I went to David's funeral today, up in Grantham. Work put on a coach so many wanted to go. It was as they say "a good send off" fond tributes from his family and friends, a warm eulogy from the vicar and absolutely foul weather, funerals feel wrong in blazing sunshine and warm breezes. Fog, rain and gales should be the order of the day.
The church was beautiful, it smelt old and comforting a mix of bees wax candles, old books, dusty kneelers and incense. Having been made to go to church throughout my youth, the call and response of the service was semi familiar (it was an Anglican service not Catholic) I knew where I was and what would happen next. I can see why we have these routines in times of great emotional stress it gets us through the moment we don't have to think what to do next just follow the tracks worn by people who have gone through this before over the years.
Smells, bells, hymns, talking about the deceased and even the shrieks ands shouts of the children playing during their morning break in the school playground next door. In this northwestern European country they all make it easier to handle the dreadful.
Today, well yesterday now. It was fun tiring and informative, it was also work so I didn't have to pay for it. But let me tell you about some of the random things I have learnt, relearnt or been reminded of over the last two days.
The BBC are running a trial where they are opening some of their archives to the general public, it is coming to an end on Friday 29 September as they have to review it before submitting to the BBC Governors for permission to carry on full time. Details here the archive material right now is probably more of curiosity interest to a casual blogger like me but I can see it becoming a very useful resource for many, teaching, historians, and casual bloggers like me who want to illustrate a point.
The point demonstrated here is that they didn't half talk posh back in the thirties.
I know many of you read Becky's Blog, but have you noticed the video ad that has been there for that last couple of days? Click on it and you get a short "rock" video with puppets after it ends you're invited to click through to a new page which links to either a MTV page or to what alleged to be their homepage but in reality is an advert for the Corsa, a vehicle so dull and nondescript no one can be bothered to take the piss out of it.
The attention to detail and effort that has gone into this is quite stunning, inventing a band "The Cmons" setting up a myspace account and getting some tracks recorded and putting stuff up on YouTube and linking up with MTV to punt them as an up and coming band it's just a shame the music is shite and they gave a back history to the band that can't be backed up which isn't surprising considering that they are a marketing tool thought up this summer. The press release is here it's the the most humourous bit of the lot.
Watching the music channels round at Becky I'm getting a quick and bewildering exposure to popular culture that one doesn't normally get from Radio 4. Many of the videos feature scantily clad dancers jiggling their boobies at a pug ugly rappers. Rock bands emote in the half dark and the girl groups jiggle their boobies at the camera in the name of "independence." For all the "provocativeness" and "keeping real, man" they are tame and dull in the most part.
Apart from the Hoff.
He has a new single out "Jump In My Car" - I've heard worse, I've heard a hell of a lot better, it's a chuggalug song that is probably best not thought about too much. But the video is something else: The Hoff is fascinating, the only part of his face that moves is his lower jaw, the rest has been botoxed into submission. It makes his "advances" on the young women in the video rather creepy. Some say that David Hasselhoff is the Antichrist decide for yourself.
I got pinged for a meme by Gordon so being a good girl I dun it.
1. One book that changed your life. I don't think that any book I've read has changed me. The strong influences in my life have been friends and family. I can't even say "The Highway Code" because although I have a driving license I don't own a car and I don't drive. I suppose "The Female Eunuch" was an eye opener when I read it aged 16
2. One book that you’ve read more than once. Ahh, this is the question that is supposed to illicit a deep and meaningful answer. Unfortunately that won't work with me because unless the book is absolute shite the chances are I'll read it a few times. However to play along one book that I've read over and over and enjoyed greatly is "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It's not great literature, yes it is a children's book but it's well written, humourous and not without humanity.
4. One book that made you laugh. Ooh there are many, for instance, I mentioned "Cold Comfort Farm" just the other day, I've enjoyed Terry Pratchett's Discworld series over the years but today Matthew I'm gonna choose Asterix The Gaul. It's the bad puns you know.
5. One book that made you cry.
Seeing as my emotions can be trifled with by Lassie movie this isn't a great measure of what is truly moving. I can't remember the last thing I cried at but I do remember that I cried when Gabriel Oak put down the sheep dog that had, in juvenile enthusiasm, driven all his sheep over a cliff. I effing hate Far From The Madding Crowd I had to do it as my "book" for my English Literature O level.
