certain walls for radiators and so have cleared some space to let the workmen work. So the junk we usually spread out a bit is now piled in corners or on any surface on which it might be put until the men are gone.

My first work desk was in the box room of my parents' house and consisted, quite adequately, of a piece of offcut plywood assembled to two other pieces of plywood in a kind of orange-crate imitation. My father so wanted to make something -- anything, in fact -- from that offcut of plywood. But no. I had seen it first in the pile of random things he had brought home from somewhere. He asked me and asked me for it until I finally painted it a kind of off white colour. Then he didn't ask me any more.

The box room is the room in a two-storey house where a space has been cut out of the floor to allow the stairs to come up. The ceiling of the floor below slants up into the room (usually the smallest room in the house, perhaps bar the one with the facilities) and is boxed off with plasterboard. The result is sometimes a room with about one quarter of wasted space. This was the one I had. A bed (made by me out of more offcut timbers, this time, I think, from an old drop-leaf table), was jammed in crossways behind me. I actually had a decent amount of leg room, once I clambered over stuff and got sitting at the desk.

The first writing tool I bought was a manual typewriter. It had a carrying case and handle, which meant that although it weighed about 8 pounds it was actually portable. I was working as a nightwatchman and the typewriter would clack away for an hour or two in the dead of night in the Portacabin on the site where I guarded the construction machinery and kept the pumps going and tried not to look too scared and lonely. When the job finished, the typewriter clacked and cursed away back home, much to the discomfiture of my parents who had to listen to it whacking away through the wooden desk and the wooden floor beneath.

I changed to an electric model when one or two pieces sold and made a bit of money. Where the manual clacked, this one kind of thumped. It also introduced me to the idea of consumables. Where the manual had a good old-fashioned ribbon, that worked until you could see through it, this yoke tended to run out of print at inopportune times necessitating a walk to Tallaght Village for a replacement.

I had books around me and LPs and a stereo system with big padded 80s headphones. A big print calendar marked the days when a manuscript would go away in the post and when one came back. I even acquired a filing cabinet and filled the one remaining corner. My father complains the cabinet's still there. He's blind to his own junk, of course. But "that cabinet" is still there. So is the old off-white home made desk.

I've been thinking that I need some work space again and have been looking at the empty place Herself's old dressing table took up in our bedroom. I think I'll go the flat-packed self-assembly route this time, though. I don't hink she'd put up with a makey-up one somehow.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bye Bye Blogrush

You may have noticed a snazzy looking widget-generated list of blogs on the blogosphere here recently, supplied by a crowd calling themselves Blogrush. I've quite enjoyed the occasional click through to blogs I might otherwise not see. Not really noticed much traffic in return, but that's life. But their website recently came out with a whinge about persons who, perhaps like me, didn't place their little invitation to stop reading my blog and immediately feck off to another one quite so high on the page. It reads:

"We are not going to require our members to place the widget at the very top of their blogs or put it in any specific location. However, it’s common sense that if someone places the widget where normal visitors aren’t going to see it much, that they will achieve poor widget performance — and will most likely be removed from the network.


"If so, you need to move it higher on your blog to give it better placement.


"As I said, BlogRush was designed as a FAIR system. There’s a reason it was created as a COOPERATIVE network. It’s so its members can work together to generate more targeted readers for their blogs.

"But this system doesn’t work if all members aren’t contributing at least somewhat equally. Why should any member give the widget high placement if other members are not going to? And yet those other members stand to receive the SAME REWARDS? It’s just not fair and, therefore, we have no choice but to make this change.

"So any member that’s only willing to put the BlogRush widget at the very bottom of their blog isn’t a member we want in our network — and our network will deliver more traffic, per member, without them."

No bother, fellas. I gave your code what I considered to be reasonable placement, rather than top or bottom billing, but with that attitude in any case your widget is GONE!

But just to clarify. It was a privilege YOU enjoyed to have your piece of code inserted into THIS Blog, and to have those friends and casual visitors who visit here see it. So don't think you were doing me any favours. There's plenty more where you came from and with a better attitude too.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Silent Running

So the plumber announces he has had a job letdown which means he's starting to install the new central heating next week. That's despite the fact that Bord Gáis haven't found a shovel yet and connected us to the yellow fuse... I mean the gas supply. We also haven't mentioned that a bank loan we've not even applied for yet will pay for the central heating, so that should be good.

