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A Christmas Gift for You!

I know some of you have enjoyed this already, but I thought it was important to share our Christmas Message with as many people as possible!


I am meant to be getting ready for work but I just bought a new diary instead!

Look what I made!

I finally finished the crocheted flamenco dancer toilet roll cover I was making for my best friend's Christmas present. Here's a photo (but excuse the crap quality as I had to use my phone due to domestic camera fail issues) - isn't she great?!

Pretty lady alert

I'm somewhat in love with Paloma Faith at the moment. MP3ism seems to me to be intensely album-ist because you can chop and change between artists and albums and thus it's rare that albums are listened to in their entirety. I like albums. I like tracing my own narrative through the track listings - Soft Cell's Non Stop Erotic Cabaret is one which suits this wonderfully. Anyway, I have been listening to Paloma Faith's album, Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful, multiple times daily over the past week - something I haven't felt inspired by a whole album to do in yonks - and sung along heartily; the vast amount of plaintive romantic pain in there gives me moments when I think the album is, in some ways, the bastard lovechild of Shirley Bassey circa 'What Now My Love' and Barbra Streisand's seminal Guilty album (all of which is, of course, an entirely Good Thing).


Ladies and gentlemen, tomorrow I go back to work! It's been over two years and I can't wait! The only downside is that I have to do a week's induction which involves a day of 'e-learning', a day on the ward and the THREE whole days of manual handling, which is more than I've had in my whole career and is outrageous, especially considering I have a strict 'no-lift' policy. But yes, by Friday I will be able to pick up cardboard boxes and phlegmy tissues like an expert.

So yes, early night for me tonight. I had a ridiculously late one last night and consequently feel like poop now, but never mind.


I am SO excited!


Leo and I are going to be making a new blog in which to chronicle the impressive amount of things we make. I am very girly and crafty, Leo is excited about the end of the world so she can use her impressive survival skills. We meet in the middle when we make jam from berries we've foraged and when Leo makes me bath bombs from scratch. It is clearly a bonkers idea but we're excited by it.

All we need is a name. Any good suggestions? Preferably one or two words that make a snappy username/ URL thingo!

Far too early to be up!

Good god, it's half past eight in the morning and I've been up for an hour and a half. I've had one cup of coffee, two cigarettes and -wait for it - breakfast. I'm trying very hard to get into good habits ready for my return to work next week. So far I've bought a box of posh-ish muesli, eaten some of the muesli for breakfast, and started using hand cream on a slightly more regular basis. I've also managed to get up at seven o'blooming clock for three days on the trot, in order to make sure my son has been up for college.

College seems to be going well so, far. He's come home beaming and exhausted every night and is tackling his induction homework with relish and glee. The fact that our local college here comprises a mere half of the smallest college in Wales (the other half is based in another town about thirty-odd miles away) means that he's not feeling overwhelmed. They have an induction book to fill in during the week - the tasks include finding out who the guidance advisers are and what the complaints policy is, so by Friday all the new students will hopefully have absorbed useful information. He also has a third share in a classroom assistant, which is brilliant news and should be helpful.

I start my own induction on Monday. To the best of my knowledge I have one day of computer training and three days of manual handling, plus a day in my place of work to look forward to. Apart from going to the ward I'm not looking forward to any of it. Ah well. I have ordered a new pair of shoes for work and have been expanding my wardrobe of tights, I bought some purple ones the other day, which is a brave departure for me. Although now I'm worrying that I'll look like one of those people who wears wacky tights to work in a 'watch me thumbing my nose at the establishment' kind of way.

Ah well, they'll be sure to elicit some interesting comments from my patients. One guy used to call me 'The Rottweiler in Lipstick' and another persisted in asking me if I was wearing a Wonderbra or was it all in his imagination. I told him if he didn't rid his imagination of my underwear pronto there'd be trouble. Right. I was going to write about whether or not women of a certain age (i.e. my age) should wear mini skirts or not but let's face it, I'm not about to start wearing sensible knee-length beige so I won't bother.