6. One book that you wish you had written. For the money any of the Harry Potter ones would do, for quality Persuasion.
7. One book you wish had never been written. Oooh there are so many but Bridget Jones' Diary comes to mind for two reasons, firstly I loathed it, I didn't manage to finish the book it was that bad and two for becoming a lazy and inaccurate shorthand for all single women above the age of 21 it seems. And because I'm feeling generous Lord Of The Rings - for being shite.
8. One book that you are reading at the moment. I've got several on the go at the mo including the Private Eye Annual for 2003 and an Autobiography of Peter Ustinov which I picked up for 50p in the registry's ongoing second hand book sale.
9. One book that you’ve been meaning to read. I've got several in my bookcases that I've been meaning to read and haven't got round to doing so yet. I take "the classics" with me when going on holiday because I normally get a chance to actually get properly stuck into the book. Currently I've got "The Mill On The Floss" and "The Leopard" that need to be read.
10. Five others that you'd like to do this. Not five others because they probably won't complete it, just one and she'll probably ignore it too - Becky.
I heard today that a chap from work that I liked and respected, died on Friday night of a heart attack while on holiday in Spain. David wasn't that old about 50 max he was respected and almost universally liked by his colleagues as far as I can tell. It is such a shame and I feel for his poor partner who was on holiday with him, it must have been awful for her.
I was trying to describe David to young Ady in the office and all I could do was fall back on platitude and cliche it shouldn't be so hard to describe someone you like. David without being creepy or strange could compliment the "ladies" whilst treating us as rational, intelligent interesting people, he had a sense of fun and an interest in life that hadn't been diminished by the travails of life and work. I'm drifting back into cliche again I find it hard not too.
I would like to go to the funeral if possible but there is a chance I will miss it because I'm supposed to be going to Germany (it's work not fun, honest) tail end of next week.
First off iTunes and Coca Cola are doing a promotion in the UK buy a 500ml bottle of diet coke and get one free itune. Can get up to 5 free tunes considering the cost of a bottle of coke is about 79p this isn't a bad freebie.
I bought Don't You Want Me by the Human League as my first free tune.
Second off iTunes 7 has come out, Si and I have spent most of the evening enjoying one of the new features, it now streams the album artwork in a manner that reeks of Apple Mac. It looks lovely, iTunes can now find most artwork if you don't mind Apple knowing your dodgy taste in music. Now if they could only add tagging to iTunes then I think they would have a really tops product.
This fine fine comic novel has been published on t'internet. I strongly suggest that it is required reading by all bloggers and now it is in super trendy electronic form there is no excuse for not doing so.
While I'm at it, another book that I would strongly recommend to anybody is Cold Comfort Farm it's a masterly comic piece from the 1930s which as the plot develops, (girl meets disorganised and melodramatic farm and farmers. Girl organises farm and farmers into rational beings with nothing more to aid her than good sense and a slender ankle), sends up royally the heaving bosoms, gloom and misery and "fear of forrin" that occurred with monotonous regularity in the works of the likes of Thomas Hardy and DH Lawrence.
I was single for about two years in my late twenties, by the beginning of the second year my friends started to worry that I would never meet a suitable man and would become a shrivelled up old prune with 50 cats and a pipe. So they started to "take me in hand" this comprised of making me drink rum and cokes instead of pints and us all going to the Second Hand Night at one of the hotels in a near by town.
Second Hand Night was wasn't called that by its promoters, no they called it something like "Connections" or "Cupid's" You had to be single and over twenty five.
It was awful.
The smell of desperation and unsubtle aftershave would hit you as you entered. For many people there it must have felt like the last chance to meet someone, in the Lavs there would be gaggles of thirty something forty something divorcees slapping on the slap and tweaking their outfits, discussing unsatisfactory exes and the lack of talent without.
The dance floor was circled by men supping their pints as they scanned the gloom for fresh meat to pounce on. Once on the dance floor it was really hard to get off because the watching men would surround the area, to get to the bar or the loos you had to push past them never knowing if they would try to cop a feel.
To make it worse my friends would insist that I had to try to chat up at least one man. There was no one there who I would have touched with a barge pole. So they would give me a choice of one out of three targets and make me talk to him. It was hell, I'm not good at small talk, they didn't want to talk to a brunette in black, drinking pints, when there was a small bubbly blonde behind me gurning like an idiot and looking like fun (Wee Jock who was engaged, happily so, to the man how is now her husband.)
