EDitorial ± 30-Jul-2002

Do Not Stand Forward Of The Driver

That weekend now behind us: bloomin' scorchio! Had some friends down to stay who I first met at university, back in the days of The Housemartins (spotted an ad for a Paul Heaton solo album last week), Sly & Robbie (byre! cow shed!) and Crocodile Dundee. Gotta love those '80s.

Time for one last look at the weather:

I'd like to sup with my baby tonight
And play the pup with my baby tonight
But I ain't up to my baby tonight
'Cause it's too darn hot
— Cole Porter, Too Darn Hot

Fine vista from the Orwell Bridge shortly after letting fly of some coloured balloons and watching them sail out over the river: whee!

Far too sticky and much too late for any coherent, acerbic or witty thoughts, so resorting to a pseudo-random list of events, repetitions and foodstuffs from the past seventy-two hours:

  1. ice cream: Haagen-Dazs (Friday), Saturday (Peter's, Ben & Jerry's), Sunday (Alder Carr Farm)
  2. Q: does every book group read Girl With A Pearl Earring?
  3. drink: rhubarb and apple, elderflower presse, red Schloer
  4. open-top bus ride around Ipswich highly recommended: great views, informative commentary, and guaranteed windy on the bridge
  5. gift jars: Country Puddings chocolate fudge sauce, Cumberland honey mustard garlic, Demels hot & spicy mango chutney
  6. Q: how far north does Waitrose go?
  7. denied doughnuts at Felixstowe
  8. three Ds on CD: David Bowie (nominated for the Mercury!), Doves, and the Divine Comedy (appearing at the Edinburgh festival)
  9. playgrounds: Christchurch Park and the Abbey Gardens in Bury, both boiling
  10. that's the way we do things here
  11. bedtime: pumps, cushions, and little children re-appearing time and time again
  12. free fireworks and proms parachutists (new Coldplay album due v. soon)
  13. food: lentil lasagne (where's the meat?), salty monkfish, and flame-grilled BBQ (though several sausages were lost to the gravel)

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 23-Jul-2002

And So To Bed

Bit of a change this week. We present a one-act playlet with felt-tip illustrations by Ella, highlighting one of the many joyful moments of parenthood.

Opening scene shows a modern urban living room peopled by two young children, their father, and various toys strewn on the carpet.

Final scene shows parents collapsed on sofa seeking solace in a tub of Ben & Jerry's while watching Six Feet Under.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 16-Jul-2002

Behold Camelot

Middle-one's birthday at the weekend - great to have your birthday on a Saturday - and, shortly after 9am, bloke with van & trailer knocks on the door of Broom Acres. Couple of mins later he wheels in a colourful compact package about the size of a small Zanussi fridge, and proceeds to unfold it, covering most of the grass. Goes back out, returns with pump, and whoosh! Ready for action in around ten seconds, one bouncy castle. Quite a sight.

Can't recall exactly when it was on, but did you catch that Time Team special from Orford, a short hop up the Suffolk coast? When Tony and the gang weren't sampling the goodies over at the smokehouse, they were knee-deep in artefacts taken from trenches in the grounds of the castle. These included patches of stretched pig-skin that had seemingly been smeared with a saffron-based dye to render them bright yellow, and a primitive form of valve. Contentiously, Mick Aston took these as evidence of a 12th century inflatable model predating the current stone structure.

As one small child bounces off, another bounces on, and so it goes

Inevitably the cons outweighed the pros in these early designs, hence their brief appearance as an archaeological curiosity.

