Archive | Family RSS feed for this section

Now I Get It

8 Feb

Before I begin, let me just say that this is the first time I’ve used the new-look New Post feature and I HATE it.  It’s all white space and missing or moved buttons.  Wassup with that, WordPress?

I’m in a bad mood.  I have discovered the point of philosophy, a question which has puzzled me since the summer of 2003.  That was the first year of my Open University degree.  I attended summer school in Manchester – seven minutes away from my house by train; and I chose it for just that reason, having a sick husband and two young children at home.  Plus, I was a wimp in those days. Travel alone in such a lawless country as Britain?  Forget it.

It was a glorious summer (the sun always shines on happy memories) and I had a blast, spending all of my time in lectures and learning, singing in the choir that was composed of almost the whole cohort of students, and playing Medea’s daughter in an amusing stage parody.   I was disappointed not to get two weeks, à la Educating Rita, but loved any break from my adorable family.

I attended a lecture on the piece of music which was the subject of my next assignment and it was so good, all I had to do was transcribe my notes into coherent sentences, giving me one of my best marks that year.  It’s not cheating if you’re just paying attention in class.

Music was not my best subject but Philosophy was definitely my worst.  I just did not get it.  I remember sitting in a tutorial that summer and asking, What is the point of philosophy?  The tutor looked startled and then annoyed, and he didn’t have an answer.  I rest my case.

I wish he was here now, because today I learned the answer: philosophy exists to enable desperate poets to cope with the vagaries of Microsoft.

My Word stopped working.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what version it is.  I don’t know why I didn’t read the dialogue box that came up every day for a week or more which probably would have told me.  But that doesn’t matter because of course it’s Microsoft’s fault: it is the creator, and we always blame the creator when things go wrong.  That’s my philosophy.

I haven’t been around the blogosphere much because I’m nearing the end of phase three of my second poetry collection: the editing process.  The editing process is my favourite part: the research has been done; the poems have been drafted from thin air; I don’t yet have to brutally cut some of my favourite babies, or put out for a publisher.  All I have to do is neaten, tidy and completely re-write until I’m sort of but not quite satisfied with the work that’s already done.

I edit, therefore I am happy.

I type, therefore I am busy.

I think, therefore I am using the education the Open University gave me.

I stay at my computer, therefore the Hub doesn’t have to see me.

I lose Word and my life falls apart: what am I supposed to do with my time if I can’t edit poems?  I might have to talk more to the Hub [shudder].  What if the world never gets to read my genius because Word owns me?  

Tain’t right; tain’t fitting; tain’t proper (how I miss you, Ross Poldark; please come back to my TV and be gorgeous again).

I may just be losing it…it’s only been thirty minutes since Word said Get lost and I’m babbling like a woman who just lost her Word.

On the plus side, I now have time to read your blogs.  

Sidebar: the architecture block of the 2003 course was fascinating but the only thing I remember is how to identify columns.  To this day, I have a weird finger thing I do to remind myself of whether a column is Doric, Ionic or Corinthian. Identifying a type of Classical architecture is a totally useless skill for me to have but I love that I can do it.

What’s your useless skill?  

A Poem to Mourn a Great Loss

I miss Word.
Word has gone.
How will my work be done?
I’m editless; I’m numb.
This poem is the sum of my madness.
Return, Word, and all will be gladness.  

Now you see how good a poet I am, you’ll understand why I’m going crazy here.

No Need To Nag

15 Jan

I had an email from Facebook: ‘Today is Alex Cosgriff’s birthday.’  

To be honest, I was offended; as if I need some mindless, faceless mass to tell me the date my child was born.

Get lost, Facebook.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Uh…oh…um…nearly forgot: happy birthday, Spud.

Linda & Alex 15011996

Promises, Promises

12 Jan

IMG_0088I thought I’d tell you about two of my Christmas presents: the tourmaline necklace and emerald ring (no, it wasn’t my usual hyperbole; I really did receive a ton of gifts).

Our story begins a long time ago in a continent far, far away…the Hub was in Madagascar on business.  He was always away on business, which meant he spent half his time shopping for guilt presents for me and then only child Baby Boy.  

Browsing a huge market, he came across a stall selling precious and semi-precious stones.  He bought four for around R10 (roughly 2-3 pounds/dollars), including the tourmaline and emerald.

When he first gave them to me, he promised to have the emerald set in a ring as soon as we had some spare cash.  That was twenty-four years ago.

