There was an interesting programme on television last night about the Apollo moon landings and whether or not man did actually set foot on the moon, or if NASA pulled one of the biggest hoaxes in the history of....ermm well, hoaxes.
I've heard about this before of course, but I've never been big on conspiracy theories. I'm a take things at face value kind of gal and, I mean, come on, with the number of people involved, how the heck could they have kept it quiet all this time?
But, as a mere mortal whose knowledge of science is minimal, I have to say that this programme put forward a convincing argument for the hoax theory. I was on the way to being convinced.
That was until I did a little more research and found equally convincing arguments from NASA that debunked the conspiracy theories.
So now I'm just plain confused.
But why, when something significant happens, are there always people who will try to find a dark and sinister side to it? Human nature I guess.
Now that Christmas is done and the shops, given that we are in the midst of a credit crunch, should be nice and quiet, I can go and finish my Christmas shopping.
Yes, I said I can go and finish my Christmas shopping. In plenty of time for Christmas on Thursday.
You will be forgiven for thinking that you have stumbled into a temporal paradox but there is a very simple explanation. As my family couldn't be with me on the first Christmas Day, nor I them, they are coming for New Year, so we are having our family Christmas Day on New Year's Day. And because I have been so completely disorganised this year, I get a little extra time to finish buying my family presents. Although I suspect that New Year's Eve will still find me running round like the proverbial blue fly trying to find a unique and witty, yet useful, gift for my impoverished step-brother and his girlfriend. If you have any ideas, throw them over this way please.
Do you know why Boxing Day is called "Boxing Day"?
Boxing Day dates back to past centuries when it was the custom for the wealthy to give gifts to employees or to people in a lower social class, most especially to household servants and other service personnel. As with Christmas itself, some elements of Boxing Day are also likely related to, and ultimately derived from, the ancient Roman Saturnalia, which also had elements of gift giving and social role reversal.The name 'Boxing Day' originates from the tradition of putting gifts in boxes for the less fortunate.
Although, given the state of my house yesterday with boxes everywhere after I'd been shopping, you could have been forgiven for thinking its meaning was more literal!
...the Lurchers and the Greyhound are walked and fed and are sleeping and farting peacefully, the fire is burning in the grate, there are carols on the radio. Oh, and most importantly there is a box of Turkish Delight in the fridge. All is well, then.
I will raise a glass to you all tonight and wish you a very merry Christmas. May tomorrow be everything you hope it will be.
The last of the work Christmas parties this afternoon. We have lunch, followed by a quiz. Which is fun. Except I am the Quiz Master. So it's not such fun for me.
I have nightmares over this damn quiz. Trying to be tactful here, we have quite a mix of intelligence amongst our staff so I have to try to balance the quiz so it's not too hard but also offers a bit of a challenge.
Then there are the teams to be organised. Bad enough when you have odd numbers but trying to get the intelligence mix right on each team also gives me nightmares.
Right now I am in a cold sweat just thinking about it all and the thought of eating lunch is making me quite nauseous.
Although that might be the bad back which is back with a vengeance this morning. But at least it's just my back and it's not spread to my shoulders and head yet. That I can live with.
At this point, those that know me will fall over in complete shock. For those of you that don't know me, I am an athiest. So you can see why the fact that I went to church would come as something as a surprise.
Now don't get me wrong, I realise that faith is important to many people and I have a great deal of respect for that. It's just not for me.
So why was I in church? My colleague and I decided, it being Christmas, that we would like to attend a carol concert, which just happened to be in the local church. I think we both had visions of choirs and children singing carols and someone dressed as Mary riding into the church on a donkey.
Except it wasn't a carol concert, it was a carol service. By the time we realised, we were penned in to the pews and couldn't get out without making a bit of a scene, and neither of us wanted to do that. That would have been rude after all. So we sat through it, and it was absolutely lovely!
The church was lit with hundreds of candles and looked wonderful, And there was indeed a choir singing carols, and they were superb. There was a lot of religious stuff in there too, but I let that slip by me and enjoyed the singing, and watching parents trying to keep toddlers amused through the hour and half service!
I woke up with back, neck and shoulder pain and it rapidly spread to my head. I attempted to get into town to finish my Christmas shopping this morning but after 20 minutes I couldn't cope. The pain was making me feel nauseous.
So I gave up, headed home, lit the log fire and have spent most of the day on the sofa, wrapped in a duvet watching tv.
Tonight was the second of the work's Christmas parties.
I was in two minds whether to go. Someone had apparently invited ex-Himself and I was really not in the right frame of mind for that confrontation. And I dare say he wouldn't be either. But one of my colleagues rang to say he hadn't turned up and why didn't I come over? So I half-heartedly threw on some tidy clothes and headed out, despite not really feeling terribly sociable.
But, as is ever the way, the evenings you don't really feel like attending turn out to be the most fun!
It was a very simple evening. A curry and snooker. I haven't played snooker in 20 years but I discovered it was like riding a bike and I won both the games I played!
So having made even more mince pies last night, I decided to treat the boys at work to their deliciousness. Doused in icing sugar and neatly laid out on a plate, I walked into the yard bearing my gift to be greeted with howls of pleasure. There is nothing quite like food to have them eating out of your hand....in a manner of speaking.
An hour later there is mockery.
There is mockery across our radio waves as to the need to watch out for loose teeth when partaking of the said mince pies.
OK, so my pastry is not the soft pappy stuff that shop-bought mince pies are made of. It has a bit more substance to it. But a danger to loose teeth it is not. I learnt how to make pastry at my mother's knee and it's tasty and yummy. She says adamantly.
But it does lead me to ask all you pastry makers out there what your recipe is. I would like to make a slightly softer pastry sometimes.
Plumbing has never been my strong point. Actually, being honest, and if I can't be honest with my blog buddies then what have we come to? Being honest, I have never actually plumbed before in my life. Therefore it wouldn't really be a strong point would it? No.
So quite why I thought I could take my first tentative steps into the world of plumbing by plumbing in my spanking new dishwasher is completely beyond me. But that is what I did.
You'd have thought, these being my first tentative steps, that I would have read the bloody instructions. Oh no. How difficult can it be? Screw a few pipes, turn on the water and off we jolly well go!
OK, first things first. Screw in the waste pipe. Except it isn't a screw in pipe. You put one pipe over the other and then fix it in place with a claspy thing (yes, "claspy thing" is a technical term). Except to fix the claspy thing in place you need a pair of pliers. Do I have pair of pliers? That'll be a NO. In equipping myself with all the spanners and screwdrivers that a girl might need, it seems I inadvertantly forgot about a pair of pliers. But, hey, this girl can improvise and the claspy thing was soon in place. With just a smidge of brute force and a minimal amount of swearing.
Then fix the inlet pipe to the water supply pipe. Ach...that was a piece of cake. At least, it was a piece of cake once I stopped the pipe disappearing down the back of the dishwasher.
Then plug it in. That I can manage.
Then open the dishwasher door. And find the instruction manual. Discover that I seem to have forgotten to attach the legs to the dishwasher. Dishwashers have legs? Who knew?
Not being able to face undoing everything I'd just done, I gave up, decided to call Mr Whizziness in the morning....and made some more mince pies instead.
To those friends who leave their own partners and dogs at home to come and stay the night with me and mine and make me giggle; and to the friend that's always at the end of a phone and gets mad on my behalf (Lisa, I wish you lived nearer) and those friends I don't keep in contact with as much as I should but are there for me anyway (Niki, Ali, Em, I wish you lived nearer too). To these friends, I send you all big hugs.
With friends like these at your back, you know you can take on anything that life throws at you.
Beep Beep Beep...that's the noise my dishwasher is making. I turn it on, it goes whoosh whoosh whoosh and then stops and goes beep beep beep.
That is not good news.
It is particularly not good news when the beep beep beep is accompanied by an ever increasing puddle at your feet. I removed the kick boards to find not just a puddle, but a veritable flood of water. Bugger.
I could not see why it was leaking and I have no idea where to start to fix it. So I buckled, and asked for help.
Help duly arrived in the form of our Maintenance Manager who is a bit of a whizz with such things. He took all the pipework apart (which meant clearing everything out from the cupboard under the kitchen sink - and we all know what those cupboards are like) but nothing was blocked. So he poured some water into the dishwasher and whoosh! (as opposed to whoosh whoosh whoosh) it all piddled out of the machine and I had another flood.
He shook his head and informed me that to fix it was beyond his whizziness and that, basically, it's terminal.
I swore. A lot.
Update: Just to add insult to injury, where Mr Whizziness was fiddling with the pipework under the sink....it's now leaking. So every time I let any water down the drain it pisses into the cupboard. I don't possess a washing up bowl so will be washing up in a bucket. Which is just what I need when I have friends coming to stay.
As the Tresurer of Greyhound Gap, my "official" e-mail address for that role is necessarily plastered across the internet, which results in me getting a heck of a lot of spam e-mail.
The regular stuff I've managed to filter out; the viagra, pills, erections....etc etc. But the spammers are getting cleverer. They now choose subject lines which, whilst easy to filter out, could actually be legitimate e-mails. The two current favourites seem to be "delivery failure", which does need to be checked...just in case. And the other is "Your order". When you buy a lot of stuff over the internet you do get a lot of legitimate e-mails with the subject "Your order" so they all have to be checked.
It's damned annoying and spammers should, IMHO, be put against the wall and shot.
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Yes I forgot to blog on Tuesday. Although if you're reading this it will look like I blogged on Tuesday but it's really Wednesday.
I was just so busy. Walking hounds, working at home writing minutes of a meeting, walking hounds again, pottering about, watching a movie. You know the sort of day. The sort of day that well....you just forget to blog.
