Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I've been informed by the solicitors that we have exchanged contracts. So it's all on for tomorrow. And one of the main reasons why I'm so excited is that I was unpacking the shed in the sunshine - although we don't have a shed at the new house, we do have a south facing garden, so even in the depths of winter if the sun is shining, it will be shining on us, just like it was today.
Phil has bought me a beautiful art-deco style watch with diamente stones to match the engagement ring, beautiful. I love Christmas. Not just for selfish reasons because it's my birthday, I like getting presents and lovely food. But everyone is in a good mood, especially me. I love the music, the decorations, the carols, the christmas cyclamens and pansies. Christmas cards, seeing family and friends. And drinking Grand Annee Bollinger, in the true style of a dedicated champagne anarcho-socialist.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
And 'Mirrors of Mortality'? Yes, I did get a copy - from one of the authors - totally ludicrous. It's like borrowing a recording of Yesterday from Paul McCartney. No library had it, not on Amazon and out of print - apparently it's easier to smoke and play music in libraries these days.
So we will be in by Xmas. OK, we won't have broadband, but of course before broadband there was always TV (although you can't look up things on TV) but anyway finding Nemo is on. I'm a Muse for Blaglady too, which is helping me reassert my sense of importance. VIP.
And the invention of the acronym? - yes in the twentieth century so the traditional view of the birth of POSH is not Port Outward Starboard Home. That's another story.
And I'm making Phil Connie's Cous Cous tonight.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
- we're waiting for a roof guarantee before the house goes through
- I have a job interview on Monday in Yorkshire. Yorkshire brace yourself.
- I oscilate between excitement and hatred of my chosen academic topic/s - death, disease, dementia and the twentieth century
- Florence Nightingale might have had dementia. Whether the confirmation of this would interest or be worthwhile to anyone else apart from me is another question.
- Laying bets on how old I will be before I never do any more photocopying, mail outs or arranging meetings. And it's 2 to 1 at 85, 9 to 4 at 86 etc etc ad infinitum yada yada yada. Have I ever used my brain in paid employment?
- I'm now part time and it's wonderful
- I'm doing more cleaning than ever before in my life - put it down to being a student again. I will literally do anything to avoid a) going to the library b) writing anything worth reading c) surfing worthwhile internet sites and taking notes. What percentage of historians hate libraries and always have done? I take it back. It's not that I hate it. I just don't like spending large amounts of my own personal, me time there when 98% of the books are missing - even from the effing british library. Yes I drove for two hours to find a book was missing from the British Library of all places. Phil thinks nicking books from libraries should be a capital offence. Castration would be alright with me. But what's happening to me? One minute I'm happy and joyous full of the joys of spring-ish winter, the next- I'm turning into a nazi. Help! 'Euthanasia'. Sounds appealing. Especially for the ones who nick from libraries. Anyone got a copy of 'Mirrors of Mortality' from 1981?
Saturday, December 01, 2007
On the plus side myself and Connie have had a very pleasant evening watching the Proclaimers top 50 singalong tunes on 'The Hits'. To the extent I'm thinking of buying their album I like their music choices so much. Connie wasn't too impressed with me owning 'Armarillo' - her favourite bit is when Ronnie Corbett falls over on the video. I love it. Jeffrey from rainbow looks a tad on the thin side.
I had a change from acupuncture - shiatsu. First time I've had it. Very nice - like massage with bony fingers. She told me I needed to do fun things. Non-cerebal. I felt watching the Hits was appropriate. They seem to be repeating what the Proclaimers picked from before now - like Billie Jean and Amarillo. I suppose they have to pay large royalties. Another cost saving exercise. I decided that music is one of the ways I relax. But then couldn't get the dowloading thing to work so have to wait until Phil gets here anyway. I've made a note of everything I want to download from the Proclaimers suggestions. Visually I think they've improved with age - one of them has stopped wearing glasses.
The house in leeds is on the verge of going through. Other news, I was suitably undiplomatic in the diplomacy lecture. I said 'It's history from above really isn't it?' He said yes it was. Then I said 'Why can't we do a history of protest - two million people walked against the Iraq war, why aren't we studying that?'. Eyes down, be quiet.
This week was the origins of the second world war. I was on the verge of comatose until the last question 'Why did Britain follow a policy of appeasing the dictators?'. Because our rulers preferred, or thought they preferred, the fascists to the reds. Inevitable is a dirty word in history. Thank God.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
But I have to be diplomatic. I'm paying these people good money to teach me things. The other problem is that (and this is a technical issue) we have to analyse the sources of the article. My good friend (who shall remain nameless) photocopied the article so I'm almost eternally grateful as it saved an estimated 5 hours of work trawling round this and there looking for the damn thing. Anyway, the bibliography and references weren't photocopied. So I have an article which I'm not interested in, with the actual information I need unavailable.
Where are those black ladybirds?
Monday, November 12, 2007
I will suggest it to husband shortly. Hopefully a third party (our new accountant of all people) will convince and life will be bearable again. We will be together, not apart. On an even keel and not worrying about cash as you do. I feel a two day week coming on.
I wrote myself a list of priorities today as I was banging on to someone else about how crucial this was for wedding planning. Top of it and underlined was 'Living Together'. In fact I don't remember underlining any of my priorities for the wedding, so I'm pretty convinced that this major priority will soon see fruition.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
The other trick is having early nights. I'm now the Queen of this. Twice this week I've been in bed at 8.30 - fast asleep by 9.
I feel a bit how God must feel - the all-seeing-eye when no-one else is around. Then you bump into someone who's from another office also leaving the same time as you, and make small talk about how this is the busiest time of year and the problems of information technology these days. I don't suppose God has to join in the small talk.
I'm enjoying work and I'm enjoying my course. It's excellent.
Not enjoying being apart from my husband. But when I think about him I smile, the separation is only a temporary thing. Smiling's been pretty permanent since 20052005.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
You take an onion and fry it until golden brown- about seven minutes - laterally adding two cloves of diced garlic. Boil the kettle for the cous cous. You then add one packet of Passata (sieved italian tomatoes). You then add half a chopped red pepper and a chopped courgette. Then cover the cous cous with the boiled water and let it soak. Then add a tin of chick peas to the tomato mixture and reduce for about 3 minutes, adding a handful of fresh coriander. You add some vegetable stock and mixed seasoning to the mixture. Then serve with the cous-cous and a slice of lime.
