Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DSC_5021 - Hand Oven Coordination (103/366)Am I supposed to find it so inordinately funny when someone faves shots of me along with masses of other shots of men none of whom are dressed for winter?


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DSC_5655 - Small BoyingTrying to remember who I said something to I described the person as "someone nice, and bright" and then realised that of my friends (and relations) that doesn't really narrow it down.

So more seeing of people was done. Sitting in the sun chatting having long run out of food is good. As are unplanned pubs with multiples books, instruments and games. And through the brilliance that is me, and Undone's transport system, and things not being 10-minutes away, I found myself trying the
Boris-technically-Ken-but-I'm-not-calling-them-Barclay's Bikes, thanks to figuring it would be cheaper than the multiple buses needed to get to B'Arcy Park (and quicker).

Advantages: robust and assumed to be ridden by idiots so given a wide berth, and of course it's not your bike so thumping over kerbs is less bad (as is riding it straight into the docking station). Disadvantages: So robust they weigh a ton and the highest gear means you can't pedal on the flat because you're already going faster than the gears can go.

And Undone's very odd; all my navigation is on foot, major roads or public transport. Cue a wee bit of going the wrong way down every one way street in Mightjust (it was that or Pa Clane, and from the way some of the cars were parked I'm not the only one, and anyway it's legal in Belgium), a slight tendency to stop beyond the advance stop zone at lights because there's already a car in it, creeping forward, so then having tokenistically touched the ground and checked the junction's clear happening to cycle off regardless of the lights (well, I was beyond the first set), a couple of instances of getting off and running across a junction because it's quicker (though this did run the risk of being kissed), and a few cases of pavement use (either because I want to go either straight on or right and both are one way the wrong way and busy, or because there's lots of police parked in the cycle lane).

As my brother, who cycles everyday there, put it: Undone's designed for
cars, then pedestrians.

Still it'll have put curves on my legs, and hairs on my chest, and filth in my lungs.

[/Subtle segue] So we've finally had the coroner's report on my father, and that was only by playing the medical risk card (apparently the backlog for one of them is a year).

You know how I mentioned how much the blood in my heart weighed? Bit less than a 100 g per ventricle? My father's whole heart is, or was, 465 g. No idea if that's empty or full, as I've no idea how blood settles when cold.

What else? The lung with bronchial, so pneumonal, mass is 40 g heavier than the other one, which isn't much, and which wasn't enough to kill him, except it kicked off more stress on a weakened heart that wasn't known to be weakened, which feed back through the kidneys conking out due to low pressure, and so acidosis knocking out the liver, and messing up various other bits, all of which makes every part of the system worse. They thought they were chasing septicaemia when it was just feedback loops winding up the heart.

Slightly galling to read all the other bits which translate as "otherwise healthy", except for the thing that he died from, which they didn't think he was dying from (well, he wasn't), until he did.

So his heart was overweight, but that because it was stretched, just like his spleen was massively underweight, because all the blood had been dumped from it. His brain was above the usual range, but that could be partly swelling (just checked, and it's not). Tellingly his liver is fractionally bigger.

And one doesn't quite expect a post mortem report to make use of the word 'nutmeg'. But then 'stripped with ease' sticks further out of the text.

And now I understand why "patently clear" is that.

And I need to stop, because I'm noticing the bits that don't quite correlate, and reading that he was nearly all good is just a bit too curate's egg.

So singing then (except that's not changing the subject enough, because he used to, and I don't have anything of him doing so where I can hear him amongst the other voices, but presumably that just means he was good at it [or not near the microphone]).

The young farmer wasn't there. Neither was the usual teacher. Instead we had very similar teaching and more German tongue-twisting (during which it seemed to be raining indoors), a brief rendition of an old classic, so something Japanese I've never done before, the joy of rounds fractured into too many pieces, and then ABBA, as tweaked to disconcerting slowness and jarring harmony by the anonymous German. It's odd singing,hoping the unheard part works with it.


