November 14, 2014

Shadows is here!

The View from Here

 

I ate an apple this morning.  In fact I ate two.And I am still alive.  ::Beams::  Of course everything was downhill from there but the apples were fabulous . . .

I was thinking . . . it’s not all stomach flu, or the Samaritans, that my blogging has dropped so precipitously.  Some of it is what I had been saying for six and a half years or whatever it was by then, that if I stopped doing it every day I would stop doing it.  Although some of it certainly is the added time-and-energy demand of the Samaritans.**

But some of it is just the way my life is going.  At the moment there’s a lot less good public blog material than there was a couple of years ago.  I don’t want to wrestle with my involuntary two-year-old faith in public:  God is love and the world is a mess, whatever.  Why does accepting God as love immediately throw THE WORLD IS A MESS into unbearably sharp relief?  Discuss.  No, don’t.  And theology scares the living doodah out of me.  WHAT?  I was comforted recently by reading or hearing some frelling scholar saying that in the Middle Ages no one would have bothered debating the existence of God, and if you’d tried they’d look at you in bewilderment:  theirs was a practical faith and they just got on with it.  And when it’s all too much, which it usually is, I just get on with it too, here in the twenty-first century, although that plan is not without its drawbacks.  I went round to the estate agent’s today, the fellow who is (we hope) selling the mews for us, because he has a long list of councils, bodies, boards and free lance gardeners, haulers-away and electricians, whom he’s going to sic onto me, and those of you who know me know I do not do mornings, which councils, bodies, boards etc, are often regrettably fond of, and I wanted to emphasise that my passing references to being a late riser were particularly apropos these next two mornings because I had a late duty with the Sams followed by an all-nighter with the Street Pastors.  I knew he had already categorised me as peculiar*** but I could now see him staring at me as if I had six heads.

Sigh.

And then . . . well, for example, I have a recently-disabled friend whom I spend the evening with about once a week, to give both her and her regular carers a break.  I could make a very funny story of our experience this week when the latest piece of shiny!  New!  Expensive!  NHS kit got jammed in the frelling doorway because it was TOO WIDE TO FIT THROUGH.  The little squeezy lever didn’t squeeze it far enough.†  My friend lives in an ordinary, non-adapted house with, you know, ordinary sized doors.  Doesn’t the NHS, like, I mean, how obvious . . . um, measure the average apertures their home-care assistance machinery is going to have to NEGOTIATE WITH??  We went through some of this after Peter’s stroke too, but . . . GAH.  But while I’m the one that gouged some paint off the doorframe, the choice being gouge the sodding frame or call an ambulance and she voted for architectural damage, it’s still essentially not my story to tell.

I’ve told you before about the Samaritans’ pathological confidentiality, so there it’s like, telephone?  There are telephones in the Sams’ front office?  REALLY?  ::Drums fingers and looks clueless::  And I could have got a lot of stories, not very many of them funny although all of them redolent of human nature, out of the Street Pastors’ David Lynch Halloween.††  Or out of most SP shifts.  But while I know there are a lot of properly published and money-for-their-authors-earning memoirs out there about social-service work both professional and charitable most of my SP duties don’t feel like my stories to tell either.

Eh well.  I’m going to have to work on learning to recommend books or something.  I’ve got a pile of ‘must put these on the blog’ books about hip high at this point, leaning against the grandmother clock in the sitting room at the cottage.  I should also answer more forum comments.

Maybe I should just concentrate on KES.

* * *

* But not six.  But they were big ones.

** And there’s still that homeopathy course to wedge in somewhere.^  Blasted Darkness managed to put his back/neck/shoulders out again.  Arnica didn’t work, but rhus tox did.  I should do some reading up on frelling stomach flu to have a short list of plausible suspects if the subject comes up again WHICH IT’S NOT GOING TO OF COURSE.

^ I keep averting my attention from Japanese language lessons.  Sigh.