Delicious, the quickest thing in the world and good for you.
The blog is I'm afraid the last thing on my list of priorities. It may well have served its purpose in getting me writing confidently, trying to improve with feedback in preparation for the MA.
Anyway it's probably a nice way to keep in touch with friends and family, although Connie is instilling me with a renewed paranoia about identity theft. I know the last time I tried to knock the blog on the head I had some rather unpleasant news which meant I carried it on for therapeutic purposes.
While it's still going - other lovely news to impart is that I spent Sunday with my cousin and family, and got reinvigorated nuptial-wise with the viewing of unseen marital photographs.
Husband has a week off and I had the earliest night ever last night of 8.30pm. I would love to say that the house sale is progressing as fast as Paula Radcliffe's postnatal running achievements. Hopefully we'll still be in for Christmas, although I'll be so busy writing essays that I suspect the house will be bottom of the list of priorities, although higher than the blog.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
One thing's for sure. I haven't got time to think about whether the alphabet is random or not. Who cares anyway?
Monday, October 15, 2007
The alphabet is a funny old thing. We like to think of its randomness, but is it? For example I had my Ipod on what I thought was random but it was playing everything in artist order from A-Z. I only needed to get from A to B to get fully satiated. In fact the world wouldn't be too bad if all the artists were obliterated from C onwards. I had, for example, Abba, AC/DC, Arctic Monkeys, The Beatles (under B confusingly) Aretha Franklin. And then you've got Life itself. As a teenager you feel at ease with the alphabet. You feel ingratiated with all the letters from a to z of course. And I spent my twenties disproving this and just getting to know A to B. Then C crops up. We've got enough Connies in the world to write a few internationally renowned comedy scripts. And some more four letter words and six letter ones beginning with c that we can't mention at this juncture. And it's only now approaching the mid-thirties mark that I feel strong enough to even start writing some of these d-words down. Death. Dementia.
And at the other end of the spectrum I've decided that all the words ending in ie are my favourites. Especially my favourite names. Of course I'm biassed because they're my favourite people. Aunties and the rest of you know who you are and I won't embarass you here.
And what would have happened if the musical language had gone up to I? Is this possible? Has anyone ever tried it? Why not from A-Z? Invent a piano where middle L is the key we all know. Random my A***.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Tomorrow I'm going to print off my blog so I can delete all the polls. I think I was the only person who enjoyed them so they're being evicted. Airbrushed right out of history (except I'm keeping a hard copy).
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
1) I agree with him
2) He mentions dementia A LOT
3) studying death isn't that depressing
4) you can prepare for death and there are well managed, good, deaths
5) It would be a waste of four years research not to do a history of dementia
6) It's a fact we're all going to die, there's no point denying it
7) A history of dementia hasn't been done before in this country
8) I'm already an expert in it
It's a pretty well known fact everyone dies, yet debatable whether we can prepare for it at all.
Anyway in Africa so my friends tell me, death is not as much of a taboo. My friend C went back there a couple of years ago and one of her friends had attended 200 funerals that year. She missed her father's funeral and had a video of it instead from her family. Perhaps we can prepare for it more than we think. I'm got a brilliant book called 'Dying Well' by Richard Reoch. I thought 'I'd better read this to get ready for studying dementia'. But it needs to be read with a box of tissues to hand.
A History of Love is much more appealing. Skip the social just like Blaglady said. Nothing you can do that can't be done. Nothing you can make that can't be made.
Monday, October 01, 2007
The course is outstanding. I'm certainly not disappointed. In fact the opposite. We were told all day today that this course is not only the nation-leader, it's the world-leader. In fact the whole 'school' is. There's only nine of us on the whole course (which is absolutely ridiculous as this is the only twentieth century history department in the whole country) and one of those is part time. We get one to one tuition on our options (surely only matched by Oxbridge) and we pick our essays for the Core Courses. As long as they don't overlap, much, but they can interweave. So for example I could do a 'Twenty-first century history of dementia' for my dissertation, with my Core Course 1 essay 'A history of age discrimination in the 1990s' with Core Course 2 essay being 'A post-war historiography of geriatrics'. I was going to do Madness & Society as an option at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the history of medicine but it's only available next term. So I'm going to do 'Interview Skills for historians' as I'm hoping to interview geriatricians etc.
Everyone on the course seems very nice indeed. We're a mixed bunch which is quite nice, and we all like a beer, but not too much of it.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
But we've done it. And unpacking one box takes approximately one hour. So by 2008 we might have unpacked, except we've got to move again in probably December. So I'm coping by sleeping. The bedroom in 'Courtyard Cottage' is deceptively free of boxes. It's a box free haven, overlooking a beautiful crab apple tree in its prime.
My ambition this week was to unpack the kitchen. However this was overambitious. So instead we've been dining out (how unlike us). But being up North the prices are literally four times cheaper so this suits us fine. My new ambition is to meditate thrice daily, cloaking myself in a relaxed ambience and to stop having over-ambitious plans.
The cats are fine. Because they've been imprisoned the moment they got here
they don't mind too much about being inside. Except if I go in the garden. Which I'm very much enjoying - it's south facing.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
She had an excellent idea of making what she's written already Volume One, then having the appendix as a list of chapters for the second volume. Anyway I didn't quite understand it but it sounded brilliant.
I've been wanting to write a social history of love ever since I read 'History of God' and 'History of the Orgasm', both of which are excellent books. But no one appears to have done 'History of Love' so after I've done my History of dementia I'm going to have a crack at it. You can look up my early thoughts on this (Sept 3rd 2006).
I think my chapters will be thus:
1) What is Love?
1.5) Love and biology
2) Love and Evolution
3) The Greeks and Love
4) The Romans and Love
4.5) St Paul's letter to the Corinthians and religion etc
5) Medieval Love
6) Early Modern Love
7) Shakespeare and that era
8) Victorians including Freud & Marx
9) One Love
10) The Twentieth Century and Love including homosexuality
11) What's the difference between Care and Love?