Good Points

  • portable: surprise potential attackers by moving overnight
  • hoghide in plentiful supply for running repairs
  • no need for expensive masonic contract staff

Not So Good Points

  • nowhere to pin the elaborate tapestries
  • lack of a stable foothold not good when preparing boiling oil
  • two words: arrow slits
  • kept drifting around in the moat
  • serfs suffered collapsed lungs from constant exhalation
  • derision by visiting French: "we laugh at your air-filled fort!"
  • appalling hygiene conditions caused by no drain-away for latrines

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 8-Jul-2002

On The Shelf

Thinking back to when we moved in, nearly a decade ago, we must have rattled around, occupying just one out of four bedrooms. Our collective junk spread itself lazily around elsewhere. Then, as successive children were shelled like peas (fresh as the moment when the pod went pop), we chased the junk into the smallest bedroom until that too was required for a small person. Whereupon it made its way up the stepladder into the loft, a journey of no return.
Everything, everything, everything, everything...
In its right place
— Radiohead, Everything In Its Right Place

Often strikes me that a disproportionate (a typing exercise in one word) time at weekends is spent sorting. There's good sorting - shuffling books around to group by author, so Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon is next to The Diamond Age adjacent to Zodiac which neighbours Snow Crash, which I indulged in a spot of on Sat morning - and bad sorting - being faced with a pile of stuff and having to justify keeping each item. Take the surname of the chap who narrated Paddington Bear, insert an "a" between letters two and three, and drop the last letter.

A freshly ordered shelf late one Monday evening

That Bowie bloke mentioned his mate Moby in an interview recently, who he admires for living a spartan and largely possession-free existence. I've got a sneaking suspicion that he of the ubiquitous advert tunes has numerous secret lock-ups full of LPs, college notes and discarded electrical equipment.

Course, if I had the time I'd do my own life laundry, starting with all the blue plastic Ikea boxes under the bed. Next up would be the countless A4 folders full of who-knows-what, followed by the umpteen magazine files. There's some tough decisions ahead.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Feng shui for beginners:

  1. go buy a three-legged frog from a Chinese supermarket and display it by the front door
  2. keep nine goldfish; if a fish dies, that misfortune was meant for you
  3. oh, and tidy your rubbish

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 3-Jul-2002

Nothing Worse

I guess it's a simple matter of Yin and Yang as expounded in yer basic Han dynasty Confucianism: for every upside there has to be a downside. Much like Newton's third law, the one that says no robot should injure a human. Was that Asimov? Some man of science, any road up. Wish I'd payed more attention in Physics at my local comprehensive. Though I did enjoy The Great Egg Race with Prof Heinz Wolf (sp?). Never a rubber band to hand.
There is nothing
Better in life
Than writing on the sole of your slipper with a biro
— Half Man Half Biscuit

Terribly well done to anyone still here. That first para rambled on a tad, did it not? To the matter in hand: pet hates. Not that I hate pets, he said all too quickly, though we did dispose of the cat. And, on another occasion, my negligence did lead to the death of a hamster. It's a fair cop.

Even I, as I breeze through my thirties endeavouring to lead a happy-go-lucky existence, experience the odd moment when my blood pressure rises. Odd that it can be the tiniest thing. Here's a quicky top ten of personal irritations:

  1. that T-Mobile jingle (the illegitimate offspring of Intel Inside)
  2. wasted paper print-outs at work
  3. finding the tea towel in what I amusingly call its NDP, the natural drying position, i.e. scrunched up on the work surface
  4. Friends: please, please finish
  5. drivers who don't indicate - I speak as a driver but also a cyclist
  6. two Inland Revenue words: self-assessment
  7. receiving an email with a blank subject line
  8. broken CD jewel cases
  9. some phrases: "fill your boots"; "thankyou" with no space; anyone overheard saying "or alternatively"
  10. Billy Connolly's ads for Lotto

You'll appreciate that I have it mighty tough, going by the above list.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

On a more positive note:

  1. love that T-Mobile ad with the baby's face everywhere
  2. favourite phrase currently: "deal with it!"
  3. the smell of rain, Amelie the film, kicking a ball around, sitting down knowing the kids are asleep, Dvorak's Carnival overture, buying a new paperback, an extra-strong mint after coffee, the West Wing, etc.

Be seeing you!