Friday, February 24, 2012

CF8 600 - People - 23 LittlenoseSo having had LD for PC on ST reveal his interest in someone who is frequently at a series of events I do not frequent but of which know the co-founder, VD, and having had weakly attempted to find the required guy by Facebook (right, so it's not VD himself, the other founder doesn't match the description, so it's one of these thousand-odd 'friends', though he must have slimmed down at bit because it is now under a thousand), and failed, my mind lingered on it overnight.

And then I realised. Not only who it might be, but because this guy, VD's childhood friend, went to the same uni (well, one of them) at the same as me, I once, during a slightly mutable first year found myself alone at dinner in halls, so did my normal trick in such circumstances of going up to the nearest isolated person, asking if the obviously free space was free, then joining them and talking to them while eating, and one of them was him.

And what struck me last night, while remembering just how offhand, dismissive, rude, frankly odd many of these people were, just how deservedly alone they were, was that I did that once. I could go up to strangers, thrust myself upon them armed with nothing more than pleasantness and hope.

You know how my brother mentioned that initial placebo euphoric surge me was like me as a teenager, and that I thought there I felt like old me*, proper me, the me that me forgot? Except that surge me didn't even get close to what past mes have done, didn't remember them and that.

Great, that summit which is far above me now is only a false summit, a quirk of erosion, breaking into a slope fractionally less steep.

Thinking back, trying to find evidence of that me, I'm left wondering what the hell happened, that now I get as far as seeing happy photographs of others doing life, and think maybe one day.

That and a word from a film (the MNIIMYKMFPTD one).

And now as it's a Friday night and I'm young and in the centre of the known universe I'm going to discover that the BroSIL's DVD collection is seriously lacking in musicals.


PS. LD, if you're reading this, which you won't be, the guy you might be thinking of is the downwind, sheltered side of the verb for spending a season on holiday somewhere.
PPS. A different doctor for a different thing told me to come back in four months. Aren't waiting lists handy?

* This was originally typed as "odd me", which is less obviously true but perhaps no less so.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm slightly drunk and someone I slightly fancy just tweeted it and I laughed because this is why I never really saw the point:

Speaking of slightly fancying* what's it mean if you find your toes in contact with someone else's perineum? Other than being a bit drunk, not able to judge distances and showing affection in the manner of a toddler, thus hitting whatever you like.

Actually I have previous on this. Didn't mean to make contact then. Being unable to suppress my laughter probably didn't help while he was doubled over (and oddly he didn't take up my truth-in-jest offer to kiss it better). Ah, the joys of teenage infatuation (just ignore the whole third year at uni thing).

On other minor fancies, well, yeah, not so much. Great Green Goggles couldn't remember my name and just seems a bit, er, fey generally, whereas his nearest competition there is tall, dark, handsome and dull. Clearly need to get out more (even a bus offers more potential, and no, that wasn't a direct reference to the theatrical trio who got on by UCkLe, sat discussing future shows and internal squabbles, before getting off by the residences, much). Clearly need to work on finding the other drifter off to see the world (yes, we're doing that song, and yes I was switching between melody and base parts while singing it softly down the far end of the platform at Notacity, voice melding with the practising bells, slinky rail whickers, and announcements bouncing in rounds. Well, it was that or Jägermann. Ok, so it was that and Jägermann, and Lullaby of Birdworld.

And dear person who just sent a text asking if I have plans tonight please reply to my reply which confirmed that I don't but asked who they were, because the list of people who could have sent me that wording is fairly long (informal but long-form and correctly spelt), and I probably would like to see you but don't know which you that is.

And in other news in the world of Bob the Builder when one hears thunder one counts elephants until the lightning arrives and then you can work out how far away it is by the number of elephants. At which point the television stopped being an annoying JML-style background and became the centre of the known universe. *Sound of jaw hitting the floor*

Oh and also don't gain free (I thought it was free, LD seemed to think there was someone further round collecting money, but no one shouted at me) lanterns when they de-New Year Sinaton. Because anything you put in that bag weeks afterwards is going to come out, as if by magic, all sparkly. Including bread.

