Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flashback to 2008

I found this post as a draft from way back in 2008... I'd even forgotten I'd written it, until I came upon it when I set about deleting posts that were marked "draft" but had no content. Don't ask me why - a virtual tidy-up of my website is the best reason I can offer. Anyway, it seemed a shame to waste a nearly completed post, so I've decided to publish it. 
A couple of days back, Pete and I went to a “Cheese and wine” fund-raising do for a local Royal British Legion branch, of which my boss is an enthusiastic and long-time member. He had invited us to attend and because I’ve been helping him with designing posters and so on, it seemed like it would be quite interesting. (Plus I wanted to match a few faces to the people with whom I’d been corresponding and/or talking on the phone.)

Pretty much to be expected was that most of the members were at least 50-plus, and some well into their 70s and 80s. The meeting/function/party (can't think of the correct word) was held in the rose garden of a large manor house. The sprawling three-storey manor house, the very large formal gardens surrounding and the estate with 1000 acres were all inherited by the nephew of the family whose successive generations had been in unbroken ownership of the mansion for over 300 years.

The gardens were breathtakingly gorgeous, and the rose garden, with its immaculate lawns, was a perfect venue. You could almost see royalty (or the upper crust, anyway) getting married there and having a posh reception with people in fancy clothes wandering around the paths with canes and parasols and hats and bonnets… or hang on, perhaps I’m imagining the wrong century?

Anyway, the members - there were a few of them who probably weren’t seriously posh, and again a few who weren’t seriously loaded, but on the whole, you could tell those few very easily apart from the posh and the loaded. Not that the latter were dressed much differently from the former, but there was a certain something that even I could discern that set the posh ‘uns apart from the hoi polloi. I’m not terribly good at recognising upper class accents as different from a neutral, “clean” one - any regional accent has to be really pronounced (Liverpudlian, Glaswegian, Yorkshire, etc) and either easy or grating on the ear for me to recognise it.

This time it wasnt just the accents that made me realise at once that I was in the company of the Seriously Loaded... it was just a certain style, perhaps. I could NOT stop looking at a lady, probably in her late 50s, slender, with very blonde hair tucked under an Alice band, who, when she sat, sat very erect with a silk shawl wrapped stylishly around her shoulders. You could tell she was Class with a capital C. She was perfectly friendly as far as I could tell, and she took part cheerfully in everything that was going on. The reason I couldnt stop looking at her was because I was trying to work out what it was that set her apart. I dont think I managed to pinpoint it, even with every instinct yelling "posh" "loaded" "wealthy" "classy" and other such adjectives at me.

I wonder if that sort of poise and demeanour is something one can learn, and if so, where I could go to learn it. I bet the Queen could make a mint by giving out a few tips on behaviour and deportment...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunday Scribblings – “Shipwreck”

How would you answer the question “What would you want with you if you were shipwrecked on an island”? There's no way I could take just one thing (or person), so here’s a partial list. The list is not in any particular order – you have to believe me on this. So:
- A shipbuilder
- A navigator/engineer
- A seasoned sailor, preferably the ship's Captain, assuming he/she didnt go down nobly with the ship when it was wrecked 
- My Kindle, with as many books downloaded onto it as possible
- Pete’s Kindle, with as many books downloaded onto it as possible
- Kindle charger
- Something with which to generate electricity to run the charger
- Internet connectivity (although I don’t know how I’d manage this)
- All my spices and cookery books
- My husband
- My mum, sister, brother, sister-in-law and baby niece
- A good pediatrician (for my niece, and any other babies that might be caught up in my list)
- Assorted cousins and friends
- Scrabble, Balderdash, Taboo, Ticket To Ride (all board/card/multiplayer games)
- Paints and things to paint (clothes, etc)
- My beading stuff
- My beading instructor
- Beading instructor’s family and friends, because otherwise she might not want to come with me at all
- 64Gig iPod and fancy noise-cancelling headphones from Sennheiser or Sony
- Johnny Depp
- Pierce Brosnan from his Remington Steele days
- The guy who plays Thor in the movie Thor.
- Amitabh Bachchan from the 1970s/early 1980s.
- Don Cheadle

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline for this week's Limerick-Off on Madeleine's blog.

I wonder if everybody does as much second-guessing of their work as I do of mine. I keep getting the nagging feeling that I should be able to do better, and yet these limericks (and previous ones) have come about only after an awful lot of forehead-wrinkling. The best limericks of the week usually make me laugh out loud, and I very much fear that mine can at best only raise a weak smile. Even from me.

Oh well... I console myself with the thought that I might not be the best, but I DO at least have the ability to recognise the best. (Granny Smith is one of the latter - whatever she writes - stories, anecdotes, sad poems, happy poems, limericks, her laundry list - they're all SO good! Even her blog's web address is a very clever pun that I love.)

