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Year Me Out (February 2007)  
Posted by Laura on Thursday 1st February 2007 at 11:31 PM

Year Me Out for February...

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#28: 28/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Wednesday 28th February 2007 at 11:15 PM

Has the world gone mad we have to ask ourselves at times like these.
Big news at the moment - down in Brighton, the council has voted in favour of allowing children's secondary school placed to be decided by lottery - when schools are oversubscribed, in the interests of fairness apparently. I only hope it is not repeated anywhere else and I am just glad that my boys are already settled in what was the secondary school of their choice and my choice and that we did live in the cachement area and that it was our nearest school and that it was a good school. I really do pity the poor people of Brighton - names in hat to decide school places? It beggars belief. No mention of sibling preferences which I think is a very key issue. In an ideal world what we want is for all schools to be equally good so that there is no need or reason for one school to be favoured over another and in that world everyone would just go to their local school and everyone would be happy. Clearly we don't have that ideal world but I just hate the way that this Labour government seems to have it in for so called middle class parents and families and instead of striving to make the country a better place for everyone one they seem intent on making it a worse place for middle class people because Labhour perceives their success and prosperity isn't fair on the so called working classes - I say so called because these people don't actually work at all anymore - they are all on benefits of some sort or another with no prospect of ever entering the job market because they simply arent' fit for purpose - too lacking in intelligence, drive and conviction and proably too doped or drunk or stupid or some combination of all three to care in any case.

Take the analogy of the rotten apples in the barrel. What do you do to preserve the integrity of the good apples.? Do you separate them out and put all the bad ones in one bad barrel or do you mix them all up together - shake them all about and hope that the good will rub off on the bad and that bad apples will suddenly get better? Well that doesn't happen does it? It's the good apples that turn bad and it is the education of many good children that will suffer as a result of this ridiculous policy. It is far better to have a system of good schools for hardworking commited children and other schools, sink schools if you like for the dross, the uneducatable, the low achievers because society isn't equal and never will be. Some people are more intelligent that others; some people are more successful than others and on the whole these people tend to be middleclass or better.
So I fear for the good children of Brighton - part of yet another ill-conceived social experiment that could have a tremendously detrimental impact on their lives. It is an ill wind that blows on the South Coast today - hopefuly stirring up the wind of change. I sense the political tides are turning..

#27: 27/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Tuesday 27th February 2007 at 10:16 PM

Oh my goodness. Tomorrow is the last day of February. Where has the month gone? Where is the year going? Has time sped up? I sometimes wonder. Was in Guildford again today and was not lucky with the trains either way. I just missed the Woking to Guildford 8.25am service by a minute and ditto the 17.47 Guildford to Woking service in the evening. It makes for a long day when you add up all the minutes. But I just waited for the next train and got there in the end. There are worse things that could happen and it always gives you cause to reflect. At least it wasn't too cold or too wet this evening. It wasn't too much of anything really. I went hoem via Sainsburys and I got Richard to make his tagliatelle carbonara for tea and it was good. I've been pursuing my Lent abstinences with rigour. No alcohol. No sweets/chocolates. No cakes/biscuits and cutting down on coffee. I'm drinking my San Pelegrano every night out of a long stemmed glass. It's the best way. It's the only way I think. I don't why but it seems to make it taste better all the better. From March I need to start cuttign out the carbs in earnest. One thing at a time. That's what I say.

#26: 26/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Monday 26th February 2007 at 10:46 PM

OK so I did it tonight. That is I submitted 6 poems to the Slough Arts Festival! 3 regular and 3 Humorous ones. They have all appeared on this website either last week when I went Kenning mad and some of the ones that I put out in January when I had poerty week. None of them have been entered in anything before so it will be interesting to see what if any progress I make. You've got to be in it to win it as they say, so I will be trying my best. My first competiton entries of the year. The first of many I hope. I really do mean to more this year. Poetry seems to be my current preference but I really must get back into stories again.

