Monday, May 30, 2005

Alarms and excursions

So there I was on Saturday morning, sweetly in the arms of Morpheus, when the most horrendous racket woke me up with a terrible start, completely disoriented me and frightened me half to death.

It was the smoke alarm.

When the local authority refurbished our bungalows a couple of years ago, they put in mains-operated smoke alarms which don't need batteries, and which link through automatically to the Warden service. Consequently, before the electric bed had finished lowering itself, and before I could struggle out of my headphones and sleep apnoea mask (yes, I sleep alone...), the intercom from the Warden's office was squawking at me, asking if I were on fire.

Well, I assured them I wasn't, but they insisted that I had to wait five minutes before they could send out the engineer to turn the alarm off. I was too befuddled by noise to question it, and went off to make a cup of tea. After five minutes, it was still shrieking, so I buzzed back and got them to send out the man with the wire clippers.

An hour and ten minutes later, he finally arrived. I had the damned thing going for AN HOUR AND TWENTY MINUTES. Believe my sincerity when I say I now know why noise is used in torture. I couldn't think straight, I felt faint, I felt sick, and - if it's not too much information - I have spent all weekend since then hovering near the bathroom.

The engineer is coming out on Tuesday to reconnect it. He'd better be damned sure what caused the problem before he does so.......

Anyway, the excursions were much more fun, even though I foolishly scheduled two things in three days, and have been paying for it ever since. As I remarked to Mary Anne, my reactions to overdoing it seem to be getting worse, but lasting less time. I can't decide if that's an improvement :(

One outing was the monthly Guild meeting, mainstay of my sanity and always a good time. The other was a trip to the theatre to see a one-man show.

Rodney Bewes, who my UK readers may remember from 'The Likely Lads' and 'Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?' is currently touring with a performance of 'Three Men In A Boat' by Jerome K Jerome. If you don't know this book, I recommend it unreservedly - it was written at the end of the nineteenth century, and is an account of a boating holiday on the Thames undertaken by three incompetent bank clerks and a rather argumentative dog called Montmorency.

Rodney Bewes plays all the parts himself (except Montmorency - he is a small dog on wheels!). He not only remembers 100 minutes of edited book, he also makes ad libs without losing his place. He really brings out the humour of the book, and his affection for it really comes across.

He is accompanied on stage by his own Victorian skiff, a beautiful boat which he found in a farmer's field bereft of varnish and upholstery. The name, however, was still visible - 'Frank'. He was so amused by a boat being named Frank that he bought it and restored it, and will be on the river in it at this year's Henley Regatta!

He came to the bar afterwards to sign programmes and to sell copies of the book. And what a lovely man he is! He really likes people, there's no 'side' or falseness to him at all.

So, anyway, to cut a long story short - go to see it. Take all your friends. It's a brilliant night, and deserves to be really successful!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Happy Birthday to meeeeee.......

OK, so I'm a little late. It was actually on Tuesday. Officially, that is; I awarded myself a three-day birthday on account of the fact that I got some parcels on Monday, and knew I had more coming on Wednesday. I heartily recommend this practice!

I got a subscription to Interweave Knits, some stationery and some pretty towels from Mum; flowers, perfume and a printer stand from my sister; the DVD of 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail', plus a CD with some of my favourite songs on it, from Richard; some Vodka Shots chocolates from Jacky my carer; this illuminated picture from the amazing Lindisfarne Scriptorium from my friend Liz, and some scoubidou (braiding gimp) from my friend Caroline. My brother's present is still en route. (Yes, I know the scoubidou link leads to a Dutch site. Click on Voorbeelden to see the stuff you can make with it....)

Paul took me out to the theatre to see 'Going Dutch', the new Hull Truck Theatre play, which was an absolute hoot. We were in tears laughing at one point, when Gemma Craven's character got accidentally stoned and was trying to get onto her bike.... I can really recommend this one!

It was good to get out, although I'm feeling a bit fragile at present - I've had four little outings in five weeks (twice to the theatre, once to the Botanic Gardens, and once to the Knitting and Crochet Guild meeting), and they have absolutely wiped me out.

Mind you, sometimes I just have to break out and do stuff for the sake of my sanity - but I have to be honest and say that the after-effects are accumulating in a rather ominous way.....