Sunday, 27 November 2011

Pain in the Foot

It never seems to slow down around here. I feel like I'm working 12 hour shifts and don't have chance to scratch my ass most days.

I ordered a new carpet for the living room, courtesy of the house insurance. Before it arrives, of course, I have to paint the whole living room and skirting boards and rearrange the furniture. I started the process by painting the living room using a massive pot of industrial strength white, that must date back to our last house. It looked great until I viewed it in the daylight of the following morning. Parts of my painting look quite mottled, thanks to the contouring of the wallpaper beneath. I'm going to have to repaint a few areas that need a little touch up. I have the skirting boards scheduled for next week, when I have a dull moment.

Last weekend was a comedy night, organised by the Bowling Club. The club is trying to raise about £40,000 to rebuild the club house. The present club house dates from the '60s and is mostly clap-board held together with spit and string.

Mum had invited everyone she could think of - which allowed Nick and I to have a rare evening out together. We got Helen to babysit, which for some reason meant we had Helen's two year old, Sapphire, for most of the day before hand. Helen had gone off shooting clay pigeons. I'm not quite sure how that transpired, but Sapphire was no problem.

The comedy night was excellent fun, and we made a large party, what with all Mum's friends that she'd dragged in. I advertised, for the first time, that I'm nuts enough to try to trek to K2 next year and, in doing so, I managed to raise about £240 in pledges for the club. Hopefully that excellent total will rise, as I harass all my friends too.

Ironically, despite being signed up for a mega-trek, my foot problem means walking is painful. I have a pinched nerve in my foot. The condition is called Morton's neuroma, and everytime I take a step, the nerve is irritated. The cure for this is a bit hit and miss - an injection of steroids into the site, which works in about 70% of cases.

Well, the operation was scheduled for Friday, so I missed out on a day's work teaching Bikeability (something I can't really afford to do). Mum drove me to the hospital, as the anaesthetic prevents you from driving yourself home again. It was not the most comfortable of procedures. I swore when they injected the first lot of local anaesthetic, held my breath as they injected in a small ocean of steroids and more pain-killers, then watched as my toes and top of my foot went as white as the dead.

The anaesthetic wore off over the next few hours to leave it feeling as though it was bruised all across the ball of my foot. I can hobble around on it a bit, but I have had to miss out on the BMC's walk along the Long Mynd today. My foot currently has a purplish bloom spreading across its top, like a type of frondular fungal infection.

Still a bit miffed about missing the Long Mynd though.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Getting Witchier, Radio and Moose.

I can't remember if I told you... at the Mensa AGM I was accosted by a gentleman, who had a friend who was starting up a Pagan Radio station. He thought I might be interested in it, so he gave his friend my e-mail and she got in touch. Well, we talked and I ended up offering to record some stuff that she might want to use. She sent me a little voice recorder and that's when things started to get tricky.I thought I would just read out some stuff I'd written and 'bingo!' it would be easy. No such luck. I wrote a couple of pages and discovered that not only did it only last less than five minutes when read out loud, but it was also delivered in a boring monotone, that no self-respecting radio presenter would ever get hired for using. Sigh. Back to the drawing board.I decided unscripted was better, and sat in my car one afternoon with the voice recorder. I managed to spend 15 minutes moaning about how the kids had set fire to my living room carpet in a pumpkin related disaster. Score! I sent it off and they were too polite to tell me it was awful.

Anyway, I couldn't bear to listen to myself, so I thought I'd record someone else. We went to the Druid ritual for Samhain at the Rollright Stones. Once again, public speaking was a disaster, as I fluffed the blessing of the food. Even my son heckled me. I'm really not cut out for being the showman. So I cadged and recorded an interview with the ArchDruidess after the ritual, which came out rather well. Score two! Get someone else to do the talking!
Finally, in the spirit of getting witchier (I think my cover has been completely blown now), my friend Kate asked me if I wanted to go to the Witchfest in London this weekend. Kate is totally non-witchy. She's a member of the law-enforcement community in her day job, and they don't come much more conservative than the police force. But Kate is smarter than the average bear, and doesn't make judgements rashly.
So, Saturday saw me getting up at the crack of dawn to catch a train to London for this Witchfest. I have to say, it was a fabulous day out. We went to a whole load of workshops and lectures, saw some Morris dancing and did some shopping at the stalls there. The famous Prof Ron Hutton gave a couple of talks on Ancient Pagan Britain and the way that Hekate has been protrayed over the centuaries. He was an entertaining speaker. The other cool thing, was that the Pagan Radio people had a stall there, so I finally got to put names to faces.
We also did a short workshop on animal totems, which included a meditation. I was expecting my usual bear to appear in the visualisation, but instead I got a moose. This confused me, afterall, the moose is not even a European animal. Nick looked up the meaning for me, and it seems it is all to do with courage and self-esteem - two areas I really need to work on. So here's me, having the courage to tell the world and his wife what I get up to. And no, I didn't wear my cloak, but a lot of people did. I was definitely under-dressed.

Left Over Photos

I missed out some photos from the 'Trail' blog, mostly due to my random internet. I loved the 'zen' garden with standing stones, and the kids making their Spooky Designs.

A Good Combination

I have been without reliable internet for a while. My router died a slow, agonizing death. It would cough through a few Mb of data, then gasp a rattling breath when I asked it to do something complicated... like show me my e-mails. Finally, we had to have it put down humanely. We are pleased to announce our new arrival. A smart, white wireless contraption that works more often than the last one did. It still isn't perfect.. I assume this is because we live in the countryside and therefore get a sub-standard Broadband connection. After all, only city businesses really need decent connectivity, don't they? Can you hear the sarcasm in my typing? Sigh. Changing the world, one byte at a time.
Last weekend my hill-walking friend John got married to the lovely Lisa. I'm sure John would appreciate the fact that I climbed the Malverns in the morning, raced home, got changed in ten minutes flat and still made it to the right church before the bride. There was a good turn out from the Bewdley Mountaineering Club. Most of them scrub up well. I haven't seen any of the men in a suit before, or the ladies in dresses, for that matter. Usually they are all covered in mud or swigging from a wine bottle, or both. And that's just the ladies.

Anyway, I digress. The blushing bride in a flowing white dress was walked up the aisle to a famous tune
by Worzel's. The words echoed romantically (and they are romantic, if you think about it) around St Barnabas' Church:
"I've got a brand new combine harvester, and I'll give you the key. Let's get together, in perfect harmon-y."
I'm guessing it was a first for most people. I loved it. The service was pleasant, with lots of good sing-along hymns. Next stop was the reception over the road.
I got to catch up with people, chatting away to everyone. There was a pig-roast outside and fireworks scheduled for the evening. I stayed as long as I could, but I still missed the speeches and cutting the cake and display of fireworks, which was a shame. I just have too much of a hectic life.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Following the Trail

Nick discovered an advert in the paper for a Spooky Trail for kids at a garden centre, not too far away. It seemed like a fun thing to do, so we headed off. Nao and Anne squeezed in to the car too. At first it didn't look like there was going to be much to it, as we pulled up. It looked like a garden centre. Before very long, though, we realised it was going to be both fun and beautiful.
The kids had a trail through a meticulously maintained garden owned by a pair of Druids (who actually run the garden centre). A huge Herne the Hunter statue greeted us at the garden entrance.
There were ghosts hanging from the trees, fake gravestones hidden in the bushes and pumpkins glowing through the foliage. Evidence of the green man peeked out from fountain and a nestbox. There was a hobbit home, a witches lair, a stone circle looking very zen garden and a labarynth trail to follow.
After that, the fun was not yet done. There was face painting and spooky sculptures to make out of natural materials. The kids had a great time.