#25: 25/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Sunday 25th February 2007 at 10:23 PM

Today's achievement? I did the downstairs cleaning. Thoroughly. I hoovered and mopped the kitchen floor - all of it, including under the sofa and I dusted to perfection with my new blue dust dog hand duster which I have to say was very effective. The kitchen looks pristine now - like one of those ads for Flash or something. How long before it gets back to what it normally looks like.

I also cleared up all the flies. These are a major problem just now which brings me to today's lesson. Never use worm compost indoors. No matter how rich and ready it may seem, chances are like mine it is infested with fly larvi which hatch out in warm condidions. we are currently fighting a losing battle on the kitchen and bathroom windows sills - if it was a litle warmer I would have no hesitation in moving the aloe verae that I repotted lovingly the weekend before last outside. But for mnow I am just going to have to wait, Raid fly killer at the ready. Both window sills are littered with tiny black fly corpses after each assault and I have to so a daily sweep to remove their bodies. Where are all the spiders when you need them? Maybe I shouldn't have been quite so zealous brushing all those cobwebs away...

#24: 24/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Saturday 24th February 2007 at 10:45 PM

Bliss this morning, it was bliss. I had my hair done and it was a colour day today which meant I got to sit with Vogue for best part of an hour while the colour took and sip coffee. Then it was my head massage - brilliant - I so needed it today after the week I had . Felt so much better afterwards and am very happy with my haircut.

After luch Adam went out with his friends to see Hot Fuzz which left just Mark and me at home because Richard had to go down to see Aunty Yvonne in Maidstone because she isn't too well at the moment so a courtesy visit, at her behest ,and to run a few errands. This gave me a chance to catch up on Primeval which I missed last week. It was excellent. I can tell this is going to be a big hit. The only thing I can't believe is that it is on ITV - perhaps that channel has turned a corner now.

Later in the afternoon I made myself busy doing a sping clean of my wardrobes. I got rid of so many clothes. I was quite ruthless. Have filled an entire large black bin liner. Worryingly I don't seem to have created that much space in the wardrobes - everything must have been so tightly packed - but I do have lots of spare hangers now and I was able to hang up all yesterday's deliveries from Marks & Spencer. All were great as well. Even the brown silk dress. Still haven't told or shown Richard any of them. He may never notice. He didn't notice the last lot of things that I bought. He didn't even notice the haircut until I reminded him but I think he likes it.

#23: 23/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Friday 23rd February 2007 at 10:37 PM

It was such a relief coming home from work tonight. It has felt like such a long week and I have been so tired. Strangely I got back to an empty house. Both the boys were out playing. My order from Marks & Spencer arrived. The order that I only placed on Wednesday night and that waasn't due to arrive until next Tuesday. 2 parcels. One containing the new Sandwich toaster and the other containing the various goodies for work and play that I had ordered plsu tthe white tee-shirst for the boys. The boys were delighted with the sandwich toaster. Not so Richard - he had apparently wanted to get a better one - but htat woudl have cost money - hence why we haven't already got one and hence why I bought a replacement whilst we wait for him to make up his mind. I gave the boys thier new tee-shirts and they were pleased but tonight didn't seem the time to model all the other bits and pieces that I chose, the alabaster top - it's fawn, the white cardigan, the pink blouse, the brown cowl neck top and the brown silk dress for all the parties coming up. I left it hangign on the wardrobe door until I went to bed. Richard didn't say anything so I didn't say anything at all either perhaps I will tomorrow.

Tonight was steak night and Mark's tennis and Ocado delivery - everything came except for the red cabbage - and finally Ugly Betty. Oh how we all love that show. It gets better and better.

#22: 22/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Thursday 22nd February 2007 at 11:21 PM

Oh my goodness I am tired tonight. it feels like this week is going on forever. Its starting to be lighter in the evenings now. I walked down Guildford High Street in the light but somehow that seems to make me feel more tired. I knew that I wanted to hit Sainsbury's tonight - not Woking Sainsbury's but Brookwood so I drove there this morning and then got the bus to Woking and the train to Guildford. It seemed like a great idea at the time but coming back I realised that it wasn't the quickest of methods. By the tiem I got to Sainsbury's I knew I woudl have to buy something quick for tea because I really didn't feel like cooking. So I got some garlic tear and share bread, a bag of Taste the difference fresh pasta, a jar of pasta sauce - Loyd Grossman, some low fat salami sausage and some streaky bacon . All I had to do when I got back was boil the water for the pasta - stick the garlic breqd in the oven and fry an onion before chopping up the bacon and salami and chucking in the sauce. It was really nice and best of all really quick. I had my fizzy water - San Pelegrano - well I figure as I'm nort drinking alcohol then I'll have the best water I can. I drink it out of a wine glass because it makes it taste better somehow and it feels like I am having wine. That way I know I will not slip up - I am taking my Lent abstinences very seriously indeed.

