Tag Archives: Happy Birthday

9.12.11 (Nine Bells)

9 Dec

Today’s date doesn’t look much like a special number but I know it is because Belle of the Carnival told me it is.  She might also have mentioned that it’s her birthday. 

In honour of her birthday, here are nine bells:


Belle and Sebastian are first because they take me right back to my childhood:



A beautiful Belle:



A not-so-beautiful Bell:

Antonio Meucci + Alexander Graham Bell


Old Japanese “Nine Bells” Wall Clock (nine bells, twelve hours; go figure):


Nine Christmas bells (of course).  Don’t mock; the same shop offers 24 hollow eyeballs.  Sometimes it’s better to be nice.


A job opportunity:

All Saints' tower

All Saints’ is unique in the world for it has a diatonic ring of nine bells hung for English change ringing, there are other churches with nine bells, but these do not form a “true” major scale…All Saints bell ringers need more people! 

What do you think, Belle?  It’s only a short plane ride from Canada to Basingstoke


 I give you Belle Starr:


Maybe not – that’s how Hollywood saw her; in real life she looked like this:


You could move to the Nine Bells district of the City of Overlook, on the eastern slopes of the Stonehome Mountains, a hoary range of crumbling peaks as old as the world: 

“Nine Bells, Nine Hells, all the same to me.”

Nine Bells district takes its name for the nine temples
found in the heart of the district…this district draws
the hungry, the diseased, and the destitute to its
streets. …With rotting estates, old vineyards now
overrun by tents and wooden shacks, sagging
rowhouses, and communities of tents, Nine Bells
decays even while the rest of the city grows
strong…many of its people commit unspeakable
acts to survive. Drugs, prostitution, and
slavery can all be found here.

From Rodinia 

Umm, maybe not the best way to celebrate your birthday.


Finally, you could visit the past here in Manchester:

(Belle Vue Prison)



You Tube videos won’t embed on my blog at the moment, so here is a poem instead; provide the tune for yourself:

Jingle bells, birthday Belle, singled out today
Oh what fun it is to write in a rather hackneyed way*
Jingle bells, birthday Belle, singled out today
Oh what fun it is to write in a rather hackneyed way**

Dashing through this post
In a must-get-finished way
O’er the words we go
Laughing all the way***
Belles on birthdays sing
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to laugh and ring
Up Canada at night.****

Jingle bells, birthday Belle, singled out today
Oh what fun it is to write in a rather hackneyed way*****
Jingle bells, birthday Belle, singled out today
Oh what fun it is to write in a rather hackneyed way******

*Me, not you!
**Me, not you!
***I hope.
 ****Don’t worry; I won’t be waking you up in a stalkerish way.  Not unless I can reverse the charges.
*****Me, not you!
******Me, not you!


Happy birthday Belle!

Hope this was exciting enough for you!

Congratulations Tory Boy: You Survived Me

18 Apr


My little boy is twenty-one today.  I’m amazed he made it; I was such a nervous mother.  Also a boring one: I’m going to repeat some of his favourite criticisms of me, which I think I have mentioned before.  Indulge me.

I took him for his first check up at ten days old.  The midwife told me off for overdoing it a little on the clothing:

  • all-in-one vest
  • socks
  • disposable nappy
  • rubbers
  • babygrow
  • cardigan
  • all-in-one coat thing
  • hat
  • mittens
  • blanket

In a South African winter, when all we needed was a sweater for cool days.  I don’t know how he didn’t spontaneously combust.

Did you notice the disposable nappy and rubbers, by the way?  I used terry nappies but had disposables for trips out.  I wasn’t sure if he needed the rubbers but decided to err on the side of having the midwife in stitches on the floor.

Daddy, Mummy and Visiting Uncle decided to take a walk with Baby.  Baby’s pram wasn’t in the mood, hitting a rock and pitching Baby out onto the gravel.  Mummy wet herself laughing (nervous condition, I swear) when Baby hit the gravel face-first.  Daddy gathered up Baby, comforting him while cursing laughing Mummy and made sure to grass Mummy up to Baby as soon as cognition set in.  Baby has never let me forget it.

First time on a school trip: I made him wear bright orange raincoat, rain pants, and wellies.  Everyone laughed at him. 

First time on a scooter: I insisted he wear helmet, elbow and shin pads to wheel twenty yards outside the house.

First day of high school: I walked him to the bus stop.

First hint of Saddam unleashing his WMDs on us: I told him to keep his mobile on so I could call him at school if nuclear war broke out.

If that boy doesn’t emigrate to get away from me at the first opportunity, I have done my job well.

Happy birthday darling.  I’m sorry for being your mother.


10 Oct
Today is the Hub’s birthday.  What a shame he isn’t ten, thirty or a hundred; I like number neatness. 
Spud and I woke him with presents.  He always manages to guess what we’ve bought but we fooled him this year by not getting him anything.

When we were very young


Just kidding; I’ve been saving for months and I had £3.71 to splurge with (remember my Christmas savings jar from last year?).  Apart from a box set of Goodnight Sweetheart, I got him packets and packets of Buttons and Haribo; some Christmas card tags; and a magazine.  This is where the fooling came in: he loves Airliner World and can’t afford it so he had asked for a copy.  I bought Airways and gave him that instead.  He smiled resignedly, knowing that I never get these things right – if he says ‘no’ to coffee, he gets one anyway; if he asks for Galaxy, he gets Buttons; if he gets a dvd box set of Goodnight Sweetheart, he already has four of the six dvds in the set sitting on his shelf.   

He said it was okay, he was quite happy to read that one.  He is a geek, after all; it’s what they do.  Spud then gave him a large flat packet that confounded all the Hub’s present guessing instincts – don’t worry; don’t lose the faith; it was just a blip: how many people, no matter how irritatingly excellent to the point of spoiling everyone else’s fun at guessing they are, given pound shop sky lanterns on their birthday, would instantly guess what it was they’d just been given?  Especially if it was a decoy gift: inside was the latest copy of Airliner Nerds of the World Unite magazine, just as he’d requested, plus a war movie to get him in the party mood.

We got him gooooood.  Of such small triumphs is happiness made.

The Birthday Boy gets to choose dinner on his birthday – sort of a last meal in reverse, though sticking to the spirit of the-condemned-man-celebrates-with-food-that-turns-into-ashes-in-his-mouth, given who’s doing the cooking.  The Hub always chooses sandwiches, falling as they do into ‘least likely to be burned’ category. 

That was today’s plan until Tory Boy phoned to say he wasn’t coming home Friday and going back today but just coming for the afternoon because he had been offered extra working hours.  Any activity that doesn’t require me to fund it is to be encouraged, so I asked him what meal he would like for his too-short visit: Lost Child trumps Old Man every time, I’m afraid.  He chose a roast and, to add insult to injury, the Hub was going to have to get up from his birthday couch to go buy all the ingredients for his usurped meal as my fridge is still by the front door due to the ongoing kitchen refurb.  However, Tory Boy saved the birthday because he phoned this morning to say he was free on Wednesday so he would come through on Tuesday night instead of today: he gets his roast; we get to see more of him; and the Hub gets his birthday sandwiches.  Once he’s been to the shop and bought the ingredients, that is.

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