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22 juin 10 21:57 - 20 weeks

3 mai 10 19:31 - Two little Peavisses

19 nov 07 21:01 - Wet Hat

Somebody left a fresh Daily Mail in the staff kitchen and I couldn’t resist a little look. Apparently there is no middle aged middle class drinking at home problem; it is all young rogues drinking at home then going out and vomiting in the street. What else? Princess Diana was breathing before she died, allegedly. Allison Pearson cannot work, or is too frightened to try to work, the Blackberry her family gave her, or is making it up. The Mac cartoon is of a government minister dictating a statement about immigration and security. The joke is that the secretary is a man wearing robes, a turban and a beard. Perhaps it is meant to be our old friend Aaron Barschak?

My little green Castro cap from Cuba was soaked this morning. I am thinking of getting an umbrella. Apparently Mrs P’s mum has a gentleman’s black one to spare, but this means waiting until we visit the south coast on 14th December. Until then I can wear my polyester huntsman’s cap with the earflaps, or my waxed wide brimmed hat that makes me look like an umbrella and/or a tit.

In the news: the Northern Rock bank is complaining because the people offering to buy it want to pay less than it is worth!

My colleague who broke her foot at the Christopher Cross concert, who was mostly sweet-natured and a good friend, and only incidentally used to drive me round the bend with crazy talk, died of a heart attack on a train at the end of last week. If not for her vegetarianism, Mrs P would probably have never started the Quorn stir-fries.