12) The Beatles
13) What's the difference between 'being in love' and loving someone/thing?
14) Measuring love
14.5) Tragedy, wars and Love - eg Iraq, Cassablanca [watched this yesterday for the first time]
15) Love : A Manifesto - the Secular Ideal for the twenty-first century
I reckon this one's an even bigger project than dementia. Hopefully finished by 2023.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Re: dementia. Nothing to moan about really. In my day job (the one I get paid for so I have to be careful what I say here) we had a presentation on these sort of issues and I was impressed. They turned it into a plea for help which was quite cunning. Of course, with me they were pushing at an open door. Not sure about x and y though.
On things which I presumably can drone on about till the cows come home (an apt phrase from my childhood - they destroyed the potatoes and lettuce I was growing in our vegetable patch 21 years ago). Namely the docu-soap on telly last night about entrepreneurs in a Ugandan village. Needless to say, I had tears in my eyes. One minute a child dying of malnutrition. Next minute, an awe inspiring demonstration of human spirit through dance and song. The human spirit is so bright when you expect it to be deadened.
Anyway I'm going to try and make the blog as dementia orientated as possible so I can see all my writing mount up.
Today I'm fuming because there was a report out a few weeks ago saying there was no evidence that the government's half baked £20billion 'Sure Start' programme has any impact. Of course, now I've actually been elected with a brief to improve older people's services there are a multitude of things that that £20bn could have been spent on which actually have EVIDENCE to support their case for improvements. Including implementing their own guidelines, perhaps having some of their beloved 'targets' on dementia like they do for cancer for example.
The fact is age discrimination is endemic, it's not just institutionalised it's blatant. My thesis, which is supposed to be a history of dementia could be a history of age discrimination. Lives at a certain age are just less valuable to our society. And doctors have told me that.
TO answer my last question I had votes in the hundreds (700people voted) and I was fourth out of five. So my husband has to slap himself on the face say a hundred times.
Monday, September 17, 2007
I'm delighted to report that the governors are all lovely and I've managed to slip a few faux pas in all over the place, with the discreet coded etc to benefit the hospital. Our Chair is Uberkid - Chair of the London Museum (my favourite museum) amongst other achievements which are too lengthy for this short blog. I enjoyed it much more than the so-called training the other day. Much more informative and enjoyable. Long live democracy. As you can guess I'm a new convert. Get my 'results' tomorrow (how many people voted for me!). I'll be living off this election business for years. Well at least one.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Perhaps I'm on safer ground moaning about Tamoxifen. To be honest, now I've got used to it it's fine.
So back to moaning about the training yesterday. I attended training on dementia. It was absolutely rubbish. It was like (and forgive me for being pompous and arrogant, but now I'm elected I'm entitled) Einstein attending A Level Physics classes. Or Shakespeare an oral english examination. Or Tony Blair BTEC in diplomacy. There was this bloke, I could call him a _____, but now I'm elected I don't think my language will plunge to those depths. Let me put it like this: I disagreed with him.
He said potato. I said tomato. It was like that. I don't want to be libellous you see so without going into any detail whatsoever I'll just leave it at that. But I'm right and he is wrong. And he is a ______.
So to cheer myself up I rang up homerton hospital and found out I'm the guv'nor. [should read 'a']
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I've been celebrating with blaglady - she's entered the world of paid employment at the tender age of 97 so we cracked open the prosecco. If there's spelling and pc mistakes in this I apologise. Jim Davidson would know better. To cut a short story pissed, there was a lot of meat on at the hope and anchor so in my new responsible state I ate it all. Long live Megadeth.
On a more serious note I hope to champion the causes of whoever pays me the most (joke) and marries me the most times (not so funny).
Nepotism is a funny old game. Fortunately it doesn't existin the NHS.
I'm not as happy as Larry - Blaglady will contest he was an ex's ex' ex of mine. Power breeds responsibility which breeds stress= money which breeds living in London. Me in Leeds is out of the equation. AT =PM SQUARED minus facebook. Somehow it doesn't add up and I've got to do a lot of reading.
And tell me again - who was the youngest prime minister ever elected who was a woman? And what happened to her burning ambitions to see improvements in the number of dementia cases diagnosed?
Monday, September 10, 2007
2) Delicious chicken salad in a cafe, with roasted peppers, avocado, goats cheese and balsamic vinegar
3) Brian from Big Brother defending himself so well against the homophobic bullying of Jim Davidson. If only one of the women could have done such a good job against his misogynist tirades.
3) Telephones/their operating companies/fax machines
5) pestilence/poverty/death/global warming/disasters
6) Shops which don't sell organic malted whole grain flour
7) Jim Davidson
8) The media
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Then we had the appointment. With the same doctor who I'd had all along. And he was there with two other people. One sitting down and one standing. There was a little bit of small talk. And then the nice doctor said 'I'm sorry to say but the lump is malignant.' And they let us ask a load of questions. The doors were locked to stop us being interrupted. And he said I probably wouldn't remember much of the conversation as it's shocking news so we could just go home now, tell the family, and come back next week to discuss the treatment plan. And then the person sitting down introduced herself as the breast cancer nurse who would be the main point of contact, she gave me her pager details and a load of leaflets - about breast cancer, its treatment and alternative treatment at the breast cancer centre. And that was that. As perfect a textbook diagnosis you could ask for.
But God help you if you get dementia. Chances are (50%) you or your relatives will never get a diagnosis. And the diagnosis is never perfect. The so-called 'Nice' guidelines recommend not to tell you if they think you don't want to know. There is nobody applying the sorts of standards of Cancer Care to dementia. Nobody will ever discuss a treatment plan with you, mainly because there isn't one, because the care slips through the gaps between personal care (social services) and health care. It's a long, difficult death, lasting 20 years but you won't die at home or in a hospice. They're all for cancer patients (95%).
