Thursday, May 31, 2007
Every now and then She Of The Town House manages to make my jaw drop. The reasons are usually best left unspoken. Events that I would be a fool to expose to public. This week though I can reveal two points on which she has caused the Hallett lower mandible to sag.
The first was when she made a very palatable Sunday dinner earlier in the week. She managed to get one in before the solstice. Don't get me wrong. She has prepared many fine meals. The thing is that the preparation usually comprises the waving of a credit card at a table in the local posh hotel.
The second was when she called me down to the old church car park as she had a puncture. Although still not free from pain, I put aside my man flu and got my best Mr Man overalls on. Crossing the style and the cattle grid I looked around for the little four wheel drive buggy that she has used to beat up other peoples cars for the last four years. The only thing I could actually see was a shiny midnight blue Mazda MX5.
She kept that quiet.
Apparently it’s a bit nippy!
Tips from motorcyclists who may have experience removing fly debris from toothy grins are welcome.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
How many of you have puzzled over it I wonder? All those little capital letters on the washing machine. Program A for this wash, Program B for another. Program X ‘Something for the weekend sir’.
In her own personal alphabet of machine generated surprises She Of The Town House hit upon program P. This is the one where she uses quite a warm wash, a nice new red top that she has just bought for her new job, and of course all the shirts and shorts that Axeman likes best.
She whacked them all in in a hurry and chose the pink wash.
Later on, when she spotted it, she decided that if she threw a few of them round a second time on a hotter setting then they might correct themselves.
Axeman will soon be looking for someone on e-bay who wants cheap clothes for their baby daughter. Clothes that used to fit him (in a different colour).
He hasn’t found out yet……
Incidentally Hallett’s Mountain would like to relieve possible anxiety here.
We call him Axeman because he wields a guitar.
Monday, May 28, 2007
For two days dear reader I have been a man wracked with pain. A man too weak to write. Unable to stray far from the toilet. Save to get another roll from the freezer.
I am trying to figure out what exactly it was that I ate and all the others didn’t.
Today we, She Of The Town House and I, are off to the garden centre. Garden centres can educe strong emotions. For this reason we have also pencilled in a visit to North Wale’s finest cider house somewhere along the way.
I recommend The Penryhn Arms to one and all. A pub that deserves more attention than it gets. Its got a dodgy website but is the only pub I have ever found draught perry in.
I am very pleased to see that Microsoft doesn’t recognise the word ‘perry’.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Tonight we see the return to Hallett’s Mountain of She Of The Town House after ten days in the foreign. I have been anxious to prevent a repeat of the last debacle. To this end I have searched the house from top to bottom and have eventually found the dyson. More than that, I have figured out how to plug it in.
It worked for about half an hour but I am not sure if there isn’t something wrong with it. Blind Pugh and Asbo have been having a competition to see who can be first to shed their own body weight of dog hair. This seems to have filled the little clear plastic bit and now it is giving off an unpleasant burning smell every time I turn it on. I must say that the container part seems awfully small. I reckon there could be a market for dysons with emptyable containers. Ones you could take off, turf the rubbish in to a bin and use them again. You wouldn’t have to throw them away so often then. Still never mind, I am sure women have their reasons. Her shaggy old angora sweater seems to pick up dog hair almost as well. The new two tone effect that it has taken on will be a pleasant surprise I am sure.
We have cracked the toilet as well. Oh I don’t mean a real crack. I mean we have managed to mask the unpleasant smell and save water at the same time. I was looking in Mrs Wilsons Hardware and I saw these things that you set light to in order to get rid of insects in the greenhouse. The lavatories ( we are posh here) in the town house don’t smell half as bad since we left one of them in each overnight. Smudge pots or something. I recommend them to you all.
Since we learned that trick from last time the dog has sorted out all the washing up. Except for the really baked on peas. Seeing as you can’t tell what colour they were originally, we are going to try and pass that one off as next doors rat. Which incidentally we haven’t seen since Ben lost it in the sitting room, so it is a pretty feasible excuse.