One last thing, go and join Post Crossing - it's great!

Book-destroying old lady madness

I went for a pootle about in CRAFT today. For those of you who've never had the joys of rooting around in Aberystwyth's biggest junk emporium, it's a community recycling project which is a great place to find used furniture, videos, tapestry versions of famous paintings (including one that made The Girl With A Pearl Earring look like a burns victim) and exercise bikes. It also sells second hand books for around the 50p mark, so that's the room I headed to. While I was nosing around the paperbacks I was vaguely aware of an elderly lady being quite furtive behind me. Closer inspection revealed she was a dishevelled, cuts-her-own-hair type of old lady, rather than the aggressively-permed and white-sandalled variety I instinctively prefer.

There was a sharp sound of paper being torn. I swung round to face her and she looked up at me, smiled smugly and said, 'It's all right. It's mine. I already bought it.'

It was a smallish paperback, and she was ripping it apart, scrunching up each page with relish. I was a bit dumbfounded. 'Why are you ripping it up when you've only just bought it?' I asked her. She looked at me as if I was stupid.

'Because there's only One True Way to Jesus.'
'I beg your pardon?'
'It's a Jehovah's Witness book,' she hissed, 'and there's only One True Way to Jesus.'
'So you're ripping it up because you disagree with it?' I asked her.
'If you'd found Jesus you'd know there's only One True Way-'
'But Jesus never told anyone to rip up books. In fact, that's quite a fascist thing to do.' I am so nice, me. 'Isn't there enough room in the world for everyone to have their own beliefs?'

Eyes glittering, she squared up to me. 'It's MY book and I can do what I like!'
I was still really confused. 'Are you doing this because you're some kind of Christian?' She nodded.

We were pretty close to the till by this point, so I approached the staff and said, 'Don't sell her any more books because she's just ripping them up.' The staff looked at me like I was mad. I probably sounded a bit mad. Betty the Book-Ripper was right behind me, loudly announcing that none of us obviously knew Jesus. I turned round and called her a religious maniac, and pointed out to her that there's nothing in the Bible about ripping up books. She was walking towards the door at this point. A few crumpled pages fell out of her anorak pockets. She was still shouting about Knowing Jesus and how one day He'd be sending for us. I shouted back at her, reminding her how Hitler destroyed books because he didn't like what was in them and called her a fascist maniac.

After that my adrenaline was really pumping and it took almost the whole bus ride home to calm down, a process which wasn't assisted by my son hooting with laughter and making me re-tell the story several times.

Too dumb to live

lozette posted an entertaining story earlier about someone who was apparently quite late in learning basic life skills. This reminded me of an experience I had a few years ago, when Rowan and I were living on the university campus during the first two years of my degree. Those of you who've been here for the long haul will recall that we lived in a static caravan, and whilst it was fab in many ways (and sometimes I miss its compactness and easiness-to-live-in lots) there was no room for a washing machine so I either chucked everything in the bath once a weekend and stomped on it like grapes in a winery, or I made the dreary trek to the laundrette at the nearby halls of residence.

The first few weeks of term inevitably meant that I was being asked for laundry advice by all the new students, many of whom had clearly never washed their own clothes before. One guy didn't even realise you had to put detergent in the machine - goodness knows what he thought all those TV adverts for Persil and Daz were about. One group of girls had clearly come down to the laundrette as some kind of flat-mates' outing. I think that's a bit weird, but there you go; I believe in having a bit of mystique.

Anyway, one of them asked me how to use the spin dryer. I pointed out the step-by-step instructions posted above the spinner. So they piled in their wet washing, spreading the load evenly, and then placed a towel over the top, just like the instructions said. Oh wait! I forgot to tell you - they spread the towel over the top AFTER they'd closed the lid. Even better, they all sat there, sharing a packet of Jaffa Cakes and occasionally wondering what purpose draping a towel over the lid might serve!