How fabulous is my life?


* Sober amendment, lest he should read this: only slightly, and when drunk, but you do have nice eyes, along with nice triangles, and nice nice, and I'm forever muddling admiration and affection. I do expect to be at your wedding, but don't quite envisage myself standing at the front there.

Oh, and please don't leave the radio on Radio 2, no matter how awesomely bad the organ programme is (this week I Got Rhythm; clearly the producers don't like Gershwin). There are two words behind this: Jeremy Vine.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

DSC_1440 - Disney DogLapdog in pearls peering from the running four-by-four slammed diagonally into the pavement over the double red lines, driver errant on errands.

No camera and not enough je n'avez pas to take it. But the three opening words tell quite a story.

Catching up on Being Human. First Doctor Who, now this? Is there any part of the supernatural or extraterrestrial that the Cambridge Latin Course hasn't reached?


DSC_0907 - Lone SurvivorSo it turns out I am an ambipeeler. Eat that, Derek.

And now I'm trying to remember what my brother said about my ability, or more accurately tendency, to peel citrus fruit in one long spiralling S. It was something along the lines of it being typical me, doing something, but doing in it a more complicated than necessary way, but a more elegant one too. I know it's a Richard Curtis quote, by a bit parter in that still raining film, but I've used it elsewhere to sum up what I do: why be dull?

As for the ambipeeling, I thought something felt wrong, and then when I laid that peel next to the previous one they looked like the holes in a cello. Now to see whether I can do it on demand (and overdose on vitamin C). Oh the joys of chirality.

And in other news I was excited the other day because I thought "Ooh, I can wear my shorts soon". Spot the summer baby being a tad premature (it's not like there was still ice in the butts, well, not much ice, and the snow had nearly all gone). But I like summer, I like spring, I like sun, and find myself grinning and trying not to skip too obviously.

I've not gone the choir social thing, because I'm house-sitting for my brother, thus failing to find anything interesting to do in the greatest city in the world. I'd intended to go back today, for various reasons, but didn't quite move, instead staring at a bright ceiling from a large bed, and then I heard the siren song of la mère, well, the song of the phone caused by her, who said she wasn't going, thus scuppering my transport plans (not irredeemably, just to the extent of having to think about things more than buying a return to a town I'm not going to because it's cheaper than the mandatory two singles to and from the town I am going to, although I've just realised that technically I could have used the remainder to get back, by simply completing the journey, but that relies on the whim of the guys on the gate [how likely is it that people trained to make money for that charming Mr Souter are actually going to know the conditions of carriage if they're not to their advantage?]), and she also dismissed other possible options.

And what's it say about me that I can't think what to do, where to go, who to see, on a sporadically sunny day in Tiredoflife? I didn't do stuff yesterday because half the day was taken up with the BroSIL leaving, and then it just chucked it down, so I worked my way through bits of iPlayer, 4od, the sources nearer US broadcast, and a DVD sent to me for Christmas: Submarine.

I wasn't quite sure what to make of the film, but that's because someone chose it for me, so I was trying to divine the meaning behind the gift (he thinks I'm sunk, in an unwashed cup of hot lemon? That I just need someone to set fire to me? That the biopic of my life won't have the budget it needs? That I'm supposed to notice the anachronistic use of LEDs and modern circuitry and their impact of the film? Or I'm meant to draw parallels with my family life as we too have that rolling board from the set dresser's guide to the seventies [the tray in Weekend uses the same pattern, but theirs has an orange rim, not brown]).

It's quite good, but I just didn't quite know how to approach it, not sure of the context. That and the fade to colour of mood kept making me think of West Side Story.

And I still haven't done anything, other to than talk to my mother, email a friend, write this post, stare out of the window. I just need to do enough that I can class it all as "but that's okay too".

If I'm doing indoors I probably ought edit photographs or work up those ideas for t-shirts (or do actual future planning adult-ery).

