So my Mum gets back from her holiday today. I’ve been really busy trying to get work done in the garden. I also painted her front door as a surprise. It was something that we’d sort of spoken about before she left. It’s the colour that she wanted – but do you think she’ll like it?
I really enjoyed seeing all the different colours the door was previously.
It looks a lot better now that it’s had a second coat of paint and now that the brass door handle and letterbox have been added back on.
Have you done anything to surprise someone lately?
Language barriers are tough. Desmond, our Labradoodle puppy, has caught on to the meaning of certain phrases and actions with confidence. However, somethings are hard to communicate like No, don’t rip up this new turf or No, this really isn’t a game so stop making me chase you.
What else can you do to give the new turf a chance to grow? I thought lawn chairs might make good protection/a nice deterrent.
As for Desmond – well, isn’t that just the face of innocence?
What’s the worst thing (or most laughable) that your pets have ever done?
I’ve got a thing for BBC Radio 2. Mister T says that my love of it is a sign that I’m getting old. I tell him that I don’t care if that makes me a loser. He tells me it doesn’t; it just makes me old. Well, I’m happy with that if that means I can listen to some great music and some cracking banter throughout the week.
Until very recently I’ve been guilty of driving the short distance to the swimming pool in the morning. I leave around the same time each day and it’s always during the Chris Evans Breakfast Show. Just as I arrive, Moira Stewart – newscaster extraordinaire – announces the daily Golden Oldie. Basically folk contact the show select a song and explain why it’s nostalgic to them. Every morning I would plan to send my own in. It wasn’t until my last visit to Mister T that I finally sent one in. Every morning during my three week trip I’d set my alarm and then run through the living room and flick on the radio only to be hugely disappointed to discover that someone else’s tune had been selected.
The song I selected makes me think of my childhood and road trips with my mum. After a while I started to question why I was so excited. It’s not like my Mum and I actually listen to the show together. So, I’ll admit, I became less obsessive about checking in the morning. In fact, I thought maybe mine had been glanced over and that I’d probably missed my chance.
Yesterday I was driving my Mum to the airport. Naturally, I had Radio 2 on in the background. Mr Evans was off on holiday and was being covered by the lovely Zoë Ball and the very smooth Tom Sanders at the news desk. We were chatting in the car and the radio was down low. About half a mile from the airport I had my name, slammed up the volume and would you believe it – my song had been selected by Tom! Woohoo! Gosh, I can’t tell you how chuffed it made me feel. It felt like kismet – I mean, what were the chances we’d both be together to listen to the song? Ace.
The song I selected was ‘Dance with Me’ by The Drifters. The reason why is it because it always reminds me of my mum and weird trips in the car and how we used to think the opening lines were ‘Anchovies, anchovies…’ I have to say Tom Sanders did a great job of singing that part as he introduced it too. It certainly gave me a chuckle and made my day.
Have you ever contacted the radio?
There are many jobs around the house that can be labelled as thankless tasks. Just think, for every weed you pull, five more will come to its funeral. Every time you dust, if you’re not being sensible and using a damp cloth, you’re just allowing it to be spread to another area. Basically you’re facilitating dusts’ right to have a holiday.
Yet, there’s something incredibly satisfying about getting a good job done. It wasn’t until I was at least 3/4 of the way through this gardening job that I realised I should have done a Before and After shot. What I have is a During and Oh My Gosh, Is That It Finally Finished? shot. It maybe looks like a small patch, but it previously contained a massive bush of overgrown heather which sprawled partway across the driveway (with large, awkward to remove, roots) as well as some big green prickly thing and three treelike shrubs. Not to mention a myriad of dandelions and other ‘wild flowers’. Aye, okay, weeds.
Want to know the funny part? My Mum and I thought that 6 bags of beach pebbles would probably suffice. Eh, try 24 bags. My neighbour informed me that equalled 1 and a half tonnes. My back couldn’t tell you the exact quantity but now that we’ve been given this figure it thinks that sounds about right. Ouch.
This is just the start of what is a massive project. We’re not finished here. Cyranette very kindly sent me some seeds from her garden and I can’t wait to see if the Scottish climate will enable them to grow.
What’s on your To Do list?
I have a lot of happy memories thanks to Bon Jovi. When my older cousin lived with us he bought me the alum Crossroads for Christmas. My mum bought me two CDs when I passed my Higher exams. I chose Alone with Everybody by Richard Ashcroft and Bon Jovi’s Crush. They got listened to a lot that summer. When I was 17 I had a brief, intense friendship with a whacky girl all thanks to Something for the Pain. I’ve listened to this band countless times from my back garden when they’ve played at Hampden Stadium. I didn’t get to see them until a few years back on the Have a Nice Day tour.
