Friday, July 28, 2006

itunes quiz

I stole this from The Goldfish, who stole it from Timmargh , cos I'm tired and have just come home from an overnight trip. Except for my managing to spectacularly flood the wet-room style accessible bathroom at the hotel, the accomodation was fine. (Gasp-shock-horror). I don't want to get a wet room in our bathroom at home anymore.

By the way, some of the 'total song's total are down to a selection of Mr Fang's music on my ipod, and also a couple of albums from his parents called things like 'Scottish Tranquility' that I had to add when we went on holiday with them recently. Thank God they didn't stumble across Tenacious D...

How many songs:

Sort by song title
First Song: ...So Addictive (Intro) - Missy Elliot
Last Song: Zombie - The Cranberries (snap! Goldfish)

Sort by time
Shortest Song: Passive Manipulation - The White Stripes 0:35
Longest Song: Dazed and Confused - Led Zeppelin 25:25

Sort by artist
First Artist: 60ft Dolls
Last Artist: Wilson Pickett

Sort by album
First Album: ...So Addictive - Missy Elliot
Last Album: Youv'e Come A Long Way Baby - Fatboy Slim

Top Three Most Played Songs:
1. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
2. Powdered Wig Machine - (from the Desert Sessions 9 & 10, PJ Harvey on vocals)
3. Celebrity Skin - Hole

Search words: - how many songs come up?
Sex - 19, including Sex Pistols, James Brown... and Spinal Tap?!
Death - 7, including Nick Cave, Marilyn Manson, and Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suites
Love - 189, including Steve Earle, Nina Simone... and Whitesnake?!

(Spinal Tap and Whitesnake are Mr Fang's, I swear). And I am adding a new category just to lower the tone;

Fuck - how many songs come up? 7, Eels, Amy Winehouse, Lenny Kravitz, Tenacious D, Peaches and P J Harvey... wash your mouths out with soap and water.

Wassat, Peaches? You need more soap?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The wonders of nature!

I wanted to post something happy about our garden.

Since it's been so hot, Mr Fang and I have hardly stayed indoors in the evenings. We've taken to sitting in the garden waiting for the evening cool to descend, feeding the fish who now flock to the edge of the pond opening and closing their mouths, aquatic golden pac-men. As darkness falls we switch on the lamps at the side of the pond. It's lovely and peaceful.

The more you're out there, the more you notice going on.

We discovered there are frogs as well as fish. The first night we noticed we were out making a lot of noise talking with a friend. Suddenly a frog unselfconciously hopped out of the pond and made its way past our feet to the wall of the house, where the latest ant colony is trying to set up home. He spent the evening happily scoffing them down before heading back the way he came, ending his debut with a few swift laps round the lamplit pond. Then we spied another frog sitting right by a light catching the small insects that were attracted to it. And another. In't nature brilliant?

For a few nights now there's also been a strange rustling coming from one of the bushes next to the pond. We guessed at cats, birds, even rats... it never usually amounted to much. But other night we found out what was making it. Sitting in the gloom, enjoying the cool, the rustling began as it usually did. Then there was a new sound, a raspy, repetitive scratching sound. Whoever was in the bush had obviously decided we weren't a threat, so it was going to go ahead and make as much noise as it liked.

If you'd ever had a pet cat or dog you'd recognise this sound. It's the unmistakable sound of a hind claw furiously scratching at an ear. We grinned at each other and mouthed, "Hedgehog!"

A little later, after almost non-stop scratching at such a frantic level we desperately wanted to go into the bush and help, the hedgehog emerged. It looked sleepily around. It decided to have a scratch. Bumbling into the lamplight around the pond unaware or perhaps without a care that it had an audience, it stopped for another scratch. And another. It couldn't have put on a better comedy turn for us. We'd had a few glasses of wine at this point. The beleagured hedgehog kept interupting its movements to scratch, leaving us silently helpless with laughter. No doubt Bill Oddie would have had his head in his hands at our lack of respect for the distress of this poor wild creature. The frogs didn't think it was funny either. Every step the hedgehog made brought it closer to them - although it clearly wasn't able to concentrate on anything but scratching. One step. Stop for a scratch. Splash into the pond goes the nearest frog. Another step. Another scratch. A splash. A scratch. And so on, until all the frogs were in the pond, whereupon the hedgehog paused to look a little annoyed at our stifled giggles. With further comedic effect, it hauled its flea-plagued bulk over the small brick edging at the back of the pond and disappeared under a conifer. More scratching noises. Making the assumption the show was over we relaxed and howled with laughter.