That or finish the book I was meant to finish before my brother went on holiday (he'd taken it on holidays, started it on flights, but not read it, and so it was sitting looking read in a bookcase in their spare bedroom, so I borrowed it, as is my wont).

Or watch the DVD I've had for years because I friend lent it to me insisting I should watch a film I'd never heard of, so a while later I started watching it, fell asleep, never tried again, and then managed to move with it (along with another friend's DVD and her ex-flatmate's book [so if you ever lend stuff to me remember, and give me a deadline to get it back by]).

Or watch any of the films where our collections don't overlap and they haven't taken the disk with them.


PS. Fake cherry blossom. Hell has frozen over. Bristles through the snow of the dry ski slope.

Those were my notes from a train in winter. The channel that isn't the river, that runs the other side of the valley, gives the name for the middle one.

It's odd how surgingly of the moment I become, wondrous, beguiled by details. I don't know if it's the drugs or if it's me (but the drugs are me; just a better fed, more comfortable me). Did I mention that my brother said talking to me during the initial euphoric placebo surge was like talking to me when I was a teenager? Kind of galling. I don't think he knows he nearly made me cry. What is squandered is gone. What will be sera; was ist los, not what is lost.

Oh, and don't hold the computer there when you pick it up, because you end up holding the DVD drive as it tries to come out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DSC_1613 - Kind HeartI don't have a broken heart, but just a bruised one. Seriously, I have zebra intercostals and was told to come back in five years.


Although that is based on the following values:
Systolic Dimension 29 mm (normal range 20-40 mm)
Biplane Ejection Fraction 58% (normal range 59% +/-7%)
Height 0.0 cm (normal range varies by country)
Weight 0.0 kg (normal range varies by country)

I'm not sure he ticked the box to say I'm alive either.

Blast. I was going to scan the results so I could show you pretty pictures of my heart, except they're quite small, the fold runs through half of them, and I can install the driver for the scanner and the software and then it asks me to select the source from a list of nil.

Reading through the blurb and its thousand-and-one initials (IVSd anyone? Give you a clue, the d is for the state, and the V is something to do with a heart, but not the other V to do with a heart, which normally comes after the other letters, but before the state indicator) there are some worrying numbers in there.

My aortic diameter is 3 mm less than that of my left atrium, which given somewhere on the web says the ratio is meant to be under 1, which... er hang on, so the ideal is to have a tube bigger than the chamber feeding it? In terms of avoiding pressure drop over the system fine, but the flow rates are going to be a bit pants. Stupid internet.

Ooh, now if I ever feel heavy hearted I can know just how heavy: LVd Mass 91.61g. Presumably that's blood only, rather than surrounding tissue, and it's only one side. The same ventricle shrinks 20 mm during each heartbeat.

And the fastest my blood runs (during a resting state, so trying not to fall asleep in a darkened room, with Classic FM on, which is often what I have when I am trying to fall asleep) is 1.36 ms^-1. Which thanks to the marvels of the internet (and fluke) means the blood running through my aortic valve should never die (what do you mean it doesn't work like that?).

Oh and it's Intraventricular Septum, diastolic. So the bit in the middle of your heart, splitting it in two, during diastole, so the period of relaxation as the heart fills with blood again, thus at the time when it is thinnest. Mine is 0.6 cm. Or 6 mm in a world that doesn't use yucky units. This seems very thin, and yet, as anyone who has ever tried to bone raw meat should know, 6 mm can also be quite resilient.

You understand all that right? If not, I'm not impressed, just as I am not impressed by someone I know who chose not to be astounded by negative green and the manipulation of the world our brains make to produce it, because he assumed he wouldn't understand, so didn't try, giving the excuse that he's just an accountant.

Incidentally my heart rate while lying in the dark with a man's arm round my chest and his stomach resting against my back (he half rolled me over to get better access, thereby meaning that for the rest of the exam I had to keep still when he typed as one end of the keyboard was lodged on my shoulder) was 69. I'm not sure what that implies.