I won't be cycling round the world I'm afraid. Or doing a triathlon, or in fact anything where some poor souls have to sponsor me. Cancer patients are well served. And they have plenty of people, dead and alive fighting for their corner. I don't know whether to crack open the champagne or cry for 2 years over the death of this Cancer Superwoman. I prefer Cherie Booth to be honest.
But if I help a quicker and better diagnosis for even one dementia patient I'll be a little happier. If I stop one doctor writing 'Old Age' as the primary cause on one death certificate I'll be a little happier. And I will be very sanctimonious about it indeed. As sanctimonious and victorious as the next cancer superwoman. And if anyone writes poison pen letters telling me to vote Tory, euthanasia works, have chemo once a week, stop reading, stop studying, worship Madonna, stop eating out, sell my engagement ring or some other thing that I don't want to do in a million years I won't be dignified. I will tell them to piss off.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
But that wasn't a line from the song.
Anyway we've had a lovely weekend, despite my husband not forgiving me for booking us into the worst hotel in the world. He recorded me a video of it for posterity to make us laugh if ever we get depressed. We had an overlap with Yorkshire rental arrangements where it meant he didn't have anywhere to live for 2 nights and this 'Lodge' was my answer.
And then we moved him into this cottage near York - friends renting it to us. And I got thinking about friendship again. Would I be friends with my relatives if I wasn't related to them? And some friends are like relatives anyway. You've grown up with some of them. And like relatives, because you're friends with them say for example because they're friends with your mum, you don't really have that much choice. And neither do they. You have all this small talk business. Are you enjoying work? Did you watch Supernanny? But I still love em. All of em.
I'm just about to celebrate 20 years of friendship with one of my friends. It was actually last year (the 20 year anniversary date) but we both had too much on. We've been through everything together, sort of. And a lot not together. And we're probably quite different now. We went to Donnington 88 together and nearly got crushed in the Guns N Roses push. She introduced me to good music and nice people. I made friends with her friends, she made friends with mine. I became part of the family for a while. She was always beautifully dressed. She had a few boyfriends and so did I. She got engaged. I moved to London. She got married. I moved jobs. She became a teacher. I became a preacher (not). And she came to my wedding and stayed right to the end. When I treasured my 'Shortcuts to Bounching back from heartbreak' after splitting up from Silly-boy, I wrote inside 'What is a friend?'. That's one.
Anyway the answer to the question is possibly.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Anyway, business was never really my strong point. Or cakes. I might retract the business plan idea, especially as we've got so much on at the moment.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
But I bet Tony Blair is now regretting he didn't do a journal when he was in office. I'd hate to have to try and remember all the interesting bits 10 years from now that happened today. We saw my cousin and her fiancee for example. They showed us how they've converted a garage into a bedroom, and they've got two reception rooms in this new house. They recommended that we didn't live in Halifax. And then we had an afternoon nap. It's all these titbits of information that just get lost in the melay. Although ironically today ten years ago of course Princess Diana died so most people remember a lot of detail about that day as it's etched on our memories. I remember that I was in London staying in this awful place near Turnpike Lane, which had mice, with my Ex. Radio One was playing non stop funeral music which I woke up to thought it was weird, then they said why. I was doing my post-grad diploma in journalism and had this brain wave of building on the anti-media backlash that occured by burning loads of tabloids in the streets. But I never sorted it out. I still think about what a missed opportunity that was. I hated the media, it was a stupid idea to do a vocational course in that area. I failed the diploma. The rest, as they say, is history.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
2) Kiss your husband
3) Make sure you bring your slippers, especially if you're going up North. In fact come to think of it don't bother otherwise
4) Read GErmaine Greer's article on Princess Diana in the Sunday Times.
5) Then have a heated debate on the defammation laws with your husband
6) And then look them up on his phone on Wikipedia
7) Then moan about the internet on his phone - ie you can't read it. Hopefully distracting him from the fact that you've lost the debate.
8) Go for at least one amazing meal per day. Like The Durham Ox near York.
9) Try something like Beetroot Souffle.
10) Then start saying things like 'Is it me or are people at festivals getting younger?' And Look at the sky out of the window. Thanking your lucky stars you're not actually at a festival, getting dirty/too hot/cold/bored/annoyed/stuck in traffic. And finish your wedding thank you cards.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Anyway I'm still happy, most excited about my MA. I just think that with house buying 'property' is so much about luck, I know normal people would be most excited about that. But in many ways the more you own the more you have to worry about. Doing an MA in the history of dementia is a totally different kettle of fish. There's an element of luck, but it's much reduced.
I'm narrowing down my field. It's going to be called 'The Forgotten Forgetting: The deaths of a generation in the 1990s, a post-modern history of dementia". I'm going to link the rise in age discrimination which I will prove occured in the 90s with increasing, untimely and unreported deaths from dementia, hand in hand with a reduction in real terms expenditure on treatment of the disease. The documentary with Barbara and Malcolm Pointon supports this, plus the report from the National Audit Office a few weeks ago. I feel vindicated. Like Dementia's Joan of Arc. Perhaps not a brilliant analogy. Anyway...
I'm about to email my (brilliant) tutor and ask her how many death certificates she thinks I should look at - 100 or 1000? I'm trying to cram in all the primary source research before I actually start which is a tad ridiculous. It worked when I was doing my undergrad stuff though. Then you effectively concentrate on writing up for the next 9 months.
The other problem is I can't decide whether I'm a postmodernist or not. They're all a bit weird. And the modernists seem to write better stuff. What I think is that we're in the postmodern era. The era when infinity seems as weird and wonderful as it really is, when people talk about nonsense. Progress seems a distant era, perhaps when our parents were growing up. So we're all postmodernists now, whether we like it or not. I prefer postmodern to 'new' as it conjurs up 'new' labour images which make me feel a bit sick. And the 'neo-philiacs' in Private Eye. But the 'neophiliacs' manage to distance themselves from the postmodernists just by putting that word in front of themselves. I don't think they can escape.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
So here goes:
Yes, the Spectator and the Telegraph rave about this book, but for most of us, who have to read it anyway as it's a core text on a reading list, we struggle to give it three stars. In fact the three stars it's getting is just in case any of the professors who have contributed to it and will be marking my work shortly might read this review and spot who I am. Anyway to cut a long story short, if you enjoy watching the History Channel (which incidentally in our house is called 'The War Channel') if you like Newsnight, Dragon's den, subscribe to the Economist and want to be a Merchant Banker when you graduate, then I suspect you'll devour it in less than 2 hours, and give it 5 stars here.