This was quickly cut short by another hedgehog-shaped shadow barrelling into the pond area, passing right under Mr Fang's sun lounger. We stopped laughing to see a smaller hedgehog, who looked like it knew exactly where it was going, corner the pond and scramble rather more deftly over the brick to underneath the conifers.

Rustling ensued, then it all went silent. Was it a hedghog rendezvous? We waited with baited breath, wondering what the next noise was going to be. I think if we'd heard another scratch at this point we'd have been in hysterics. But what we did hear wasn't another scratching noise... Having never fully understood what gave hedgehogs the name 'hedgehog' before, I was about to find out.

The strangest racket began emanating from the lower conifer branches. HUMMMNAHAARUMPHHH, HUMMMNAHAARUMPHHHAAAA, HUMMMNAHAARUMPHHHA HA HARRGGGHHH! The lower branches were shaking. I shot a wild look at Mr Fang. He was doubled up again on his sun lounger with the giggles.

"What's going on?" I whispered frantically "Are they shagging?"

"No, you idiot," he shot back, "It's HEDGEHOGGING! That's why they're called hedgeHOGS...!"

We both collapsed with the giggles again. It really is a very funny sound. Now and again, the hedgehog stopped it's outrageously loud snuffling to listen to us, but pretty soon it realised it wasn't under any threat and we could talk normally.

I've seen hedgehogs before, of course, although they're mostly flat and therefore have a tendency to be on the quiet side. I've never heard them make the snuffling noise that gives them their name. I'd heard screaming at night, which is apparently what they do when they shag, but I'd always blamed that on cats.

It was nice to know the local wildlife felt comfortable in our garden. And I do mean was nice to know...

The night before last, I'd gone to bed early. Mr Fang was in the garden by himself enjoying a glass of wine. The frogs were by the lights at the edge of the pond catching flies. The hedghogs were snuffling for insects under the conifers. Indeed, all was right with the world.

Without warning, a large moth flew into Mr Fang's ear, startling him and causing him to cry out in alarm. He jumped up, and in his haste, threw the glass of wine all over himself. Yelping at the sudden wetness, and the tickly buzzing thing trying to find a nice dark place in his ear, Mr Fang did a little dance round the garden, trying desperately to make sure his ear was free of moth.

Plop! All the frogs dived into the pond.

The hedgehogs fled in fear of the stompy cursing thing to the garden next door.

We haven't seen or heard them since. I do hope they come back.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Just shopping, like you do

So last week I'm in town, browsing in the shopping centre, and spy a shop called aftershock. Lots of swirly pretty dresses. All up on rail too high for yours truly, but gamely, possibly in spite of this, I wheel in and begin pulling at skirts and sleeves until something interesting falls down and I can decide I don't like it.

And then she spots me. Someone who want to ask the dreaded question, WWWY. Whats Wrong With You?

(Simply this. It's hot. My arse irons creases into everything I wear and I can't find a rail of dresses my height, let alone an actual dress).

I am distracted by the fans blowing dresses everywhere and dresses falling on my head so am slightly caught off guard when she trills;

"Ooo, look at you...!

In a wheelchair!

And you're so pretty!"

(This isn't neccesarily the truth. People will always say this, even if you're an utter minger, because they think it's the right thing to say).

So I just smile and wheel away, but the damn woman follows me. Smiling. Asking questions and babbling.

"Whats wrong with you?

Can you stand? A little bit?"

"I do charity work at the local hospice..."


Retreating in the opposite direction is an inticement to her rather than a rebuff. And damn, it's soo hot. Stupidly I retreat further into the shop and away from the door. No way out. I turn round and face her.

She is an Elizabeth Taylor in meltdown, wild black curls variously flattened and sprouting out at odd angles all over her head. Sweating profusely in a long sleeved red velvet top stretched tight across a large, red, velvet covered apple of a tummy. Too much gold jewellery. And eyeliner so runny it is speckled and smudged in patches right down to her heavily rouged cheeks. She's not going to go away until she gets a response from me. I kind of get the feeling flippancy would be cruel. Luckily she breaks the silence.

"What's your star sign? Scorpio? Pisces?"


"Oh. Right."

(I smile a little. People never guess Capricorn. What is it with people who think they can guess your star sign? Isn't Capricorn a glamorous enough answer? And once you say you're a Capricorn, they act like game over. It seems Capricorns are too dull for star sign bonding. No Capricorn has ever asked me for my star sign, and I would be shocked if one ever did).