Mamalang is our Fun Monday host this week and she wants to know our three favourite Christmas carols.
It's been a long day and I've had a Board meeting and a drinks party this evening so, in true Fun Monday tradition, I'm cheating! There are only two and they're not really carols.
I'm not usually swayed by advertising but there are two adverts on British TV at the moment that have some great music in their adverts.
The first is the Marks and Spencers ad which has Macy Gray singing a version of Winter Wonderland. It's a song that's been covered many times but this is most definitely my favourite version!
The second is an ad for the Co-op. Once the store of those on very low budgets, the co-op has successfully re-branded itself as the one supermarket with morals and ethics. Their Christmas ad has Gabriella Cimli singing a version of Warm This Winter and I've been singing it all day!
OK, Janet wanted to see the pictures of the disastrous Christmas decoration making attempt, so I salvaged them out of the bin......
You see? Disaster!
However, after I wrote my blog yesterday, I decided to have another go with some of the salt dough I had left.
The result is still not pretty, and they do still need tidying up around the edges, but you can just about see the glitter in them and I think they are sort of good enough to hang on my tree with some satin ribbon to set them off.
They do have a certain rustic charm don't you think? *said whilst snorting with laughter*
I need to make salt dough but all the recipes I can find are in American "cups" and I can't find a straightforward conversion. Is there a rough guide? The one I found said 4oz for flour but 8oz for salt and I got very confused at that point.
I wanted to follow up on the comment that Lesley left on yesterday's blog:
"No matter how much women want to be equal with men they simply cannot match their physical strength. It must have been wonderful to have fit able men help you. I would have loved it but then I have never needed to feel equal."
Lesley is absolutely right of course, most men are built stronger than women, but I do need to explain that this isn't just about being equal. I've no doubt that's part of it but there are other factors.
The main reason I wanted to split the logs myself, and do many other things, was that I need to prove something to myself. I'm rebuilding my life and my confidence in my abilities and trying to prove to ME that I can be independent and look after myself.
But it's also about work. When the majority of the staff you work with live on the job you tend to develop into a community. Most of the time it's like a small village and everyone gets on fine and we all look out for each other. But every now and again petty bitchiness raises it's ugly head.
When it first became known that I was going to be moving into my cottage, one person in particular went out of their way to create a lot of bad-feeling about it. It wasn't aimed at me per se but it affected me nonetheless. Although that person has now left, the whole incident made me be very careful about not taking advantage and appearing to be getting preferential treatment. Some of the staff can get quite bitchy about having to do things for other staff, particularly if it happens a lot, and I don't want to find myself at the end of that bitchiness by constantly asking for favours. I'm walking a fine line here and I'm very careful not to wobble off it!
I hurt everywhere. Including places I didn't know could hurt.
Including my pride.
I finally had to admit defeat on the log-splitting. I had to give in and ask for help.
I was so full of intentions of getting myself a chainsaw and an axe and doing all the log chopping myself. But I finally had to admit that a) my back is not strong enough to wield an axe, b) handsaws and me just do not understand each other, c) what the heck is the point of me buying myself a chainsaw and parting with the best part of £150 for the pleasure when I work with a team of men who play with chainsaws all their working day and d) we have a nifty tractor-mounted log-splitting machine complete with a man to operate it at work?
So this morning the nifty tractor-mounted log splitter and the man to operate it made their way to my back yard and split all my logs for me. But I did my bit by lugging all the logs to him and taking away all the split wood. Which is why I hurt. 3 hours of physical labour was a bit of a shock to my body!
But I now have more wood for the fire than I can....than I can....well, shake a stick at. My pride and my body will heal and at least I did my bit.
And I did at least try. Sometimes there is strength in realising your own limitations.
Our hostess this week is Ari over at Beyond my Slab and this is our assignment
Tell us about your all-time worst Neighbors from Hell. You know, the family of Irish clog dancers who once lived in the flat/apartment above you? Mrs. Nextdoor and her banshee-like multiple orgasms? Mr. and Mrs. Hard-of-Hearing with their television on full blast? The guys across the street who set off 4th of July fireworks starting in March and didn't stop until the first real snowfall?
Ive been really lucky with neighbours pretty much all my life; from the lovely couple who used to look after me when I was a shrimp when Mum had to work, right up to the neighbours I have now. Despite my grumblings about Nosey Neighbour and Nosey Neighbour's Children, they could be a lot worse. Mrs Nosey Neighbour is lovely, and no nosey at all, and in some ways Mr Nosey Neighbour can't help but look over the fence, he is over 6'6" tall after all. I could do without the children screaming in the garden all summer, and the hammering on the walls at ungodly hours, and I could also do without what I suspect are the regular phone calls from Mr Neighbour to ex-Himself telling him every bloody move I make. But, on the whole, it could be a much much worse.
So, a very boring Fun Monday from me, but can you tell I am trying to not let myself get wound up by things these days!? I am trying to be calm, calm, calm, and not let anything get to me. I can rise above it.