14 nov 07 16:25 - Sunday

No Broadcasting House on Radio 4 at 9 am. That’s fine, but The Archers omnibus early instead? Mrs P doesn’t mind the Archers, but can’t stand the music. I only like the music, so that went off.
On our way to the farmers’ market we stopped by the foot tunnel under the Northern Line when we heard guns go off for two minutes remembrance silence. They must have stopped the trains too, and no pedestrians passed, but the traffic on the North Circular Road didn’t stop, of course, and can be heard from quite a few streets away.
We met a neighbour at the market. She didn’t have her huge dog with her, because it is frightened of children. She advised us to watch the man selling the greengroceries, as he is known to overcharge, so I studied the electronic scales while Mrs P presented her squashes, filthy carrots and whatnot.
It would hardly be possible to overcharge for the apples we had with blue buffalo cheese for our lunch.
I used the electric saw on the plank we bought in Lancing to replace the rotten skirting board.
Bad record: I Cover The Waterfront by Billie Holiday in 1944. Words and music both seem very unmemorable. And the Eddie Heywood orchestra are far from being Holidays best accompanists.
On video: A film: Alpha Male (Dan Wilde, 2006). Family f***-ups with Jennifer Ehle, Trudie Styler, some men, and the great Amelia Warner doing her usual bloody daft act. Retro flavourings include pet poisoning, swearing, Lego, a big house, loadsamoney, and a lot of coffee. Unusual atmos and non-chron narrative. Somebody was trying a bit, to the extent that it felt like straight to late night BBC2.
At teatime Mrs P says put out a couple of rich tea, so I put out four, plus two Café Noir, a bourbon, and a Christmas chocolate covered possibly shortbread. I have put on two and a half stone in five years. At this rate I will be 18 stone by 2017. But although I am eating more while not drinking alcohol, the calories may not balance. I could be losing weight while I am eating biscuits.
While Mrs P had phone calls I looked at TV with subtitles. Points Of View is not what it was in Took’s day. Songs Of Praise with Simon Weston is an odd thing when you can’t hear the hymns, but I like to look at the people, and there were soldiers today, of course. Mrs P’s mum wants to get me a Christmas present, so I am going to ask for the Robert Plant/ Alison Krauss album. People are asking: Is it any good or is it just a big hype? Is Gone, Gone, Gone, the single, like or not likee the Everly Bros version? It has a better rumble, IMHO, and possibly better singing (rest in peace, Andy R!). Uncle Brian Matthew played the Everlys version on SOTS on R2 yesterday morning. Mrs P says that Humphrey Lytellton is living on borrowed time. Anyway, GGG, two good Gene Clarks and a Tom Waits ought to see them through. It’s fun to enjoy things that are Number One, as long as the persons responsible are not too callow.
My mum wants a record called something Sensation for Christmas. I have bought the first Sweet Inspirations album on CD, on IMPORT, for Sweet Inspiration, but could it have been Sweet Sensation by The Melodians? Is there such a thing as a Melodians CD? Is such a thing desirable? If you google Melodians the top result is an ebay ad for “new and used Melodians”, poor things. At least one of them is dead. I don’t think I have their Rivers Of Babylon at home, except with a DJ on top: Sounds Of Babylon – Samuel The First (a lovely Good Record present from martinskidmore).
Mrs P painted the plank, and the paint seems to have had a deleterious effect on our respiration.
We ate a venison, rabbit, pigeon and something pie from the farmers’ market, with fresh carrots and mushrooms, and watched 30 Rock, which is a kind of Larry Sanders for the soft-brained/hearted and/or pie-filled, and Antiques Roadshow, which I think I have done my time with. I’m certainly too old to start again with a new presenter again.
We did not try Harry Potter as Jack Kipling. I don’t dig the period costumes, for one thing. One of Dr Who’s girl friends was in it. An excitable Canadian-Ukrainian oncology clinic nurse used to cry “Hairy Porder!” at me, and on Thursday at the Rotary Club quiz night, a Macmillan information nurse said my travelcard photo looked like Daniel Radcliffe.
I taped the Angelbrad Pitt-Jolie action film. 140 mins, with advertisements. We are never going to sit through that, unless we have it in instalments. Mrs P is q. relaxed about this sort of thing. I used never to break a film, or miss the beginning. I still would rather not do it with a serious film.
On BBC1, a comedy play called Learners instead is only 80 minutes, though it seemed a lot longer. Feeble stuff, by Jessica Hynes, who is never going to get anything as good as the Royle’s neighbour again. The barrage of Divali fireworks throughout from across the road would have been more suited to WW1 trench horror.
Good records: Reverend Gary Davis, ?The Boy Was Playing The Guitar And Looking At The Girl At The Same Time, then Van Morrison in New York in 1967 at bedtime.
Tonight we will probably have sherried kidneys. I am not buying a whole bottle of sherry that no-one will drink. I can use some Japanese wine, from my supplies for my long-intended home-made sushi.
So dry and cold in the office I have to use hand cream.
I must have thought of Frank P. the other day because he gave me his copy of James’s The Ambassadors in the eighties. He couldn’t read it and neither could I then. It’s never hard to find a copy, any time you fancy it. Sample scene: Chad picks up Strether at his hotel before he’s had his coffee and takes him to have it in a café round the corner. Chad has a buttered roll and Strether has toast. Someone should publish an expurgated edition of just the dialogues and ordinary business. Or make a film. Bryan Singer to direct.
I am not getting the opportunities that I need to say “flabbergasted”. Salami and houmous was a new sandwich filling combination on me today, but “flabbergasted” would be too strong. Lipsmacked might be the word.
I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to arriving on the dark porch and being instantly automatically illuminated, so that I can put my key in the lock with ease. And no electrician’s bill to pay. This is going to be one of the highlights of the year for me.

13 nov 07 11:23 - Le weekend Peaviss

Well on Saturday we had our tea and biscuits in bed and then I went up to the post delivery office to collect some brown boots Mrs P had ordered in a Savile Row boutique. Obviously they came while we were at work. Now this is not "mail order", so what is it? Shop order mail delivery, or just mail delivery. This makes me think of take away/take out, which when you phone up and they bring it isn’t really. But "home delivery" is not catchy. I have long proposed "knock and pay" but few have taken it up. How about "ring and bring", or R&B for short? It already means at least two things.

For about a hundred quid, the boots are not very heavy. If you spent a hundred quid on CDs, you’d never get them home, at today’s prices.

I had two poached eggs on toast from bread that I thought was "artisan made" but was only "artisan inspired", but I enjoyed it anyway.

After our nap, with Jonathan Ross talking on the radio, we took down the porch lamp and replaced it with a PIR (something infra-red?) security light. I stand on the ladder swearing with aching arms, and Mrs P passes me the screwdrivers etc..

I sorted out papers and magazines, going back to last December. Mrs P did a raisin beer variation on bloody Nigella’s bashed chops with cider/mustard sauce and gnocchi, but we had spinach and something instead of horrid gnocchi.