For me, it's a bit too much like nineteenth century historians would write about the twentieth century, for example on page 53 'Asquith stepped effortlessly into the premiership in 1908 and looked the part immediately'. You know what? I don't care about Asquith. That was under the 'Fiscal Crisis' by the way if that whets your appetite.
As it proceeds through the twentieth century it gets quite hilarious,as the book tries to stay up to date, almost as if the publishers want you to have it as a coffee table book and as if you'd pick it up to remember what was going on in 1992. So on page 414 there's a footnote 'It was not known that Major himself had had an affair in the 1980s with the Conservative junior minister Edwina Currie until the publication in 2002 of Currie's memoirs'.
It's not so much history as politics. The twentieth century is treated in the standard way of a progressively improving place with good chaps leading the way. Boring, turgid and ridiculous. And who, by the way, was the Metric Equivalents of Imperial Units Chart on page 6 published for? Some French metric historical political enthusiasts who might have picked up the book by accident? I wonder how many times the owners of this book have thought - ooh, how many hundredweights are in a tonne, I might pick up my Peter Clarke history text book to check?
I did like the prologue, where he looked like he was going to talk about interesting stuff like married women having 10 pregnancies, but actually the whole book is more like an instruction manual to the mood swings of prime ministers and imperial heavyweights.
Monday, July 23, 2007
If I sound bitter, that's because I am. We had another meeting this morning - me and xyz. Another friend of mine from a few years ago said 'Never cry in front of your enemies'. At the time I took this very seriously - ended up on medication for a while. Z said something similar this morning 'You've got to be dispassionate, forget the emotion, look at the legal intricacies'. I did a politician-esque speech in response to this saying that passion creates politics and politics creates the law. Yet, with superb irony and quite hilariously my voice broke half way through (through emotion of course) and I couldn't finish the speech, with tears in my eyes. So Z and my other friend from years ago are right. Of course.
Tony Blair's final speech had an impact on me, “If it is on occasion the place of low skullduggery it is more often the place for the pursuit of noble causes" about the houses of parliament. For me, belief is not science, because if I don't agree with something I WILL find the evidence to support my view. And that's what most politicians are like. Belief comes from passion not from science. And science comes from belief anyway - belief in something has to trigger where you're getting your so-called facts from.
People say, you've got to de-politicise xyz. I think, Politicise. Let's introduce 'neighbour' as an option on Facebook. It'd be a good start. Make friends with the Rednecks. Easier than doing an impression of Tony Blair at a meeting.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Homerton hospital is back on course for its privatisation plans, the people using our drive as a toilet for both number ones and twos can carry on in peace, Leeds Bicycle Users Group are quaking in their boots, and my employers have cracked open the champagne.
Friday, July 13, 2007
I've decided already that if they try to do anything I don't like then I'll resign, so if I do get elected I might not keep the post for long. The other problem is that next year I'm likely to be very busy indeed. Doing my MA which I'm even more enthusiastic about than ever because of the National Audit Office report on dementia, this governor thing, which may not take off of course, and the job which I'm wanting to keep to as many hours as possible for financial reasons. And I'm enjoying it which is quite unusual for me. And my wifely duties, which take up much more time than you think.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
2) My bank account is not overdrawn
3) I now have 36 friends on Facebook.
I do feel like it's draining my energy though - I know that's not an amazing thing, but I just can't keep it up. There's only so much time you can spend looking up your brother's school friends on Facebook, before the TV license man comes round and locks you up. Time I could be spending actually seeing or speaking to my real friends in the real world, in the new, fresh air pubs. Or paying the TV license. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if they used this blog in court on that issue. Or the other. In fact I'll just save all that time management nonsense and just hop over to the police station. Except I can cycle now. Ha ha. You see the fourth amazing thing pops up and we're back to FAT all over again.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Welcome to the world of Carbooting. A bit like Dogging, without the celebrities. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we made about thirty quid, which considering we were selling off ten grammes of mould was quite good. We came back. I made a roast, we moaned again about friends on facebook not being categorised on 'carboot' level, then put Paolo on facebook and Phil is watching 'Coming to America'. Paolo is still on Facebook, but at least he's quiet. But Police Academy 2 is better - and we should know because we watched it about 2 minutes ago.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
TO be honest, I think actually watching a video of people going on their home computers and facebooking/googling/blogging is more interesting than this pap. The skulls of Gondor/Mandor/Horses/summoned dead/Endor/Condorman are on the screen now.
I'm thinking about my new bike (Specialised Hard Rock) and the carboot sale tomorrow. We're selling garbage to bargain hunters. We've done our research on Ebay and a lot of crappy shot glasses just go unsold, so we're banking on the normal Tattontastic 3pm 5p sale phenomenon that's shocked Holloway Road into elvish submission recently. They love it and last time lapped up mouldy, rusty crap at 5p a time. No doubt my Dad will get on to me about laying into my readership/clientele.
Call it arrogance, call it a sense of humour, but I think the Elves will reign supreme and see a break even at least.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Finally a report comes out and I love it.
Tamoxifen is quite simply a different kettle of fish. Give me the national audit office report any day of the week. Tamoxifen, definitely a Tuesday night thing.
I quite like living up to Blaglady's 'odd blog' title.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Fascinating stuff. But more fascinating would you believe that the sort of stuff that comes up on Facebook. I'm amazed there aren't photos of people putting their rubbish out, cleaning their teeth and turning their ignition in their cars on their way to work.
I think it's for more arty people than me - you can see the people who've spent hours on their pages, doting every t and making themselves sound amazing.
