Sunday, April 30, 2006

Comes the bride

Not sure why but I feel a bit exhausted this weekend. Like I've been on edge for too long. I don't know. I've been trying some deep breathing and stretches and stuff.

This morning we took the dog for a walk around the reclaimed forested area near our house. Partner remarked how glad he was that we have it. I'm glad too, though I wish it were different. Where I used to live as a teenager had acres and acres of wild land too, with flowers and trees and wildlife, only it was completely isolated and the entire four years I trekked it I only ever saw people out there once. Here it's the town's common ground and everyone walks their dog and/or kids around it and uses it as a shortcut. Now I'm glad we have it because I would feel really unhappy to live in a concrete jungle, but I wish this country wasn't so populated so I could go there and be alone.

On the way back from our walk (it was then about nine in the morning), I stepped on a slug or two on the pavement. Then we planted some gladiolas and stepped on more slugs. I have a few little rows of lettuce planted out recently and I'm hoping they don't get massacred by slimy crawling mollusks. It's amazing what damage a creature with no teeth can do to a lettuce.

Our tulips are finally flowering. Tomorrow is the first day of May and the tulips have only just come up and do they look fabulous. We're the only house on our street with flowers in our front lawn.

Earlier this month partner harvested a glop of frog eggs from the pond and put them into a jar on the patio. They all hatched and we have a pint of wriggly tadpoles with the barest beginnings of back legs. I always wanted to watch them grow from egg to frog when I was a kid but I never did. I think most of the eggs left in the pond got eaten by the fish and any left to hatch have probably been eaten by now too. However, if we keep ours till they grow up they'll be hopping on each other's shoulders to escape soon. But I guess at least one of them will have to stay in the jar, if only because the last one will have nothing left to stand on.

Monday, April 24, 2006

For a hot shower

It's getting light very early in the morning and stays that way quite late at night. I had a look out the window last night and could still see the end of the sunset at about nine o'clock.

Partner played his first baseball game of the season yesterday and he's groaning and moaning today. He played rugby as a teenager but damaged his back so he's not allowed to play sports that involve slamming people into the ground as a rule. Baseball isn't very big in this country, but it is possible to play semi-professionally, I think. He plays for an amateur team, however, named the Barnsley Strikers. I think that means they strike out a lot.

Yesterday I got home from work and it was about 60F and incredibly sunny. I was tired but the dog wasn't, so we went out into the backyard and threw her little ball around for an hour. She doesn't actually need me to throw the ball, seeing as she tosses it about herself, but I think she likes encouragement from me. At any rate, I can't leave her alone outside because she'll get into mischief like digging in my flowerbeds and chewing heads off flowers. We're still not entirely certain that she can't jump over the fence in the back. She'll sometimes stand against it and wag her tail, talking to the neighbor dog. I wouldn't mind too much, only there's a bit of a slope and what's a two foot jump over our fence is more like a four foot jump to get back. I remember when I was a kid my dog Pugsley dug a hole under the fence to the neighbor's house where her best friend lived. Pugsley, a Chinese Pug, could just scramble under the hole to play with him but he was a Springer spaniel and about two sizes bigger so he couldn't quite fit.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Falling off the back

In the run up to Easter, I have the entire weekend off, Friday and Monday included. So does partner. I don't know what we'll do but it will involve a lot of sleeping and veggifying. Maybe I'll do some writing. Or painting. Or housework. We were thinking of attending Good Friday service at the local church. Partner was baptised Church of England and was a regular churchgoer as a child, but neither of us really do church now, though I was thinking it might be nice to go once in a while. I like to sing and I like the rituals. With my new job I would have a chance to go to church every other week if I wanted. I've only been to a CofE service once, but it was pretty good I guess. I liked the guy in the dress and there was a nice choir and the stained glass windows were good. The only thing I didn't like was the lack of printed music in the hymnals; there was just words. I didn't know any of the tunes and I like to harmonize, but I need to read the music for that. Here in Britain you don't have to go to church because there is a kind of service played on tv every Sunday. So you can worship from your living room. With subtitles for all the hymns. No wonder there aren't many churchgoers these days: they all stay home and watch tv instead.

From what I know of CofE, it appeals to me. It's a very encompassing religion, and very benign. They don't have a rigid set of rules to follow, just some basic guidelines like don't murder anyone or covet asses. Their clergy are not celibate like the Catholics, and their head is a woman: the Queen of England. Their priests wear dresses. Even the men. Neat. Sign me up. And partner insists you don't have to believe in the Virgin Birth to join, although I'm not sure if that one's true. I like to go into churches, though, and listen to the silence and look at the architecture and meditate a little. I like it that churches are always open during the day for people who need them. I don't like it, however, that some of the big cathedrals here charge money for people who want to go in. Not during services, obviously, but during the week. I mean, I know the churches need the money, but I think tourists and parishioners alike put money in the collection box. There's no need to make it mandatory. It seems a bit sacrilegious, like something in the bible with the moneychangers in the temple.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The laundry basket

My New Job. I get up at six in the morning and leave for work an hour later. I bake things like scones and eclairs and muffins. I make big dinners for twenty. Today I made a chicken and vegetable pie from scratch. Everything from scratch. I even cut up whole chickens into bits for it. I also make traditional English desserts like treacle tart and bread and butter pudding. I finish work at about two or two-thirty. I like getting home early. It means I can watch my favorite Australian soap opera at six. And there's about four hours of daylight left this time of year. I have a lot of say into what I cook at work which is great. And I love cooking from scratch! The manager came in and asked if I'd ever made a chicken pie before. Well I hadn't, but I'd researched it the night before and learned all about it and it today was a success. My old job involved a lot of microwaving frozen premade stuff. I did cook things like steaks and burgers and eggs, obviously, but I didn't get to cook anything from scratch.

However, working at a rest home is kind of sobering. One of the residents died this morning and made me reflect on my own mortality. I would find it hard to be a carer. My gramma is a carer and I guess she must have dealt with death in her job, but it seems so tough. I think my gramma has it easier though, because she doesn't work for an institution, but rather privately in her clients' homes. So she isn't faced with an overwhelming sense of the inevitable, I would think. There are about twenty residents where I work and all of them are close to death. They may live another year or five years even but they may die in a week. I hadn't even met the man who died, but I was kind of sad about it.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Free things

Remember my orchids? My best orchid for blooms has been Noname, the white one. She has had continuous flowers since I got her, and usually on several stems. Anastasia Romanoff has since flowered but is back to dormancy, but she was glamorous for several weeks. She's a dendrobium, and the rest are phaelanopsises. I have five altogether and three are flowering at the moment. I generally have three or four flowering at any given time.

Other flowers at the moment include daffodils and crocus in the yard. Our vibernum bush has a few buds, but I nearly murdered it last year with a pruning job gone bad. And the flowering currant is currently flowering. The frogs are finally doing what God put them on this earth to do--that is, multiply and replenish our pond. Partner says Lucy met her first frog this week and he found her at a respectful distance barking at it. He thinks she took a lick and decided not to get too close after all. He made frog versus dog faces at me to make me laugh. He does a good frog face.