At Last, Time Off

Between swapping weekends last week and an unexpected day of training last week, I found that my work week contained a few more hours on the Rota than I had previously anticipated.

At one point I was double booked for places to be and people to see, and so had to send an email to one of the managers expecting to see me to say that while I was very good at delegation and time management, my ability to attend two geographically diverse locations simultaneously was sadly not as good as I might wish.

Fortunately I have a good working relationship with said manager, and so my snark was met with wry acceptance and alternative arrangements made. I may be, to paraphrase Lady P, “the king of salt”, but I do know how to pick my moments most of the time.

Now, before the chorus of readers points out that I work part time and so really can’t complain about a few extra hours, I shall bid you a lofty dismissal and say: hush, I don’t care, this is my blog and my working week, and the minor irritation of extra hours so I don’t decompress when I usually do is enough for me to comment and make up snarky ramblings.

The lovely reward for this concentration of working hours and swapping round of weekends has been an extended weekend and an extended visitation from the beauteous Mre B. So we’ve been a happy little triad enjoying each other’s company with food, TV shows, and long walks in the park.

I’ve branched out into vegetarian recipes for the weekend – I’ll write up the risotto-style dish later, and have worked out how to make cheesecake flavoured with Baileys. So we’ve eaten well, and drunk lots of hot chocolate. Can’t complain at all.

Musings and Muses

I’m blessed with the company and at least grudging acknowledgement of a wide range of beautifully odd people, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Between the fearless men, women, and occasionally undecided of the #Tuesday crowd and the staunchly acerbic miscreants who’ve stuck with me on social media, I couldn’t ask for a fiercer, more awesome group of people to light up my day.

Then there are those who have got drawn into my orbit and who really arent sure what they’re getting into. Don’t worry, we’ll have you so distracted you won’t care enough to fight your truly surreal real selves from emerging in due course.

Okay, do you think that’s scared the normals away? Just us freaks and weirdos left? Excellent.

I’ve had two conversations today that just seem to shine a suitable light, and I thought I’d share them and maybe raise a smile.

The first was with the beautiful Mre B, with whom I’ve had a running conversation via messaging most of the day. As part of that conversation, I mentioned my disquiet that I discovered yesterday that a book shop exists about ten minutes away, the existence of which I had been unaware of for over six years. 

I mentioned that I had been strong, and not bought anything when I found it. Her exact words were: “I’m a little concerned about you resisting the temptation of a bookshop…”

As anyone who has seen my home will attest, this is a fair comment, given I have enough books to make shelving on which I can store more books.

I was in a whimsical mood, and so this was my defence: “I have some self-control. Some. A bit. Occasionally. If I have no money. Okay, I admit it, I didn’t go in because I had no money. I stopped and looked longingly in the window at the precious things until they asked me to leave…”

The conversation got a little surreal from there, involving policemen and shop assistants with cattleprods. It’s been that kind of day.

By contrast, while winding down this evening with Lady M, we hugged and she stumbled in the direction of a nearby window. This led me to quip that I didn’t fancy calling her boss to say that Lady M wouldn’t be in work in the morning because we’d hugged and then she’d jumped out the window, and I was finding it very hard not to take it personally. It ticked Lady M so much, we nearly had another asthma incident.

Somehow these two conversations seem to sum up the randomness, joy, and surprises of my life right now. It’s been a pretty awful year, but in this last week or so I’ve started smiling again – grinning even – and had a renewed burst of creativity when it comes to my writing (as an added bonus). 

I could even be accused of being happy; and I’m sure that has some people looking anxious right now, if not for the exits.

How the hell did that happen?

Christmas Visitations

Boxing Day is coming to a close, and with it two days of feasting and merriment. Having been asked twice by people “Are you happy?” in the last couple of days, I have to confirm that the only fly in my ointment is the discomfort of having eaten too much, and the knowledge that I’ll need to lose a few pounds soon.

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We’ve been able to treat people this year, and the memory of the expressions on people’s faces as they’ve seen their gifts is going to keep a warm glow in my heart for a while. I always take pleasure in matching presents well to people. I’ll go so far as to say I take pride in it; so the memory I have of my dad’s reaction to his gift is one for the books.

For over 20 years, he’s been in search of Johnny Walker Blue Label whiskey. I remember sitting in a pub with him while his best friend rhapsodised over this mythical drink that you rarely saw in the UK, except maybe in specialist bars and the sort of hotel that, as a parish priest, he was unlikely to afford to stay in.

Over the years the thought of this drink has taken on almost talismanic properties for him. When mentioned in conversation it would be with a wistful sigh and faraway look in his eyes, and the thought of owning a bottle became a bucket list item of sorts. With his retirement, the likelihood in his eyes of ever finding it seemed vanishingly remote.

This year, we stumbled across a supply in our local Costco. Even better, there was money off it as a promotion. Lady M and I looked at each other and agreed that this year would be the year he got his hands on a bottle. We were in a position to do this, and if not now then when better?

Although slightly tongue in cheek, I’ve never seen someone cradle and cuddle a bottle of whisky before. Absolutely made my year.

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Yesterday was spent round at my brother Demonic’s place, with Lady M on driving duties so I could drink. (Lady P was with her family, and I’m not sure either set of relatives are quite in a place to countenance any other arrangement right now.) We were very well fed and watered with roast beef and seasonal vegetables cooked extremely well. We chattered and wove tall tales until Lady M started to develop a migraine, and made our excuses.

Today was our turn to play host, this time to my parents, the Charleesi, and the ex-Lady M. It was the first time they’d met in a good seven years or so – really since our marriage had broken down. It’s fair to say both sides were nervous, but we kept the food and drink flowing along with their presents, and soon enough you’d never have guessed there had been any kind of break.

The two Ladies M have plotted a gin night for next week; teasing of yours truly suggested passing me round to someone else for a trial period (not the first time Lady M has tried pimping me out), and plans seem to be being made for reorganising the flat again…

All in all, an amazing couple of days, and even better to come with Lady P having a night off tomorrow so we can have our celebrations together too.

Am I happy? Damn right I am.