Jealousy. One of the seven deadly sins I believe.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
So feeling bamboozelled, I felt I had to join - you can't see them you see if you don't. Anyway what was flabbergasting was that you register and then it automatically searches through your email addresses and shows you everyone in your address book who has a 'facebook' page. I felt like I was pilfering through peoples' underwear drawers and had to look away. The photos some of my so-called friends have up there are shocking. Most of them haven't got photos - they're the ones I know better and I have no idea what that means, if it does have a meaning.
Anyway to cut a long story short I'm not going to email any of my so-called friends asking them to be my friends as I don't want to disappoint myself if they then refuse to call me a friend. I might check what the etiquette is in these situations, or alternatively wait for my parents to do it, which normally means it's about time I did it.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Joe, Dad and Richie Rich Rich saying I was stunning
Phil saying I look amazing
Dad saying it was like a country wedding out of Pride and Prejudice with everyone milling around outside the chapel
Helen saying I'm the nicest person she's ever met
Auntie Enid saying that we radiated happiness through the marquee
Cheryl saying we were the happiest couple she's ever seen
Len's wonderful video with everyone saying their memories of us
And the dress is still immaculate
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Other good news is that the wedding presents arrived yesterday - and we've unpacked and used some of them. The cats have already smashed one. Trotsky is a lot better (as you might hope after three thousand sterling pounds).
We've seen the photos and we love them - although I'm a bit disappointed that we haven't got some key people. But hey ho. They go up on the web at the weekend - can't wait.
We've reached a compromise with the Today programme and Capital - if I get up before Phil I'm allowed to put Capital on.
A beautiful mauve poppy has flowered today in the garden. Photo forthcoming.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Anyway the 6th June isn't a very lucky day for us to put it mildly. On that day last year I had a mammogram - not that bad considering it was 6.6.6. Yesterday was in a different league. To start with all over the BBC was news that the NHS is £500m in surplus. This caused an angry row with me and my husband. Not particularly that we disagreed with each other, but because he said it wasn't healthy me getting angry about something I can't do anything about. My point was that the NHS is the most important thing we've got - more important than education as if you haven't got anyone to educate then you're b**gg**. So the point of it being in 'surplus' is what exactly? I said to Phil it's like Oxfam deciding it wants to put £200million in its reserves - in fact it's worse as this money is simply going back to the Treasury. To his credit, Hubby then emailed his doctor mates and asked them how many extra junior doctor training posts this 'surplus' would create. The answer is around 40,000.
This takes us neatly to the second unpleasant thing - Hubby still hasn't got a job in August he found out yesterday. Nothing unusual or too upsetting about that you might think, apart from the fact that he is a qualified surgeon, and that this news just isn't coincidental from the BBC's positive crappy spin.
Then the annual mammogram I had turned out not to be as straightforward as we were hoping. It was all very pleasant apart from the fact I've got to go back on Wednesday for a biopsy. Apparently there's what they're hoping is 'scar tissue' - and this needs to be confirmed. Last year I had to have four days off work - just because I was in so much pain from the dratted biopsy. The woman who did it was most unpleasant - she wouldn't even let me hold Phil's hand. It was awful - worse pain than the op almost. And everyone kept on saying to me 'But it's only a biopsy, what do you mean you can't ride your bike?'. Initially I blamed the woman who did it, later on I thought 'well they had to almost kill me to find out..'. Now I'm back blaming her again. Luckily this time I'm having it done at my favourite, local hospital and the lovely Polish or whatever she is, lady doctor, who reminds me a bit of Eva Herzegovina is doing it instead of the other horrible doc. But of course this news wasn't good.
I prepared so well for the chemo - Dr S said the best anyone has ever prepared for it - so it's not even worth thinking about having to have more.
Then I arrived home to be told a friend had died (yes she was v old and yes it was expected)
and then in the post was a letter telling me my grant application for funds for the MA course I want to do has been refused - because one of the forms got in late. Then this morning
taking Trottems to the Vet was much more traumatic than I thought - it took both of us to hold her as she was squawking in pain.
So deciding I was too fragile and not in a fit state to be at work I'm at home, 'Blogging my Way Through Cancer'. And I'd better stop before the thought police arrest me.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Anyway, we dined like Kings, drank like bishops and cycled like professionals, and felt, acted like and actually were newly-weds. How long does that title last for? I'm hoping a couple of years at least.
Everything has been so amazing the past couple of weeks I'm trying to draw out every second. So glad we got a videographer (we called him the Video Nazi actually - that's another story). Also so looking forward to the photos! That's one of my jobs for today - booking the viewing. Even my Dad said he thought the photographer was good.
We came back last week and found that Trotsky was limping. Phil, with some authority, said it looked like a fox bite. The next day it seemed a bit worse so I took her to the Vets. (Gay VET, Gay VET - sang to the tune of GAY BAR, GAY BAR - that's also another story). It is a dislocated Hock - or ankle. They've quoted us THREE THOUSAND POUNDS. Fortunately I ignored my husband's advice a year ago and the animal is insured, so we don't have to worry about that side of things. The service you get at the Vet is quite incredible. The Vet examined the cat and then said, I need to talk to the orthopaedic surgeon and in walks this other young lady, who concurs with the £3k price tag and diagnosis.
Yes, it's about ten times as good a service as the NHS, but at an infinitely inflated price tag, it's unethical for humans. And, in the words of Sara Cox, Wrong Diddly Wrong Wrong.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
We're on honeymoon now - Phil is in the hotel room synchcronizing the cycle map the company have given us with his palm computer. We want to do a food diary - had marvellous food again - but before we do that I'm going to list all my favourite bits of Saturday, 19th May 2007.
- getting ready with Nellie and Aoife and Sarah, the pink champagne and pink sapphire necklace wedding presents from Mr Morgan
- walking into the chapel and seeing all the familiar smiling faces of our friends and family - like Jules, Sam, Shirley and Derrick, Judith and Angela, Julia, Cathryn winked at me
- laughing with Mum and Jenny in the morning
- Elspeth's arch and the lovely flowers from Erica, the horsechesnut and hawthorn in flower
- Len doing the funny stories on video
_ everyone saying how gorgeous the dress was _ and me saying that Jo made it
- my little bridesmaids Poppy and Nina
- the ceremony
- looking into Phil's eyes as we say the vows
- feeling his hands on mine,
- Phil stroking and pummelling my hands as he's trying to talk to me with his hands, probably trying to tell me to keep still and stop looking round!
