Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ho Ho Bloody Ho

Hopefully early in the New Year I will be able to relate a good news story related to something that happened yesterday. At the moment though I am not going to mention the truly shit thing that happened yesterday because I am a) trying not to think about it, and b) am convinced that come the New Year the whole nasty story will have gone away - along, I sincerely hope, with the low life that have created this current shit. Enough to say that bad things happen to good people but I am sure it is just a temporary setback and I'll be damned if I let it ruin Christmas for my family.

So just to wish anyone who has been crazy enough to continue to visit your frequently neglectful hostess here a Very Happy Christmas and New Year.

And by the way - Will the New Year be Two thousand and ten or will it be Twenty ten? I need to know!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas reading

At one time I updated my reading list on this blog with regularity, but these days as I seem to have more of a life that has fallen by the wayside. There have been a few books I have read recently that I have really enjoyed. One was 'American Wife' by Curtis Sittenfeld which is about the life of a woman, politically a liberal, who somehow ends up as the First Lady married to a deeply unpopular right wing American president who takes the country into an illegal war. Now who could that be based upon I wonder? The book was full of surprises, it made me literally laugh out loud on a crowded train, and it made me cry as well, as cringe at the thought of George W having sex. Confessing that she voted for his Democratic opponent in the presidential election our heroine comments: 'During the periods when I've been the most frustrated by our lives, or by what is happening in this country, I've looked outside at the cars and pedestrians our motorcades pass and I've thought, All I did is marry him. You are the ones who gave him power.' Anyway - loved that.

Also loved, loved, loved both 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' and 'The Girl who Played with Fire' by Stieg Larsson. Clever stuff indeed and I cannot wait for the third and sadly final book in the series ( seeing as how Larsson only went and died before he could write more - some people are so inconsiderate!) to arrive via Amazon in the next day or two.

And that brings me to my problem. Last year at Christmas found me wading my way through 'War and Peace'. The previous Christmas I landed myself with 'Schindler's Ark'. Both of those are obviously great books - but a barrel of laughs they generally ain't, give or take one or two lines in Tolstoy. This year - why oh why oh why - I find myself stuck with 'The Name of the Rose' by Umberto Eco. Yeah gods it is such hard going! It makes me feel like I am really intellectually challenged/ aka thick. I'm celebrating a small triumph this morning though.

At the heading of each chapter Eco gives a short breakdown of what to expect in the coming pages along the lines of 'In which Adso looks at a church door (and describes it for five and a half interminable pages) and William has an intellectual conversation about whether men of God should laugh (which continues, mainly in Latin, for ever as far as I can see).' (Comments in brackets are mine.) Anyway - my small triumph is that I have just read Chapter 11 'In which Jane practically understood what went on for the first time since she picked the book up'. It's a nightmare.

BUT - Reidski has a hard and fast rule that when one starts to read a book one has to finish it - no matter how shite it is (unless it is something by Dan Brown of course), and no matter how difficult. If I finish this blasted book I will feel a sense of achievement; never mind that I have no expectations whatsoever of understanding it. A quick straw poll of some of my clever friends has yet to yield anyone who managed to stick with this book to the end. And in the post - any day now - will arrive a book I am desperate to read. So dear readers - what will I do? Abandon 'The Name of the Rose' for something readable, knowing full well I will never return to find out who is behind the mass murders that took place in an Italian monastery in the early thirteenth century, or do I plough on with the promise of 'The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest' as a reward for doing Eco? Is my will power strong enough to resist one and stick with the other? I very much doubt it. Christmas Day really should surely be about easy reading, but it does look as though for the third year in a row my reading may be just about turning pages as quickly as possible for all the wrong reasons.

Have made note to self not to start any difficult or depressing book next Decemeber time.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Health & Safety and Equality Considerations for Christmas Songs

Not my own work I am afraid - but I enjoyed these:

The Rocking Song

Little Jesus, sweetly sleep, do not stir;
We will lend a coat of fur,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you

Fur is no longer appropriate wear for small infants, both due to risk of allergy to animal fur, and for ethical reasons. Therefore faux fur, a nice cellular blanket or perhaps micro-fleece material should be considered a suitable alternative.

Please note, only persons who have been subject to a Criminal Records Bureau check and have enhanced clearance will be permitted to rock baby Jesus. Persons must carry their CRB disclosure with them at all times and be prepared to provide three forms of identification before rocking commences.

Jingle Bells
Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go
Laughing all the way

A risk assessment must be submitted before an open sleigh is considered safe for members of the public to travel on. The risk assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly if passengers are of larger proportions. Please note, permission must be gained from landowners before entering their fields. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we would request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.

While Shepherds Watched

While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around

The union of Shepherd's has complained that it breaches health and safety regulations to insist that shepherds watch their flocks without appropriate seating arrangements being provided, therefore benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available. Shepherds have also requested that due to the inclement weather conditions at this time of year that they should watch their flocks via cctv cameras from centrally heated shepherd observation huts.
Please note, the angel of the lord is reminded that before shining his / her glory all around she / he must ascertain that all shepherds have been issued with glasses capable of filtering out the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and Glory.

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

You are advised that under the Equal Opportunities for All policy, it is inappropriate for persons to make comment with regard to the ruddiness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr R Reindeer from the Reindeer Games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence. A full investigation will be implemented and sanctions - including suspension on full pay - will be considered whilst this investigation takes place.

Little Donkey

Little donkey, little donkey on the dusty road
Got to keep on plodding onwards with your precious load

The RSPCA have issued strict guidelines with regard to how heavy a load that a donkey of small stature is permitted to carry, also included in the guidelines is guidance regarding how often to feed the donkey and how many rest breaks are required over a four hour plodding period. Please note that due to the increased risk of pollution from the dusty road, Mary and Joseph are required to wear face masks to prevent inhalation of any airborne particles. The donkey has expressed his discomfort at being labelled 'little' and would prefer just to be simply referred to as Mr. Donkey. To comment upon his height or lack thereof may be considered an infringement of his equine rights.

We Three Kings

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

Whilst the gift of gold is still considered acceptable - as it may be redeemed at a later date through such organisations as 'cash for gold' etc, gifts of frankincense and myrrh are not appropriate due to the potential risk of oils and fragrances causing allergic reactions. A suggested gift alternative would be to make a donation to a worthy cause in the recipients name or perhaps give a gift voucher. We would not advise that the traversing kings rely on navigation by stars in order to reach their destinations and suggest the use of RAC routefinder or satellite navigation, which will provide the quickest route and advice regarding fuel consumption. Please note as per the guidelines from the RSPCA for Mr Donkey, the camels carrying the three kings of Orient will require regular food and rest breaks.
Facemasks for the three kings are also advisable due to the likelihood of dust from the camels hooves.

Away in a Manger No Crib for a bed - Contact Social services???????

Friday, December 11, 2009

More local news

This time from Ayrshire.

Reidski assures me this is actually the lead headline in this week's paper. What I especially like about this story is not only its content which is clearly local news at its best - 'Man grows record breaking moustache' - but more than that - the moustache was shaved off on 1st December and the paper doesn't actually have a photograph of it. Therefore we all have to imagine what Mikey Hughes record breaking moustache looked like. In fact they don't even have a photo of what he looks like without the record breaking moustache so we will have to imagine that too.

Of course it could be I suppose that everyone in Ayrshire knows what Mikey Hughes looks like and not expecting a wider readership for this story thought a photo was surplus to requirements?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Times are hard

But even so, Northampton's Christmas lights leave a bit to be desired....

To be precise if the photo isn't very clear it leaves 'HRISTMAS and MPTON' to be desired.

Sums the place up quite well really.