Tuesday, May 29, 2007

where on the stair?

I am slumped on the sofa with P watching Friday night TV through half-closed eyes when something appears from the hole where the radiator pipe used to be. I have just enough time to shout 'Mouse!' and it disappears. After a short conversation designed to reassure me that a) the mice are not out to get me b) I am not unhygenic c) It isn't my fault, I get the mousetrap and load it with bird seed. The trap sits next to the pipe-hole for a week, untouched. I decide that the mouse was just scoping out the premises, and has found a better place to stay.

We are standing in the kitchen making a cake for my upcoming Birthday Event With a Zero At The End when I catch a movement in my peripheral vision. Something has leapt from somewhere and landed on the small step into the kitchen that everyone trips on. My id takes over and I scream as I watch a very fat looking mouse scuttle along the edge of the kitchen door and round into the cupboard under the stairs. This mouse looks entirely at home. Damn. I move the mousetrap from the radiator pipe hole, re-bait it with peanut butter (one needs a little variety) and put it in the cupboard under the stairs. This morning it remains untouched.

Next door have just got a cat, and I am blaming the Bluebell effect for my influx. Do not disabuse me.

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Friday, May 25, 2007


It is half term. I have twelve hundred and forty eight things which have to be done Right Now Or Else, which is a bit exhausting; especially as really I should prefer to lay on the sofa and hang about with my friends a bit.

I wish I had something proper to say.



Friday, May 18, 2007

you're nobody 'til somebody loves you

molly's rose 2
Originally uploaded by etcher67.
It is five past nine, and I am standing in the middle of the classroom whilst year six mill about me. Most of them habitually ignore anything anyone says until it's been said at least three times and I am on the third and final time, the one where I use individuals names and start on the mildly sarcastic abuse: 'Hassan, I am pleased that you are trying to extend your vocabulary but really I'd prefer it if you read your book rather than look up rude words in the dictionary?' That sort of stuff. I am trying to get them into their chairs and me across the room so that I can take the register, something for which I have to have quiet, having been up past my bedtime the night before. I do not want a repeat of last Thursday morning when the secretary sent me a bemused note: 'Why has the afternoon been filled in already?' Because I was confused; that's why. I am easily confused. People are handing me notes and homework, telling me that they have left their packed lunch at home and can I ring their mum, asking whether they are allowed calculators for the SATs test they are about to take; and I am trying to keep an eye on the class' resident delinquent who for some unfathomable reason has a bandanna stuffed under his armpit inside his t-shirt. It's a normal morning.

Suddenly I am aware of something much lower down than one expects in year six, where most of the children are beginning to at least reach my shoulder. Something small, and wearing a very big pink hair decoration. Something holding two large, yellow roses. I look down. It's Lizzy from year three, pre-playground neat and looking up at me uncharacteristically quietly. She sort-of smiles, and holds up one of the roses.

'Is that for me?' I ask. She nods, thrusting the rose further forward. I take it from her. It is still wet from this morning's rain, pale yellow and blousy, and the scent coming from it is quite magnificent. It is a very very beautiful thing, and I am inordinately pleased to have been handed it.

'What did I do to deserve this?' I ask.
'You are a good teacher' she says, instantly injecting warmth into an otherwise dreary morning. I smile, and lean down to hug her. 'Thank you' I say, 'thank you very much.'

She slips out of the classroom and I go back to wondering what Gav plans to do with that bandanna.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

cake du jour* - macaroon

Macaroons hover somewhere in the grey area between 'cake' and 'biscuit'. I have never had a macaroon that did not come from a shop, and can only guess that home made ones would taste of something other than synthetic almond plus rusk with a tang of cardboard. A good one is chewy on the inside, but the point of the macaroon as far as I have always been concerned is the rice paper on the bottom.

I am not entirely sure when the pursuit of cakes-with-paper-you-can-eat became something worth doing, and let's be clear: it isn't something I lay awake at night obsessing about, but there is something sort of special about the little disc which sucks the moisture from your tongue when you bite into a macaroon. I like it, and even though more exotic cakes beckon from behind the curved glass front of the baker's counter, a macaroon will always call to me.

*Yes, I know - it's been a while, hasn't it?

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

faith in wordless knowledge

an afternoon's entertainment
Originally uploaded by etcher67.
(sneezing x runny nose) + ukulele playing = sore fingers

I always have to fight the temptation to extrapolate the slightest problem into a world-shattering catastrophe. To call this a bad habit is an understatement of epic proportions. Getting my camera back without having to pay for its repair is one of those rare pieces of good fortune which buoys up the growing evidence that I don't necessarily have to jump off the cheerful cliff. Maybe I can stand on the edge and waver a bit, and everything will turn out OK. It's a nice thought.

(I'm not sure how convinced I really am, to be honest; which is why it seems important to write it down.)

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Friday, May 04, 2007

oye como va

Cheerful One: 2..............Mice: 0

Mobile phone: 0 ............Glass of orange juice: 1

Courgette plants: 3 .......Chilli plants: 0



Wednesday, May 02, 2007

wash me clean

In the ladies at work is some new soap. The name on the bottle is 'Fantastic Day'.

Although I remain unconvinced I have washed my hands with it twice, just in case.