You have to love February in England. You have to love it because it’s short.
That’s the only thing it’s got going for it other than it’s the month when Lashes was born.
I would have included Valentine’s day in February’s charms but since Valentine’s Day stopped being of any relevance at all to me many years ago I refuse to include it. So, that’s it then, February actually, now that I come to think about it, has two things going for it; Lashes’ birthday and it’s a short month.
Trudging through the woods this morning with Velcrodog it struck me how very grey and gloomy and depressing everything was. All I could see around me was various shades of grey. Even the dog was covered in mud and as grey as a February day. Sigh.
Not even the pathetic attempt at snow that was going on around me cheered me up. I’m calling it snow but in actual fact it was more like sleet. Thin, mean and miserly, not a bit like the big, fat, luscious snowflakes I love. If it was food it would have been gruel – and just about as exciting.
It was only last week that my friend and I had been sharing holiday stories and photographs with each other. What a lovely couple of hours we had.
She’s been to the Caribbean. Oh, the Caribbean with its beautiful bright warmth. With its colours so vivid and bright that they burn the retinas right off your eyeballs. We looked through her photographs and marvelled at the colour of the sea and the sky, the richness of the colours and the relaxed expressions on the faces of all the people.
Then we looked at my holiday photos from Finland. Gorgeous snow, pink and blue skies, northern lights, huskies, reindeer and fun. The expression on our faces was relaxed and happy.
Back to the real world.
No bloody chance of relaxed and happy expressions happening here. Most people have their faces screwed up and grim, shoulders hunched and head down rushing to get back to their homes and out of the grey and dreary glumness that is an English February.
God, it’s depressing.
Hieronymous Bosch must have been on exactly the same walk through the woods as me when he was inspired to paint his visions of hell.
Roll on spring!
lashes, Munki and me were out and about doing a bit of shopping for our respective Christmas decorations. I was looking for white lights – and I do mean white lights not those awful blueish-greyish things that just make me depressed when I see them. I’m talking about gorgeous, sparkly, bright white cheery lights.
Lashes was looking for trinkets for her trippy Alice in Wonderland tree in shades of pink, blue and turquoise. It’s fabulous!
Anyway, while we’re on the subject of Christmas lights, I’ve noticed that the usual bright blue monstrosities are out in force again this year, flashing away like huge offensive to the eye insect-o-cuters. What surprises me is that where we are seeing these lights mostly is on the streets where you would expect the residents to positively avoid flashing blue lights.
Oooohh, aren’t I awful? Happy Christmas to you too!
So. Moving swiftly on…..
We spent a happy morning in the local garden centre with the brilliant Christmas displays and I stopped in my tracks when I saw this display:
“Oh! Look at this, it’s exactly what I need; damage free hanging solutions.”
The woman walking past nearly broke her neck as it swung round to take a look at the object of my desire. Imaging her surprise when I burst out guffawing loudly and snorting with derision as I realised that the much vaunted ‘damage free hanging solutions’ were in fact nothing more than plastic hooks with a sticky pad attached. Oh isn’t marketing marvellous. Damage free hanging solutions, or as we call them; hooks. That kept me laughing for the rest of the morning.
The weather has been A-MAZ-ING recently. Just how I like it, cold, crisp and clear. The thick frost has meant that places that are normally a no go walking area for me and Velcrodog because it’s as wet as a paddy field all dried up and added a new dimension to our walks. I was double pleased about the weather because I took Velcrodog to the beauty salon last week and it was nice to be able to take him out for a walk while he looked gorgeous and get him him home still looking gorgeous and not like a swamp monster. I got good few days out of it. Worth every penny of my £40.
Here are a few photos from our frosty walks. Hope you like them:
The weather men have even threatened us with snow. Snow! Yaaaaaaay!
It hasn’t arrived yet though, just a cold and biting wind, lovely frosty mornings and zero temperatures. According to my car it was -4 this morning. My bum certainly knew it was -4 when I got in the aforementioned car and sat on the lovely shiny black leather seat.
Who the hell thought it would be a good idea to put leather seats in a car? Unless they make a bum warmer that knows you’re going to get in the car ten minutes before you actually do it and gets the seat all nice and toasty for your rear end then they should definitely keep away from leather seats. Leather seats? I’ll take the sheepskin, thanks.
It’s been more than a bit parky for my nether regions, they’re wondering what’s going on, they’re not used to being cold. Bbbbrrrrrrrrrr.
I’ll be investing in a nice fluffy seat cover before too much longer, I think. In the meantime I’ll be putting a nice thick, radiator warmed towel on the seat. Who cares if passers by think I’m incontinent. At least I’ll have a warm bum.
It’s become a bit of a ritual now. I return home from dog training about 9.30pm cold, dirty, tired slobbered on and full of dog hair. Boofuls has a nice chilled gin and tonic ready and waiting for me. I like Thursday evening.