Tomorrow, I need to demolish a built-in wardrobe and manhandle the whole lot out the window, fix a no-go attic space, uncover a wall in the dining room presently hidden by would-be kitcheny bits, and generally do the plumbing equivalent of cleaning up before the cleaning lady arrives. Bugger me.

Tonight, the house was so cold and damp that I started up two electric radiators in the hall and in the living room. I had to fix the cat's food by the light of a side lamp and leave the computer off. We're church-mouse poor ahead of these renovations and can't afford the electricity, at least at never more than partially-completed showhouse level. All fur coat and no knickers -- that's us.

Hopefully won't need them when the heating goes in though....

Did I say, Bugger me...?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chemical warfare and the art of Tippexing houses

"Mould," I say.
"What about it?"
"Don't you think the back bathroom wall is looking a little.... Well.... furry?"
It's true, our houses on this road are woefully inadequately ventilated. If a budgerigar breathes heavily the vapour condenses on a wall or a ceiling and mould starts to prosper there.
I was at a party in a neighbour's house some years back and as I stood in the bathroom in a slightly sozzled but increasingly relieved state, I mildly thought how funky it was for them to paint the bathroom ceiling black. Then I realised it wasn't paint, but the inevitable consequence of bad ventilation, poor landlord interest and two devil-may care tenants who loved taking showers with the windows and doors closed. The ceiling was a mould Amazon. I'll never forget it.
Today, therefore, I stood in an aisle of Dunnes Stores looking for a cleaning product that was unashamedly toxic to all living organisms and which would probably come in a pink or yellow bottle with "Pow!", "Boom!", or "Splat!" printed on it. I chose one that had the words "Mould" and "Kill" in equally-sized letters. The shop assistant put it through the scanner using a pair of tongs. It seemed just what I needed.
At home the instructions mentioned protective gear. I had skin for that. They also said to spray on the surface from a distance of no less than 20 centimetres and to leave on for no more than 2-3 minutes. I took the safety off and rattled off a burst at the enemy.
A small colony of black mould began to turn pale right before my eyes. I dabbed at the spot with a cloth and it swished off into oblivion. Great stuff!
Now feeling less unsure, I doused the back wall good-o with two or three bursts in quick succession. Colourless liquid ran down the wall, leaving barreness behind it. I started to whistle a happy little tune.
I was down at the skirting board, poking at a stubborn strip of black, when I realised how much lighter the room was. The evening autumnal rays were filtering in through the two windows in a very pleasant manner. I rinsed the last of the lower wall then stopped to count the windows. We only had one this morning. Where had the other one come from?
Yes, the mould is gone, though I suppose it might come back. We now also have a new roughly circular window behind the jacks that wasn't there before. It will let out the steam tomorrow, but it will be the devil to get a window-frame for, whatever about glass. I suppose I either rubbed too hard or strayed closer than the recommended 20 cm limit. Or was it the 3 minute limit? Ah well. Accidents happen. Right?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Simplicity of Blogging is Good

I recently converted the parish Website from a page by page html drudge to a happy new blog. I hope the parish approves! I have kept the original pages on the server in case an about face is ordered, but I think the archiving of old posts, the flexibility of the blog format, the ability to subscribe to the blog and (of course) the pitch I made to them about how much better it will be to manage, will persuade the powers that be to adopt this new-fangled way of doing things.

I'm presently running three blogs now, including the newcomer. Writing it down fills in pieces of the puzzle is by far the apple of my eye at the moment, but I also pop in from time to time to post something at the Dublin South-West Blog.

If you've not tried it before and you have any sense that you might be able to post on a subject on at least a semi-regular basis, then why not try one of the blogging services out there? It's fun, free (although sometimes expensive in time) and it's now become trendy to have a blog!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Open call for writers makes for good fun

Paizo is a roleplaying games publisher in the U.S.A. that produces gaming materials for use in the Dungeons & Dragons game. Until recently, it had a licence to publish two magazines called "Dungeon" and "Dragon", respectively. The former included scenarios for the D&D game while the latter contained articles of supporting material or discussion of different approaches to the hobby.

The game and its magazines are owned by Wizards of the Coast, another American company, part of the Hasbro group. Hasbro, you may recall, is a successful toys and games producer. Wizards bought out the rights to the game of the original corporation, TSR Inc, that basically marketed and developed the earliest forms of Dungeons & Dragons from the game's beginnings in the 1970s.

I was a successful freelance contributor to Dungeon in the period 1986 to 1996 having 21 game modules published in its pages. I also had a single article appear in Dragon #160 in 1990. I was quite proud of this Dragon article, as it had been Dragon I was originally trying to break into when the scenarios magazine came onto the market in '86.

I fell out of writing for the magazine (I refer to Dungeon here, as I preferred writing scenarios to developing a level of expertise necessary to publish in Dragon magazine) after 1996, at a time when TSR Inc was in financial and corporate difficulties. Changeovers in staff there and difficulties I was experiencing at home with my mother's deteriorating health discouraged me greatly from finding the time and inspiration needed to write in that way. I had also developed an interest in computers which effectively filled the space that roleplaying had occupied. When I finally got an Internet connection that was the end of filling my time thinking up scenarios for the game!

Ironically, it was the editors of Dungeon who pushed me to get a PC. I had been using a manual typewriter for a number of years before graduating to an electric model. Paper manuscripts stuffed into brown envelopes would travel by air mail to Wisconscin where they would rest for a couple of months before being returned, covered in red ink, or, hopefully, with news of acceptance and a planned publication date. It would be easier, I was told, to put a manuscript together on a PC, although at that time there was no facility to accept submissions by email or on floppy disk.

I found, instead, that it was easy to produce quantity rather than quality. (Witness this blog, for example...!) Naturally, rejection slips began to outnumber acceptance letters and with everything going on in the background I felt my confidence slipping. Like many writers, I'm easily distracted anyway. So the whole thing ended. We all moved on, including the game and the magazines.

When I looked back, the industry had changed and the magazines too. Some of the basic no-nos I had grown up with as a writer were now standard, even preferred, methods of working. We pioneers had it hammered into us that scenarios should stand alone, be self contained and never link together into a series of game adventures. Under Paizo's stewardship, however, this idea had been turned on its head and named an "adventure path". One scenario led to another in a series of games -- quite like finishing levels on an electronic game console. You could even purchase a hard-back copy of the adventure path for use in your game. And the game itself had gone through at least two new sets of rules revisions. More combat and action orientated, emphasis was placed on the use of miniatures and floorplans, like its tabletop wargaming ancestors. The "backstory" in the scenario that the Dungeon Master alone read before the game was not emphasised as much as it had been in the past.

Copyright had been fiercely protected in my days with the game. But now there was a kind of dispensation available to developers, publishers and authors from the licence owner. Provided that the terms of the licence were published with the work, and only certain areas of the core rules drawn upon, it was now okay to produce work, even sell it, without worrying about a law suit.

I grew interested in the game again and started visiting online forums where the latest developments were being discussed. I was very surprised to find that while my name was no longer universally known among readers of Dungeon, some of the older players, or players who had managed to obtain back issues to add to their collections, occasionally mentioned my scenarios fondly. But would my "old school" way of putting together a scenario fit in with the new modern way of delivering the magazine to its readers?

I put together a scenario outline which I forwarded to the magazine by email (a strange way of doing things!). The editorial staff were very kind and welcoming. Pointing out a few shortcomings in the approach to the story they gave me the go ahead to complete a manuscript. I wasn't able to. I tinkered with the new game mechanics and couldn't push the story forward. There are times when I know that something I'm doing isn't going to turn out well and this was one of them. Eventually after a long (and very unprofessonal) hiatus, I told them the scenario wouldn't be forthcoming after all.

Then this year the magazines were discontinued. Wizards decided that print magazines were a thing of the past and most likely considered that their plans for the future of the game -- among them a 4th Edition to the rules, due out in 2008 -- would be more profitable without magazines that harked back to past days of the hobby. So it seemed, I missed the boat.

A couple of weeks ago, Paizo, which has continued with publication of D&D materials, put out an Open Call for writers for its Gamemastery line of products. A brief outline of a scenario was published by them as a starting point and anyone and everyone was invited to pitch ideas in a formal submission which could turn into a 22,000 word module, if accepted. I read the Paizo forums as excited players discussed the nitty gritty of how to cobble together their ideas and keep within the 800-word limit to the initial submission. I joined in, adding my own 800 words, which I emailed off with trepidation. I wasn't sure if it would be a greater blow to be accepted or rejected. How would I find the time to write the stage two outline? Or the 22,000 words before 2008?

It was fun watching the other contributors -- many of them first-time writers -- worry about the word-count, whether they had proof-read the submission properly, if they had included proper contact details, should they have single or double-spaced -- all of the things that worried beginning writers even since my ancient days!

And the Paizo staff added to the excitement by promising to have results ready in a few days time, then some time next week, then after one of their number was back from sick leave...

Eventually, the results were distributed (by email) and though some were crestfallen at their lack of success, the majority were, like me, glad of the experience and perhaps heartened that so many others who were also unsuccessful had some really strong ideas. Their authors published some of the rejected outlines on the Paizo forums for all to see and critique. Mine is among them, as, alas, I didn't make the cut either. I'm somewhat relieved, to tell you the truth! But it's been grand to experience the anticipation of hearing from an editor again. But this time, the wait is days rather than months. I'm not sure if I can cope with the faster pace of ideas, turnarounds and deadlines. Maybe I'm stuck in the old days?

Well, new 4th Edition rules come out in a while, so maybe I'll sit and ponder those and see what market -- if any -- there is for a roleplaying hack that can barely... hack it. Mind you, the last time I put off writing a scenario 10 years went by! I'll have to watch that.

Just realised this blog post is all backstory and little player action. Have to watch that too.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sharon Shannon & Mundy - Galway Girl

Have to say, I prefer the Steve Earl and Sharon Shannon version of this, but this video is a good 'un too.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hello Los Angeles!

Twenty two visits from Los Angeles today to the blog. I'm not sure if that's 22 people who suddenly decided Writing it down fills in pieces of the puzzle is a prime example of a school project on how not to maintain a blog, or one person who reappeared 22 times.

If it's the latter, does your boss have an Irish office? I want to work there. Reading a blog all day instead of doing work seems like a plan to me.

Of course, I have no idea if you are in the middle of the day when I am having my breakfast or brushing your teeth for bed as I poke the canteen scrambled eggs experimentally with a spoon. Maybe you are a dreadfully insomnia-afflicted individual, seeking the means to put yourself to sleep. If you came back 22 times, I'm glad it hasn't worked. Maybe I'm doing something right after all.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Turnover Toast, Part 2

This wonderful thing is a turnover loaf.

My friend Joyce read my blog post on not being able to find a picture of one online and about remembering what it was like to eat this bread as a kid. She then trundled into Meath Street, in Dublin, where she bought me a loaf. (She also mentioned gurcake, but that is an entirely different story).

You may use your imagination as to what kind of evening I am about to have, but rest assured it will include bread, butter, and a fruit preserve of my choice.

As there are no photos of turnovers to be had on the Internet, please feel free to use this one in all your bread photo albums.


You don't have bread photo albums?

How strange.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Turnover toast

It's amazing, but I have not been able to find a photo online of a loaf of turnover bread! [But you can now see one here.] For those who don't know it, it's an Irish bread which is not one of the pieces of floor-sweepings and turf sods that the Diaspora earnestly bakes in an earthenware dish and chokes down in the name of ethnic authenticity. Turnover is unashamedly a doughy white bread. The baker takes a long piece of raw dough and folds two-thirds of it back over along its length. The result is a bread which has a distinctive shape -- one end is narrow, the other (the turnover) is rounded. The crust is crispy, and sometimes blackened slightly in the larger end.

I don't know if maybe turnover is confined to the Pale, and perhaps this is why it hasn't made it into the recipe books of other "traditional" Irish breads on the Internet. Whatever the reason, it's a wonderful bread to eat fresh, or, as we used to do as children for fun and for practical reasons if it had become a little old, toasted on a twisted wire coathanger in front of the coals of an open fire.

Toast has become a larger part of my diet recently than I have been used to. My father has now the habit of calling to visit each Saturday mid-morning for an hour or two. I know he tends to rise very early, so I offer him tea and toast to bolster him against the possibility that his breakfast was at 6.00am, or maybe not at all. He has no qualms about scoffing down factory-sliced pan loaf that has taken a trip through the toaster and is dripping with butter and marmalade. He had always complained about the quality of modern convenience bread like this, but I think the necessities of tending to himself and the practicalities involved have educated him to the notion that such foods rarely cause poisoning. There's also a lot to be said for having food handed up to you.