On videotape, Friday’s C4 comedy pilot, Free Agents, with Stephan Mangan and Sharon Horgan, not as bad as some, but you couldn’t even see where any funny bits might have been supposed to be. As the first sixth of a slightly light-hearted drama about bereavement, failure, and sex it might have been all right. And then there was an hour of Poliakoff on the same sort of themes, with the usual ghostie music, some stock footage, and Ruth Wilson’s marvellous ducky gob and boomerang eyebrows, playing two characters, or parts anyway.

Listened to John Lee Hooker CD: Best of Friends, a compilation of tracks from The Healer and the four after that, plus three new tracks. Maybe Ry Cooder is right about English musicians. The Clapton Boogie Chillen is v. average. The Santana tracks keep reminding Mrs P of something, and finally she decides that it is Backstabbers by the O’Jays. I keep trying to concentrate on I Cover The Waterfront, with Van Morrison, but can’t. The Cooder tracks, This Is Hip and Big Legs, Tight Skirt (with Ike Turner on piano) are the best, though I’m In The Mood, with me and Mrs P doubling Hooker and Bonnie Raitt, goes the triple tracked vocal on the original one better, in a way.

9 nov 07 16:10 - Christopher Cross

Man alive! I am acting ‘team leader’ while one of my colleagues is on a Caribbean cruise for two and a half weeks. We had a barney in the department yesterday arvo. One of the temp secs, working for one of the most difficult consultants, while the part-time sec who is supposed to assist the permanent sec this one is temping for is off with a busted foot, due to tripping into the back of a seat at a ****ing Christopher Cross concert!, farmed out some letters to a temp sec on the other team, who ****ed it up royally, filling the blanks with nonsense, and then wiped the bloody dictation tape. The consultant is one of the most potty-mouthed in the hospital, and who can blame her?, with all the **** she has to put up with, and yelled at the other team leader, who insisted on a meeting with the incompetent on ‘my’ team this morning. And I didn’t apply for one of these jobs, because I knew it would be all this kind of ****. So the other team leader says last night “you tell her we’ll meet at 10.30, I’ll see about booking a room.” This morning I tell her, and ask which room was booked. “Oh, they’re all booked at that time, I’m busy, make it later”, so I have to tell the poor cow, who is worrying what is happening at this meeting, sorry, it’s going to be half an hour later, ring up and book a room. Meanwhile, I am trying to get my own tape from yesterday’s clinic to play. The reels are jamming so the sound is all muuwoo-fuuurwummbwaaa, so I twirl the pencil in the holes but that does no good so I use my patented dashing the cassette to the desk method, three times but this does no good, so the fourth slam breaks the casing. I managed to poke the reel wheels back into place, but the tape was not running firmly against the opening. I couldn’t see what was wrong so I had to break another cassette, and take out two tiny padded levers which push the tape down. Got these in, after a certain amount of dropping them on the floor, and getting them tangled in the tape, but it still wasn’t lying taught against the heads. At this point somebody brought me a tape of their own for me to listen to, asking “is he saying “piles”?” He was. Staring at a third cassette, I saw two even tinier metal rods behind the far ends of the opening. Smashed it and caught the rods as they tried to roll off the desk. When I finally poked everything into place and taped up the sides the tape ran smoothly at normal speed, but handling had muffled the sound.
            As I left for my meeting, the woman my boss had booked to meet him at the same time as he had agreed for me to book a different woman arrived. I sent him off with her, then the other one turned up. Apologised and sat her down to wait, while I went off to add to my embarrassment by playing good explaining cop to the team leader’s bad admonishing one. Came back busting for a piss, but answered the phone to a patient whose urgent appointment had been booked too soon for his liking. When I got off the phone the piles lady wanted me to set up a conference speakerphone in a meeting room on the sixth floor. I picked up the phone and transformer etc. in the suitcase sized box and said I would meet her there but had to stop in the loo, where I got the phone and myself safely through the cubicle door but shut my other thumb in it as it was closing, which was when I lost my temper.

