All Points Abroad

It’s been a while (Egypt in 2006 I think) since I’ve been to a country with which I shared no common language.  But tomorrow, that will all change!

First here.


Then (by about Thursday), here.  


And then home again.  I’ll let you know …

vomit, toilets & hospitals

So, a regular Saturday night for me then – throwing up my dinner in a hospital toilet at 11pm.

[and now, after that punchy, attention-grabbing first line, let me explain…]

Having picked up the beloved soldier Mr McHutchon from the station (after enduring some pretty heavy travel woes of his own), we toddled off to his new house to hang out, relax and have dinner.  Mark spends a lot of his time working in Ireland, so it was really nice to be able to grab him.

And then disaster struck: something went down my throat that didn’t go all the way down.  Attempts to flush it through with water or food just backed up and needed to come out – fingers down throat stuff 😦

So there was mucous settling in little pools in the sink and something definitely stuck somewhere, but my breathing was fine and I didn’t feel ill.  I tried turning myself upside-down, I tried jumping around, I tried more water or more fingers-down-throat, but nothing was changing, so off to the hospital we went.

They were pretty good.  I had to be sick (just bringing up water/mucous/whatever) in the toilets while we waited, but they saw me quickly, shoved a muscle relaxant in my arm and said something about ‘fizzy drinks often help’.  Maria ran all over the hospital to find a vending machine that actually had what we wanted, and the doctor was just about to recommend me for an x-ray and a camera-down-the-throat when she came back.

Two small sips, a rush to the toilet, and the rest of dinner came up.  Hurrah!!  I was free, though with an unpleasant vomit-flavour still in my nostrils.


Home, Sweet

I am on holiday!  This morning I walked part of the way to school with my sister (she's a teacher), then came back, put on my Dad's slippers and toasted some bread my Mum had just made.  And now I'm waiting for Maria to wake up so that we can have a nice day together.


Devon is nice.

If you want to see where I am this week, here is my Dad's gardening blog.  And here is my Dad:

Dad in Yellow Gloves

In a few days, Maria & I will be buzzing off to Italy to bumble around and see what happens.  Hopefully nothing bad 🙂

Job Cramps

Last night, in selfless defence of our mighty position at the top of the table, I ended up playing the last couple of minutes of a Broughton Cosmos match with cramp in both legs :)  I've never really had cramp before, and didn't realise that you can still run, even though it feels like you've got a golf ball impaled in your calf.  So yeah, I jogged around, and then afterwards tried to tell as many people about it as possible (because what is heroism if unrecognised?).

That was good: we won 2-1, and even managed to pass it about a bit at times.  Soon we're gonna start warming up and having tactics and stuff – it'll be AMAZING.

So that's the first thing I was going to tell you about.  The other is about a job possibility that has come up, which might turn out to be a Very Good Thing:  My flatmate is called Clare Bellis, and her mum is the head of Learning Support at a rather fancy school.  She has a boy under her care who has Asperger's Syndrome and therefore is a mixture of brilliance and social difficulties, and who has kind of worn out his key workers (who sit with/near him in lessons and stuff) through being awkward, and sometimes bad.  These key workers have all been women so far, and Mrs Bellis thinks that a male key worker would potentially make a lot of difference, hence being in touch with me.

I've been in and out of the school a couple of times so far, to check things out - yesterday I was sitting in on lessons and stuff – and it looks pretty likely that I'll be asked to work with the boy for two days a week, from the beginning of the new academic year.

So that's really nice – it's great to feel wanted and it's great to think through the ways in which I will be well suited to doing stuff like this – plus it's such a clear reminder of the way in which so much of job-hunting is just about having friends and knowing people (this is the second time Mrs Bellis has tried to recruit me).  But the other thing that's really interesting is that, despite being only two days per week, this job would pay me well enough to not need any other income – that's amazing!  Especially for a writer.

It may yet come to nothing, of course, but I am looking forward to seeing what might become of this – whether this really will help me to build a proper, regular rhythm of writing, studying, reading and so on.  We'll see.

I’ve Been Making A Movie! [conclusion]

Hi there.  I write to you from my new temporary accommodation – upstairs from the last place.  Hi.

Well, as you might remember, a month or so ago I was part of a team making a short movie for the 48 Hour film-making competition.  I signed up intending to be the writer, and ended up as principal actor, with responsibility for 'lusting after' Maria on screen.  That was within my range 🙂

Anyway, here it is.  It's a bit artsy, so it might benefit from a repeat viewing (or I could explain it to you if you really wanted, but surely the point of art is to be a bit wonky sometimes, isn't it?).


Oscar Wilde on Redemption

Of course the sinner must repent.  But why?  Simply because otherwise he would be unable to realise what he had done.  The moment of repentance is the moment of initiation.  More than that.  It is the means by which one alters one's past.  The Greeks thought that impossible.  They often say in their gnomic aphorisms "Even the Gods cannot alter the past."  Christ showed that the commonest sinner could do it.  That it was the one thing he could do.

Christ, had he been asked, would have said - I feel quite certain about it - that the moment the prodigal son fell on his knees and wept he really made his having wasted his substance with harlots, and then kept swine and hungered for the husks they ate, beautiful and holy incidents in his life.

It is difficult for most people to grasp the idea.  I dare say one has to go to prison to understand it.  If so, it may be worthwhile going to prison.

                                                                                                                          [from De Profundis]

Handy Wodehouse Quotes To Brighten Your Day

Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoi's Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day's work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city's reservoir, he turns to the cupboard, only to find the vodka bottle empty.
  Jill the Reckless (1921)

"I hate you, I hate you!" cried Madeline, a thing I didn't know anyone ever said except in the second act of a musical comedy.
  Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves (1963)

She fitted into my biggest armchair as if it had been built round her by someone who knew they were wearing armchairs tight about the hips that season.
  My Man Jeeves (1919) 'Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest'

"You can't do shorthand, I suppose?"
"I don't know. I've never tried."
  Eggs, Beans and Crumpets (1940)  'A Bit of Luck for Mabel'

One half of the world doesn't know how the other three-quarters lives.
  The Code of the Woosters (1938)