Grr and associated gubbins

Blah. Shitty day. Mostly to do with my son but I really can't be arsed to go into it. Right now we're all feeling a bit battered, although not as battered as the floor on our landing which has a huge great flipping hole in it. Seriously. I am so not impressed with him.

Anyway, on a lighter note I did promise you all the comedy photo from Lidl. As I'm sure you all know, it is the responsibility of the nanny state to inform you of uneven surfaces, wet floors, slow children crossing, geriatrics in the vicinity and Men at Work (although Business as Usual is not that bad as crap eighties albums go). I've seen pictures of road signs that alert drivers and passers by to the presence of cows and llamas and even crocodiles and kangaroos. But should you choose to shop in Lidl, I really do think I should give you advance warning of the potential danger of their clicky to findy outyCollapse )

Pants poll

Poll #1450607 Pants!

How do you refer to your underwear?

The word 'panties' is

Sleazy and nasty
The kind of word a sex maniac would use when writing his memoirs

The word 'titties' is

Only ever used by blokes and porn stars
Making me feel sick

I need to elaborate...


Good grief I think I've aged about twenty years since my previous post. Soldering was AWFUL. My son hovered over me (not literally, although the idea is quite entertaining) scrutinising my every move and blocking out the available light. Then one bit of wire wouldn't stay stuck to the bit it was meant to be stuck to. I swore quite a lot. Rowan tells me off when I swear in normal conversation but he is sufficiently sensitive and mature to understand that doing stressful tasks is an appropriate time to say 'Shit!' a lot. At one point there was a thin trail of smoke coming out from behind one of the terminals and it smelt very burny indeed. I said 'Shit!' lots then.

(A few weeks ago I bought Rudi the hamster one of those exercise balls. It took him AGES to work out what to do with it and then bugger! he was bouncing down the stairs. Luckily he was fine. I texted Leo to tell her what had happened and she rang me from work specifically to find out if I'd shouted 'Shit! Shit! Shit!' My son was delighted to confirm that I had.)

Talking of hamsters being lucky, my friend, Kerry, texted me last night to say that she'd arrived home from work to find the Rotastak on the floor and no sign of her little girl's hamster. She was assuming the cats had eaten it. Little Girl is at Granny's so we had a brief debate about whether or not we could sneak in a lookalike. Anyway, this morning on Freecycle someone was desperately seeking a hamster cage, and I though, ooh, I'll tell Kerry in case she decides the hamster doppelganger plan is a bad idea. Then, I read the email again, where the sender explained how their cat had brought in a hamster the night before and realised it was from Kerry's next door neighbour. Apparently the cat was playing with the hamster for hours but it seems fine. Phew.

Right, all that soldering has given me a rotten headache. I am going to go and smoke some fags now while the Nurofen kicks in.

:: waves like a maniac ::

Look: this is me being the Hostess with the Mostess and saying 'hello' to all the new people who have joined the happy throng here. As always, play nicely please! Does anyone remember that weird guy who worked at the Welsh Assembly who added me a few years ago and then insulted everyone in comments? No? Well he was a bit of a wazzock and you didn't miss much.

Anyway, much as I'd love to be posting a VERY funny picture of something I saw in Lidl today I have to go and do some soldering for my son. yes, you read that correctly: soldering. I have half a mind to tell him that I did a quiz on Facebook which categorically assured me I am a Femme Lesbian and thus can't help, but poor Leo* has been building this bloody speaker thing that he's been 'making' for days now so it would be taking the piss not to do my share, really. So yes, hi ho, hi ho, it's off to drip boiling droplets of metal on myself I go.

BIG THANKYOUs to everyone who said lovely things about my hair. I like it a bit more today and I'm getting the hang of styling it now. I have to be careful because it's so thick and kinky that if I'm not careful it all goes a bit Linda ThorsonCollapse )

* For the benefit of bringing all the new people up to speed, Leo (borderraider) is my girlfriend. She's great.)