Here are mine for this week:

A fellow who tended to brag
About the clients he got to sh*g
Was called in by his boss
Who put her point across
By calling him a right old sl*g.

A woman who tended to brag
That she’d never look like a hag
Was sadly forced to repent
When south her boobs went
And her butt developed a sag.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Limerick-off Monday

Click the headline for this week's Limerick-off on Madeleine's blog

The prompt was "A fellow who always seemed game". It wasn't a problem coming up with rhyming words... but to wrestle those words into something resembling a logical "story" - that wasn't quite as simple as it seemed at first. Still, because I wasn't satisfied with the first one, I thought I'd try my hand at another and choose the better of the two to publish. Sadly that plan, although I'd thought it cunning, didn't work like it was supposed to. I couldn't choose one limerick over the other, because I felt both were equally meh. So here they both are. Get one, take the other free.

A fellow who always seemed game
Ended up taking all the blame -
From cheating to assault
Ev’rything was his fault…
And yet no one felt it was a shame.

A fellow who always seemed game
Other people to hurt and maim
Soon found it was painful
More than it was gainful
When the Mafia came into the frame.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Pleasure"

Click on the headline for the Sunday Scribblings website

A shortlist of things that give me pleasure – and if all some any of them come across as petty and/or childish, please be advised that there is a very good reason for this... that is to say, I AM petty and childish (no “or” about it).

  • Typing with my eyes closed (or without looking at screen or keyboard) and knowing automatically when I get something wrong.
  •  Bonus: After backtracking, erasing and re-typing the word correctly with my eyes still closed, and then, a few sentences down the line, to find that I have done all of that perfectly without causing more errors… oh the satisfaction!
  •  Getting my boss to realise that he cocked up, not me.
  • Bonus: When it dawns on him that he’s got to ring the enraged client, not me… oh joy oh joy oh joy! Or to put it another way – OH JOY! (no, not the Joy in your office.)
  • Accidentally stumbling on a rivetingly fantastic novel, racing through it in a breathless sitting and stumbling around in a daze for the next few hours because reality isn’t real yet. (My latest “find” – “The Good Son” by Michael Gruber.)
  • Bonus: Finding out that the writer has other best-selling books that you can now hunt down and devour… that anticipatory pleasure cannot be duplicated.
  • Recommending your newest favourite author to your book-crazy friends.
  • Bonus: If they haven’t come across the book/author either and they love it too – and they let you know… the feeling is akin to Doing a Good Deed For Nothing.
  • Lying in a hot tub and looking out at the Niagara Falls literally across the road from you.
  • Bonus: A punch-bowl-sized goblet of strawberry margarita in hand.
  • Double bonus: You’re with your husband.
  • Unbeatable: Your husband has his own goblet so you don’t have to share yours.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline for this week's Limerick-Off Monday at Madeleine's blog.

The prompt was "A man/gal who was lacking in wit". I can't say I had much trouble coming up with these limericks, but by the same token I can't say I was particularly thrilled with either. My feeling is that they're adequate, but - oh dear - perhaps somewhat lacking in true wit.

I sincerely hope that my sub-conscious self didn't have me in mind when my conscious self came up with the second limerick! It would be just too much irony to cope with, if this turned out to be autobiographical...

A man who was lacking in wit
Bought a D-I-Y humour kit.
Being a hopeful sort of bloke
He thought he could amuse folk
With his one-size-fits-all joke - the poor twit.

A gal who was lacking in wit
Had just no idea when to quit.
She told her very lame joke
Without fail to the very same folk,
And wondered why they threw a fit.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Lyrics I love from a song I love

"Dekha machal ke jidhar bijli gira di udhar
Kiska jala aashiyaan bijli ko yeh kya khabar"

What beautiful lyrics, and what a fantastic song by Asha Bhonsale.

*For non-Hindi speakers, this translates (more or less) to "(His) every glance is like a bolt of lightning that has no clue about the devastation it causes." (Forgive the clumsy prosaic translation - I'm no good at poetry.)

Updated to add: The lyrics I quote above are from the song "Aaiye meherban". The movie is Howrah Bridge.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Click on the headline for this week's Limerick-off on Madeleine's blog.
The prompt was "A love-smitten guy was irate". I knew pretty much what my limerick was going to be about, because my rhymes for "irate" were in place... but I spent ages trying to re-word "His attempt at wooing Was the reason for his undoing" so that it scanned right - until it finally occurred to me to reverse the order of the two sentences. That was certainly a BINGO moment while still being DUH (for taking so long to reach such a simple solution).

A love smitten guy was irate
At being dumped on a "date".
The reason for his undoing,
Was his attempt at wooing -
His mate, unfortunately, was straight.