Bitch on the Blog

August 24, 2018

May the Best Man not win

Today, Friday 24 Aug 2018, the Angel attends a wedding (the ceremony starting in about fifteen minutes). One of his closest friends getting married. The Angel being one of three best men. Why anyone needs three best men to carry him to the altar I do not know – but maybe the groom was torn between longest standing friend, brother and, well, the Angel. That’s indecision for you.

In the motherland they don’t do “best man”. Bridesmaids, yes, but men? No. Neither does her father walk the bride down the aisle (in the motherland). Ridiculous. My father didn’t own me all my life; so why would he “give me away”?

Anyway, the English do have their ways in any given social setting and are most particular about it. If you’d like me to expand I will. I have more anecdotes (not least on hats) than I care to remember – though all of them, moderately, funny.

Be that as it may, before the Angel set off earlier he related to me what I had not known. Every time someone relates something to me I don’t know I am surprised (the older I get the more surprised I am at all that indeed I have not known, do not know and never will). So, apparently in an age long gone (don’t hold me to detail) the best man’s duty was not to ship the groom to the altar in time. Not at all. It’s so bad it’s worse.

Cast yourself back to a time when you had to negotiate Robin Hood and other daylight robbery in dark forests on the way to your destiny. Say you got slain. It happens. Then, please dear Readers, do sit down and reach for the smelling salts, the best man had to stand in for the groom. Yes, really. When a wedding was called it had to take place. Never mind about love and stuff. An understudy will do.

The Angel, being of an orderly mind, asked today’s groom (last night) why then he had appointed THREE best men. Were they supposed to battle it out between them should shit happen between departure and destination? Let’s just say that, as incentives go, the Angel was determined to get the groom to the altar in one piece. Not because the bride isn’t lovely. She is. But the Angel  knows he’d win the fight and does have other plans.

Yes, in slightly nostalgic mode; last couple of days letting all the weddings I have attended (not least my parents’ when I was four) pass by my inner eye.

Any memories of your own or others’ weddings you’d like to indulge me with?

U

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June 6, 2018

Sardines

Early this evening I cut off seven heads. I then gutted the bodies. Butterflied them by gently pressing my hand down the back of their spine and removing same, namely their backbone. And, no, I did’t call any of them Nick by the time they were spineless. I doused them with hot smoked pepper and fried them in olive oil. Served with Padron peppers and other full in your face delicacies.

Yes, sometimes you need to bloody your hands before stuffing your face. Admittedly I only do this with fish. Possibly because, when very very very young (between the age of five and later) I went fishing with my grandfather. First we dug dewy earth and caught the early morning’s worm. Then we set out. On a rowing boat.  In the middle of the (small) lake he’d cast the line. And we’d wait. Quietly. Smiling at each other in conspiracy. I think watching my grandfather reeling in fish of some size – giving a little slack, reeling in, giving a little slack, reeling in, slack, patience and calm – is how I learned to conduct my relationships.

Back at the shore, bucket with fish unloaded, poured onto the grass, my grandfather showed me how to kill. Tool being a piece of fairly substantial wood. Essentially, a bit like Agatha Christie and the butler in the library, a wack at a precise spot just below the back of the head the most benign way to be dispatched if you are a fish. After the gutting, it was over to my grandmother to fry them into a feast. Happy memories.

Six of tonight’s fish heads looked resigned to their fate, Zen like. Number seven looked astonished (mouth wide open). Know how he felt. Whilst I tend to keep my mouth shut other than when smiling (default mode) I too am astonished at times what life has in store for you.

U

May 9, 2018

Opposites and their attractions

What do you do if you want to go wean yourself off something – can be anything, not just hard core addiction? Say, for instance, and I know why my father pops into my mind this minute, you were addicted to being obsessively tidy – would you be able to leave alone for a week, not to say a WEAK, and see where it leads? Would you? Or would you just procrastinate?

I am a going-cold-turkey type of person: Just do it. And a procrastinator.

Cold Turkey and Procrastinator: The combo from hell. My Procrastinator (Motto: Tomorrow) being top dog, Cold Turkey (Motto: NOW, and determined) being strung along for the ride. Myself? I am in the fascinating grip of conflicting interests wrestling it out.