#21: 21/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Wednesday 21st February 2007 at 08:42 PM

Ash Wednesday. Start of Lent. I've given up so much this time it is going to be a pretty spartan time but no worries. After yesterday's marathon and late night - I didn’t get to bed until 1am - I was so tired today. I am definitely going to have an early night tonight. Giving up late nights for Lent will probably be a good thing too – wish I could give up doing the washing, if it wasn’t for that I could go to bed earlier on a Tuesday.

Here are some predictions for the year. They may be wild or they may not be:
Gordon Brown to be a nearly man. He isn’t going to be the next leader of the Labour Party. He will never be Prime Minister, I just don’t sense that about him. Watch out for Plastic Milliband is all I can say.
Helen Mirren to win the Oscar for “The Queen”.
I don’t think Prince Harry should go to Iraq. I have a very bad feeling about it. I hope they keep him here. Something very bad will happen if he does enter the Theatre of War.
There will be a terror attack on British soil this year. Not London. Somewhere by the sea – Brighton, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bristol even – somewhere beginning with B.
Andy Murray to win a Grand Slam. I don’t think its going to be Wimbledon – maybe Paris. I don’t know where but he will kiss and hold up a trophy and he may even smile.

#20: 20/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Tuesday 20th February 2007 at 10:45 PM

Shrove Tuesday. Pancake Day. Absolutely stuffed tonight. Diet tomorrow and boy am I in desparate need. I had my one and only Cadbury's Creme Egg of the year tonight. No more chocolate for me until after Easter and frankly I don't think I could face any anyhow. I went to Redhill today and it was a very long day because I missed the 17.14 train from Redhill by only a couple of minutes which meant I had the best par tof half an hour to hang around at Redhill before the next one and then ditto at Guildford. I stoppe doff at Sainsbury's and picked up some breaded cod filets to have for supper whilst I got the pancakes sorted out. Richard was out tonight at a Work Do so I had to toss and turn the pancakes all by myself. It wasn't too bad I have to say but three pancakes with lemon and sugar really is my fill. The boys loved them though so that was the main thing.

Today's Kenning

I am flat and round
My edges are frilly and brown
A griddle doily
Ready for your delectation
You can eat me with sprinkled sugar
Or a touch of lemon if you dare
Some like to smother me
In chocolate and ice-cream
Cover me in fortified alcohol
And set fire to me
I am good in flames
You eat me on a Tuesday
Or any day when funds are scarce
And you want a quick treat
In America I can be thick, obese
In Canada you layer me in syrup and crispy bacon
In France I am Parisian thin
Toss me
Turn me
Please don’t burn me
I am what I am
Glistening golden
In your frying pan

©Laura Notley 2007

#19: 19/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Monday 19th February 2007 at 10:13 PM

A major breakthrough today - a big achievement for me. I drove to my writing class in Chobham tonight on my own and in the dark! I didn't get lost and I was absolutely fine. I didn't have time to panic or worry. I found out at the last minute that Maria was unwell and couldn't take me and I decided the show must go on and it did. I can't believe it. You never know, I might even drive to Guildford on Thursday but then again maybe not.

Half term was over today and so the boys went back to school. The roads were a little busier as a result, during the day that is. It is so mild once again all the lilac bushes and the acer and the clematis are starting to bud and the daffodils are out in full force at the front of the house. I even saw a tree full of pink blossom today and it is still February. I don't know what the seasons are doing anymore. winter was blink and you missed it. Surely the plants need a longer sleep, a longer dormant period than they are currently getting? Only time will tell I suppose.