*** I have no idea why!  None whatsoever!

† Like trying to thread super-chunky-monster yarn into an ordinary tapestry needle.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Fluffy 12-mm size yarn won’t even fit through the big diamond-shaped wire opening of a needle threader, you know?  Now what?  Weave in the ends with my fingers?  Cut off the carefully preserved long frelling yarn tails and sew the ends in place?

†† Did I even tell you that the two people who had had possibly the worst Halloween night of anyone on the planet actually tracking Saturday night’s Street Pastors team down to thank them/us/SPs?  That was pretty frelling nice.

Modern life

 

There is a law of the universe that says that any house you move out of always has at least one final carload of stuff left in it.  However many times you’ve been back for The Last Load–and whether or not there’s a new owner tapping his/her foot and holding his/her hand out for the key, which, fortunately, in this case, there is not.  But this is sort of the large economy size of the Sock Planet theorem, about where all those odd socks that ought to be in the bottom of the washing machine but aren’t, go.*  You’d need a galaxy at least for all those The House Is Empty It’s Empty I Tell You nooooooo there is nothing in those cupboards** carloads.  And there wasn’t anything in those cupboards when you frelling doodah frelling CLEARED THEM OUT THE LAST TIME.***

However. I finally went round to the estate agent to discuss getting the mews on the market and I have his recommendation of a Ruby-equivalent† coming in to do the hardcore houseclean before I let him in.

Real world progress. Hey golly wow.  I thought the house move might have been my real-world-engagement allocation for this century.

* * *

* Every time a sock DISAPPEARS^ I go into Sock Fetish^^ Overdrive.^^^ This happened recently^^^^ at the same time that a line of really nice socks went on SALE on a web site I am unfortunately on the email list of.  I don’t have to tell you I bought 1,000,000 of each colour, do I?  What do I do when they arrive?  Under the bed is already full of boxes full of yarn.~

^ I try to remember to check the back of Pav’s crate first. But trophy socks in the back of Pav’s crate are not always socks any more, although she rearranges the stitch patterns less than she used to.  She nestles more now.  This would be more awwwwww if it weren’t for the little evil eye twinkling at you.

^^ It’s not all that surprising I have a sock fetish. If I didn’t, my All Star fetish might get lonely.

^^^ I also have this silly habit of not throwing out the perfectly good twin of the sock that has disimproved into bad macramé.  After all, it’s a perfectly good sock.  So it goes into a tote bag+ with all the other single socks and occasionally I find two that amuse me as a pair . . . but then when they go in the laundry THERE ARE TWO ODD SOCKS. Now, I am not completely lost to logical thought and when there are two of them—especially when I put them together and they are AMUSING—I can probably figure out that it’s not a Sock Planet raid++ this time.

BUT SOMETIMES THE SOCKS IN THE TOTE BAG ESCAPE. AND THEN THERE ARE SINGLE ODD SOCKS EVERYWHERE. AAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH.  Of such things are nervous breakdowns made.+++

+ Which says something like ‘she is too fond of books and it has addled her brain’ or ‘keep calm and eat chocolate’.

++ Although I’d better check the back of Pav’s crate again. And possibly the hellhounds’.  Chaos is occasionally forced by inner disquietude to steal socks, although he usually steals the clean ones that I’m trying to put on to take hellhounds for a hurtle.  I have tried to explain to him that this is counterproductive but he just does the Dog Cute Head-Cocking Thing to prove that he is listening to me very intently and then steals my socks again the next time he’s feeling interiorly disquieted.  Darkness, who has different neuroses, looks in another direction wearing a long-suffering expression.  I have, however, explained to Chaos with great care that if he steals another Steeleye Span t shirt# he will die.

# Not that I don’t have, you know, several. The collection hasn’t reached the epic All Star proportions yet, but it’s moving in that direction.  Fiona and I went to a Steeleye Span concert recently and Steeleye’s regular merchandise man recognised me. Um . . .