Oh yes, we sellotaped all those plants she loves and tends up to some sticks that we found on the beach and so we haven’t had to water them much at all. This has been much better from the point of view of flooding.
All in all I reckon she is going to be pretty pleased by how we have managed.
All except of course the room belonging to The Boy. If I reveal no more to all you mothers out there than the fact that he is thirteen, going on fourteen, I am sure you will have almost as clear a picture as the vile reality of his pit.
There are yoghurt (I may even have spelled yoghurt correctly this time Mike) pots in there that are beginning to evolve into a new subspecies. Any lower into the pile I care not to delve, less I get an infected wound. I have helped in just one regard I have removed all remote controls and aerials and game controllers from his room.
Everything else he is going to have to deal with himself. Then he can have them all back again.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
We are out for a walk. Asbo is behaving like a gang of teenage thugs. Except of course I understand that now I shouldn’t refer to him as such.
He has thoroughly doused the sign outside the bed and breakfast. You wouldn’t think that a dog had so much in him.
A kind American lady, mid fifties, slacks, grey hair, spectacles, carrying a little extra, was thrilled with him. She beamed from ear to ear. Until, that is, he shoved his nose up her ample bottom Then she looked me in the eye with shocked disbelief.
He has partaken of shellfish in their shells, regardless of the lack of an R in the month. He loves the ones that the seagulls leave behind to rot on Marine Walk. These are particularly vile, but you wouldn’t want to try and retrieve them from him. I expect he will be sick as a dog later. Nothing wrong with that of course. He is a dog after all. I just wish that it wasn’t me that had to deal with the semi digested rancid seafood that he leaves behind.
He has played 'high speed chase the plastic bottle' through the council flower beds. Right under the CCTV. His grand finale being to shred the bottle to pieces, and dump a two bagger right next to the best looking flowers in the patch.
I finally decide that perhaps he should be on a lead, when he sidles up to the dog belonging to the lady from the wine shop. I can see he is exercising his best Terry Thomas impression.
To paraphrase ( if that is the right word?) Yaxlich; he is about to get his winky out.
(Keen observers will note an experimental semi colon. (Children, you shouldn’t try this at home.))
I decide that my fellow citizens would be far better off, from so many points of view, if I sit him still long enough to put his lead on.
By coincidence this is also just long enough for Blind Pugh to sidle up to me, mistake my leg for the nearest lamppost, and leave his card.
I squelch back to the Town House.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
She is extolling the facilities and the view from her room.
It seems that from her vantage point high up in some tower she has a direct view over the Thames towards Walworth. She can also see complex mechanical bridge in a bizarre mock gothic style. The room has many attractive stone features. Ethched into one of the windowsills is the legend “Gruffydd ap Llewelyn woz ea”. All seems fine except for some problem with the key.
Meanwhile back at the town house The Boy, Axeman and I are a bit puzzled by what seems to be some kind of humorous ransom demand that we have received bearing the Queens Seal. I have tried ringing the number at the top of the note but it keeps giving strange electronic clicks before transferring me to an ever changing recorded message left by someone purporting to be ‘Number Two’.
Just as a precaution I have looked up “instruction, London, Number Two” on google but there seems to be something wrong with my safe search cookie.
I wonder what’s on the news.
(Hallett's Mountain apologises if the references are obscure but even the walls have noses)
Monday, May 21, 2007
While not a regular god botherer I suspect I visit church more often than most. I hold the key to the one on Halletts Mountain you see. Well it hangs up on the hooks in my house. Its about four fields away from here.
Or if you prefer the drive up from The Old Walled Town its about four miles.
The drive is full of pitfalls. That is to say, if you aren’t sure of the lie of the land it is pretty easy to fall in to a pit. The best one I saw was Gaffo’s father. Rumours of a ‘Grand Spectacle’ brought us all out to see him lying drunk beside his land rover. The landrover was almost upside down in the ditch. He still denies all, but he must have wondered how he got home and where the dents came from. Halletts Mountain is a bit of a vehicle eater.