Now that winter is once again round the corner and the nights are starting to draw in it just feels right to snuggle up in front of the telly. It’s been rubbish on the box all summer but by God they’re making up for it now. Strictly, Downton Abbey, Mrs Biggs,The Bletchley Circle, cracking viewing. I can hardly get my jimjams on fast enough to get myself settled and catch up on all fine viewing.
Winter my be drawing in but weather wise it isn’t really much different to the summer, it just gets darker earlier. I did enjoy yesterday’s walk through the woods though. Yellow leaves were fluttering gently down from the trees like snow. Hhhmm. Yellow snow. Never eat yellow snow. I didn’t enjoy the leaves that were skittering across the road tonight in front of the car. I kept thinking they were small mammals or frogs and braking to avoid them – only to feel really foolish a second later when I realised it was only leaves.
It won’t be long now till mine and Boofuls’ Big Adventure. We had to cancel it last year due and I was so disappointed. This year it’s booked and the final payment made yesterday so were actually doing it – going in search of the northern lights. EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!
People seem to think we are slightly bonkers going to the Arctic Circle in January but I can’t wait. I may soon implode with excitement and God knows we need a bit of excitement in our lives. There has been far too much doom and gloom for the last little while and it’s well past time it all perked up a bit – and it looks like it may just be starting to happen.
Not really, that title was a total lie but it made me think for a second of sunny skies and the kind of warmth that seeps in to your bones and just makes everything alright with the world. If I just use a bit more imagination I can pretend that I’m in the Caribbean. I might help the process along by sticking some merengue music on and pouring myself a nice large Morgan’s Spiced Rum. By the time Boofuls gets home I could be swinging from the ceiling!
Thanks for your lovely comments while I was feeling sorry for myself. They really did make a difference and I’m nearly over it now. By nearly over it I mean I’ve stopped crying.
Things picked up fairly quickly yesterday afternoon. Not least because we had a dance lesson for the first time since teacher became ill in December. Isn’t it funny how you don’t realise how much you’ve missed something until it’s back. It wasn’t Teacher teaching us, he’s still far too poorly, it was his business partner, Lottie. It felt a bit strange having a different teacher but we soon all settled down. A quick brush up on a few waltz steps and a run through of the paso doble went a long way to restoring my spirits.
First thing this morning I had to drop my car off for yet another major operation just to get it to a point where it’s good enough to sell on. So after another cold and frosty night I scraped all the ice off the windscreen and set off on my to way to drop it off at the garage and then walk to my friend’s house to meet up for our weekly Weight Watchers weigh in. Apart from a small detour to the studio to drop off some stuff, that was pretty much the plan for this morning. The car park at the studio is a bit icy at the moment. Not icy as in a ‘Watch your step, it’s a bit icy’, kind of way. It’s more of a ‘Grab your skates and let’s put on our own Dancing on Ice show’, kind of way. I’ve seen quite a few people over the last few days use a bit of nifty footwork in order to stay upright on that car park, including me.
Just as I was leaving the studio it started to rain. The rain hit the icy ground, the icy car, the icy windows and instantly froze. The rain was even freezing as it hit the windscreen of the car and turning it into a nice frosted window, handy if you’re in a bathroom, not so handy if you’re driving a car. I had to stop every few hundred yards to clear it away until the heater kicked in enough to clear it.
The car was dropped off at the garage with instructions to phone me when it was ready and then, safe in the knowledge that I was properly dressed for the occasion in my walking boots and thick wooly socks ( as well as a few other items, not juts boots and socks. What do you think I am, some kind of weirdo? Ew!) I set off to bezzie mates, walking with my usual brisk ‘ don’t mess with me, weather, I’m a fell walker’ gait.
Five minutes into the walk;
Down I went on the icy pavement, sprawled on the floor like a tortoise stuck on it’s back.
Now, in this situation there is a tried and trusted series of events that must be followed – and I followed them to the letter.
1. Lie winded on the ground for a moment wondering what the hell just happened while mentally determining if any bones have been broken or vertebrae thrown out of alignment. Check.
2. Look around quickly to establish that no one saw you fall. Check
N.B. Items No. 1 and 2 are interchangeable.
3. Leap to your feet (Ok, it was more of a slippery, slidy, ungainly scramble to my feet using both hands and knees but it still counts.) Check.
4. Continue on your way as if nothing had happened, ignoring the stinging in whatever parts of your body hit the ground and trying not to limp/cry/rant at the unfairness of life. Check.
To be honest, people were falling over like nine pins. The main problem being that the streets looked wet, not icy. Cars were skating round all over the place, it was a bit like a three ring circus in the town centre. I saw traffic officers turn up to guide cars unable to stop going down the hills safely onto the main roads and I saw more than one person clinging to a lamp post too frightened to let go. You don’t feel quite so foolish when just about everyone is throwing themselves onto the ground with wild abandon.
Bezzie mate and me met up for Weightwatchers. I’m not talking about that bit because I’m just too narked. Why can’t I be a natural size 10, dammit? Half a pound indeed. At this rate it’ll be *counts on fingers and toes*……a bloody long time till I’m a size 10!
