Bill Bailey, Blouses and Blunders

It’s that time of the month – rant and rave week here on the blog – as well as time for my BLOG OF THE MONTH nomination.

I’m going to get the rants off my chest first and then we can end on a happy note.

First off –it’s buying clothes – specifically blouses. Now, me and clothes buying don’t normally get along. I’m very little – only four foot ten and a half in my socks – so trousers, skirts, dresses and coats can be a bit on the long side. But you’d think blouses wouldn’t be problematic and usually they aren’t.

I need some new blouses for work. Nothing fancy – just plain or stripey – cotton – in white or blue – or maybe even pink or green. A three quarter length sleeve is better for my wee short arms, but full length is fine as they can be turned back. Can I find anything remotely fitting the above description? No, I can’t. It’s not size that’s the problem. They just don’t seem to exist. There are plenty sleeveless, or little puff sleeved creations in flimsy, floaty material but no sensible work blouses. Apparently it’s not the season for such garments. Okay – so how come men’s work shirts are available all year round? I rest this case here.

Next up it’s blunders. Firstly, John Lewis – oh dear – they’re normally so reliable. Living relatively remotely, I do a lot of shopping online. And I often buy from John Lewis. Until recently they’d never let me down. So it was disappointing and frustrating when, having ordered a garden table and chairs, the chairs arrived promptly – but no table. I did get a text saying the table was coming and to expect it the next day. And the courier did arrive with a delivery. However, I could tell as the delivery men unloaded an enormous box from the van that it probably wasn’t my small, folding, round table. It was in fact a big, plastic, outdoor Wendy house. It was reloaded and taken back to the warehouse. It took many phone calls, two re-orders and three promised, but non-arriving, deliveries before I finally got my table. I did get a 20% goodwill repayment afterwards, but it’s left me truly hacked off with the company. I had to do all the phoning (at 40p a minute on my mobile – as I can’t make personal landline calls at work) and all the chasing up and spent a lot of time on hold. To rub salt in the wound, whilst on hold, I had to listen to an impossibly cheery wifie burbling on about how to get free next day delivery. Argh!!!

Second blunder – I had to go to hospital recently to have an investigative procedure carried out. The consultant, though competent at carrying out the procedure, was a bit of a numpty. He didn’t introduce himself when he came into the theatre. I wasn’t having anaesthetic, just sedation, so at that point I was wide awake. He dumped my notes on top of me, stood behind me where I couldn’t see him and talked to the nurse. He referred to me as the possible (sinister) diagnosis that the procedure might uncover, rather than by name. And then, after it was all over he didn’t, as I’d been promised he would, discuss what he’d found.  I endured a week of worry waiting to be contacted by letter at the very least. In the end I had to contact my GP and ask her to find out the outcome. She said that she’d received notification the day after the procedure that the tests were clear and that the notification said I’d received this information. So I’m relieved but also annoyed. My GP has since received an apology from the great man to relay to me.

Third blunder – that recent budget – granny tax, pasty pickle, the rich reprieved – no don’t get me started…

So let’s move on to more pleasant rave-worthy stuff. First off it’s the weather. Our island seems to have had the best April weather of the whole UK. Lots of warm sunshine and, most unusually, for here, very little rain. Nature is bursting out all over. There’s a local cuckoo cuckooing – as they do – and I spotted my first two swifts of the season whilst out walking yesterday. Skye is at its stunning best at the moment and it’s still pre-midgie time.

Secondly, I’m delighted to have secured tickets for Bill Bailey’s show at the end of the month. He’s coming to our small and humble community centre – as he did last year. It was so brilliant to have such a famous and talented entertainer come to us. Normally we have to travel to Glasgow or Edinburgh to see such a big name, but he has said how much he likes playing small venues and how he appreciated the welcome he was given last year. So he’s returning. Can’t wait!

AND NOW – BLOG OF THE MONTH AWARD goes to Mr London Street – I’m guessing this is not his real name. I ‘met’ Mr L. S. on Twitter and have followed his blog for a while. He recently took a month’s sabbatical from Twitter in order to concentrate on writing. And he didn’t waste his time. The month’s posts are WONDERFUL. It’s terrific, honest, moving, thought-provoking stuff. Well worth a look. You’ll find his blog here http://mrlondonstreet.blogspot.co.uk/

 

And a wee PS – a shoutout for another Twitter friend, Alison Wells, whose new book, ‘Housewife with a Half-Life’ is available on Kindle from today and as a paperback from June. See blurb below –

A Housewife’s answer to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! In this lively space comedy, Susan Strong and her spaceman guide Fairly Dave dodge entropy hoovers, Geezers with Freezers, the Super Gnome and the Spinner’s cataclysmic converter on a mission to retrieve the lost pieces of the housewife’s disintegrating self across parallel universes. Can they save us all from Universal Devastation?

I got to read a preview of chapter one – it’s brilliant, funny and clever.

Thanks for reading this rather long epistle.

Tioraidh till next time!

 

 

 

 

 

The Third Tuesday Review

As I promised/threatened in an earlier post, I intend, on the third Tuesday of every month, to do a book review and also to announce my blog of the month.

BOOK REVIEW

My January book is ‘A Book of Silence’ by Sara Maitland. Maitland is an author whose feminist fiction I’ve admired and enjoyed for around thirty years (her novel ‘Women Fly When men Aren’t Watching’ would be one of my desert island volumes). ‘A Book of Silence’ is difficult to categorise, but it’s not fiction. It’s part memoir/autobiography, part travelogue, part reflection on her own writing processes, but is mainly a reflection and discussion of her study of the concept of silence. Silence is something she views as a presence rather than an absence. She sees being in silence as a religious and spiritual experience and as something she longs to have more of.  I don’t completely agree with everything she says, but there’s a lot that resonates and it is beautifully and intelligently written.

I suspect this is a book for writers, especially those fascinated by the writing process. It’s also one for Maitland fans, not least because it has been a while since she published anything.

It’s not a light read. The reader needs to think, concentrate and reflect. I read it on my Kindle but  maybe the old-fashioned paper version would have been better. This is a book to dip in and out of and to flick back and forth in as you read.  It certainly gives the reader a lot to ponder.

BLOG OF THE MONTH

My blog of the month is Sleepwell and Fly written by a writer who goes by the name of Fletcher Moss. You can sample it for yourself at http://sleepwellandfly.blogspot.com Moss is a writer of young adult fiction and his book (of the same title as the blog) is on the longlist for The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2012. His blog is always entertaining and often thought-provoking. There’s humour, honesty, seriousness and insight – often within the one post. It’s a great example of a writer’s blog but will appeal to non-writers who appreciate good writing. Well worth a visit.