23 January 2011

Dear Sophisticated Ladies

As my fellow singletons will know sudden unannounced noises can be alarming especially when emanating from the environs of one’s property. Pound signs underpin the cold sweats particularly at times, as we are reminded daily, of economic austerity. Before I continue can I just say how terribly BORED I am of hearing (usually) male politicians blaming each other for the situation the country finds itself in. I think we have all got the message loud and clear now, please, get on and sort it out!

Having got that off my chest back to the unexpected noise. To set the scene I need to tell you that I have a sloping roof to my bathroom and study. On this expanse of tile the crows like to argue, loudly and often resort to having a good scrap or so it sounds like. Until I realised what they were doing I found it all rather worrying! Wimp I hear you cry, for heaven’s sake woman these are COMMON bullies and behave very badly to smaller birds.

The noise was a hard thud and seemed to be something falling off the sloping roof onto the patio slabs. And then the phone rang and it was Auntie calling for her weekend catch up. Last weekend she was upset about breaking a dish in her hostess trolley ~ I bet that brings a few memories back! I have offered to try and find a replacement at some point so any ideas of where to source a Pyrex dish for a 20+ year old item would be most welcome.

We scheduled in a weekend for Auntie to come and stay; she has been asking for a while and needs notice to get a cheap ticket on the train! The train is SO much cheaper than driving you know and she might treat herself to First Class. I’m not sure there is First Class on this Nottingham to Cardiff train sadly!

As we were talking I mentioned the noise, she is equally anxious in such situations, I looked out of the window. I could see lumps of white stuff on the patio and in caught the (now) dead clematis. As she was advising me to ignore it I was turning the key in the door to go out and do the opposite. I picked a bit up, it was curiously waxy and had things embedded in it. As I twiddled it in my fingers it clicked; birds and white waxy material, yes you guessed it was the contents of a coconut shell bird snack.

The black birds, or probably more likely crows, must have thrown the shell at the ground to release the contents. Devious buggers or should that be clever darlings! Nature is amazing but I’m not about to become a convert to Spring Watch!

This morning, as most mornings, I was rinsing out the cafetiere having put the grinds in the recycling box and I thought about floods; global warming and the general problem of water management. I still remember hearing a woman talking from Afghanistan at the height of the conflict when the water supply was uncertain and a friend telling me how she stopped her children leaving the tap running when cleaning their teeth.

I pondered on the most sustainable thing to do where cleaning the cafetiere was concerned. Do I put the half cleaned vessel in the dishwasher without rinsing on the basis that it’s going to get washed anyway? Consequence will I will have to clean the filter out more frequently; well I would if I attended to this chore with anything resembling regularity. I could wipe it out with kitchen roll thereby avoiding water at all. A conundrum me thinks..

A fellow Victorious Endeavourer and I went to a talk at Chapter this week; it was about a group of female performance artists from around the world and a project they were working on. A young Irish woman was with us in Cardiff and a young Iraq woman joined by Skype. The story that they told was sobering and inspiring. The Iraq artist had been unable to get permits to leave the country and meet the others in person. The Irish artist had ‘taken’ the Iraq woman around the world by using a photo mask of her; we were encouraged to put the masks on to include Wales in her ‘journey’. The sense of isolation was palpable and her resolve astounding given her circumstances. Lucky doesn’t begin to describe how our situations are by comparison.

I wrote most the above yesterday and I hope it doesn’t now sound like old news but for once I indulged in a degree of forward planning knowing I would be exhausted after an all day meeting. I am Chair of the Magdalena Project (international women in theatre network) and we are organising a zero budget event to celebrate our 25th anniversary in August this year. A productive meeting in the round but heavens enthusiasm is so tiring and that’s before we do the work we were planning! Does Mr Cameron  have any idea that the Big Society (whatever it is) messes with your weekends ~ I wonder when he’ll find time to do his bit given that he’s busy running the country which I’d quite like him and Deputy Dawg to focus on.

And what have their chums in the other place being doing having sleepovers this week? I heard Lord Prescott saying how he had to leave the chamber to do some ‘research’ in the library as he apparently snores loudly giving the game away if his concentration slips! I don’t know about you but my productivity definitely reduces when I’m tired; I always remember my, (very wonderful Australian), PA subtly telling me that what I wrote was less than coherent when penned after 6pm!

Her attention to detail was amazing and one’s life can be immeasurably improved with the support of a good PA. When I first met friend with benefits I mentioned to her that he didn’t work on a Friday afternoon; she kept this time slot free for months just in case! Good emotional health is as important as physical health after all, and as with most needs, like an itch they do require scratching ever now and then…

I was reassured, and amused, to hear that separate rooms had been set aside for male and female peers needing to grab 40 winks during the all night sessions. Did we need to know this and why aren’t they going back to their own offices? Is it filibustering or gerrymandering and what is the difference when the outcome seems to be remarkably similar to me? Is this adult politics at work I wonder? Remind me why I thought these people were qualified to represent my democratic interests ~ ooh yes they aren’t elected so they weren’t (elected that is). Hm

The bookings for the February and March Salons are coming in nicely but there are lots of slots for the aspiring writer to come and see what it feels like to get published.

So before the witching hour of 6pm beckons I shall conclude this week’s missive by saying you still have time to catch Hattie (BBC 4) a fabulous portrayal of Hattie Jacques by Ruth Jones. Insightful programming of a rather unusual ménage that left me feeling both respect for her (Hattie) and pity/sorrow for him (husband John). The cruel way the older man was resigned to the lodger’s bedroom really hurt and made me wonder why you would agree to the arrangement. What does love mean and how it’s manifestations can be so personal to the extent that no one else can ever really comprehend. Watch it and be prepared to weep!

 In sophistication as always

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