We did Kennings tonight at my writing class so here is one. See if you can guess what it is.

I have always been
I am
And I always will be
An old father
A soldier
A sentinel
A constant you can rely on
And I march ahead on and on
Always going forward
Never turning back
My journey is arrow straight
Through thick and thin I travel
People try to measure me
They keep me
They mark me
They bide for me
With hands big and small
The grains of sand that slip away
I am green lights that flicker
You can count on me
You can never have enough of me
You can run out of me
And you can make me
I am quality
I am good and bad
I can go by
You can spend me
And save me
And waste me
But you cannot change me
Your past
Your present
Your future
I have always been
I am
And I always will be

© Laura Notley 2007

#18: 18/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Sunday 18th February 2007 at 10:37 PM

I made fresh orange and grapefruit juice this morning - yesterday, I forgot to mention I made fresh apple and pear juice. The juicer comes into its own at weekends. I haven't actually started the diet thing yet - I was waiting for the weather to improve. It needs to be good for me to go carb-free but I will gear up to it. Lent starts this week and Lent is alwasy the time that I give up bad things like chocolate, biscuits and cakes etc etc. This will also include hot cross buns and bagels for me. Breakfasts will be fresh fruit or eggs from Wednesday onwards because I am going to give up carbs - well bad carbs that is, alcohol and caffeine for Lent. I have read that I can drink hot water with a few drops of lemon juice in first thing in the morning or I can even make myself som vegetable juices like cucumber and celery - I will try it. Shots of Wheatgrass are also meant to be good for you and there is a juice bar in Woking so I will be able to give it a try. I do like the juicer but I don't like all the pulp and the froth. I do have a problem with froth which amazingly and unhelpfully is not mentioned in any of the books and articles which rave about juicing. Is it just me I wonder?

#17: 17/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Saturday 17th February 2007 at 11:25 PM

Saw "Hot Fuzz" at the cinema tonight. Very funny. Not at all what I had expected but very entertaining. Simon Pegg was very good indeed. It wasn't as good as "Shaun of the Dead" in terms of humour. There was a similar amount of blood and guts though and yes even the ubiquitous Bill Nighy managed to put in an appearance once again. good Saturday night entertaiinment and this will be one for the DVD collection one day too.

#16: 16/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Friday 16th February 2007 at 10:02 PM

I was shattered by the end of the day. It has been a long week this week and it was half term too. I feel a bit guilty that I didn't take any tome off this week nor Richard either - Adam and Mark were at home together all week but they coped well. Rather a lot of instant noodles were eaten in lieu of sandwiched and the extensive cheese selection that I purchased last weekend to keep them going through the week has remained largely untouched in the cheese container in the firdge, albeit now covered in a bit of mould well the Brie and Port Salut at any rate. A bif report has come out this week that put Britain at the bottom of the table for countries where children have a decent childhood and this week also saw another murder of a 15 year old boy - shot in the chest in his home in Clapham. all the press are up in arms and the politicians are all having their say. David Cameron thinks it is down to family breakdown and the ensuing social decay as a result. I don't know why it is but I hope that it will stop.Too many idle no hope youths around and the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. There is trouble ahead to be sure.

#15: 15/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Thursday 15th February 2007 at 11:44 PM

Well I was gobsmacked to read in my paper today that hacked-arms Amy Winehouse, yes she of tattoo and totering heels fame from my first blog entry won the Brit Award last night for Best Female Artist. She beat Lily Allen no less. I cannot argue - the girl can certainly sing and she does have some entertainment value but for all the wrong reason in my book. Apparently last night she was wearing yet another frock that she kept trying to pull down just like on New Years Eve. I look at her though and I just think car crash. She will die young that one. she is such a troubled soul.