Life happened: we bought a house; he started his own business; we had another baby; we left South Africa; he became ill, etc., etc.  The stones languished in my jewellery box, forgotten, I thought.  I wasn’t particularly bothered; he bought the stones on a market stall – I wasn’t convinced it was even a real emerald.

Fast forward twenty-four years.  It was three weeks before Christmas.  The Hub raided my jewellery box and took the two stones to a local jeweller.  He figured that if he was getting one stone set, he might get a deal on another.  The jeweller was impressed by the emerald – rare colouring these days, apparently; and of very good quality.

The Hub was specific about the setting, because he knows I’m specific about jewellery – I don’t do big or bulky or fancy or showy.  I have a small frame and small hands and I like delicate and dainty and not too much of anything.

He went to collect them the day before Christmas Eve.  The  tourmaline necklace was perfect.  The emerald ring…not so much.  The setting was fancy; too fancy for this Hub’s wife, he knew.  He was adamant that it be re-set in time for Christmas.

It took the jeweller three weeks to get it wrong and 24 hours to get it right.  The Hub collected the ring in its new setting on Christmas Eve, packed it in a giant box to throw me off the scent, and had one spectacularly happy spouse on Christmas morning.

It took twenty-four years but the man kept a small promise he made to me.  That was the real Christmas gift.

Christmas Conversations

4 Jan

November

The Hub: What do you want for Christmas?

Tilly Bud: Nothing, really.  I could do with some new socks.  Oh, and I’ve run out of perfume.  Maltesers, of course.  A large Amazon book voucher.  And somebody better buy me the Outlander DVD or you three are going to have a miserable Christmas.  But nothing, really.  You know I don’t need much.

 

IMG_0044

 

The Week Before Christmas

Alex and I went to the local care home to join in with my church carol singing. We’re a small church but, even so, I was disappointed that he and I were the only people to show up.

Attendant: Who are you here to see?

TB: We’re here for the St Matthew’s carol singing.

Attendant: That’s tomorrow.

Christmas Eve

Here’s a conversation I never expected to have.  I was watching ‘White Christmas’ with Spud.  Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye were performing to ‘Sisters’.

TB: I can so see you and Sam doing that.

Spud: [Enthusiastically] Yeah!  I can, too.  I’ll speak to him about it.

TB: I’ve got the perfect dress you could borrow.

Spud: [Still enthusiastic].  Great!  Thanks, Ma!

*

Christmas Eve Continued

TB: Don’t let me forget the starter tomorrow.  Every year, I forget to prepare and serve the starter.  But not this year!

The Hub: I have faith in you.

 

Christmas Eve Continued Again

TB: Hub!  The dishwasher’s not working!  Argh!IMG_0095

Hub: I’ll fix it.

Three days and seven hundred handwashed-by-me dishes later:

Hub: I can’t fix it. [TB stares] Please don’t leave me.  I prefer hospital. [TB stares] But I’d rather not go to hospital. [TB stares] But we can’t afford a new dishwasher; it’s Christmas. [TB stares] Gulp.

Ten minutes later:

Hub: I bought you a new dishwasher.  It’ll be here on Tuesday.

Christmas Day

TB: Thank you, Hub, for the socks, the perfume, the Maltesers, the other sweets, the autographed photos of Cliff Richard and Chris Hemsworth, the tourmaline necklace, the emerald ring, the Outlander DVD and the twenty-seven stocking fillers.  I told you I didn’t want much; I’m glad you listened.

The Hub: You deserve it all, so sweet and undemanding as you are.

TB: [Blush]

IMG_0061

 

Christmas Day Continued

TB: Dinner!  Enjoy, my darlings.  Merry Christmas!

The Hub: Um, I don’t want to upset you but you remember how you swore you wouldn’t forget the starter this year…?

IMG_0051

Bank Holiday Monday

My brother was visiting from down south.

TB: Did you watch A Gert Lush Christmas? It was so funny.  [American readers, think redneck stereotypes

Bro [Who lives in the general area of the programme’s setting]: It’s really like that.

TB: Seriously?

Bro: Seriously. They had to close Cinderford CSI, you know; they couldn’t solve any crimes.  

TB [Walking right into it]: Why?

Bro: Because there were no dental records; and everyone’s got the same DNA.

 

Five Days After Christmas

TB: Hub!  The washing machine broke down!

Hub: I’m leaving you.*

*Not really; fear makes him babble.

 

IMG_0065

Six Days After Christmas

TB: Right, that’s my sack full of presents finally put away.  Everything was on my desk but I had to clear them to wrap Pam’s birthday present.  You know, I’ve got the feeling I’m missing something, but for the life of me, I can’t think what.

The Hub: The starters?