After Weightwatchers I picked the car back up and made my way home.
Very, very slowly.
The track down to our house isn’t so much a road as a bobsleigh run at the moment. Even the bits that don’t look frozen are frozen solid. That was an exciting journey!
The highlight of the day so far though has to be when I let the cat out of the back door. He ran out , skidded sideways on the ice and then tried and failed to regain his footing, running on the spot like a cartoon character before slithering off with his little legs going ten to the dozen, howling like a banshee. Was it too cruel of me to laugh?
I would go down to the barn to get the bag of salt and grit that I know we have stored in there for when we need to to de-ice the path – but I can’t get down to the barn because it’s just too icy and dangerous. Which means that it’s too dangerous to make it safe.
You have to love winter. Where’s the spiced rum?
A small amount of kudos to you if you know where the words in the title come from before you read this post. If you don’t, the story kind of gives it away so no kudos at all in that case.
Grim, ‘orrible, windy and cold weather greeted us again yesterday morning. It’s getting on my nerves now. I want snow or sunshine or fog, anything in fact but this sodding awful wet and windy greyness.
Boofuls, sensing my mood, suggested that we have a ride out to Blackpool and spend a few hours in the tower ballroom. We haven’t danced at all since our teacher was taken ill, it just doesn’t seem right somehow but I’m certain that he’d want us to dance. After all, he built his whole life around it.
So wearing a peculiar assortment of clothing, we set off to Blackpool. Warm coat,boots, thick cardigan against the cold of the journey, light cardigan in case it was a bit cool in the ballroom and a light, floaty dress to dance in as well as the obligatory sparkly jewellery.
We arrived at the ballroom and picked our spot. A table right on the edge of the dance floor near the mighty wurtlizer. As normal there was a good array of people. Daytrippers dancing in trainers and jeans, good amateurs, professionals practising, you can always spot them even before they start to dance, they always wear black and the men always have a waistcoat on. Yesterday there was a young couple who were amazing to watch, they’ll be going far, I think. There was a little, elderly man dancing on his own, hopping and jumping round the floor to a quickstep with his invisible partner. And there was us.
That’s what I like about Blackpool Tower ballroom, anyone of any age and ability can take to the floor and no one bats an eyelid.
Having bagged our spot we started to strip off the boots, coats, scarves, cardigans and other outdoor paraphernalia and got the dance shoes on. Within two minutes we were quickly putting the cardigans and scarves back on as it was absolutely perishing. I think the boiler must have gone or it was a ploy on the part of the management to keep people buying hot drinks. People were dancing in fleeces! If they didn’t actually dance in their fleeces and scarves they put them back on as soon as they sat down and then hugged their hot drinks to try and keep warm.
We spent a lovely three hours in there, waltzing, tangoing, chachachaing, jiving and rumbaing our way through the afternoon. The only dance we didn’t get to do was the foxtrot. We waited and waited for a foxtrot but eventually decided that we had to leave or risk a parking fine. As miuch as I love a foxtrot, I don’t love it fifty quids worth. As soon as we were all togged up for outside again on went a foxtrot. Dagnabbit!
Of course, being in Blackpool we had to go to Harry Ramsden’s for his famous fish, chips and mushy peas – and it didn’t disappoint. All I can say about that is: nomnomnomnomnom.
Well done, Boofuls. Boredom strop successfully averted, we had a lovely day out. Shame about the cold.
This is my 1000th post apparently. In honour of the occasion and to start the new year I will be posting my very first post as post 1001 tomorrow. Ooh, bet you can’t wait for that.
Sitting and staring at an empty screen for ages it crossed my mind that that should be what I should publish as it pretty well sums up how I’m feeling today. Empty.
Then it crossed my mind that you probably wouldn’t understand that and think I’d clicked ‘publish’ by mistake. It reminded me of Tracey Emin’s unmade bed. I remember the furore when it was presented as a work of art.
An unmade bed? WTF? Here’s my dirty dishes, let’s call that art as well.
Without a bit of background knowledge it just makes no sense.
So here’s the background: If I can get it down without crying (apparently I can’t – it can’t be good for a keyboard to have tears seeping in to it. If this post stops half way through then I’ve blown up my computer by crying into it).
Last night we took a phone call to say that our good friend and dance teacher of umpteen, I really can’t remember how many – at least fifteen, years is seriously ill and in intensive care. After his car crash last week from which he seemed to have walked away relatively unscathed, it would appear that complications set in. All we can do is hope and pray that he’s going to recover.
So, in the absence of our Thursday morning paso doble lesson, I grabbed Mrs Woofy and set off before 8 o’clock onto the still dark, cold, foggy and snowy moors for a walk to clear my head and shoot a few photos – always the best cure for melancholia. You probably won’t like them, they’re very gloomy – match my mood perfectly.
Get well soon, teacher.