"I'm Gemini," she says like it should mean something profound (- Does it? Please tell me if you know...), and then quickly changes tactic and we're back on the old, um, leg, issue.

"Darling, tell me... were you born like that?

(Like what? With a chair stuck to my arse, fresh from the womb? I think, but don't say out loud. My poor Mother. Think of the stitches...).

But I haven't the heart to say that to this curious individual who looks like she's just leapt through from a parallel universe, so I just say,

"Yes. But not in the chair all my life. Well, it's been nice talking to you. Goodbye." And wheel behind a rail.

She follows me again.

"Can you stand? A little bit?"

"I do what I can," I say, wearily. "I'm sorry, but I must get on. Got to get back to work." I lie.

"Yes," she says, nodding, like it's the missing piece in the puzzle. The she shoots me this mysterious look and adds "Hmmm. That's because you're a Capricorn..."And just goes. I could say say she clicked her heels together and vanished in a yellow puff of smoke, but it was more like she clicked her yellow teeth together and the fans were blowing dresses all over the place, but anyway, before I could say "Goodbye" again in another attempt at a forced-yet-polite-manner, or even "What's because I'm a Capricorn?" I didn't have to because she had gone.

But did she mean she knew because Capricorns are known to be concientious workers, or because they are known to hang around dress shops lying about having to go back to some ficticious work? It's all so complicated.

And I didn't even find a dress.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Note To Self

1. Keep mouth closed when triking. It stops things getting in.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Up the alley, round the corner...

I couldn't not post about the trike now I've got it. It arrived last Thursday, and after an anxious evening supervising Mr F putting it together, and a few inevitable teething problems, it is up and running.

For the first time in 10 or more years I have been able to go outdoors and explore where I am living. It has seemed almost churlish, over the years to mind about that, when I have been able to drive places. But there is a difference. Going from house to car to accessible building and back again negates the experience of being outdoors. The places I could not drive to before have now opened up to me - my immediate neighbourhood, it's streets and houses, the alleyway that runs past the bottom of the garden - these are now places I am beginning to know. That I have the ability to know. Since last September when we moved here, I have been looking at the alley, wondering where it went and what was on the other side... It's a big posh estate, a darn sight posher than our 'side'. But now I know, and now I can get there too.

For the first 4-6 outings I'm only able to go about a mile or so, then I have to return home to recharge the batteries. I know sod-all about batteries, but the paperwork says they only have a preliminary charge and the battery capacity must be built up slowly before they are able to be used over longer distances. I've been out 3 times so far. The first time I was scared about tipping over, so I only went up and down our little bumpy road until I'd done a mile. Mr Fang stood there grinning like a proud parent. The second time I went down the alley and discovered Poshland. The third time, I went the opposite way down the alley to the main road, and had a staring match with the big smelly cows who glare at the passing traffic from their farm across the road. Surprisingly for beasts of such huge bulk they were quite shy and reluctant to meet my gaze, so I turned around and went back down the alley to the smooth tarmacked surfaces of Poshland to practice opening the throttle.

Up to the point of my third outing, I'd thought part of the battery procedure meant I could only go slowly. The trike has two speed settings - slow for pavements and pedestrian areas, and fast for everywhere else. Fast hadn't seemed a good idea on my road, with its lumps and bumps and slow-moving pensioners visiting each other for tea. But Poshland's smooth roads are an invitation - especially as most end in little cul-de-sacs and are very quiet.

The first time I opened up the throttle, it was a revelation. I'd never ever gone this fast outside of a car independently. I tried a few swerves. Yes! I turned round and did it all over again. Yes! I kept expecting the batteries to lose power, or for something to go horribly wrong, because I didn't feel like I could possibly do this and get away with it. But apart from the speedometer telling me it was nearly time to go home and recharge the batteries, nothing did. On my final lap I realised I had a spectator. A kid, on what looked like his first bike - complete with stabilisers, had come to the end of his road and was staring at me. With a look of definite jealousy. And I could see this kid thinking 'why doesn't my bike go that fast?'

I suddenly wondered what it was this kid was actually seeing - an older girl on a fast bike? A wheelchair user with a strange bike-thing on the front of her chair? Just as suddenly I realised it didn't matter what he thought, except he could see it was fast, and that was good. I also felt there was nothing to say to him about the hows and whys of the situation, so with one last rev I disappeared back up the alleyway back home to put the batteries on charge.

It looks like rain today. I suppose that means I shall get wet on today's trip out. How novel!