Turnover, sliced from the loaf with an old, almost toothless breadknife, tasted best when piping hot and speckled just a little with coal ash that had accidentally trickled from the hot grate. It was a delicate juggling act to reverse the slice on the prongs of the toasting fork, unless you had managed to skewer the bread in such a way that it could simply be flipped over. I always preferred the simplest two-prong, hanging method, rather than the trickier embedded through the flesh of the bread way of doing things. This latter art, though handy for getting both sides done, could leave the bread untoasted in some small bits, or cause it to warp on toasting. Of course, whatever the method it didn't do to let the mind's eye wander for a mis-spent moment or the toast would blacken and have to have the worst of the burnt bits scraped off with the scratch-scratch-scratching of the edge of the butter knife. And trouble would surely follow from the mother if you let any black bits stray into the butter dish!

It's funny that now I've taken my eye off the toast again, so to speak, the turnover has all but disappeared from the shelves of the local supermarkets. It's true that a factory-sliced version can be got in some places, but it's unhappily wrapped in cellophane and really doesn't give the full satisfaction of sawing off the shorter end and practising the skill of the breadknife slicing sideways through the crumbling white bread. One of my earliest memories is of breadcrumbs left over from an evening meal on the oilskin tablecloth of the kitchen table at home. I associated the word "hungry" with it. Not that we were hungry -- my mother put food on the table every day and followed it with slices of turnover spread with butter and blackberry jam. It's more just the picture I conjure when the word reaches my ears.

When I was very small, I was weaned on warm milk and bread mixed together. And later on I would dip fingers of turnover in my cup of sweetened tea, a habit I grew out of.

We had a good few rounds of toast this morning with Herself home convalescing from her recent hospital tests (all clear, T.G.), the father on his weekly visit, Herself's brother dropping off a birthday present to her, and me, the "toast cook", riffling through the sliced pan and tossing slices into the modern toasting machine. I must find out who still sells the uncut turnover I remember. We don't have an open fire any more in the house, but I can toast slices under the grille -- they wouldn't fit in the square slots of the toaster. And I promise to take a picture when I get one too.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Hovering to the shop

I hear this from the end of the driveway as I'm about to walk up and put my key in the door:


The only thing I can think of is that the new hoover has done something diresome. When I open the door, Herself is sitting crosslegged like a yogi, hovering about two feet off the floor.

"What's going on?" I ask, throwing my bag under the stairs and my cap onto the hook.

"Medicine," she says. "Have to have the camera job from the doctor tomorrow. He gave me this stuff to drink the day before. Want to try some?"

"Why not?" sez I, sniffing the contents of the proffered beaker. It tastes slightly minty and of horseshoes. In five minutes time, I too am slightly levitating.


I hover as far as the counter of SuperValu where a woman is asking for sausages for her childrens' school lunch rolls.

"Oh they won't be ready for a while yet," says the assistant, as if the notion of cooking the hot food before the people want to buy it is ridiculous.

"Can I help you, sir?" she asks, as I bob into and out of sight on the other side of the counter.

"Ham, please," I say, throwing a doughy torpedo over the counter at her. I don't much like ham, but I like cheese and the other miscellaneous cold meats less. Then, when she has put the butter and the ham in, I see roast beef. Feck. Too late.


I hover over to the top shelf of the display of tissues and take down some packets of designer snot rags. The run of the mill ones are sold out. I resent paying money too much money for tissue paper.

I hover against the wind back down the Avenue and into the Lawn and back home. Herself is no-where to be found.

"Are you about?" I ask the empty air.

"In the bathroom," she says from upstairs. "That stuff is beginning to work properly."

"Oh dear," I say, unwrapping my sandwich. "It's going to be a busy day on the stairs."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Another one stuck in my head

"Sorry. Tune stuck in my head. Pukka-pukka-pukka-pukka-pukka...!"
"Which tune?"
"That Van Halen song from the 80s.... 'Why can't this be love'..."

Since I joined up the site, (also known as Deezer), I've been enjoying a nostalgic re-listen to the soundtrack of my mis-spent youth.

"ZZ-top...? 'Legs'?
"Right on...!"

"Dee-dee-de-dee... de-de-de-dee-dee...!
"Europe...? 'The Final Countdown'?

"You're talking to yourself again, aren't you?"
"Yes, we are."

Next week I'm making my second First Communion to the sound of T-Rex. Be warned. It may be quite a conversation.