Death on Toast
. . . and hold the toast. I can’t immediately remember when I’ve been quite this ill* . . . and as I was whinging last night, I don’t actually get these aggravated head cold/flu/upper respiratory evil things very often, and I just had one recently. And I think I’d had one fairly recently before that. One of the curious, ahem, benefits of ME is that it tends to be a jealous god and doesn’t want you consorting with other, vulgar ailments. I wish I thought this meant I was going to be shut of the ME at last, but a case of Taittinger’s against a case of plastic dog crap bags says it doesn’t work like that.
There was minimal hellhound hurtling today. On some earlier occasion of haplessly abbreviated hurtling Diane in MN remarked that it was very nice when puppies grew up and became dogs. Yes. If I’d had to try to hurtle two hours today . . . I wouldn’t have come back.**
Unfortunately there was also abbreviated sofa lying. I didn’t get down to the mews till very late*** and then I tried to . . . ahem . . . do some work. Silly me. But I’ve said here before that it’s disconcerting† how little effect my physical and mental state have on my writing: if I’m in a bad way all that happens is that I become very slow. The story is the story. It’s like you have x miles to cover: you can choose to walk or to run††, but the journey from y to z doesn’t change.
But the handbell seminar was tonight and I was going to go if I had to borrow a sack trolley so Niall could wheel me from the car park.††† When has there ever been a proper, organised education-day-by-the-local-guild handbell seminar? I was even going as a helper. I’m generally in the peon category at ringing events.
So I was all excited. Or as excited as I could presently manage.
Fortunately I had brought my knitting with me.‡
The seminar was perhaps not as beautifully and thoughtfully organised as it might have been—?‡‡ I may have expressed myself with some force on the drive home to Niall about this. The other thing is . . . if you’re going to learn handbells, you have to ring frequently and at length. This whole show will have been for nothing if there’s no follow up for any of the beginners who’d like to give it a proper shot to find a group that will drill their tiny brains out, which is what they need.
. . . I’m sure there’s something else I could talk about. But I can’t stay in this chair any longer. You’ll excuse me if tonight’s post is a trifle compact.
* * *
* Well, in my current state of unhealth I can’t remember anything much. Give me a minute, I can probably come up with my name . . . Chaos? Darkness?
** And hellhounds could perform the Lassie ploy and guide the ambulance crew to my motionless and raspy-breathing body.
*** Last night was epic. Not in a good way.
† Not to say downright humiliating
†† Or to crawl, moaning
††† Peter says he nearly tried to me forbid to go. This would not have gone over well. Even if he was right, which he probably was. I tried not to breathe on anyone. Niall is getting over his lurgy. Whimper.
‡ I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I am not merely working on the second leg warmer, but that I cast on and immediately started ribbing—not only without having to redo the first few rows about forty-seven times, but without even thinking about it. I cast on and started knitting. Yaaay. Progress.
‡‡ Urgle yurgle gleep arrrrgh. Colin and I were in a group with four helpers and two learners—and only three sets of bells. So three of us were always sitting out. Er. Why? Niall was in a group with three learners and two helpers . . . and he said he could have used more help. Colin, who is a forceful sort of fellow, after the tea break, went off and fossicked for an extra set of bells for the leftover three of us in our group. He found three pair of buckets . . . I’m not sure they even count as handbells: I think you could hang them in a tower with a sally. But they were better than nothing. I mean, I’m happy to knit, but if I was just going to knit I could have stayed home.
Also, handbell ringers—remember I’m talking about change ringing on handbells, not tunes—are not thick on the ground. To arrange something with twenty or thirty people attending, and enough helpers to give all the learners a chance, meant that some of these people were coming from a considerable distance. But the entire evening was scheduled for only an hour and a half—and we spent a good twenty minutes milling around having vague awkward conversations with people we thought we half knew^ at the beginning and another fifteen minutes for the tea break.
At least I had brought my knitting.^^
^ Okay, I’m projecting. I’m not good at milling, even when I’m healthy. And I was happy to chat with a few of the people I did know. But we only had an hour and a half.
^^ I am already—after only slightly more than a year with needles, and still not having finished anything yet—wondering how I managed before I had knitting to take with me. I’ve always had a book with me everywhere, but reading really is anti-social. I couldn’t have pulled my book out tonight. But I could perfectly well (well, I think I could perfectly well) pull out my knitting, and prove that I’m still paying attention by making the occasional comment. (You HAVE to count! You ABSOLUTELY, TOTALLY HAVE to count your places when you ring handbells!!) I have the occasional backwards advantage as a beginner teacher, in that I’m not such great shakes that I don’t remember with painful clarity what it’s like learning your first appalling method on handbells. (YOU MUST COUNT. I don’t care what any of these hot guys are telling you. YOU. MUST. COUNT. YOUR. PLACES.)
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