+++ Some of us are more fragile than others.

^^^^ I think. See ^^^.

~ AND FURTHERMORE my tied-for-first-favourite on-line yarn shop is having another flaming dingdong sale. I mean, they do this a lot, which is why they are tied-for-first-favourite and evil drooling demons from the deepest regions of the really nasty end of hell+, but a fair number of these I can pass over, the eyelash and fake fur sale, yuck, the baby and kid stuff, life is too short, you get a bib when you’re born and then you’re on your own, the person-made fibres since I’m mostly a natural-fibre snob unless the colours are really insane or the glitter is really fabulous, anything to do with Kaffe Fassett whose patterns are the knitting and needlework version of eighty-seven bell change-ringing patterns that just looking at the line in the method book makes my head explode, and so on.  There are really quite a few yarn come ons that don’t make me sit up and whine.  Aaaaand then there are the ones that do . . . make me sit up and whine. Well, I ESCAPED a really hazardous offer just last week, for one of the heavier-weight wools so you’d be using bigger, fatter needles, which is good for slow clumsy knitters like me, and I did it by simply letting the time run out.  Of course I had to chain my credit card to a stake in the back garden and take the hellmob for a run for the last three hours but it worked. And then, the fiends in marketing pulled together a Halloween sale this week of a heterogeneous selection of yarns, needles, books and patterns . . . INCLUDING ALL THREE OF THE YARNS THAT HAD BEEN IN MY BASKET LAST WEEK AND THEY HAD SAVED MY BASKET.

The internet is way more dangerous than an alligator-infested swamp. God, give me simple temptations like another puppy++ or a new car+++ or a new computer++++ and simple perils like a herd of stampeding wildebeest or one of the middle treads of the stairs to the first floor of either the cottage or Third House dissolving into a wormhole gateway to another universe# or an alligator and boa-constrictor-infested swamp. Deliver me from the internet.##

+ Not the, you know, frelling end where the hellmob and I hang out.

++ NO.

+++ NO.

++++ Well . . . yes. Which is a rant for another evening.

# It needs to be a middle tread so after you’ve found the first step and you think you can go to sleep while your feet grind up to the top step where you’ll have to pay attention again.  If you don’t fall into an alternate universe.

## You know ‘What would Jesus do?’ Jesus would not have an iPhone. Or a Twitter account.~  Or a bedroom stuffed with tote bags full of yarn and so many more books than bookshelves he can only leap onto the bed from a narrow rift that was once a doorway before it kind of silted up.

~ He might have a blog, I suppose. You know, to tell parables in and so on.=

= And if you’re wondering why my mind seems to be running on the interesting challenges of modern-day Christianity HAVE I MENTIONED THAT MY STREET PASTOR TEAM GOT THE SHORT STRAW FOR THE FIFTH FRIDAY THIS MONTH AND WE’RE OUT TOMORROW NIGHT FOR HALLOWEEN. Eeep.

** Not to mention all the stuff you don’t see any more because it’s been where it is so long.  Oh, that table? . . . TABLE?

*** What?  I haven’t seen that^ in at least fifteen years.  And three house moves.  Speaking of alternate universes.

^ Vase, casserole dish, pair of socks, fossilised panettone+, large swirly marble preserved from childhood, antique doorknob, book that you have since replaced three times, significant-occasion-souvenir empty champagne bottle.++

+ Note date on bottom of package

++ Yes. I collect these too.  You aren’t surprised, are you?

† Although I don’t think there is a giant lethal marauding creature problem at the mews. But Charlie’s doesn’t have dog hair embedded in all the corners and serving as a felt-equivalent under the kitchen lino.

Two Years Later

 

Twelve September Fourteen!  Today is the second anniversary of my turning Christian. YAAAAY JESUS.*

How time flies. Or no . . . has it only been two years?  Eh.  I suppose the Big Transcendent Being figures he/she/it/they have to get their skates on with someone—that is, human**—about to turn sixty which I was, two years ago.  I’m having kind of a cruddy ME day today*** so it’s been giving me maybe way too much time to think, in a fuzzy, uh, blah, wha’? sort of way, and whatever it looks like from the front row of the blog, especially with my smoke-and-mirrors routine murking up the view, this last two years has seen GINORMOUS changes in ways I often find quite terrifying, not to mention frelling difficult†.  At least when you do something like emigrate it’s easy to say, oh, hey, look, a new country! Even there the important (and scary) stuff tends to go on behind the scenes and underground and in the cupboards with the resident skeletons already rattling around.  Gah. Blah. But for an easy example of disconcerting God-driven change . . . I’ve given money to charity pretty much since I got off food stamps††, partly because government and politicians depress the billydoodah out of me and I’m not at all sure voting does matter, but in this world money ALWAYS matters too much.  But I would not have expected me, fantasy-writing isolationist short-tempered loner that I am, even with Someone jabbing me with a holy cattle prod, to develop the kind of social conscience that demands practical, hands-on type volunteer work.  You never know about people.  Even when it’s you.

* * *

* I’m so mature. Also profound and sagacious.

** Flimsy little creatures, humans. I’m looking forward to the bomb- and bullet-proof^ eternal version.  I want my collagen back, which would therefore include my chin line, and the rest of my hair, and my hearing . . . and 20/20 vision for the FIRST time in my life, and a SAINTLY digestion that LOVES ice cream^^ . . . and I’m keeping cranky^^^ but it’s going to be the kindly, tolerant version  . . . um . . . I admit that my mortal imagination is not quite up to conceptualising this, but I assume it has to do with being allowed to tear computers apart with my bare hands—no money in heaven—but that I’m nice to people.#

^ okay, maybe not the best choice of metaphor

^^ Of course there’s ice cream in heaven. Like there are all those critters that went off and left you behind, frelling GENERATIONS of them, waiting for you.  Some of us are going to go down under a seething sea of furry+ bodies.  Well, I hope.

+ Scaly, feathery, whatever. It’s all good in heaven.

^^^ And story-telling. One of my definitions of heaven is being able to write what I was frelling built to write without constantly getting in my own way like a marathoner tripping over her own feet arrrrrrrgh.

# I’m going to rupture myself trying to imagine this. Nice to EVERYBODY?  ::Robin’s head, trying not to explode::  Well, okay, I suppose there are no jerks, assholes, and people who let their off-lead dogs crap in the churchyard . . . er . . . churchyard equivalents . . . in heaven.  ::Proliferation of implications alert::  Actually I’m kind of hoping I won’t have to pick up after my dogs, all 1,000,000,000 of them, in heaven.  Maybe we all crap rose petals. . . .

*** NO MYALGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS IN HEAVEN. Guaranteed.  Jesus says.

† Why can’t I just be perfect and get it over with?

†† Yes. So more of my ranting about the frelled-upness of society and social support is more informed than you realise.

 

I still sing. Make an, ahem, note

 

I’m just back from church.  Hurrah.  I haven’t been in yonks and yonks.  I’ve thought for the last three Sundays—I think it’s three—that I would make it this week and then I have one of my unscheduled collapses and don’t.*  I felt deeply guilty** a fortnight ago when my name was on the [singing] rota again and Aloysius could have really used some support—St Margaret’s, like most of the rest of the northern hemisphere where people live, gets thin on the ground in August while they’re all on holiday in someone else’s home town.***  So if that shocking failure was a fortnight ago, my name would coming up on the rota again . . . yes.  Hmm.  Buck was leading.  And there was no one else on the list.

. . . Pav, go lie down.†

I looked the music rota up on Thursday and blanched.  Also I’d had no song list so I could look the stuff up on YouTube and complain.  But possibly I had had no song list because I had been a no show for so long they’d drummed me off the rolls.  Which in August when there is an insufficiency of people on stage to hide behind is maybe quite a good thing.

