Thursday, 23 February 2012

Upton Snodsbury and Wyre Piddle

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You have to have been born in England to immediately guess that these are names of ancient, tiny English villages in some county like Worcestershire. They featured on the snowy, country road that leads to the community rehab hospital where my dad has been since New Year. Apart from eliciting the odd giggle of disbelief in a foreigner (after all, England is peppered with such places), all no doubt having some great linguistic significance as many of them are listed in the Doomsday Book,I looked it up and found that the 'bury' part is to do with the 'manor' of the feudal lord of whichever district applies.  It is great fun to look at a detailed map of England and marvel at these names.  I recommend it if you ever have a spare Google moment or two.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Teenage Boys



I've finally had mail from my husband - he was pleasantly surprised on the week-end that our 22-year old helped him without complaint to dig up half the garden looking for leaks in the sprinkler system and further, assisted with knocking out half a wall in our kitchen.  (When I am away my husband gets lots of jobs done as he doesn't like sitting alone in front of the TV in the evenings.)  I privately think the surprise offer of help is because I had a word with small son before I left and asked him to keep an eye on his father, should he show signs of using any power tools: there must be a large supply of pre-cut plasters handy and also the car keys in case dad needed to be rushed to hospital for stitches. Once when I was away, hubby needed 8 stitches in his leg, owing to a broken glass in a rubbish bag he was carrying to the bin outside: he was alone and nearly passed out from blood loss before managing to phone our neighbour on his mobile. I was thinking of all this, while waiting for my sister-in-law to finish picking up the dog legacies in the garden, after having taken the dog for a long walk.  When she had done these chores, she grabbed her car keys, paused, and said to me in a surprised voice: "Why didn't I ask the boys to do those jobs as they are home this week from school?" I know why.  She wanted them done NOW, not later, or tomorrow, or not at all because they forgot.  Got that T-shirt. Her boys are 17 and 15.  I could only tell her that they do grow up one day.  My 32-year old helped paint our house.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Diffraction Grating



Sometimes I think my brother and his sons speak a foreign language - that concerned either with Physics or computer programming.  Today, during gift-giving for my nephew's 18th birthday - which featured the grand prize of a 750 gig hard drive with a 5-year guarantee - I gave him a humble keyring (apart from a cash donation) - cute, because it features an LED light feature which had my brother saying he would like to '...run it through a diffraction grating to see the rainbow'.  Suitably awed, until I was told that any 17-year old physics student would know what he was talking about, I reflected that to some of us it is given to have given up science in favour of languages at age 13.  Thank goodness there are 'others' though. It is half term week here in the UK for both my nephews.  The elder has been closeted in his room all morning - no longer playing computer games - no indeed:  he has a 250-page project to complete for his computer-programming course. Whew!  NB - The younger one has been packed off to school for a day-long 'French refresher' pre-exam course - much to his disgust.  Predictably, although he is the best student in the class regarding the grammar side of the language, he finds it incredibly difficult to think up essays, and mostly just refuses to answer those questions.  His A-level subjects are to be Maths, Higher Maths, Computer Science & Science. Maybe he would have been more motivated if his school had offered Chinese  - an increasingly popular option these days. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Passport Paranoia


Off to the UK again tomorrow - early flight. Nice.  But the bad part is - although I've checked my passport, money, ticket a thousand times,  I seem to have an Obsessive/Compulsive disorder in this respect.  I know that tomorrow morning I shall be driven to the airport by my husband and in my hands will be clutched the above-mentioned documents, so that they cannot possibly escape.  I also know that my dreams tonight will be filled with missed flights, lost documents, me being lost in strange towns etc. etc.  When I am successfully checked in I shall look amazed at the lady behind the desk - can there really be no hitch?  Does anyone travel in carefree fashion?  Can anyone supply any tips or is it just that I am getting old?  My dad has now been in the rehab hospital since New Year and I hear that he wants to come home - but keeps picking up hospital infections. My sister-in-law, who visits him every day, says the worst thing for him is that he cannot (being blind) imagine his surroundings.  That's why he wants to come home, to a place which he can picture in his mind. Sorry for not blogging lately - heatwave here for three weeks - 100 degrees plus.  Also had visitors for the last week... we are all getting old - one came for a colonoscopy and another sister-in-law to have her stents checked.  Thankfully, both are so far OK. Visitors left this morning.  More from the UK...  very cold there, I believe....