Yesterdays congregation was smaller than usual. The new vicar decided to press on. Halfway through the first hymn that nobody knew the tune to, a woman came breathless to the door.
"They’re on the way," she gasped. An image of the closing sequence of The Field Of Dreams.
It seems that six cars coming up met Mrs Hewitt going down. A seemingly unequal balance unless you have seen Mrs H trying to reverse. It’s her back you see. The faith of six cars full of the faithful was misplaced. She really wasn’t going to make it. She made a brave attempt mind you. But eventually the clutch on her car melted. Halfway up the narrowest and steepest part of the hill. For all I know they may have helicoptered it off.
After a couple more hymns that nobody knew the tune to we all went back home.
I was the only one that walked. I was the only one that went uphill.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
“Any help with your packing sir?”
Its important at this point to think of some pithy rejoinder, something along the lines of….
“Yes, do you see that woman over there? Tell her to get her finger out and pass these things to me one by one.”
She has come to expect this over the years. Less experienced shoppers might mistake the glazed look for, ‘Oh god its him again’, but I know better.
For once though, I am distracted. My muse, She Of The Town House, is still away.
There are no boxes for me to recycle, I will miss out the green points. I have forgotten the sickly sweet confection that Axeman and The Boy refer to as yoghourt. The rest of this queue is going to get restless if I can’t think of something soon. I am lost in reverie.
The pregnant pause between question and answer has stretched into an embarrassed silence. I see her hand drift towards the red button.
“No, I’ll be fine thank you.”
The rest of the queue breathes a sigh of relief. The security guard relaxes and pretends he was just stretching to adjust his tie.
But I am clearly not fine. I fail to open the first bag as she flings items from the end of the belt in my direction. Witness to my pathetic struggle to separate the two layers of static plastic she takes pity on me. Pre-opened bags are passed, the ones reserved for ‘special customers.’
We grind along to the exchange of pin, plastic, and clubpoints. The earlier silence still awkward between us.
“Would you like a day out sir?”
The minx passes me some kind of note with what I can only assume is her mobile number on it. I am careful not to inspect it then and there, lest the others should report her for fraternisation.
My day brightens.
Though flattered, I decide not to call.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Among all the good things that life has to offer the hungry holiday maker with money in his pocket my eye lit upon what seemed to be a genuine farm stall piled high with all kinds of cooked and processed pork related products. I was drawn, Homer Simpson like, to the groaning tables. Drooling in a manner likely to frighten children at the sensual pleasures displayed thereon. Nestling among the mouth watering treats, was a plate piled high with faggots. Attesting to their home made authenticity, each was wrapped in its own white caul. This is important. It is possible to buy supermarket bred faggots in this country and while not inedible, they are definitely inferior to the free range varieties.
When we stay in Lulworth there are seldom less than nine or ten of us present. Thus I was trebly struck by the good value that faggots at three for a pound would represent. I got a bit carried away and wound up in possession of a most of their stock. A couple of faggots each for the grown ups and one or two depending on the size of the offspring. Not often you can feed a crowd of our size for around a tenner.
Like a dog with a tail more than it should have, I spent the day in pleasant anticipation of the treat in store that evening. Faggots, peas, and mashed potatoes. With a rich onion gravy.
Everyone was very polite. Even so I could sense that their enthusiasm was muted. After a minute or two my nephew, ever the last to spare a feeling, turned to his father and wondered aloud if the chip shop was open. After that it was a rout and before long I was crestfallen and deserted by all save She Of The Town House and the boy. And I could tell that even these two were torn between loyalty and the lure of deep fried food.
Well if you can get them up front then try round the back door. Ahem! The next night I made a Thai green curry. Again featuring a number of ingredients picked up at the market the day before, along with some sauce from a little shop from the backstreets of Dorchester. The strong and vibrant eastern flavours effectively masked the fact that the lumps of chopped meat may have started out as something else. Everyone pronounced this a delicious treat. Except of course my nephew who wondered if the chip shop was open.
Yesterday She Of The Town House returned from Monmouth long enough to take a bath and throw what she laughingly refers to as underwear into the washing machine.