- Text from James
- John and Anni at the Chapel and their hugs
- the sunshine
- Joe and Aoife singing surprise 'Your love is going to last'
- Dad's speech
- Phil's speech
- Joe leaving easy care label on shirt
- Joel's speech - when Pete wheeled out their Nan's trolley
- Bridget and Helen getting on so well
- Aoife doing face painting
- the first barn dance _ Joe dancing funny
- Jo and Graham dancing together
- Mum dancing with cousin in law David looking happy
- having a Hartington beer with Phil
- Erica crying with happiness
- Anthony, Joe and Pete breakdancing to Salt N Pepa 'Whatta Man'
- Joe and Phil doing sound effects LONG NOOOOR for bus annoucements
- Nellie and Richard dancing to 9-5
- singing on the bus
- Horsechesnut flowering outside Elspeth's barn
Sunday, May 06, 2007
2) Delegate everything
It's getting to crunch time now - exactly who is coming to the wedding and that's the interesting bit. Some people who are only invited to the evening do are coming up for two nights, and some people are dropping out of the whole thing. And fascinatingly was my algebraic code cracking system any guide to this behaviour? The answer to this question is probably no, not at all. Fans of this blog will know that a couple of months ago I devised a genius plot to decide who to invite to the wedding. Potential guests were given a 3-4 digit code. A number to start with, based on the number of times I have seen them in the past 2 years, a letter from A to D for intensity of relationship ie A for very intense once I do see them, down to D for not very intense at all, in fact do they like me? And a Y or N if Phil has met them. So for example some people would get a score of 0DN - ie I hadn't seen them at all in the past 2 years which isn't a very good start, it's not very intense when I do see them, and Phil also hasn't met them. So really I was all set to cross them off the list. Then I invited everyone I wanted to, so the code was ditched. Anyway, what's happened is that some of the ODNs are quite keen and booked themselves two nights up there, a 1AY has dropped out totally, a what-I thought was a 0BN but is probably more like a 0XN now I think about it is not coming, a 2AN has dropped out and a 75AY is threatening not to come, those latter two claiming they can't afford it.
I think age should have been factored in a bit - the over 50s are the keenest, there's no getting away from it. Phil's quite disappointed that one of his 4AYs has dropped out and a 3AY of his has got a wedding on the same day. So today I'm sorting the wheat from the chaff (mainly AYs from the DNs) and some lucky people may get 'upgrades' and get an invite to the whole thing. That's if they want to as of course some people are so offended that they didn't get an invite to the day do in the first place they won't come at all now.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
We watched that the other day, hungover, and we all felt quite pleased that we had mere hangovers, not uncontrollable addictions. Smug in fact.
I want to know the difference between smugness and happiness. Perception that's all. Anyway. I'm off to the Post Office.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Today I'm planning to go to B&Q & 'hobbycraft'. One of my better ideas is to get some large pebbles and inscribe people's names on them for the favours - so they can use them as paperweights. We'll see how far I get with that bright idea.
We've booked the honeymoon - Hurrah - can't wait although it's a lot like hard work cycling 40 miles a day. Cycling in the Loire Valley. Phil has created a new, married blog for us. I want to call it 'Morganisation'.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Yesterday I tried on the dress, underwear, veil, shoes and hair pieces all together for the first time and if I do say so myself it looked great. And the thing is, when little things go wrong when you're happy - like driving through a red light, cutting up a cyclist, paying £3.50 to park, not being able to park, you're not bothered. Even Adam Brimmeloe on the Today programme not mentioning the doctors' lobby of parliament didn't faze me. I carried on in my new happy busy state. Nuptial therapy. I might patent it, although St Paul and his incriminating letter to the Corinthians might sue me.
And we've still got so much to do - fake tan, lighter hair, eyebrows plucked, evening invites, speeches, favours, transport, water the plants, pay for the booze, get the shoes, nails, pamper session, look at the michelin guide, book the honeymoon, talk to the relatives. It's all go.
Friday, April 20, 2007
It's all consuming now - every second we're doing wedding related activities and I wish I could bottle the feelings I feel now to sample in years to come when I may have a blue day. If only life were so simple. I just can't wait to smile and laugh all day - but every second will be recorded to re-live at will. We've almost got all the outfits, everything is booked, and nothing is denting my amazing good mood.
Upside Down, Boy - you turn me, inside out and round and round! I'm crazy to think you're all mine. As long as the sun continues to shine there's a place for you in my heart - that's the bottom line.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
My body now virtually tip top, I'm also getting more concerned with beauty issues - my nails were next on the list. And in true holiday style I had a manicure - from a lovely pregnant Indian girl. She was thrilled as the baby is the first grandchild, grand SON in fact, for her in-laws where she has moved to from Delhi. A wonderful hand massage together with beautiful nails.
Then I got home to work on bringing down the numbers for the wedding - which isn't a very nice job. I want everyone on my list to come, but realistically they can't. I've created a brilliantly logical system. Everyone is given a number to start with - number of times I've seen them in the past two years. Then an 'intensity' letter - ABC or D for the 'intensity' of the relationship A = intense. Then a Y/N if Phil has met them or not. So some people have got OBN like Order of the Brown Nose in Private Eye. Evening Do. And the great thing about that is that it's virtually unlimited.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I do think it's a bit of a myth that creativity thrives on misery - surely good writing and art comes with practise and experience? So I'm going to try, against the best wishes of the Royal College of Censors, to carry on with my blog, even if it gets slightly dull with my limited propensity to moan.
And what else have I learnt or changed with the a) cancer/b) blogging/c) engagement (they all seem to merge into one and it's difficult to separate them)? Well from cancer - a) stay upbeat. Blogging - remember who pays the bills. You may think it's you, but actually it's the british tax payer and 99.9% of the time you don't agree with them so b) keep your opinions to yourself. Engagement - Enjoy and keep your eye on the budget (see b).