#14: 14/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Wednesday 14th February 2007 at 11:03 PM

Lucky girls get a dozen red roses, a card and 'The Devil Wears Prada' on DVD for Valentine's Day. My man had to make do with a quirky card and a bottle of good Barolo (thanks Ocado) which we shared tonight. I had a very long and busy day today. I went to Redhill once again and once again it was raining. Redhill is the Manchester of Surrey I have decided. It always rains or precipitates in some fashion when I go there. Not necessarily all day but always enough for it to be wet at Guildford Station on the way over too. Not the most romantic weather. We didn't go out tonight because I didn't get in until gone 7pm and the boys had already been on their own all day. I was away for 12 hours today in total. No washing got done tonight again either. Luckily it is not a school week and the boys can cope. I will have to do something tomorrow night though or Adam will start running out of clean boxers.

#13: 13/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Tuesday 13th February 2007 at 10:22 PM

Went to see "Music and Lyrics" at the cinema tonight. Very funny it was. Not the best rom com I've seen ever and Hugh Grant cannot sing really but it was nonetheless enjoyable. Read today that it was number one at the box office in the UK this weekend.

#12: 12/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Monday 12th February 2007 at 10:21 PM

The boys are on half term this week which means no uniforms to iron in the morning and no lunches to prepare. I set my alarm for 6.15 this morning. i left the house at about 20 past 8 and it was a clear run through to work, in the rain. I even got to have a good read of the paper before I left. Work was a sick house today. There was only Natalie and myself in to start with so it was a bit of a struggle to keep up with the phones etc. So much to do and only a finite amount of time. The weather was so mild today it is hard to believe that it snowed last week.

#11: 11/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Sunday 11th February 2007 at 10:56 PM

Footsteps approach. Arghh! A lone scream. The sound of a heartbreaking. No this is not real life. This is just my warped imagination. I've just sat through the Baftas. Daniel Craig didn't win. Casino Royale won a single award for best sound. Sound. Best male torso maybe. The sound of a million women swooning maybe. I don't get these award shows sometimes. Jonathan Ross was very good as the presenter. Understated for once, not trying to be the star of his own show. As if he could outshine Daniel. Ricky Gervais was there. Why?. The Queen was best film. Helen Mirren was best actress. Forrest Whitticker was best actor. Even Kylie Minogue showed up to present an award.

The biggest news of the day was that David Cameron smoked cannabis at Eton at the age of 15. So what. The Iranians are apparently arming the insurgents in Iraq and America are all upset. I'm bored with it all. America started the Iraqi civil war. Get out, leave them to it. You've got wind, you've got tide. You've got sun. Why do you still need oil? Because that is what it was all about in the first place. Oil will be so yesterday one day. Black gold. Black tar more like. All it's good for is burning - pretty much.

#10: 10/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Saturday 10th February 2007 at 10:36 PM

Saturday. The weekend. Hurrah. Except that I still didn't feel anything like 100%. My umph did not put in an appearance today. Major achievements: I got the washing done and hung out to dry - indoors or course. I also did some repotting of aloe vera plants and set up a nursery for all the baby buds that I separated out from the main plants. wheter Ash will let these grow into full blow adults remains to be seen but I now have about 7 pots of aloe vera of varying sized and some of the baby ones potentially have more that one plant.

Woke up with a searing headache once again and so all this was a significant achievement in my book. Highlight of the day: Primeval. It's a new serial for Saturday night on ITV1 - scifi and fantasy stuff; X-Files meets Stargate meets Jurassic Park but with English accents and bizarrely Rob Bryden and set in the Forest of Dean. Mark watched it with and we like. So is now set to Series record on the HDDVD player thingy that I don't really understand how to operate.Very exciting. Didn't do much else, had to lie down again in the afternoon until I got my legs back - they really ache just now and feel all pins and needly- that lactic acid feeling all through except I haven't been exerting myself that much that I can think of. Very strange. I put it down to the flu which I am slowly shaking off. Still waiting for my umph to show up. Oh well tomorrow is another a day, maybe I'll find it then.

#9: 9/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Friday 9th February 2007 at 10:42 PM

I was ill today again. Severe headache, flu' and fatigue so not much to report really. I didn't get up until about 12.30pm and by the time I had had a shower and dried my hair I was so exhausted and my temperature went up again that I had to lie down once more. I spent all morning in bed and all afternoon on my bed. I cooked some dinner tonight - cottage pie and peas because I felt hungry and there was nothing easy to hand in the freezer and that pretty much finished me off. The highlight of the day was watching Ugly Betty this evening before going to bed, that and unpacking my Ocado delivery after dinner. What an exciting life I lead! I woke up with a headache and I went to bed with a headache and a sore throat and the sniffles and one minute feeling hot and the next cold. I'm still not right . This is not good.