Their concert tickets are expensive now but I didn’t grudge the money (they now cost double!). The tickets were a present for Mister T but he’d already seen them during the Crush tour and didn’t feel like he’d gained anything from the experience of seeing them for a second time. I thought the band put on a great live show and proved they could still rock it. Here’s my problem: had I had the opportunity to see them on a different tour (and I’m sorry to any hardcore fans out there but I would have been very happy to go and see them during the These Days era) I know they would have been fantastic. I can’t help but think that Bon Jovi are a band that haven’t really been doing anything new or innovative in quite some time. Don’t get me wrong, I still love them and they still make me very happy, but come on guys, you’re a talented bunch. Mix things up a little. Do something new instead of rehashing the stuff you know works.
I can’t help but think that the current single What About Now is quite similar to Have a Nice Day:
and Thank you for Loving Me is pretty similar to I’ll Be There for You
You may not agree with my choices but hopefully you see what I’m getting at. Mind you, there are plenty of people out there that would argue that the Foo Fighters have really only got three songs…
Just before anyone gets upset and uppity, I’m not saying I don’t like any of this material, I just wish it wasn’t so samey. Too many popular things within mass media are formulaic. Sometimes it’s nice to push the boundary. Have more faith in your fan base.
What’s your favourite Bon Jovi song(s)?
I’m not sure if I’ve shared this little secret with you before but I collect sugar sachets. The reason I tell you this is that it came up in conversation last week. Today I’m providing proof for my disbelieving friend.
Like many other hobbies, this once occurred by chance. When I was little I used to horse ride at the weekends. I kept sugar lumps in my pocket for little treats. Don’t worry folks, being all health conscious, I soon switched to carrots. Still, I didn’t chuck out the packets I had pinched from Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips restaurant in Glasgow. The packet had a cute little picture of a chef on it designed in red ink to match the logo.
This made me pay attention to other brands of sugar. You maybe haven’t noticed but there are all sorts of different styles of sachet never mind the myriad of designs. I have a number of Tate and Lyle packets with competition artwork by primary school children. I suppose I started my collection, inadvertently, around twenty years ago. Trips abroad allowed me to widen my set and soon people started to find out about it. My brother and his wife have collected dozens upon dozens of sachets from across North America for me. My mother’s colleagues would pocket a few at cafés on the Costa del Sol. Before I knew it I had become a hardcore sugar sachet hoarder.
It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I finally decided to look into new ways of storing my assortment. A few here and there are no problem but when you have hundreds, they start to take up considerable space. Despite knowing there are billions of people in the world, I was convinced I was the only sugar sachet collector. I mean, who in their right mind would make this their pastime? I was amazed when I discovered there are societies and annual conventions where collectors can trade their sachets. That was a step too far for me but it did give my naivety a kick in the backside. I continue to collect although it’s now out of habit rather than a conscious decision.
Is there anything that you collect or used to hoard?
Sometimes life feels overwhelmingly busy. Do you ever have numerous tasks to concentrate on, yet the harder you contemplate them, the less you get done? I’ve been feeling that recently. As a result, the blogging suffered; so has my writing but I have been able to focus on things such as the second issue of Zest. And so, I offer my apologies for neglecting the upkeep of my own blogs and my reading of others. Thank you for your patience.
I have hundreds of books. My brother once, having discovered unread titles in my possession, told me that there was nothing impressive about having a large book collection if I hadn’t read them all. I felt inadequate rather than justify myself. I should have told him that I do not have a large book collection in order to be impressive. On the contrary, I have a large assortment because I adore books: their presence, their content, their smell, their intelligence, their touch, their magic. And because I hope that throughout my lifetime I’ll be able to get a chance to read most if not dip into and appreciate all of them.
What I don’t have is adequate storage for these little gems. Long story short, during a moment of procrastination, my mother and I took a trip out to buy a pretty cheap bookcase. I got two. I could do with another two. In fact I was so happy with mine that we returned a couple of days later to get my mother one. That entire experience was nightmarish from start to finish. What with damaged packaging, me screwing up when I put the furniture together, only to fix my mistake and then put my knee through the side support leaving a large concave dent. Oh man… it was like something out of Some Mother’s do Have ‘Em or National Lampoon. Thankfully my mother was understanding and allowed me to fashion some nice artwork for her to cover it up… You know those days that start off dodgy and you just know it won’t get much better…
I like to organise things. So one bookcase contains Penguin published books. Many of them are unread but now that I have more of my books on display I know that I will have more opportunity to read them. They’re not all hidden away in shoeboxes or drawers (which should contain my clothing) or under the bed/on top of the wardrobe, in plastic containers…
This week I finished reading ‘The Valley of the Dolls’. I read ‘Marry Me’, ‘Ella Minnow Pea’ and just started ‘The Secret History’, all of which I would thoroughly recommend.
What are you reading or wishing you had time to read?