“There’s a present for you in the bag” she said.
As I opened it the generous savoury aroma of four home made faggots greeted me.
Today I have referred to faggot , sensual , back door , and underwear. That should rattle a few tins at Google.
Friday, May 18, 2007
She Of The Town House has upped and gone. Oh no worries she hasn’t ‘gone’ gone but a new job and the call of the wild will have her on the road for the next ten days or so. Things round here just aren’t the same without her.Without the civilising influence I am reverting to a bear in a cave.
When I have other people around I love to cook. Various lovingly selected fresh ingredients are crafted into culinary surprises to delight She Of The Town House, Axeman and The Boy. And on the rare occasion they fail to please Asbo and Blind Pugh are far too polite to mention the smoky flavour.Left to myself though, as I have been now for two long lonely days and nights I seem to be able to survive on peanut butter and Marmite ( Vegimite, yeast extract…for you Aussies) for days on end. This slapped between two slices of wonderbread.In times gone by it was chicken leg stew. Kept on the stove for days. Even this seems to escape me now.
I also seem to be unable to sleep much. I find myself watching TV till after 1a.m. in the morning. Something I never usually do. I am seldom up after 10p.m. on my own. And though I usually wake early, I seem to be rising some time around 5.a.m. now.
Walking along the Cob this morning I found myself in conversation. I was discussing the sociology of virtual networks somewhere between my head and Blind Pugh. Also Musing the kind of templates I might use for adventures on the web. Being a dog, Blind Pugh was only replying with the occasional grunt. Enough to keep my flow going though. He doesn’t grunt much but he does it in all the right places. Distracted for a moment by an interesting smell, he looked up and asked me to repeat a particular point.
“I beg your pardon…”
Now that was a pretty unusual thing for a dog to say. I had a brief flash that perhaps my social isolation, my lack of contact with the outside world beyond the “Weekly Witter”, was seeing me further from the plot than usual. Maybe I really should get out more.
As I stood looking down at him a jogger passed by.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Nearby on Hallett’s Mountain is a medium sized pond. It fills by natural seepage. Given a suitable supply of fresh water it could easily become deep enough to make a summer bathing pool. And it is on land that belongs to She Of The Town House. Given that set of circumstances, and the fact that a stream runs through the same field, it was as easy as pushing the first domino.
50m of sturdy blue pipe has been cunningly concealed in the stream bank and below a couple of trees and now several litres of water are splashing in to the pond every minute. This is probably the sort of thing that you need a license for but we have managed to ignore that inconvenience thus far. Anyway when the pond overflows it will probably run back over the boggy patch towards the stream it came out of albeit higher up.
The other scenario of course it that it doesn’t run back sensibly but breaks the bank of the pond. This would release all the water in one mighty (and I really should look for a mot juste that implies a ‘medium sized mighty’, this isn’t a dam on the Rhur) inundation. The path of this flood would run straight through the sitting room so recently finished by Bob The Other Builder. So fingers crossed it doesn’t happen. 50m of blue pipe is going to be difficult to spirit away when the finger is being pointed.
Anyroad, I seem to have gone a bit Corbett again. The point is that She Of The Town House spotted a couple of old plastic buckets in the centre of the pond. Buckets that had once held an unction that would allow shepherds to do something unspeakable to sheep. This I must skate over, but I may come back to at a later date as there is probably a rich seam here that I have yet to tap ( note to self).
Rather than spend five minutes walking back to Hallett’s Mountain to collect something sensible, she decided to apply beer to the problem. After a couple of tins, she figured it would be a practical solution to lean out across the pond with a stick. A stick that was clearly far to short for purpose. She started waving it in a manner that might attract a bucket. Failed miserably. After a while I was called from my spade work to assist. Her opinion was that if I held her firmly by one hand she cocould lean far enough out over the pond. In such a way that the short stick would seem extra sparkly attractive to the buckets and she would be able to bring them home.
The entirely foreseeable happened. After a few seconds of bucket lunging I was forced to let go.