Friday.  Still no song list.  I began the day feeling pretty good in brain and energy terms, so I emailed Buck.  WHERE IS MY SONG LIST [I might come, you never know]?

. . . And then Saturday I had another frelling lying-down day†† ARRRRRRGH . . .

Pav, go lie down.†††

So I got cautiously out of bed today wondering what was going to happen.  One of the things that happened was that I FINALLY had a return email from Buck saying he’d only just got back from holiday to 1,000,000,000 emails and sure, come along tonight and we’ll party.

Um.

So I went early like a good girl and found him practising ALL BY HIMSELF.  Where would you like to be? he said, brandishing a music stand.  In the middle?  On the other side of the stage?  BEHIND YOU, I said clearly.  And you have to sing what I’m supposed to sing.  No messing around with the tune.‡  He gave me his Steady Look, which is never a good sign.  But we gambolled through the music, some of which I knew and some of which I did not know.  One of the ones I did not know has a long embarrassing spell of Woah woah woah where you just sort of emote with your mouth open, torturing innocent variations of the so-called tune in whatever manner seems good to you.  Ad lib.  You know.  Eh.  Gah.  Buck can do that one.

I didn’t know how much voice I was going to have, because I’ve been too feeble lately to do much singing beyond folk songs while hurtling, but since for some reason they refused to turn my microphone off tonight you could certainly hear me.

As it happened it wasn’t as dire as all that.  One of the blokes who plays a keyboard was unwise enough to turn up for the evening service and Buck nailed him.  So in fact we started a few minutes late while Jethro frantically dragged his keyboard out of the cupboard and started plugging things in with his hands going so fast he looked like an octopus with fingers.  Which may explain why, when we got to the woah woah woah and Buck shot off into parts unknown I not only shot after him but soared past—he’s a nice strong tenor with some top end but I’m a soprano.  I win.‡‡

And having been winding up cables that hate me since I first started this singing shtick, tonight I had a lesson from the ex-roadie and ex-member-of-the-band Buck in how to wind up a cable so it doesn’t hate you.  Who knew this was a skill?

Pav, GO LIE DOWN.

Yeah.  I think I’ll do that too.  Preferably in a bed however.  With lots of pillows and books.  Pav will probably prefer a chew toy.

* * *

* I haven’t been to the monks in forever either.  Siiiiiiigh.  If you have ME, don’t join a church frelling MILES from where you live or fall in love with a bunch of monks who are even farther away.  I thought I was finally going to make it to the abbey last Saturday . . . and got an email from Alfrick saying, don’t come if you were planning to, there’s a doodah^ on and night prayer is cancelled.  And then Sunday, possibly from disappointment, I had another lying-down-in-a-daze day, and didn’t make it to church again.

^ This is of course the deep theological usage of the term ‘doodah’.

** Which does not improve the lying-down-in-a-daze experience

*** And the evening service is the little one.  Apparently the earlier services still teem pretty well, even in August.

† Poor Pav’s training has gone totally pear-shaped the last two months or so what with Everything Else Going On and I swore that as soon as things even BEGAN to settle down I’d start doing something more with her again.^   And fabulously amusing as rolling over on command is, the thing that would make a significant difference to both her quality of life and mine is if she would learn to GO LIE DOWN on command, so I have a better alternative when she’s winding herself up to start bouncing off the ceiling than to lock her up in her crate again.  Even bribing her with foooooood gets a little oppressive after a while and I need her to like her crate because she inevitably spends a good deal of time in it.  And I don’t want to make a huge deal of it when she’s just being a bull terrier and put her in her harness and make her Long Down at my feet.  ‘Go lie down’ is just another off button like Southdowner-trained Olivia’s holding is.^^

^ Her walking more or less at heel and sitting and looking up at me when I stop is getting not at all bad except, of course, when I start to think so.  But people who know bullies tend to fall down laughing when they see us doing our somewhat erratic trick+.  I’m usually smiling even without onlookers++.  The little evil eyes do enhance the experience of being stared up at—and the way a bullie’s back legs are built how bullies sit down often provokes hilarity even in the clueless onlooker.