Monday, March 26, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
2) Ten Amazing Things spells Tat
3) My blog is listed on Three Beautiful Things, so to show my gratitude I'll do the same, again
4) Blaglady says she bets 3bt isn't being investigated. Ha. But she has 'He who shall not be named'. I didn't bother with that.
5) Only people like Nelson Mandela and Mark Steel, not to mention most of the cabinet like Madelson and Jack Straw get 'investigated'.
6) Hits have gone up again
7) Profile views are at 500 nearly
8) I will not mention work again on this blog. Promise.
9) Are numbers 4-8 really amazing things? Surely I'm scraping the barrel. Funny can be amazing. Well, sometimes.
10) Watched most of Northanger Abbey and spoke on phone to Blaglady.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I'm reading Possession by AS Byatt at the moment, which is a great read prior to me starting an MA in October as it's all about academia. I am hoping that all this reading is improving my writing - Mum always said that's the best way. I haven't found 'Possession' as good as 'Kitchen Confidential' in this respect. Perhaps I feel overawed by the quality of the former, overawed to the extent of total inactivity.
I think Mum gave me Possession for my sixteenth birthday - so it's taken me seventeen years to read it! And this sort of random fact makes you think about other objects and influences in one's life. What's the oldest object I've been given? Why've I kept it for so long? And what about 'services' you've benefitted from years ago. School teaching. But also learning to ride a bike, swim, read and talk. Skills that most people take for granted are passed down from parents. The wonders of science, rarely lost from the first generation that learns 'the truth'. AS Byatt's character 'Ellen' is given laudanam for a headache. These days everyone's got a stash of paracetamol or ibruprofen. And they're not addictive.
But - we may have to move. To the 'West Midlands'. Where Phil's got his interview. A big area. Phil's already saying Ludlow. I was impressed as it was mentioned yet again in 'Country Life' as the best place to live in the country. Not just for foodies. It has a good Council. Very tempting. For someone like me who values local government.
And I think we've decided to go ahead with the marquee on the school field. Yes, it'll be hassle but as Phil pointed out yesterday I've got four weeks of holiday to take before April as I've been off sick for so long. The gorgeous dress is finished. As soon as I'm better I can start getting excited about that again.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Mum's best friend J's philosophy was 'to enjoy life as much as possible without harming anyone else'. I love thinking about thinking, nowhere more than on my bike where if I think a dodgy not-nice thought I can quickly think about avoiding hitting the pavement or how wet my bum/hands/legs are. I think about Dave Gorman and his quest to find other Dave Gormans. And my quest to find other A. Tattons. We found one last night - perhaps the only other in the country - on 'my tube'. She recorded a twenty second song 'Santa Baby'; coincidentally on my birthday. She's probably twenty years younger than me. Are they any thirty three year old, breast cancer inflicted, ex-Kylie-Minogue lookalike, NHS manager, expert patient trained, engaged, left-wing, feminist, cat loving, arctic-monkey-loving, food loving, aspiring writer/historians out there with the name Tatton? I think about feminism and its economic basis - equality of pay but not culturally.
Then I arrive at the hospital and you're in and out in 2 minutes, while they play 'Coldplay' on their ghetto blaster and you're zapped. Inappropriate I think, as not only is it too gloomy but 90% of the clientele are over 50. I ponder the merits of not only the 'gowns' they give you, but why they can't give you a bag to put all your stuff in each day as you trail round from waiting room, to changing room to the space age treatment room.
And the journey home. Empty streets on the way back as everyone's at their desks. Jeeves and Wooster take me back to the twentieth century and I wonder how people become butlers.
We had a lovely meal last night - at the Three Crowns on the High Street. High Standards and not too high a price - Phil got the champers and the roses. I bought the meal. We both ate, listened, talked and laughed. That's twenty-first century feminism for you.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
My hair is long enough to have a parting now - although Phil's calling me Hitler, I think I look like Maria Von Trapp.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
I wasn't expecting the art to be as inspirational either - in the museum they had a painting of the original 'Siamese Twins' and in the Hall a Hans Holbein of Henry VIII handing over a charter to the original association of Barber-Surgeons. Awesome. I probably won't have such an enjoyable day until the wedding!
Monday, January 22, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
The wedding planning is going very well. We've ordered the wedding rings, copying the in-laws every step of the way, hoping if we do so some of their happy married life might rub off on us! We're having engraved 'Anna & Phil forever' on the inside of each of the rings.
Radiotherapy starts on a week on Tuesday, the 30th. I'm hoping to cycle there each time which will see me exceed the government target of 1.5 hours of exercise each week. It'll be that daily.
My friend Robert also got engaged recently and we're going to his engagement party on Friday, and his fiancee D is a personal trainer who gave me a free session on Tuesday. There's some cellulite busting exercises which quite frankly I don't believe. It's too difficult. The fact is I can't motivate myself with exercise - it's boring. Unless I'm cycling. It's the quickest way to get from A to B in London.
Celebrity Big Brother has entered the world of parody. I know I was complaining that they edit everything out on the live programme. Well they've been showing racist bullying on the edited show. Thankfully the general public, politicians and the media have picked up on this and for once since Princess Diana's death I've been watching the news avidly. It's great to see racists get their just desserts and I hope Danielle and Jo also get evicted now. It's one of my favourite debates - Free Speech. How far does it go? Should we let anyone say whatever they like? Fascinating.
I've been watching the news more, and in fact getting involved - I voted on the Politics Show Prime Ministers Questions event. I feel better for it. Viewers had to vote with their phones (free) - you had to press 5 when you thought something someone was saying was good and 0 when it was rubbish. I pressed 5 when Keith Vaz MP asked Tony Blair about racism. And I pressed 0 when David Cameron asked Tony Blair about a stupid Home Office letter. They should do it for Question Time too which I also enjoyed. People seem to think that sexism is the acceptable face of racism. IE if we bully the bullies back then that's ok. Edwina Curry called the bullies 'b*tches' and 'sl*gs'. Dimbleby the Chair didn't pick her up on it - it was left to someone else on the panel. Why is that acceptable?