The Hub: Ow!

 

 

New Year

WordPress: Here’s your annual stats.

TB: Thank you, WordPress!  How did I do?

WP: 22 posts all year?  Loser!

IMG_0086

January 3rd

Friend Pam: Thank you for the lovely birthday presents!

TB: Presents?  It was just one present; the framed painting.

FP: No, no; you also gave me autographed photos of Cliff Richard and Chris Hemsworth.  Weird gifts, especially Cliff’s, but I loved the Chris Hemsworth one. Thank you so much!

*

And finally…less talking, more singing: here’s Alex with his friends, just before Christmas.

 

 

 

Untidy Lounge, Untidy Mind.

21 Dec

My house is cluttered; you know this.  

You also know that from time to time the mess gets me down even though, for the most part, I can live with it.

Last Wednesday was such a day.

This was my train of thought: I‘m never going to get rid of this stuff.  Well, not until there’s just me, anyway, and I can decide without argument what stays and what goes.

Here’s what I said to the Hub: I can’t wait until you die and I can get rid of this stuff.

Worst wife ever.

Wonder if I’ll get a Christmas present this year?

Miss Liberty at Sheffield University

8 Dec

The songover is Alex’s voice

You readers must be wondering why this blog seems to have turned into an Alex Cosgriff fan page.  The problem is, the Hub does nothing; Wary Boy tells us nothing; I remember nothing.  Alex is the only one who does anything worth writing about.

I can tell you that I did something on Sunday that I did exactly a year ago, but without the defecation: I went to a brass band concert with my friend Alison.  I enjoyed it.  

That’s about as interesting as it gets; if you want the poo story, I suggest you re-read last year’s visit.

This week, Alex is singing in a concert – with some dialogue, including narration by someone from The Great British Bakeoff (not Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry) – of the songs from Miss Liberty.  The cast is singing with a 40-piece orchestra.

Miss Liberty is a forgotten musical by Irving Berlin.  As far as is known, it has never been staged outside of the States, and has rarely been staged there.  As a result, the concert at Sheffield University is creating noise here and in the US. There have been some radio interviews and articles on the BBCThe Stage, PlaybillBroadwayworld and elsewhere.

For the background story on why it is being staged, read here.

The concert takes place on two nights, including four songs for one night only:

…on Thursday 10 December 2015 audiences will have the opportunity to hear world premiere performances of four songs that were cut before the musical opened on Broadway in 1949. They were discovered by McHugh and Malone in Berlin’s papers at the Library of Congress and special permission has been given to perform them for one night only by the Berlin estate.

University of Sheffield News

Can you tell me, then, why I spent all of yesterday upending Alex’s room to find the two suits, one jacket, one shirt, several ties, and two pairs of trousers Alex simply MUST have if he’s going to appear on stage this week?  And why that was a complete waste of time when I couldn’t find half of them – the suits in particular – and Alex suggested I look behind the door…and there they were?  I’m not in it, so why is there so much work for me?  That boy is taking a liberty.

I suspect I’ll get payback in being able to poke fun at him, however: Alex, who thought the modern dancing he did in Godspell was naff (and read here for how I let that slip to the choreographer), is going to TAP DANCE without benefit of any training whatsoever, in front of a live audience.

I’m cringing all ready.

Hee hee hee.

Tomorrow And Yesterday And The Day Before And Tonight

20 Nov

The Tree of War is no more.  Now it’s death in Macbeth.

Alex is playing Macbeth.  Here he is in rehearsal:

Photo (C) Cog Photography

That boy knows how to commit to a part.  So much so, he passed out briefly last night when the Witches yanked his head back while he was hyperventilating. Fortunately, the Witches were the only ones who noticed.  He said he came to, mumbled for a moment, then went straight back into his line.

He’s a physical actor.  He bruised his hand quite badly in The Tree of War, punching a piece of wood each night.  He also hurt his back a little, falling (as per the script) from the wall going over the top.  He didn’t say anything until after the run because he didn’t want any of that ‘health and safety rubbish’ putting a stop to his performing.

Here’s the Macbeth trailer:

An interesting fact: WordPress spell checker suggested ‘machete’ for Macbeth.  Who knew blog hosts could be so Freudian?

Vivinfrance's Blog

mainly poetry, also quilts, pictures, life-writing and the occasional short story.

Unpicked:Restitched

Where is the heart of Stockport?

The Jog

notices and reflections in ministry

The Cvillean

The adventures of little read writing Hood

Guernsey Evacuees Oral History

An Overlooked British Evacuation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,151 other followers

%d bloggers like this: