Friday, 25 February 2011

Writing for your audience.

Since we went digital, the kids have been watching some strange stuff on the children's channel. I caught the tail end of a cartoon this week that just made me laugh. Well, it wasn't supposed to make me laugh, not like, say The Simpsons does. It was just so incongruous I couldn't believe the script writers had managed to get it past whoever over-sees these computer animation things.

The cartoon was called Dinosaur King, or something like that. You may have heard of it. This particular episode was set in 1615 in France and featured the Three Musketeers, Cardinal Richelieu, three good space beings with the ability to create dinosaurs, three confused space beings after the Cosmos Stone and a purple flying bloke also after the Cosmos Stone.

The plot, if you can call it such, involved all the characters looking for this Cosmos Stone and fighting each other with dinosaurs. Enough said? Well, no, I haven't got to the bit I found incongruous yet. Hard to believe, isn't it?

Cardinal Richelieu found a blue glass sphere and, following some techno-dinosaur antics, managed to be the first to pick it up. Whereupon the purple flying bloke said

"That can't be the Cosmos Stone. You couldn't pick it up without lighting up like a Christmas Tree."

I ran the line through my head a few times. Out of the wild list of characters, I couldn't image any of them actually knowing what a Christmas Tree was, let alone that it lit up, given the lack of electrical lighting in 1615.

Is it me?

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Weirdo and Gratin

The strange bloke, who wants to be spanked with a teacher's cane, phoned again. This time I reported it to the police, though unfortunately (unlike in CSI) they can't trace with-held numbers easily. If he phones again I'll get that sort of number blocked for incoming calls on my phone. It means the doctor and police won't be able to call my mobile, but is that likely to be a big problem? I think not.

Meanwhile, Helen and Sapphire came over and babysat while I went to the gym. Helen also cooked a gratin thing for everyone, which she thought was a disaster, but was actually quite nice. With a bit of pasta it fed us all. Well done Helen :o)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Where Was I?

Following the unexpected offer to dress up in a boring skirt and sensible shoes and 'do something sexy', I spent a pleasant day chopping trees and making hedges. I still have thorns in my fingers to prove it. Yuki got stuck in too and learnt a skill, which I can't see him ever using in his native Japan, but hey, you never know.We spent the weekend in the Lake District, where it snowed. I will write it up on my travel blog if and when I get time. It was nice to get away, but frustrating that I didn't climb any hills. I had the little ones with me - Nick and the big twins being in Canada - and I didn't think that heading off up a hill with snow falling and wet feet was too clever an idea. So that put paid to Saturday. Anyway, we got a nice walk round Grizedale Forest on Sunday and drove back. I think Yuki's muscles were aching by the time we got home.

Monday was supposed to be a duvet day (i.e. you stay wrapped in your du
vet and do nothing all day). However as it involved teaching maths, walking the dog, unpacking and taking Yuki to have the dressings on his dodgy toes changed, rest wasn't high on the agenda.

In the evening I decided to try out the newly available satellite channel "Movies for Men". It promised a disaster movie called something like "Tornado!" Well, I like action movies and I'm always watching documentaries about weather and earthquakes and volcanoes, so I thought I'd give it a shot.Oh dear. It seems "Movies for Men" translates as "Movies with No Sophistication and Very Little Coherent Plot". It didn't even have decent special effects.

The plot was something like this: Satanic cult raises tornado to kill all the gypsies. Hero wears a special talisman that is supposed to stop the wind but actually didn't feature in the climactic scenes at all. Hero kisses pretty gypsy and gives her the talisman.

No, I can't believe I sat through it either. I must have been too tired to move.
Anyway, today, after seeing Yuki off at the train station, Saskia, Eartha and I went to a local museum with Sarah and lots of her girls. Between us, we had 6 girls! There were activities - card making, mask making, sitting in the stocks and looking for things beginning with F.
There were Romany caravans, old clothes and household things and toys. The girls ran around and enjoyed themselves and Saskia got very sequiny.

Friday, 18 February 2011


I spent today doing a hedge laying course (photos to follow). It was a good day, learning to layer and pleach and weave and wield a billhook. I have lots of little scratches all over my hands and my clothes smell of bonfire smoke.

I put an ad in the paper a couple of weeks ago, offering maths and science tuition. Today, whilst I'm standing in a field with a machete in my hand, I had a phone call asking me if I would 'dress up as a teacher' and do something 'sexy' for a bit of extra money. I explained very slowly:

"I am not a prostitute. I am a science teacher."

And the weirdo said: "So what do you look like?"

I cut the connection and thunked my machete into a tree.

I may be short of cash, but I'm not that desperate, yet!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Putting the Guest to Work.

The thing about travelling to another country is absorbing and experiencing a culture different from your own. Yuki is getting it in spades. He has been dragged all over the place, being part of our family. He's been climbing, walking in the rain and mud, visited Staike House, learnt to dowse and today he got to paint my banisters (a job I started 18 months ago and lost interest in). I don't make all my visitors work, but he rashly volunteered...

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Floods and Couchsurfing.

The wind and rain over in Wales has finally washed down the river to arrive in Bewdley. The bridge, whilst not actually closed, was flanked with signs threatening closure and the flood barriers were in use up and down Severn Side South and North. The geese and swans didn't seem to mind.

I took Yuki, our current Couchsufing guest, to look at the floods. He's from Japan, where they have tsumanis. He didn't seem impressed. Oh well.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Have I been Hexed?

Have I been hexed? A friend suggested it, having heard about my torn shoulder ligaments, new hard drive and defunct DVD player.

Since then I've had the vacuum cleaner repaired, crashed the car and replaced the silent telephone. The boiler is still very sick. As I mentioned before, XX has cancer and each new scan raises more questions than answers. Yesterday, the washing machine was diagnosed with a terminal motherboard condition that requires, well, a new washing machine.

I really am starting to think someone has it in for me.

It's OK. You won. You can stop now.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Grandad's TV

The world is going digital. Very soon, the analogue signal will be turned off. I think it will be in April. We decided to upgrade.

Our old TV used to belong to my Grandad. He bought it in th
e '80s, second hand. We inherited it when he died, age 96, in 2002. It's still going strong, so I didn't want to chuck it out. We upgraded to a digital one and Grandad's TV sat in the hall for a month.

Then Sally said she knows a little 89 year old lady called Betty, who would be pleased to have Grandad's TV, as hers has gone kaput. So, that's where it has gone. I hope it has a long and happy existence being watched by Betty.