#8: 8/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Thursday 8th February 2007 at 09:44 PM

I've been ill today. Off work with flu. Not feeling too good at all. There was plenty of snow today. The boy's school was closed so they were home as was Richard who's bandage came off today and I think he worked a bit from home. I was in bed untll the afternoon. Bad headache, back pain aches and it was all too light and bright and noisy with the boys home. They did get a chance to play out in the snow which they enjoyed I think. Over 2000 schools were shut today because of the weather - I didn't venture out at all. I was so cold all day - had to keep the heating up. I'm wearing a fleece indoors just now and my headache is back and my throat is sore. I don't feel too good. Am going to bed now. Question Time can wait this week. Tomorrow I should be going to Redhill - but only if I feel OK. It's not looking too good but with a good night's sleep who knows...

#7: 7/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Wednesday 7th February 2007 at 10:49 PM

Cold. So cold. The car park all crunchy salt underfoot. I had to scrap the ice off the car windscreen this morning, thick white ice. I couldn't even get the key in the driver's door one again. And the snow is coming apparently. Big snow. It will arrive like a thief in the night. I have postponed going to Redhill until Friday now. Tomorrow will likely be a bus day. I doubt I shall want to drive. I did enough today. I was chauffeur tonight to Mark and Ali to football - there and back. The bandages come off for Richard tomorrow but today he was still all stiff legged and unbending. Uncomfortable too. He had no pain today really and the painkillers he was prescribed have gone untouched which must be a good thing. Me, Wednesday night now I'm just cold. So cold. I fear I may be coming down with something. Had a headache all day and now its back ache and a searing slothfullness. I don't feel like doing anything. Not even going to bed. I just want to get warm. I'm wearing a fleece indoors. and I am chilled right through. Cold hurts. It burns you as much as heat sometimes and still the daffodils sprout defiant in the garden, one by one, foot soldiers, sentinnels to a Spring that came too early. Global warming seems like a mad cap theory on days like these.

#6: 6/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Tuesday 6th February 2007 at 08:57 PM

Richard had his knee operation today at Ashford Hospital. We had to be at the Day Surgery Unit at 7.45am. The traffic was quite heavy and it was a very icy morning so we were a little delayed – maybe about 10 minutes or so. They didn’t have his notes to start with but these did turn up eventually – certainly before his bed was wheeled away to theatre.

The Day Surgery Unit was very busy. It was a mixed ward, men and women all ages and sizes having minor operations. Richard got changed into a hospital gown that had the phrase ‘Hospital Use Only’ printed all over it in lots of different colours at lots of different angles on a beige background. Believe me you wouldn’t have wanted to wear it if you weren’t in hospital and even then it was touch and go. Richard came ill prepared compared to some of his fellow patients. He hadn’t brought his own dressing gown and slippers like they had done – either they were seasoned professionals at the day surgery malarkey or they had been better briefed at the pre-op stage. Richard also made the mistake of wearing lace up shoes and jeans which were not going to be easy to put back on afterwards with a bandaged knee. Hindsight and all that.

Richard was wheeled away at 10 to 10 in the morning. Cowboy time, I thought, hoping that this was not a bad omen. All the while other patients were being wheeled off and then wheeled back in a drowsy state. I started to worry a little when the man and the woman in nearby beds who were taken away -separately I might add - after Richard, both came back before he did. An hour passed. It seemed like an eternity. I finished reading the Daily Mail and continued with Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. Where was he? Was he OK? There was an old man opposite me who had not been operated on for some reason and was waiting to be collected by his daughter. She eventually turned up with her son in tow – a stodgy looking boy of about twelve or so – come to think of it she was pretty stodgy herself. She was speaking rather loudly and I overheard her mention that the boy was ill with a bad cough, sore throat and a temperature. Brilliant. What a great place to bring a sick child and spread their germs around – a hospital full of vulnerable people in pre and post operative states hovering around surgery. I felt quite angry. If you are not well – don’t go to hospital because it will make sick people sicker not to mention the staff. Some people have no brains.