I had my hair cut today. After nurturing the incredibly shiny shiny bob for the best part of a year (which is probably too long to have the same hair, really, I'm conveniently skipping over the weird mullet I sported briefly at Christmas.) Leo likes it, Kerry likes it, my next door neighbour likes it and my best mate says it's gorgeous. Am I convinced?

Not sure.

I came home and cried because I looked in the mirror and realised that the problem with buying hair magazines is that even if the hairdresser accurately recreates the 'do that you've eagerly thrust under his nose, what you really wanted wasn't the hair of the model in the picture but her face. In my case I'm doubly handicapped because I have a really strangely-shaped head. Leo says there's nothing wrong with it but I am convinced it bears an uncanny resemblance to Beaker's. To put it in technical terms, I haven't got a big enough occiput. I wonder if you can get implants?

I've only got one photo so far, and it's bloody huge so I'll put it under a cut thingo.

This picture is virtually lifesize. It'll be like I'm actually inside your computer. Don't say I didn't warn youCollapse )

My son got himself up this morning at seven a.m. This is the earliest he has risen since he came home in June. Why was he up so eagerly and early? To be at the opening of Aberystwyth's new branch of PoundLand. He wasn't the first customer in, apparently there are a band of PoundLand groupies who sleep outside each new branch in sleeping bags on the eve of its launch, so they went in first; but he WAS the first normal customer in there. He bought some files and paper for college and announced tonight that his bag is packed ready. He doesn't start until a week on Monday but I'm glad he's getting organised.

Right. Time for a cup of tea I think.


Today I bought a lovely postcard for my best friend, to tuck into a mini care package I was sending her. I called into my friend's boutique, Pretty Flamingo and picked up a lovely card by another friend, Kasia, who is a brilliant artist who takes lovely photographs of her collection of fancy dollies. The one I bought was from the same session as the dolls in the top five or six photos here - there was a bit of leg showing but not much bosom, and I thought it was tasteful and pretty and eminently suitable for the job.

I was also taking some old books and clothes to the charity shop. I usually go to Barnardo's, but because the bag was quite heavy and I am quite a lazy person, I dropped it into the Tenovus shop, which was nearer. The lady volunteering took it off me with a big smile and I went off to meet a friend. Minutes later - and it was mere minutes - I remembered I'd tucked the postcard into the charity shop bag, so I raced back to the shop - with my friend, Kerry, in tow - to retrieve it.

As I walked into the shop, the same old lady smiled at me. 'You know the bag of things I just gave you...' I started.
'Oh yes!' the lady grinned, 'We've sold everything!'
I could tell that she was trying to be funny here, and I laughed and pointed out that I could see the bag exactly where she'd just put it behind the counter. So we're both laughing, and I'm feeling very relieved that the bag's still there.
'Only,' I went on, 'I left a card in the bag and I didn't mean to...'
At this point the old lady's face fell. She definitely wasn't laughing any more.
'THAT THING?' she barked.
'Yes, the postcard -'
'I've ripped it up and PUT IT IN THE BIN.'
'You're joking, ' I laughed, thinking, wow - this old lady has a twisted sense of humour!
And then she reached down for the waste paper basket behind the till and showed me; in fact she picked one of the pieces out and waved it at me, holding it like it was a dog turd on the end of a stick. Remember, I'd been gone for maybe five minutes at most.
'I ripped it up and I put it in the bin,' she repeated, her smugness increasing in inverse proportion to my total horror.
'We don't sell things like THAT.'

We left. I was outraged. Someone would've bought that for 20p or 50p. I paid a WHOLE POUND for it, and she ripped it up. She didn't even just throw it away - she ripped it up!

I would like to say I was mature and put it behind me but on my way back up the street later I took great pleasure in flicking the Vs through the shop window. I will grow up one day, I promise. In the mean time I have vowed to collect as many unwanted dolls as I can and I'm going to deliver them to her, one by one, each one STARK NAKED.

