March 16, 2012

Twas spring, and the slithy toves . . . no, wait . . .



            It’s been another blood-pressure-aggravating kind of day.  Thursdays usually are, now that I’m back in the Muddles again, because of the straight sprint of handbells, final hellhound hurtle and two and a quarter hours of Muddlehampton Choir practise.*  Today’s excitements began however by discovering a card put through the door that said ‘package by greenhouse’.  Not one.  Three.  Three lovely, lovely, lovely boxes of PLANTS.***  And I was unpacking them in the garden when there was an eruption of hellhounds† and I discovered another delivery person with an epic parcel containing Peter’s itea ilicifolia††.  It was a gorgeous day and I would much rather have stayed in the garden and planted things but I had hellhounds to hurtle††† and novels to write‡ and bells to ring ‡‡ etc. 

            And owls and pussycats to bludgeon to death mercilessly.  Even Griselda said, hmm, interesting, when we got to the descant.  This didn’t stop her singing it right off or anything but at least she had to pay attention.  And it’s just as Nadia said (it usually is):  having sung it through with Griselda a few times, I probably could sing it without her . . . but I don’t want to.  

* * *  

Oh . . . raging flapdoodle.  Yes, I’m one of the mourners of the passing of the old regime, and if I had the money I’d probably buy one of the final edition‡‡‡, but has anyone who does research on the web not looked up and discovered it’s two hours later while they followed their noses from web site to web site having forgotten what they were looking up in the first place?  The medium is different.  The breathless sense of plunging into the unknown and the serendipitous is the same.  And there are, in fact, serious advantages to the on line version of losing yourself in abstruse information about stuff you didn’t know existed, let alone that you wanted to know about:  you can do it in bed on your iPad.  If you’re going to stick to the alphabetical approach, you can certainly take one or two volumes of the Britannica to bed with you, but the entire thirty large tomes are a little unwieldy.  Not to mention all those annual update volumes. 

* * *

* Two and a quarter hours is a long time.^  That may be the combination of its being at the end of what has already been a long day, the fact that I still pretty much have no clue what I’m doing and therefore everything is stressful, and the frelling ME which means my stamina is derisory at best.^^  I don’t have either time or inclination to eat before practise^^^ but I find the last half hour very long indeed.  We do get a quarter-hour break so I decided to take along a handful of cashews.  If you want organic, you probably have to roast your own.  It is not hard.  I have done it many times. 

            Tonight I burnt them. 

            There’s always next week.^^^^ 

^ ‘Time is the most frequently used noun in English’.

I follow the OED on Twitter, and have already RTd—retweeted—this link, with the comment ‘‘histrionics’ only NOW?  Where have you been?’+ 

+ Clearly not reading this blog. 

^^ Also, after years of hour-and-a-half bell practises, ‘practise’ means an hour and a half. 

^^^ I don’t eat before bell practise either:  when my stomach knots itself up in a Sailmaker’s Whipping with extra frapping turns+ I want it empty.  This has nothing to do with whether or not I’m looking forward to the event, whatever it is.  Doing Things Visibly/Audibly in Public freaks me the hell out, I don’t care how often I’ve done them before or how voluntarily.++  You can perhaps (again) surmise how much I don’t miss touring. +++ 

+ I wouldn’t make this up 

++ I did say to Griselda tonight as we were all leaving ‘I remind myself I’m doing this for fun’ 

+++ Introverts seem to be copy at the moment:  there’s a long and interesting if-a-trifle-obvious-for-those-of-us-who-are article in TIME a week or so ago too (entitled ‘The upside of being an introvert and why extroverts are overrated’) but you have to be a subscriber to read it on line.#   But the GUARDIAN’s  ‘Are You an Introvert’ quiz makes me laugh hysterically.##  I rank about 19 out of 20.### 

# The GUARDIAN is still giving it away.  It must have a plan?  It has to be losing money by the luxury-liner-full.  I’d just as rather it didn’t sink like the Titanic.  

## Or possibly histrionically.  I’m supposed to be trying to attract attention on line. 

### The one question I clearly fail is ‘People describe me as soft-spoken or mellow.’  Snork.  I admit there are a few other debatable answers. 

^^^^ When I will need shoring up even worse.  Ravenel is back next week.  In his absence we’ve had nice young Japheth.  I don’t think he’s any less demanding, but he’s not as scary. 


† One of the good peculiarities of hellhounds is that when they’re still in their crate they do not react to knocks on the door.  Go away, they say.  We’re not on duty yet.  We’re asleep.  They don’t start trying to—er—protect me till I’ve let them out of their crate in the morning.  Which may be rather, ahem, late. 

†† And one or two little items for me 

††† The Idiot Off Lead Dog problem gets so severe in good weather it goes a way toward making me depressed when it’s beautiful outdoors.  Today we had two things the size of adolescent elephants come racing at us from around a corner.  One of them decided that the hedgerow was much more interesting than we were, which was fine with me, but the other one . . . fortunately she wanted to be our new best friend, but you don’t necessarily know that till it’s too late if that’s not what incoming had on its small furry mind.  What is the matter with people.  I was bellowing^ CALL YOUR DOG while this young elephant was trying to submit to the hellhounds:  even lying down she was nearly bigger than they are.  But what if my dogs weren’t friendly?  She doesn’t deserve to get mauled because she doesn’t know any better—she was clearly a puppy, even if her size was a trifle distracting—that’s her owner’s job. 

^ Maybe I should start carrying a megaphone, to help protect the purity and sweetness of my singing voice.  How I’m going to use the freller, in the thick of things, I’m not sure, but it must be worth a try. 

‡ I’d be happy to finish one right about now 

‡‡ Don’t tell Niall, but I actually did entertain a brief fantasy, as I stared at my beautiful new violas^, of cancelling handbells.  But I realised I couldn’t do it.^^  

^ Any British gardeners out there who don’t know:

I recommend her/them.  You get a human being on the phone—usually her husband—the plants are always well packed and in excellent shape when they arrive—and usually recently potted on, so if you don’t (ahem) get to them as soon as you should, this isn’t a disaster—and while all her plants are good, her viola list is to die for.  

^^ The Muddles, feh, they’re after dark. 

‡‡‡ In which case Peter might divorce me, so maybe it’s just as well I don’t have the money


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