Still Richard was not back. Curtains were going up around beds and I watched the dumpy ward assistant serve tea and sandwiches to the patients who had recently returned from theatre and then strip the beds and wipe them down and remake them ready for the afternoon’s batch of patients. It had the feeling of a factory production line. A scrupulously clean factory with floral curtains and blonde wood furniture with wipe down seats and chair backs in muted pinks and greens but a factory none the less. High heeled footsteps sounded every now and again. I kept thinking that if something had gone wrong they would probably take me to a more private room. They wouldn’t tell me about my impeding widowhood on an open ward. Would they? If they came to fetch me away for any reason, that would be a bad sign I mused. And then finally at about 12 noon, Richard re-appeared, still sleepy on his bed, his leg firmly bandaged, his face pale, tousled. But he was back. He had taken a while to come round from the anaesthetic apparently but he was back now and he still had two legs and all had gone well. By this stage the afternoon's batch of patients were arriving and staff were taking their lunches so everything shifted back a gear but slowly, slowly Richard had a tea and a sandwich and then he had to sit up for ten minutes with his leg out flat, that turned into half an hour because everyone in a blue nurse's uniform seemed to vanish. But eventually he was all ready to go – they wouldn’t officially sign him out until he had passed water which he duly did. Finally we were free to go at last and my nightmare officially began because I had to drive us home.

And I did and I went on the M25 too no less – very scary – not an experience that I want to repeat for a while but I succeeded and lived to tell the tale. Still haven’t overcome my fear. Don't think I ever will somehow. I'm not sure what is worse driving on the motorway or driving Richard – certainly having to do both at the same time is not one of my favourite pastimes. I was so stiff and tense and hot when I got home. But the sun was shining though and it was a beautiful day.

#5: 5/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Monday 5th February 2007 at 11:07 PM

Apparently today is the biggest sick day of the year. More people take today which is the first Monday in February as a sick day than any other. Why? I mean I can see the point if you are ill but why do people pretend to be ill if they are not? I hate missing work because there is always so much catching up to do when you come back. It's like going on holiday and that you plan for but sickness is unplanned largely. I guess planned sickness or sciving is probably an art and not one that I subscribe to. I only take time off when I am ill and even then I'll struggle in unless I'm genuinely dying, infectious or both. Today I was fine so I did make it in, there were a few people ill today but they were completely genuine. Tomorrow I do have a day off work. I am taking a day of holiday so I can go with Richard to the hospital because he is having a knee operation and I need to drive him home, from Ashford. I am not looking forward to it. Richard will drive us there in the morning. I'll take a good book with me and my mp3 player - or even Richard's ipod and a notebook. It could be a very peaceful day but I'm more likely to be pacing around. I worked late tonight finishing off lots of things so that I would have no loose ends and so that come Wednesday I won't have too much of a backlog. It was a really good thing that I wasn't ill. I do feel sick though - sick with worry about the drive home. I just hope we can leave while it is still light so I can see where I am going. I hate driving in the unknown and I hate driving in the dark and the two together are unthinkable. Arggh!! Little sleep for me tonight I fear.

#4: 4/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Sunday 4th February 2007 at 11:31 PM

Oh wow! This morning it was orange juice and it tasted brilliant. Still very, very messy but very, very worth it. The best freshly squeezed orange juice I have ever made - it was even the right yellow colour. I am so going to carry on with this.

I watched Mark play football today. His team won 7-3! And Mark scored a goal too. It is wonderful to watch them play now - last year we went through so much haert ache with them - it took a while for the team to gel and for them to get used to the bigger pitches but now they are very definately rocking.

I watched the award winning drama Gideon's Daughter tonight and it was so sad. I just howled. I'm not really sure what it was trying to say. It was just very moving. It seemed to be about losing children and losing your faculties and a sense of perspective and grief and never getting over death and other things. It was most bizarre. there were so many symbols - I probably missed a load of them. It has just left me feeling so sad. It ended but I don't know if it was happily or not and I suppose that is true to life anyhow. It's like just passing through and a continuous journey and though you may come to your end - others following you will just carry on, with their lives and so the cycle will continue until the end of time.