Customers suck

gasboard's adventures with library users inspired me to share a story from when I briefly worked in Savers last year. Savers, for those of you who've never had the pleasure, is a home, health and beauty discount store. Also, every cashier is obliged to ask each customer if they require mobile phone top up. Most people just say 'No, thanks,' others find this a bit harder...

Me: ... and would you like any mobile phone top up today?
Strange beardy man (who is well known for fly-posting Vegetarian Society posters in our local bus stops) obviously trying to be funny: Mobile phone? Mobile phone? WHAT is a mobile phone?
Me: Well, if you don't know maybe you could go home and look it up on the internet!
Veggieman: The internet? The internet? Mobile phones? Look at me! Look at me! Tell me what you see!
Me: Umm, a customer who I'm not allowed to discriminate against by not asking you if you need top-up?
Veggieman (checking rapidly elongating queue to see if he has an audience): I was born in the FIRST HALF OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY! I don't believe in the internet! I DON'T BELIEVE in mobile phones!
Me: I bet you don't believe in inter-racial marriage or homosexuality either, do you? In fact, I reckon you probably still believe in burning witches at the stake!
People in Queue: [much laughter]
Veggieman (spluttering slightly and grabbing his shopping): I... I...
Me: Thankyou! Goodbye! Don't forget your dinosaur's still parked outside!

Most excellent news

I had my pre-employment Occupational Health appointment this morning: the funny doctor chap who said, 'Yeah... yeah... yeah,' whilst I was telling him how WELL I am in an all areas of my life says I AM FIT TO WORK!

Theoretically this should mean I'll be starting back in around four weeks' time. I am incredibly excited; those of you who've been here for the long haul will remember how horribly unwell I was for such a long time, so yes - end of an era and time to move on in the right direction. I have a nice new deep pink leopard print cardigan to wear on my first day back, and I will make cupcakes to remind my colleagues why they love me so much!

In other, also most excellent, news, my son is back from France this evening!

Meet Rudi!

Rudi, who's a Roborowski hamster who needed rehoming, came to live with us today! I fell in love with him last week and Leo very sweetly bought me a hamsterarium, and today I went to collect him. He is pretty fearless and despite his diminutive size has pouches like a magician's hat.

Clicky for photos!Collapse )

Big Hoorays and a Proud Mummy moment!

Well, as you'll probably remember last week I found out that Rowan's college had neglected to monitor how far he was through completing his coursework. After three days of what Rowan described as 'bloody hard work' and the assistance of a lovely teacher from his old school he has finished ALL of it, including his DJ Skills practical yesterday (which he got a distinction for!) and has thus passed the course and is now the very proud owner of a BTEC First Diploma in Music Technology (which is also the equivalent of four GCSEs)!

I'm incredibly proud of him, it was always his dream to get back into mainstream education and he's succeeded where in the past he was expected to fail, got a proper qualification and has proved that he can fulfil his ambitions and do whatever he wants to do with his life.

Yay and squee etc!


I know some of you know already but guess what? I GOT THE JOB!

The interview went very well, I managed to answer everything profiently. I knew things were going well when one of the panel said to the others, 'See - I told you she was shit hot!'

So yes, back to work for me. I still have to have my Occupational Health interview but that should be fine, my Gp has formally declared me fit to work so I'm not forseeing any problems there.

SQUEE! YAY! etc!

I am SUCH a fool.

I just found out that my job interview is actually next TUESDAY, not next FRIDAY.


That means I have four days to revise everything I might have to know about mental health nursing EVER.

I am squeeing with excitement but VERY SCARED too.

Things that have made me happy today!

Potatoes! From our garden! Leo has been growing them in big pots but this plant had been badly savaged by slugs, so we decided to see if there were any spuds and behold! lots of yummy potatoes for our tea tomorrow!