+ Ie successfully.

++ No NOT in surprise.  You rude person.

++ Holding still works fine, by the way.  If she gets too turbo-charged about another dog—and with her personality I am not going to risk her being ruined by too many encounters with stupid people’s off lead ugly citizens the way my poor sweet hellhounds have been ruined—I don’t just pick her up I hold her.

†† Possibly due to the extreme frustrations of Friday, which included, after learning of the third mortgage I was going to have to take out to pay for the new boiler, belting into Mauncester at the last possible minute to pick up our NEW CLEAR GLASS SPLASHBACK^ for the gas hob/stovetop at Third House which Ignatius had already promised to screw in on Saturday . . . AND THEY FRELLING MUFFED THE JOB.  And are going to have to do it all over again.  On their penny, but even so.  Arrrrrrgh.

And then I rang handbells with Niall for the first time in months and it TOTALLY wiped me out.  No measurable trace of brain function after.  I used to be able to ring handbells without having to be rolled home in a wheelbarrow. . . .

^ Ordering same having taken somewhat longer than it might have when I arrived last Friday at 3:55 to find that despite the stated hour of closure as 4:30 the only person still there was locking up as fast as he could turn the key.

Finding someone who could provide a clear glass splashback has been a whole other saga as fashion presently dictates that the only splashbacks any cool up to the minute person would want are brutally glossy things in really harsh grisly in your face colours or the even more in your face polished steel uggggggh.  I get enough of the dentist’s office/torturer’s look at my dentist’s office/torturer’s tea parties, okay?  AND I WANT TO SEE MY TILES.  They’re nice tiles and they cost a lot of money.

††† If you stirred Pav and me together you’d get . . . one very extraordinary looking creature who lay down precisely the right amount in precisely the right circumstances.

‡ Aloysius perfectly well can sing harmony, and often does.  Buck, however, is dangerous.  He gets carried away.

‡‡ I had two people tell me after how lovely my singing harmony was.^  They’re so nice at St Margaret’s.  And they so really need singers they are eager to be encouraging.

^ Wrong. Trust me on this.

More germs

 

 

Bleagh.  I’m frelling ill again/still.  I hadn’t really finished getting over the thrice blasted stomach flu—which kept kind of circling back and biting me—and I’ve now got one of those sore throats where you feel like your throat was attacked by a cheese grater and then set fire to.  Plus the shakes and shivers that tend to go with.  Arrrgh.  YOU KNOW THERE’S A DOWN SIDE TO ALL THIS INTERACTION WITH OTHER HUMAN BEINGS NONSENSE.*  MORE GERMS.

Frell.

I made it in to my third Sams duty shift last night, aware that all was not well internally but not having arrived at true graphic cheese-grater stage yet—and also you really don’t want to cancel at the last minute if you possibly can avoid it because last-minute Samaritan substitutes are a good deal rarer and more valuable than hen’s-egg-sized rubies, and just as the Street Pastors can’t go out unless there are at least three of them plus two Prayer Pastors back at base, the Sams office can only stay open if there are two duty Sams.

As it happens it was a very draining shift** but Pythia seemed to think I’d done well, and since she wasn’t shoving notes under my nose I’m willing to believe she did think so.*** Which is a bit of a ‘yaaay’ because however earnest and willing you are you don’t know if you can do it—do it over some of the range of human distress—till you’ve done it.