#3: 3/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Saturday 3rd February 2007 at 11:08 PM

It was the day of the juicer today. I unpacked said item at last. It came with a free copy of the JuiceMaster ‘Lose 7 lbs in 7 days’ diet book which I had also bought so I now have two copies – thanks Amazon! It was a case of people who bought this also bought this so I am probably not the only one to be caught out in this way. Anyway it was very exciting. My first foray in the world of juicedom was Apple juice – of the Braeburn variety – they have red skins which I left on so the juice came out pink. It was gorgeous. Juicing is quite messy I have discovered and not an activity for someone in a rush – which fortunately I wasn’t today. There is a lot of washing up to do afterwards – it takes longer to do this then it does to chop and juice but the results are worth it. Nonetheless it was far messier than expected so not for the uncommitted. A good deal more pulp ended up being stuck to the lid unit of the juicer than landed in the pulping bin. Strangely according to the usage instructions which of course I followed religiously word for word because I am totally anal about user manuals - having written many myself in the past - although admittedly for bespoke software systems and not kitchen equipment - you have to remove the pulping bin before taking the lid off so there are many chances for messing up your work surface too. - I was quick and careful and not caught out. I had no idea that 8 apples could generate so much juice or indeed so much pulp – hopefully the worms in my worm factory who will be the ultimate recipients will benefit greatly from this. I hadn’t quite mastered the froth separator on this occasion and it all went to pot when I added the lemon juice to the collected juice after the event. This was supposed to prevent it all from going brown as apples are apt to do but seemed to have the complete opposite effect. The taste was still good though. You live and learn.

I shall continue to experiment over the coming week – tomorrow I will try orange juice. I also have to read my new books from cover to cover before embarking on The Program – it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle choice apparently. I will need to take the book with me to Holland and Barratt next week because there are a number of items I need to purchase so I can follow the Program to the letter and lose 7 lbs in 7 days. It’s going to be a very interesting experiment particularly as I will be drinking concoctions containing spinach juice and possibly even raw beetroot - argghh!! Now that will be a first!

#2: 2/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Friday 2nd February 2007 at 10:35 PM

A long day. An “I love my job” day. One of those days when everything went according to plan and I achieved all that I needed to. Was in Kingston today. Still haven’t properly explored the shops. One day I will. Some delays today – like the queue for a ticket at Surbiton station tonight to get back to Woking but that was only a minor aberration. Ocado delivered the shopping early tonight 7.30 instead of 8pm. That would be my ideal time anyhow so I was really pleased. I cocked up my order a bit though, I did a repeat order, fast order thing – first and last time and ended up with a cabbage and copious amounts of Activia yoghurt drinks which I didn’t need and no carrots and no golden syrup which I did want. Next time I will just do a scratch order – it may take a little longer but it is easier in the end!!

It was “Ugly Betty” tonight which we all bar Adam watched. Love that show so much. Favourite character is Betty’s nephew. He is so funny. This show is now on at 9pm so can turn over to the BBC News straight after.

#1: 1/2/2007   
Posted by Laura on Thursday 1st February 2007 at 11:31 PM

February has commenced. I spotted several daffodils on the brink of budding in my front flower bed this morning. This is apparently 6 weeks early no less. It is starting to look and feel like Spring and yet you know it could all end with one sharp frost. It has a fragile feel to it. The juicer arrived today and the book but I have had time to open neither as yet. I di buy loads of fresh fruit too. I can't wait to get started but it won't be until the weekend. I didn't start making dinner until after 8pm tonight because we were out at the boy's school until then, attending academic review meetings with their tutors. Tomorrow I am up bright and early going to Kingston so I won't be able to unwrap anything and play until I get home tomorrow night. It's great having something exciting to look forward to. I don't think Richard is too impressed with the idea of the juicer but hopefully I can turn him round when I start knocking up healthy and exciting juice concoctions.

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