Around New Year 2017/18 I decided, for mostly rational and many valid ones too, to give blogging a miss. And what a fine mess my Procrastinator made of it, Cold Turkey (amply supported by the Angel who thinks blogging a waste of time) being on the loosing wicket. A fly caught in a sticky spider’s web has nothing on me.

So, what do you do when you feel you need to break a habit that brings you nothing but joy?

U

 

May 5, 2018

Debt to pleasure

Conceited bastard that I am I rarely quote anyone, preferring to make up my own “shit” (reference John’s assessment of my merits). There are exceptions to my rule and here is one, courtesy of Frederic Mistral:

“Aioli epitomises the heat, the power and the joy of Provencal sun, but it has another virtue – it drives away flies.”

Made me think of the limitations of communicating in the virtual world: How not so much DRIVE away flies as not to ATTRACT them in the first place. Or, worse, not to BECOME a pesky fly yourself.

On this happy note I am certain the aioli I am just about to make won’t curdle.

U

 

April 8, 2018

Lullaby

Sometimes, when lost in the sea of many possible perspectives, I seek advice. Seek advice with hope in my heart that if I don’t follow it [the advice] the advice giver is wise and kind enough to not take it personally, as a rebuff. That’s why there are some people in my life whose advice I do NOT seek. It’s enough to grapple with the problem that makes you seek advice in the first place, without then having to play nurse maid to someone’s hurt feelings. People like that don’t seem to understand that they should be glad to be asked in the first place as it implies trust, and that the purpose of advice givers is that of a midwife: Helping with the delivery, not claiming the end result.

Before I pursue the above line of thought, a subject dear to my heart, I’ll stick with the original purpose of this post.

Sleep has always been important to my mother. As she got older she started sleeping rather a lot. Now she sleeps, more or less, round the clock. Every time I phone her I can bet my bottom currency that I have either woken her or that she was just about to go BACK to sleep. This is during the day – not at midnight. So enter increasing irritation and exasperation (neither of which I ever voice to her) on my part. Who wants to see their once active mother wilting? I take it almost as an affront – of nature/biology. Once resentment starts creeping into any relationship you need to regroup, and/or seek ADVICE in order to restore perspective and balance. So, this morning, I took to the experts. Yes, really. Google.

Peace has once more returned to the part of my heart that is troubled by my mother’s (as perceived by me, excessive) need for sleep. A few clicks and links later it’s so simple I wonder why it hadn’t occurred to me in the first place:

“There is no law, indeed no need, why someone (particularly in their old age) should conform to our idea of being active. If it makes someone happy to sleep let them sleep.”  That insight, so obvious yet obscure in its simplicity, was all I need, in future, to not be endlessly frustrated by my mother’s sleepiness AND her blatant, if gentle, refusal to engage any longer with anything that clouds her days, and I quote the same source:

“Discussing a point is no longer important for her. It’s like all she wants is hearing our voices, smiling back, hugs.” Peace, I suppose. Peace at the end of a long life. A peace I will contribute to as best I can. Doesn’t come easy to me to put myself onto the back burner – yet, since when haven’t I been able to will myself to do almost anything for the greater good.

The hard part (for my mother), wait for it, that she is fully aware of her increasing frailty and laments vehemently the physical restrictions in its wake(!). Hardly the time I can make one of those, meant to be assuring, throw away remarks: “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.” Though, most likely, in the end, emphasis on END, everything will be fine.

U

March 1, 2018

The Alternative Comment Box – Interval 2

On good news, this afternoon I was briefly reminded of the joys of my childhood’s snow: We haven’t had this much in one day, here at the South Coast of England, in years. It’s lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely. What is, obviously, not so lovely that the English tend to go into siege mentality, a type of hysteria. Cubic meters of the white stuff other countries conquer easily make some English go into melt(!)down.