And in other news I'm still not brave enough to suggest doing Tomorrow Belongs To Me on the German trip. But after the vetoing of the proms medley (um, they know it's absurd, we know it's absurd—the only waves we rule are on the Serpentine—and throwing someone's hard work back in their face isn't the best way to greet our hosts [though apparently they mooted us doing a single fifteen minute set with their orchestra then the rest of concert being the orchestra alone, which given the dual billing, and the coming quite a long way for it, um, yes, negotiations are ongoing, by which I mean they haven't yet replied to an alternative suggestion) we have to do something...

Oh, that was a handy point to leave it on. We are now doing a German song to go with the Sesotho (and French). Was ist "coals to Newcastle" auf Deustche?

Neu wort (isch): kitschig

Oh dear, I seem to have tumbled down the Kaninchenloch. German folk music is really all a-drinking and a-hunting we will go. This stuff makes schlager seem sane.

Oh, and there's someone new (well, ignoring the other new guy who didn't come back), who actually talked to me. He's the farmer's boy (I didn't know he was the farmer; I also don't know the farmer's name) and he wears green glasses and was convinced he knew me from somewhere, which, while possible, seems unlikely, because he is about a whole school younger than me, and we went to different schools (except college, but the overlap wasn't there).

And um, that's about it. Excitement round here runs to the final lack of snow and relaid tarmac (I remember that pavement now crumbled being resurfaced the last time round, and then the gas main being replaced half a year later, breaking the perfect surface we used as we dumped three-houses' momentum swinging up the lawn).


Saturday, February 11, 2012

DSC_6366 - How the Mighty Have FallenStarts typing "70000 D" and auto-complete kicks in with "anish kroner pounds". I guess some other people have been watching it too.

Other watchage: The Lives of Others. Sehr gut, aber nicht de bester film ich habe ever seenen komst einen freund du mijen mère gesprakt.

Guess who did a year of Fren–er, Freudian, or Freudienne, slip there—German and never was very good at separating English from not-English and the not-Englishes from each other.

At this rate the Easter thing to where the barbarians come from is going to be sehr fun (except it's actually in the next state over, the Scout one).


Friday, February 10, 2012

But the whole appeal was when they don't know it.



Monday, February 06, 2012

There is no such thing as too many roast potatoes.

Especially when I do them (admittedly when I do them there is no such thing as diet roast potatoes, but the whole point is to use the fat from the meat).

The brother was down yesterday, minus the SIL, which unfortunately is a good thing (it's the perpetual presence, and the problems that causes, that gets wearing. Sometimes just having my brother being my brother is good).

To a certain extent it's horrible how much difference he makes. Woke at 2, hot, hungry, dehydrated, tired, worried about the ructions that would come in the morning. And then just lay there, bound with fears, until he came, while mother transformed into a functioning human being an hour before he got here. Comforting isn't it, they way that for one son she endeavours to pretend that all is well and that she's coping, and for the other, not so much (it wasn't helped by realising the last time she cooked was before Christmas).

And then he talked, not terribly different from the blond grin he used to be, and life became unconcerning. And we chatted, and didn't do much, and then ran for his train, missing it because darling Mr Souter's company get round penalties for late running by sending trains off early. And so we adjourned to the pub, to dust off the snow, be acknowledged yet ignored by the barmaid, who fortunately was inept enough to pour two pints of Doom Bar for the other bar when two halves were wanted, which meant we got our drinks a lot quicker than she intended to give them to us. Thus the one who isn't meant to drink and the one who has a wife waiting at home with dinner ready (and an obscene amount of food cooked to go in the new freezer) just-this-side-of-quaffed beer wrung from a Rock, while leaning back occasionally to see the rugby in the other bar (yay, apart from my brother had to go back to the SIL, who cheers for the other side).

It's odd how nice he is. And because certain things I ingest seem to make me a bit shruggish about consequences I told him this, while worrying about his wife not noticing when he needs help, but she is better than she was. Guessing the application of tact comes under the same bit of brain circuitry that double checks everything and gets stuck in cycles of anxiety. But I am sort of aware that I adore him, and rather hoping at some point I find someone who can deservedly match that level of adoration, but faintly concerned they may never do so. Isn't it supposed to be mothers one does this with?