I didn't really want to talk to Gary from accounts from the big company on the trading estate who fancied himself as a bit of a mobile DJ and thought that the birdie song and a Beatles megamix was the acme of sophisticated entertainment at a wedding. For fucks sake he hadn't even heard of the Pixies! It was disastrous I didn't learn how to do "small talk" and "pretend flirting" I just learnt that I hated provincial second hand men nights with a passion.
My friends said that I was too picky I said no I wasn't. It was just that I had my own set of criteria that had to be met and these blokes weren't doing it. They also said that my drinking pints (I could cope with about 3 rum and cokes before saying sod this and reverting back to the bitter) and wearing black all the time would put people off. I said that I couldn't fake "girly" for very long and I wasn't prepared to pretend in order to trap a bloke.
In the end they gave up, but only after I had blown out a "nice young man" from the Rugby Club because of the small detail that he had a girlfriend. I think they decided that I could do it if I wanted to but I was just too fussy.
So what if I am, I've found it pays to be because you get the best results in the end ;)
I've just spoken to my mum She had just spoken to the vet. We had agreed earlier that if there was something that could be done for her that would work quickly and with the minimum of invasive intervention then we would go with that, however if there wasn't then the kindest thing for Kitty would be to put her to sleep. The vet thought she had congestive heart failure and that she hadn't long anyways, so as we agreed mum has asked the vet to put Kitty to sleep. It is honestly the kindest thing, the poor cat hated vet treatment so much that she has had to be given oxygen before when going to the vet for routine things. It would have been cruel to put her thru more when the outcome was so doubtful.
Si and I have just been over to my Mum's returning the cat to her, I'd been looking after her since Wednesday as Mum went up to Preston for a cousin's wedding.
The cat - Kitty has been rather a trial Wednesday night she was fine, demanding food and hiding under my bed as is her wont on the first night being dropped off. Kitty has an overactive thyroid and she tends to throw up the food that has her medicine in it so it's pretty hard to treat her condition. Because of this Mum tends to feed her on demand and she is still very skinny.
Thursday morning I put food out for her and head off to work, knowing that when I get back she will be starving and a tad cross with me because I would be late, a semi formal semi work do. However what I found when I got back was a flat that stunk of cat shit, no sign of kitty but I could hear her. She was making a dreadful wailing sound and chocking noises as if she was trying to sick up something caught in her throat. I found her in my living room hiding behind the sofa in a pitiful state, she had been sick on the carpet once and suffered from diarrhoea a few times I could follow her path round the living room by the increasing runnyness of the mess. She it didn't look like she was chocking on anything but her breathing was awful, and when I picked her up she was shaking.
I don't have a car so there was almost no way I could have got her to the emergency vet fortunately Mum hadn't set off and she was able to come over to take Kitty to the vets. She was not in a good way the vet, a rugged good looking Australian chap, put her in an oxygen tent because of her breathing difficulties and said that he would like to keep her in over night, he blamed the state she was in on her hyperthyroidism and said there could well be underlying heart problems which would have been made worse. What caused it? Could be anything a cold or an upset tummy. They would then transfer her to her regular vets the next day to continue the treatment.
We left Kitty at the vets along with a multitude of phone numbers for them to contact us with, the vets decided to use my mobile number. My mobile was on silent all during the day and I didn't think to look at it.
The emergency vet had handed Kitty over to her normal vets saying that they thought that she was still a poorly little animal and shouldn't go home that night, her normal vets said that they had taken blood and were running some tests. So I called them, they said I could take her home. So when Simon got here we did, I wish we hadn't to be honest she still was not at all well, She barely ate a thing and spent almost all her time under the bed listlessly almost in a stupor although she did totter out for some water and food last night..
So this morning we took her back to Mum's, she showed more interest in her surroundings on the way to the car than she had on Friday but she is most definitely still not herself. I find it sad it very hard to see her looking so poorly, although she is not suffering so badly that the kindest thing would be to put her down by a long chalk, I am not good with serious illness I've decided, I can not do the strong supportive rock act. Not for human nor pet and it's more than a bit embarrassing, I've always been easily effected by emotion unfortunately I'm not growing out of it. I'm not wishing to be cold and emotionless I just wish I didn't cry so easily.
Here is a picture of Kitty last year healthy and not complete skin and bones.
*Update* 6:45pm My mum has just rung she is taking Kitty back to the emergency vets as she really isn't happy with how the cat is doing. She still hasn't eaten and she couldn't make it up the stairs with out help. We'll see how she does.