Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Away with the fairies

"So, to summarise," I typed on the piece of work software I use to keep in touch with other people who work at the place I work while actually staying at home, to another worker, "When my status is 'away', I'm not actually 'away'. Unless I actually am 'away'."

Which would have been all very funny and witty if, by the time I actually started typing that, my fellow worker had not quietly 'gone offline'.

It's enough to make me want to set by status to 'away'.

Great steaming pile

A great, glorious, steaming pile of elephant shit sits in our driveway. This great, glorious, steaming pile of elephant shit has been sitting in our driveway for several days, ever since the friendly man in the truck with the pink shovel arrived last week and asked where I would like him to put it. I told him to arrange it neatly on the front driveway, though this was a joke, because really, who wants a great, glorious, steaming pile of elephant shit to be arranged neatly? It's not neatness we're after when we order a great, glorious, steaming pile of elephant shit: it's mess, wonderful mess, chaos, disorder, slopping in every direction and stinking up our front driveway.

Mess may look somewhat incongruous, sitting in a glorious, steaming pile on the front driveway of a suburban house - what, with its placid concrete, its bland right angles, its regulated nature strip - but what could be better suited for such a location than mess? Plants have no such compunctions; they thrive on, live in mess, they soak up the steaming and the stink and the shit, they writhe around in it, ardent voluptuaries of great, glorious steaming piles of shit. They love it.

Animals, no less: within hours of said mountain of dung awesomely manifesting itself on our front driveway, both of our cats had surmounted its disgusting peaks and luxuriously rolled in it, or, alternatively, supplemented this fecund, fertile foment of crapulosity with their own humble leavenings.

Neighbours, however, may need some education before they fully appreciate the significance of this great, glorious, steaming pile of elephant shit.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Zonkey poem

A zonkey, a rare cross between a zebra and a donkey, has been born at a zoo in northern Mexico. - The Telegraph, Zonkey born in a zoo in Mexico

When a zebra has some hanky panky with a funky donkey
Then, birds and bees, and A plus B and - HEY PRESTO! - zonkey!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Blue clothing and smiles

A lady came round to our house to talk about investment, which is to say after her first two words, 'Well, the....', I had no idea what she was talking about. Occasionally Bea the cat walked in and out of the house and I began to wish she'd bring in a mouse or a sparrow to liven up proceedings. I looked in a glazed fashion at the succession of stock photographs flickering by on her laptop, mostly of couples wearing blue clothing and smiles. I became fascinated in these, couldn't notice anything else, started to wonder if the Baron and I should be posing like this.

At one point she talked about a 'growth matrix', and my ears really perked up. Could we have that great mythical beast, a growth profit matrix, in our own house? Eventually another one came on the screen and I almost felt like cheering. Another page in her computer seemed to simply consist of a circular red band with a word in the middle. She pressed a button and another red band appeared inside the first one, and a different word replaced the original one. I began to feel like she was giving us an ad for Target by mistake.

Why is it that these talks invariably make me look in all directions but the one I am supposed to be looking at and start obsessing about the furniture, about how pretty the mountains look on the graph, about the obscure choreography of models in stock photographs? I suppose this is a failing in me, this inability to fully appreciate portfolios, or to use phrases like 'going forward', 'fully across', 'grasping the opportunity'.

Finally the lady came to her grand conclusion, which of course I hardly noticed because I wasn't even sure what she was grandly concluding. She turned her computer off. She put it in her bag. She got ready to go. "Ooh, ooh, ooh," I cried. "Do we get a booklet?" Everyone gives you booklets. The Mormons even give you booklets; I felt sure she would have one as well. She gave us a comfortable, reassuring booklet with blue cardboard covers, rather like the comfortable, reassuring booklet with blue cardboard covers I got from the old place of employ when they made us all redundant. Ah, that's nice. We thanked the lady for her time and apologised that we couldn't do business with her and offered her dinner, which she refused, and sent her on her way.

I'm pretty sure I practiced my stock photograph posing in my sleep though.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The education of Pamela

Advocates of gradual political change would do well to study the glorious reign of Bella the Fox Terrier over the Train family affections in the later years of the 20th century. "Right", said Mum. "We have a dog, but she's not allowed inside. Dogs are outside creatures". A few months later, the rules seemed to have changed. "Okay," said Mum. "She's allowed in the laundry but not anywhere else in the house, her fur will get all over the place". Winter arrived a while after, and it's a well known fact that in winter, it is compulsory for dogs to lie in front of fireplaces and/or heaters. "Fine", said Mum. "She's allowed inside, but not into the bedrooms". Suffice to say that in short order, Bella had not only found her way into the bedrooms and onto the bed but also in the bed, which was naturally right and proper and soon became the established way of things.

As it turns out, the Baron and I have been enjoying a similar education with Pamela the chicken. Of course, chickens are outside creatures; naturally we shouldn't let them too near our food; and so on and so forth. Which is why I am currently sitting on the bed typing this with Pamela the chicken a few short metres away in the laundry, her head tucked up in her feathers, safe from everything except perhaps the occasional house fox (and the less said of house foxes the better).

Naturally when we set off to Bright we took Pamela with us, and while the other chickens enjoyed the best of the Baron's ancestral lands below, Pamela mostly hung out upstairs with the Baron and my mother-in-law and myself, watching football, playing scrabble* and eating roast lamb (which she pronounces exceedingly good). She has gone to sleep on the occasional shoulder, perched on arms and laps and even the occasional foot. And, while occasionally venturing outside to take a turn about the gardens herself, she mostly stayed indoors, so that once, as I held the door open, both cat and chicken leisurely wandered inside after me, making me feel rather like Saint Francis**.

Pamela is soon to conclude her sojourn with the Baron and myself and lead a life of active retirement at the place of K, a few kilometres away from us in Heidleberg. I'm sure K has got all sorts of jolly adventures for Pamela, including regular meals of roast lamb, cheese curds, and the occasional nap on the shoulders. She's a chicken of very refined tastes, after all.

*Here's a tip for playing scrabble with chickens: don't. They cheat by trying to eat the tiles. 

** The similarity doesn't go very far, considering my own proclivity for roast lamb.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Deceptive derrieres

Late night fart excuse: 
Him: "Not me". Her: "Me either". 
False bottom again. 

This Easter I have mostly been spending my time writing poems about false bottoms.

He went
To sit down
But his bottom
Was false. 

Actually it's a concept from brewing, a false bottom can be used to drain the beer wort from the cracked grains once you get sugar out.

Don't trust him, girls!
He bared his bum to someone else!
It's a false bottom. 

I didn't say the poems were any good.

False bottom: for when
JLo's famous behind just
Isn't good enough.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ask the Easter Bunny!

Got problems? Sure you do! Just tell them to our guest psychologist, the Easter Bunny, and he'll give you much-needed advice for this complicated modern world! 

Dear Easter Bunny,

I would like to get my Mummy a present to show her how much I love and appreciate her this Easter. What do you think it should be?

Hester, age 6.

Dear Hester, 

Hey, I've got this great idea. Why not give her some Easter Eggs? Yum! 



Dear Easter Bunny,

I have severe dietary problems and the doctor says if I don't give up sugar I might die. What do I do?

Arthur, age 90

Dear Arthur, 

Nothing a few chocolate easter eggs won't fix - here, have some now! Have some more! 



Dear Easter Bunny,

I have no idea what I am going to do with my life! I have just left uni and split up with my boyfriend and I am not sure I can take it anymore! Help me, it feels like everything is crumbling around me!

Linda, age 23

Dear Linda, 

Okay, I'm thinking something round, but not completely round. A bit ovular, actually. It's covered in colourful foil, and it's made out of chocolate and extremely tasty. It's - an Easter Egg! Here, have ten! No, make that twenty! 

With loving kindness, 

Dear Easter Bunny,

What do we do about the complicated military situation in the Ukraine?

Tony, age 56

Dear Tony, 

Sometimes the most complicated solutions require the simplest answers. Have you tried Easter eggs? 



 Dear Easter Bunny,

What should I go for - plain milk chocolate eggs, or fancy Violet Crumble and chocolate eggs?

John, age 30

Dear John, 

What am I, a psychologist? 


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Neigh, I say!

Those frames for drying clothes indoors are interesting, aren't they? The Baron calls them "the clothes horse". I call them "the vine". "Where's the vine?" I say. "No-one ever calls them the vine", says the Baron, though they totally do because I totally just did. "It doesn't look anything like a vine". "It doesn't look anything like a horse" I reply. "It looks like a clothes horse" she retorts. "Or a clothes vine" is my swift come back. Why can't I call them a vine, after all? It's a perfectly good metaphor. Thank you for your support.

Anyway, that's not what I'm here to talk about today. What I'm here to talk about is this: why do we have a greeting for the morning and night - "good morning", "good night" - and yet no greeting for when we go to the toilet? "Happy wees!" "Magnificient motions to you!" Something should be done about this. I'll write to Mr Abbott this minute.

Thank you for sharing this moment in the mind of a Tim.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Thing for reasons of thing

No need to adjust your channel. Carry on spending your time wisely and valuably.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Something about nothing

"Have you noticed something?" said the Baron on the train the other day. "The tile shop by the railway. It's not there anymore."

I must admit I hadn't noticed this - or rather, I hadn't been hit with an overwhelming wave of not-very-much after noticing nothing-very-much in a spot where there previously had been something. If you know what I mean.

Just what do you look for when what you are looking for is something that isn't there anymore, anyway? As we travelled on the train to the spot where the Tile Shop That Was Wasn't Anymore, I couldn't help but notice a lot of other places where the Tile Shop That Was Wasn't Either, and maybe even a spot where the Tile Shop that Was Might Have Been If It Had Been What it Wasn't, and all very lovely and attractive nothing-very-muches they were, too. Of course, I couldn't  be sure that the tile shop hadn't been there when we weren't looking, as who knows what all this stuff gets up to when we're not looking? After all, we're not looking. Where were we again? Where was anything again?

Presently, we passed by a big pile of rocks and dirt behind a fenced off area. "There!" proclaimed the Baron triumphantly. "Do you see what I mean? Nothing!"

And it really did, quite clearly lack a.... whatever it was that it had previously not lacked. I had never seen a better lack in my life. The bare dirt and rubble were rather emphatic on that point.

It was really something.

Friday, April 04, 2014

The ultimate critic

Flicking through my notebook just now, I found this:
In a dark dark room in a dark dark house made of wood from a tree that fell in a forest where no-one was there to see or hear it fall lived a critic who wrote reviews that no-one read of plays that no-one watched..... 
I'm not sure where I was going with this, maybe I was thinking of Peter Craven?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Grow a pear!

There are six pears sitting on a plate on the table. They came from the tree outside. I have no idea where the tree came from.

It occurs to me now that there are a confusing array of ways in which I could refer to these pears.

Six pears
Three pairs
Four pears and a pair
Two pairs and two pears
Pear, pair, pear, pair
A pair of three pears

I think I could be a while working this out. You are definitely not allowed to eat any while I do.

 Fig 1: Not a pair.
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