Anyway, minimalists and all those of you lumbered with people difficult to give presents to because they have everything money can buy and afflicted by that certain ennui that comes with saturation, here is your perfect dinner party gift for the host with most except nothing:

Just before arrival at and on said host’s doorstep, you gather as much snow as possible, preferably the kind that sticks together to allow you to sculpt it into, say, a snowball. Make it round. Perfectly round. Hand it to your host/ess who, naturally, will shrink away from it but reconsider in a second since it’s impolite to refuse a gift. Fast forward to dessert, nay, after dinner coffee: Your present will have melted. Gently. Leaving little trace other than a tiny puddle of water. Genius or what?

U

 

February 26, 2018

The Alternative Comment Box, Interval 1 – Know your onions

Filed under: Amusement,Food,Fortune,Happiness,Joy,Kitchen — bitchontheblog @ 19:15
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Whilst giving forces who think they are [forces] a chance to regroup let me shed a tear over onions.

One of these days I will calculate how many onions I have chopped over a life lived so far. What is remarkable about chopping onions: Unlike when, say, playing the guitar you grow callouses to render your fingertips without feeling (one of the reasons I don’t play the guitar), your eyes will never ever grow used to an onion’s onslaught. You cried over your first onion you’ll cry over your last onion. That’s about it. Scant comfort, unlike with many other deals in life, you know where you stand. And smell.

Secondly, short of the rather irritating, coming at you unasked,  cakes in the motherland and trifles in the fatherland, virtually any dish worth its salt will start with an onion. Onions are ritual. One of these days, when I am about one hundred and twenty and Ms Misery will have died a not so miserable death (I hope) and in order to keep me occupied in her absence, I shall ponder what would actually happen to our palate’s concern, sensibilities and sensitivities if the onion was shown the door and never grown again.

I can see it now: My first memoir and self help book, titled “Life without an onion”. If that won’t make you cry little else will.

U

December 20, 2017

Non sequitur

Filed under: Accuracy,Exasperation,Fortune,Happiness,Human condition,Intermittent despair — bitchontheblog @ 21:24
Tags:

Just came across a quote on someone’s blog. “Good things will come to good people”. That is such utter tosh, belied by all evidence, I don’t know what to do with myself.

I wish people would think before they regurgitate that which sounds good at first sound, and is rubbish on reflection.

U

December 17, 2017

Dashed hope

The notion doesn’t just belong to Christmas. Though I did come across the subject in the context of it. Presents. Or should that read “expectations”?

What would you have liked to be given at any time, at any occasion, at any stage of your life – but didn’t? Worse, what were you given though you didn’t want it? Whilst you mull over both those questions so will I.

U

November 5, 2017

Reparations to my last post

There is a saying in the motherland: “Lass die Finger davon”. Good advice. Roughly translated as “Don’t touch it” – underlined, usually, and for theatrical effect, by being hissed.

Anyway, the good news is that I can play Snap with four year olds, even three year olds. After that it gets tricky. As my last post shows.

To keep you on your toes, and please do keep your own selections coming, here are three more. Not because I want to but because I feel need to redeem myself.

One – My mother, sleep walking, climbed out of a window, ready to jump, when eight months pregnant with me.

Two – A mouse kept me locked out of the bathroom.

Three – I have never knowingly killed anyone.

Spot the lie. And keep your own riddles coming.

And yes, ref my last post and exchange with Mike, my father did send me a telegram, just as I was packing to decamp and fly to the motherland in time for the church wedding, him declaring the whole affair off. The whole affair went ahead, no thanks to him. I didn’t hold it against him – the wedding photos are witness to that. As they are witness that he didn’t feel an ounce of shame or remorse. He has never once apologized, acknowledged the huge impact what he did had on my subsequent marriage. FOS (father of son), unfortunately, not as easy going as my father.  And spare a thought for my mother. She is easily flooded by tears. That she didn’t drown on occasion of that “cancellation” is a miracle. So, as I said to Mike, the Angel thought two of yesterday’s guesses the truth, and thought the lie that turned out one of the truths. Never mind. At least I won’t need to throw myself on a pyre when FOS snuffs it.

Yes, pregnant pause, strange when you think back over your life … so far away yet so real – the blessing, a curse possibly for some, of an almost photographic and audio memory.

U

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