So apparently I am going to make a Sam.  Knitting critter coats for Battersea Dog and Cat Rescue optional.  Yaaay. †

 * * *

*  Saturday night is the traditionally busiest night of the Street Pastors’ weekend, which runs three nights starting with Thursday, although some of the individually scariest stuff can perfectly well happen on non-Saturdays.  As a Friday regular I was braced for the foaming hordes—also it’s summer so the weather and assorted festivals encourage the punters onto the streets—and it was sure busy but nothing too hectic.  The most melodramatic aspect was the number of bottles and cans left around.  WHY ARE PEOPLE SUCH SLOBS.^  There are a variety of views about this among Street Pastor groups and areas.  We all pick up glass because of the potential danger if it breaks.^^  After that the edicts get a little less clear.   We’re not litter pickers, we’re concerned about safety, so generally speaking we look for anything to do with alcohol.  We’ll sully our hands^^^ to dispose of Guinness and Old Speckled Hen cans, but not Pepsi or Innocent Super Smoothie.  And we pour out any contents of our hogsheads and firkins before we bin them—which means you want to find a grating on your way to your bin.  On the grounds that drunk people will do anything, perhaps especially drunk teenage boys daring each other to greater feats of grossness, I am also one of those who picks up abandoned plastic ‘glasses’ that still have something that looks like beer in them.

Occasionally this may lead to a situation open to misinterpretation.  Saturday night for some reason I got my eye in and was seeing cans and bottles that my teammates were walking straight past—usually there’s someone on a team who is struck by greatness this way but it’s never been me before.#  I had just ducked aside to pick up a (empty) bottle of Cava and paused on my return to the main road to seize a half-full-of-something plastic glass.  I turned around, looking for a grating and/or a bin and saw two gentlemen, rather the worse for wear, staring at me goggle-eyed.  The Street Pastors are pretty well known around here and of course a Street Pastor on her beat is wearing logos of dazzling, unmissable blatancy.  Can you drink on the job? said one of them in hushed, almost reverent tones.  No, I said, trying not to laugh at the looks on their faces.  I’m dumping these out.  They watched me closely as I found my grating and then my bin . . . but I wonder if they went home thinking that they’d caught me at something and of course I had to pour my illicit beverage out once they’d seen me.

^ These are probably some of the same people that don’t pick up after their dogs.  Hellhounds and I walked past a pile of dog crap in the middle of a BUS SHELTER today.  How disgusting is that?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE.

^^ Each team also carries a flimsy little dustpan and brush for sweeping up broken glass.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to wield same on Saturday.  Glass weighs, you know?  And the poor little dustpan goes groan groan groan so you have to keep emptying it . . . so you hope that whoever drops a breakable object does so near a bin.+

+ I was also, on my hands and knees sweeping up glass, lavishly praised by passing coppers.  Oh my misspent youth.  I’ve become a little old lady who sweeps up broken glass in public places.

^^^ We also carry one-use gloves for anything really revolting.

# I can think of superpowers I would prefer.  There’s a woman on my usual team who is so good at it I swear she draws cans and bottles to her, like the birds flocking to St Francis.  At least bottles don’t crap on your head.

** Which is fine.  It’s what we’re for.  And while you-a-Sam may well end a call feeling ‘oh dear oh dear oh dear’ you also get to hope you made a difference . . . after all, this person picked up the phone^ to talk to a Samaritan . . . presumably because they wanted to talk to a friendly, empathetic, non-judgemental person.  THAT’S WHAT WE’RE FOR.  Make a note.

^ Or fired up their computer/smartphone for an email or a text

*** She has the lurgy also.  Possibly we gave it to each other last week.

† Thank you God.  Stamina is still an issue, but Pythia says that comes with practise and experience, which seems to me reasonable.  If I were sitting quietly and solitarily at my desk and someone said Here.  You now have three dogs, each of them seriously insane in its own individual way, and you have to walk them several miles every day as well as feeding, playing with, and generally interacting with them, including Long Yellow Rubber Pull Toy Things and sofas, including when you feel like the ancient compacted rubbish at the bottom of a dustbin-collection lorry, I think I might squeak a bit.  It’s all what you’re used to.

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