Noodle! Being very cute and adorable on our somewhat chaotic kitchen table. He is now running around playing with the plastic pull-strip from my tub of homeopathic hayfever remedy. It's his favourite toy right now - he takes it outside and then brings it back in again.

Myself! (No picture, alas, but you all know what I look like). I managed to unlock my son's mobile phone online. It did involve a lengthy chat with the online chat support man, and it took HOURS but I did it and I feel highly accomplished. Also, I've ordered the soundtrack to Natural Born Killers; I haven't listened to it for years and since I read an interview with Trent Reznor in Mojo the other day I've been obsessing about it.

Nom nom nom

Look what I just made!

There's just no escaping it!

For those of you who haven't been besieged by this on FB or elsewhere, this is what i do in my spare time.

Cadw Calon Aberystwyth from Cadw Calon Aberystwyth on Vimeo.

PS For the eagle-eyed Monty Python fans amongst you, yes, the nice Mayor in the purple scarf really IS the actor who played Judith Iscariot in The Life of Brian.

The Slogan Generator

From the lovely hewet_ka_ptah

Put Up with Emma or Put Up With Anything
That pretty much sums you up!


I want one! I want one! i don't even really know what it is and i still want one!

Pimping Larkin Grimm

OK, I very rarely try and force my dreadful eclectic taste in music on people but today that's exactly what I'm doing.

So yes, this is Larkin Grimm. You can listen to her music on myspaz here.

This is what Michael Gira says about her:

"Larkin is a magic woman. She lives in the mountains in north Georgia. She collects bones, smooth stones, and she casts spells. She worships the moon. She is very beautiful, and her voice is like the passionate cry of a beast heard echoing across the mountains just after a tremendous thunder storm, when the air is alive with electricity. I don't consider her folk though - she is pre folk, even pre- music. She is the sound of the eternal mother and the wrath of all women. She goes barefoot everywhere, and her feet are leathery and filthy. She wears jewels, glitter, and glistening insects in her hair. She's great!"

Go me!

I've been to the gym today. My friend found a gym in one of the seafront hotels and it is decrepit and tiny and entirely empty of shiny fit people at all times. Actually, some of the equipment is quite fancy, so I did 4x five minute bouts of Very Fast Walking and Elliptical training. Now I am very pink and smelly but pleased that I did proper exercise that made me sweat. Kerry (friend and former roomie) and I watched Doctors and Diagnosis Murder whilst we did our stuff.

Best of all though (well, apart from the carpet that was patterned to look like rustic brickwork on the way to the changing room) they have some kind of weirdass retro 70s massage machine! It has a strap that you put over your bum and then it jiggles everything about. I feel it may indeed be time for another Emma Investigates... and the massage machine may be my next victim. And I'm sure you're all dying to see me in my velour fitness gear!

In other news, I was on the front page of the local paper last week. It wasn't the worst photo ever but I am smiling indulgently at Kerry's little girl and the overall effect was a bit cheesy - which if course what makes local papers so great. I have been invited to have a live debate on the local radio station, too, which sounds like it'll be lots of fun.

Right, I am so pooped I can barely type. The end.

Oooh... this is lovely. Takes me back to watching 'White Horses' in the 70s and being in love with Pete Kember in the 80s.


I've had two Lana Guerra prints in the cupboard in my study for ages and last week I used some of the money my mum sent me for my birthday to finally get them framed. Picked them up the other day and I so pleased with them. We hung them up in our living room this morning:

I adore her work - this lady oozes creativity and makes amazing clothes (including adorable creepy cute sleep masks), incredible art and the most desirably bonkers wigs I've ever seen; I want one very badly. Well, actually I'd like lots of them. Anyway, she is great, so go to her site and buy loads of stuff, because I'm sure she'd like that!

In other news, I just found this egg in the fridge - it's the same width all the way down. I am imagining the chicken (who lives in trees in the woods - honestly!) sustained a very controlled squeeze as she laid it.

Please don't suggest I sell it on eBay - I cooked it for my son's tea.