8 nov 07 14:36 - Beaverwatch

BBC4 documentary on Tuesday night gave rare chance to see moving pictures of Louis Prima (as well as contemporary swinger (not like that!) Ray Gelato, who is the brother of one of my secretarial colleagues, star link!). At one point, Prima waved his arms in the air in the manner of World Of Agwu in the picture above his loo of him surprised on a railway station by the giant eyes of Tony’s grandfather. The stickismyfriend will remember Ray from the Chevalier Brothers!
I watched only the last fifteen minutes of Spooks. All the excitement and less time wasted.
From a review of a chess computer programme on Amazon: “If you don’t like chess you probably won’t go for it.” What seems at first a pointless remark turns out to provoke quite a lot of thought. “Probably”?
I searched on YouTube for washing beavers. I did find a clip of one beaver washing by himself on dry land, but some of the other results were quite off-colour (in the US sense), which I ought to have predicted. The odious Oddie himself sneaked in a reference to “beaver shots” on Autumnwatch. To think that I used to adore The Goodies! I was surprised at Mrs Peaviss for recognising such a term, and questioned her about this. Apparently she learned it from a film called “The Naked Gun”. I feel like Sam The American Eagle from The Muppet Show. “Underneath their clothes, people are all walking around naked! Disgusting!”
I am going to encourage the use of ‘flabbergasted’. Even John Betjeman’s daughter said that he would have been “gobsmacked” at the opening of the new St Pancras station.
Good record: Daisy Glaze by Big Star. George Starostin describes the first half of this as excruciating, something like a cross between Pet Sounds and a particularly mellow McCartney number, as if this were a bad thing!
Bad record: Angel Flight by Suzi Quatro. One of the worst long track follies of the 70s, lyrically jejune, with bloated arrangement and rotten drum solo. I’ve made a note saying “never play this one again”, but the “it can’t be as bad as I remember” moment will come, and on it will go again, perhaps not for the full ten minutes, I hope.
While I was out shopping at lunchtime I heard a couple in long coats, looking at a DVD cover behind glass in a display case, having a very earnest discussion about whether one of the characters depicted was a zombie or not. Apparently some of these creatures look like zombies but are not. It must be awful to dim the lights and settle down to watch a zombie film only to realise that it is not a zombie film. And of course sometimes it is only actors anyway!

6 nov 07 12:57 - only fish can develop social relations to the political level

Deranged by phone calls last thing at night and first thing in the morning at home and all day at the office, I limp about aimlessly to avoid them for a bit, thinking about aches and pains and wondering whether to read a book about pain by Alphonse Daudet I’ve had for years, picked up cheap in ?Julian Barnes translation at Camden School For Girls Christmas book sale and I must check the date of that this year and maybe punch a greasy-anoraked book dealer for shoving, if I can raise the energy.
I don’t like Daudet’s 19th century French Quixotish Tartarin of Tarascon, though I am hanging on to a copy of the last Tartarin book, Port Tarascon, because the English translation is by Henry James, but I haven’t read it because it is far too heavy and probably fragile to hold one-handed on the tube. And, if we must face facts, it is probably not going to be a relaxing read. Though James can do a bit of excitement when he feels like it, e.g. in Roderick Hudson. Fifteen years between RH and PT translation, though.
Now why am I thinking about Frank P. now? Him saying to me in the Two Brewers “you should see some different places. Are you going to sit here for the rest of your life seeing how many vodkas you can drink?” Well, in fact, I spent several years drinking cider at home, so a life of variety is not unknown to me.
Apparently Will Self publishes 250,000 words a year. I have not read them all, but I have never read any interesting ones. I have just complimented two chums on the high level of interesting and unusual information in their blogs, mostly about movies and TV. Worse than a blog with nothing to tell you must be one like this bemoaning the fact.
Wondering whether Bill Oddie has dyed his hair red for Autumnwatch on BBC2 last night is a poor substitute for University Challenge. While I was washing pots, the very many pots I managed to dirty making a cauliflower cheese, Mrs P saw a delightful row of beavers bathing themselves, but I missed it. Apparently they were shampooing under their arms and everything, which reminded me of my mother seeing the squirrel in the churchyard at Walham Green burying a nut and then wiping his hands (?paws) on a leaf.
“Of all the animals only birds can sit and contemplate reality. Of all the animals only fish can develop social relations to the political level. Thus the contemplative life of a monk or professor, or the political life of a military commander or politician will be the happiest.”
For a bird or a fish, respectively, presumably. Got this great nonsense off the Wikipedia entry on Happiness, misquoting what may or may not (I can’t easily find out) be from Aristotle at all.

29 juin 07 14:48 - GB1

This is not about the Gordon Brown who has just become Prime Minister. This is about another Gordon Brown. And the Miss Knightley is not the film star Keira Knightley. It is another Miss Knightley.
Gordon is starting an important new job.

17 juin 07 22:20 - The day we chased that big French Elephant down in the Mall

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