It is rather strange to realise what I want in a relationship is what I already have with my brother, only perhaps a bit more frequent (and what's it say that I've never got good enough at sex to have it matter more than cuddling? Someone wrote somewhere while mocking emos "I just want someone to hold me", only I got the impression that quite a few of the other people reading it didn't see anything to be derided in that wish).

Always someone there to enfold me, ba bar bar bah.

Speaking of singing, I've been trying to learn a song choir did last week while I was away, Lullaby of Birdland, which has a varying rhythm best described as pernicious (meaning you can never get the damned thing under control). It also doesn't help that my easily distracted mood at the moment means I keep trying to segue into Pigeon Street.

I would say all this is inspired by WalkyMatt's singing efforts (ukeing at the same time? That's just showing off, even if he does have to look at the chord changes, thereby leaving us to wonder what happened to his tragus, and letting me notice he's another lobeless wonder, because clearly one can't do that IRL [it's ok, I can put whatever I want here as he's busy probing penguins, and I think he's stopped reading anyway, along with the person the in joke you just missed was aimed at]) except for months his site was down (or often was) so I've only just found it.

So do we think his is on a par the God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen?

Except, the old guard aren't here any more to get that reference, all having fled to Facebook or just fled (oh come back, all those I was never brave enough to contact directly, so lost when they got happy and stopped blogging).

And Facebook's not the same. It's all about strengths, blogging is everything, including the weaknesses and foibles.

But now, the dark is here, and I must face the dusty curtains. And sort things out for later. And try to get the right songs back in my head, in my mind, five years from now.

As for being exactly the person that I wanted to be: ouch.


PS. Oh dear god, the willow bit of Birdland is set obscenely high (the basses have to sing higher than the altos and the melody). I've never sung with my tonsils before.

Except I was told it starts on a E (generally the whole named notes and stavage thing doesn't happen, but I asked), and it seems to be only the one above middle C (assuming that is middle C), which doesn't sound that high, although the peak is G# (I think, trying to transpose something that may not be accurate to begin with). And playing round on a piano (well, website one) the peak is three octaves up from somewhere near the bottom of my comfortable range (I appear to be able to hit the bottom note on the keyboard. Clearly they need to make longer pianos).

I know I should just shut up and sing it, but my throat is actually sore (but breathing deeply in a room full of people with colds might have something do with it).

Friday, February 03, 2012

DSC_0242 - Precocious CaesareanI forgot to mention that the other day I got asked if I knew where to buy any "grass".

Cue terribly polite, utterly unhelpful answer.

But the other odd request recently was someone asking to use one of my t-shirt designs on a 24-hour sale site. Initial elation has been followed by encountering poor web design (they ask for a password then say they're emailing one to me and won't let me log in with the one I chose. I'm still waiting for their email), discovering the design threshold for that site is a little low (which is not to say they don't sell well), I get the impression they're fairly newish and of course there's the trade off in royalties against the supposed increase in sales. Though it's non-exclusive, but somehow... I'm stuck between disappointing a real actual human and trying not to notice that what it is they do is disappointing.

But of course if they've asked for something that liquefies the usual first hurdle of having to expose myself to the potential rejection that submitting usually brings. I'm not really keen on submission—volunteering for decapitation—and it's such a loaded word; quiescence is more me.

It's odd, the taint of whoredom and harlotry (see Christianity does have a use), the enduring falsity of promotion bores through me. Somehow I've come to believe that success ought be effortless, by which I mean it's only true success if it's borne on the Brownian motions whims of my fellow man, so a pure recognition of good: merit-driven. Somehow I suspect this is neither accurate or useful. But as I was taught early "'I want' doesn't get".

It's frustrating when the world declines to notice, but they idea of purloining a tug beneath Liberty and belting out "Hey world, here I am" would render all following victories Pyrrhic.

As I said, odd.

And now a comment on trusting to the instincts of others:

In other news this week I skipped the choir, through being in a land that smelt of jacket potatoes in the oven (and malt when the wind swung further to the east) and having the world's best toy to play with (though she'd forgotten me and was no longer impressed with the whirling cups trick).

Again the maternal tendency to abdicate all responsibility kicked in (is it a good sign that I worry what she'd be like if I weren't here?), with her blaming me for our late arrival, having spent the whole journey winding herself up about the stupidity of the world around (does being a little bundle of fury help? Does hating the world change it? No? So why keep on doing it? It's not arguing with a fool, it's fighting a brick wall). And then she grumbles while there, but these erode in frequency the longer the exposure to other people.

I'm not sure what to say about a few days in Very Faint Headwounds (the cousin once removed has a stronger head than I do). Played with a giggly, occasionally grisly, 18-month-old still high on the newly discovered idea of walking. Discovered why one should never be nice to a cat (oh, hello, you're very keen suddenly, oh, and you've been outside, and have walked across a room to come and use me as a doormat. Thanks for that. I knew I should have defaulted to hissing at you). Failed to take photographs of the pleasing bleak parts of town (the new shopping centre, all flat greys upon greys beneath a mute sky broken only by the beet billows), failed to take photographs in the endless mediaeval streets or the Henried abbey, instead invaded by ducks and chasing the local youth off the slide (ok, so they retreated swiftly when faced with a gleeful hurtling bundle, reins not withstanding). Lost my mother, discovered that the overrated patisserie has spawned again, displacing the sausage roll shop, and generally loitered in the cold while someone took baby steps.

Later we decided on looking out at the foggy murk which was shedding snow that the North Sea seemed tempting (well, it can't be any colder than the air) and off we wove, through pink flushed villages, braking for peacocks until we got to Auldbrr, where we parked in the first space we got to, and as we looked round to get our bearings found we were outside the tourist information centre, who were friendly but struggled to think of anything that would be open.

So we wandered down the High Street, the mothers meandering through shops, refusing to pay that much, while I distracted myself with architectural quirks. Eventually we ran out of town, except I was distracted by the beaten, beached and sometimes broached boats on the river side of the land, so didn't notice which way they'd all gone. So I carried on, because there was more land still to see, and more boats, and a Martello tower, and who wouldn't, and therefore they must have done.

Cue a phone call saying they'd had enough of heading up the sea front and were heading to leeward to find some food and would let me know where that was. Turns out the sixty somethings and permanently tired hadn't chosen to keep going to the ends of the earth see what was there, instead had struck northwards up the front.

So I wend, scrambling about the beach and defences tank and sea, camera ever ready, active. A chirrup of text. A number, some directions and a way point or two.

There now follows a period in which I ran round a town I didn't know trying to find number 125 of some uncertain street, which was on the right, from some unknown direction of travel, beyond the blue house (bear in mind it's next to the North Sea, so houses tended to be wrapped in water and wind-proofing render, and being an arty town, these tend to be in many colours, and a lot seem to have gone with the nautical theme of model yachts and lighthouses in the windows and the palette that that dictates).

About now the sudden ravenousness kicked (thanks medication), along with a complete banishment of energy (thanks medication and the symptoms it's treating), along with dual being too hot and cold (thanks easterly off the North Sea in January and thermals), along with shaking which was nothing to do with being cold (thanks symptoms), along with hands too cold to use my phone (thanks improving light keeping the camera out), along with eventually getting through (thanks mother who never knows her phone is her phone), along with useless instructions repeated and being handed over to my cousin, who just kept saying 'come back', though neither knew where the other was, and then hanging up in frustration, tears, sitting huddled scared, furious, ashamed, foetal, hand in glove glove in hand phone in other, wanting equally to damn them all to hell and Mummy, to sulk in the car, but unable to move.

Then hard shoes running behind me, presence beside me, an arm wormed inside mine, a cousin, the knee with the grin beneath Wolfe, and the world creeps back, warmth beside the hut, out of the wind, not the sun.

Then late to lunch, discovering my mother is dyslexic too, and even realised 125 is not in that order, but didn't bother to send a correction, because how many blue houses can there be?

And so straight to the main, fish and chips, because it was top of the specials, and I didn't want to try reading, deciding. It was good, if expensive. The conversation was good too at the table behind us, so only other people in the place. Ladies who lunch, and bemoan poor bridge players, and drop lines like "the hounds of spring are on the traces of winter", and elicit snorts fortuitously timed with theirs from the table next door.

And then the sisters/mothers methodically worked through the bill, assigning items and totals, each within a pound of a quarter of the total, but it's the only way either of them will not simmer with resentment over it for a good many years.

Then a flit round the rest of the town, interest fleeing before the easterly, and running out of buildings to hide behind, so driving off, first down to explore the spit, me gambolling with a Nikon, gulping blazing skies, waves on puddles, the light running Thames-like through the bouncing browns of the sea, up round the fort, stalked by the car, finding it has a moat, through the beach now runs through it, and that it's for rent, then back in, northwards, past Hambling's shattered scallops with Venus missing, past backlit reeds gilts ever shifting, through the rippingly spiffing village, mentally in black and white and jaunty music bedding the jovial male voice of authority narrating, past the house from Up (not that I've seen it yet), and so home, skipping Rickman-playing-Rickman to get back for the nursery.

And then we left on the best day, bright sun with heat in it, skies coagulated into one pure crystal.

So what did I learn? That when I'm not crumpling I like children. I sometimes like contemptuous animals. I like adults, mostly. And I like, but only because it reminded me why I largely don't listen, and because it amused me, Radio 2 doing a hour of Wurlitzer, which we kept listening to purely to see how much worse it could get (Rhapsody in Blue stands out for more wince than snigger [can /= should, and clearly it took skill to play that, but it isn't running up escalators]).

I left this to go to bed. There this morning I remembered the -1's tiny frozen hand gripping my thumb and realising that my thumb must be to her very big and very hot, just like yours, oh, you're not there; I forgot that was an option. But his hands always were huge and hot.

But then I also remembered the reins, and wondered how old I was when I last wore them. Could it be that my earliest memory is mostly the fury, indignity, irritation of having to wear them? I loathed the imposed restraint, but more significantly couldn't stand the texture of them, a tacky, spongy, rubberised surface. I still can't stand textures like that.

And it's odd how generations shunt their way round. In my past future I'd expected to start having children now. For all the playful fantasy children have remarkably little imagination (well, some of them some of time).

And back to the present child. Not speaking much, but understanding a lot, knowing by some unascertained cue that it's time for her bath so doing the rounds of the room kissing people goodbye before hanging from the door handle waiting for her mother to follow. Though when I say kissing she tends to approach with gaping maw and tries to lick (well, I suppose that's what an adult kissing her feels like). She looks surprised by the feel of stubble, brows knitting as she tries to work it out. And struggles to stay still when rubbing noses because she's giggling too much. And the look of bafflement followed by delight when I'm walking in front of her but doing walks adults don't normally do* is, well, delightful (you can see the process: something's wrong, that man is moving differently, oh, it's the odd tall one, he's still doing it, he's being... silly, he's being silly for me!).

* Walking in front because I always end up at the vanguard in any group, so usually have to resort to walking backwards, and bouncing round on the spot, and walking as though I'm in dressage, killing energy and impatience waiting for people to catch up. Ok, so it's not barely toddlers I do silly walks for, but some of them were intentionally for her amusement.

Have I said she's the best toy ever? So much fun, especially when there's someone else to do all the attending to her other needs.

Anyway, better shut up at some point. Still trying to think of alternative blognames for BSE. That last bit's hard because Merry Quaint Jedwards just is too distracting, and I can't think of much else that keeps the same rhythms. Nary and Mayn't are both good words but it's the last the scuppers things.


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