Saturday, December 19, 2015

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Email to new colleague:

______________

Dear S, 

I am asking your advice because I know you have a Barbour and you may know a little bit about them, and you may be able to give wise counsel. This is not urgent so you can ignore this email and we can chitchat over the gin I am bringing in on Monday.  Here is the story...

My (tall, Canadian) husband needs a Barbour (or similar) but is not yet aware of this fact. (Obvs I will have to bring it round to yours so you can run over it in your 1973 Land Rover/tractor to make it look less new).  Here is why: 
  • He looks nice in green;
  • It is waterproof, highly practical, has lots of pockets, isn't too heavy (he gets very hot as has different thermostat to the rest of us, i.e. in t-shirt in -5 saying WHY ARE YOU WEARING A COAT?);
  • He can wear it in his allotment, in the supermarket, on the way to work (as a vet), when with cows in a field or when with Lady Pontefract-Cupcakes & the Sheikh of Milk-Sheikh discussing their horses' wonky fetlocks;
  • If I get him a Barbour it will stop him from going to M&S and buying the kind of 'blouson' a geography teacher would wear on a field trip to Ironbridge. 

I wondered if you knew anything about them. I had a Gamefair about 300 years ago (until my housemate at university borrowed it to master a crap drug deal & it got nicked off the back of a chair in the pub with 1kg of hash in the game pocket). I remember it as pretty simple but pretty good, although we will draw a veil over why a person from London took a Barbour to university in 1987. 

Thanks x 100.

_____________

I have so much to say on the subject of being back in Blighty after 8 long, long, unremarkable years in Canada that I don't know where to start. If you, my adoring readers and/or fans, have any 'questions' or 'topics', insert them forcefully into the comments box below and I will do my utmost best to answer them.

Pip "Mince Fucking Pies Everywhere and Permanently Drunk - Isn't Life Grand!!" Pip

NWM



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Items (various)

It is Wednesday, and I am now less than two (2) weeks away from moving back to Blighty, land of my fathers (and mothers, a.k.a. Monkeymother).  

Horse News

I still have "fuck I'm leaving in 9 days" clearing up to do (which mainly involves looking at old photographs and saying WHO IS THAT IN MY BED? I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO THAT IS! - out loud, to my husband), but as we all know, there is always time to find amusing things on the internet.  For example, this video of a horse playing "Three Blind Mice" "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on the recorder is pretty good: 




But it is definitely not as good as a comment that came with it:



Well, precisely.

Talking of horses, my husband - a veterinary research pathologist, since you ask - will be working with horses (and cats and dogs - this is not a joke) in his new job in the Yew-Kay.  I have offered to go in at the weekend and 'help them muck out and look after all of the horses', which means trying to cuddle foals and spending 3 hours trying to catch a cross Highland pony, which as far as I can remember is how I spent pretty much every summer, 1978-1982. Here is one of the few times I managed it:


When I wasn't dressed up as a carrot on the back of a donkey, that is:




News from China 

Excitingly, this gentleman asked to "connect" with me on LinkedIn today. I am not sure why, because I do "marketing communications" (whatever that is), and he chiefly executes, officiates over AND directs iron and steel. But still, doesn't he look cheerful?



So cheerful, in fact, that - struck by his grandfatherly smile - I looked him up on the internet and discovered that:

He served as the Communist Party Secretary of Taiyuan between 2010 and 2014. He was abruptly removed from office by the Communist Party's top disciplinary body in August 2014, suspected of corruption...The investigation concluded that Chen "accepted bribes personally and through his family, used his political position to obtain illicit gain for the activities of his friends and family and for the promotion of officials, abused his power, and caused major loss of state assets."

Lordy! Any ideas what he could want?

Fat Cat News

I was looking at this picture again today. I wish people would say this about me and really mean it. As in, "a bit fat" is only a BIT fat, and enough of a negative counterbalance to the magnificent "lovely and very talented" to also make you approachable. Here is the best of kittens:

 Unfortunately I don't think this is the case, but a monkey can dream (while scratching monkey belly and spooning Hula-Hoops into mouth).

Pip "Pass the crisps!" Pip

NWM

P.S. Talking of Monkeymother, should we tempt her out of retirement?  I fear that if we do not she may succumb to the demon drink.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Things I Will Miss About Canada, Pt 2: Relationship With The Weather


As they are with distance, the people of Canada are as hard as fucking nails when it comes to the weather.

For e.g., here is a Canadian train dealing with snow:


And here is an English train dealing with snow:


"Snow is nothing but trouble", he moaned.  Precisely.

In case the point is not clear enough, I have taken some time out of my "busy schedule" (pronounced "skedjooll", rhymes with "Medjool") to build a simple chart  that will demonstrate exactly what I mean. In it, I compare reactions to various temperature levels, England* vs. Canada**.

UPDATE: An eagle-eyed reader points out that the scale below should be C not F.   And now we may begin:

In the winter in England, all you would have to do to get out of the house would be put on a coat, scarf and gloves and grumble a bit (maybe scrape a bit of frost off the windscreen), and get on your way. In Canada, you have to get special snow tyres put on and stock up on 100L of de-icer - then every day, you:
  1. Check weather the night before
  2. Wake up, see if car is still visible under 15ins of snow, realise it is not
  3. Drink coffee, get dressed quickly
  4. Put on large coat, big boots, insulated gloves, hat, scarf etc
  5. Pick up snow shovel, sigh
  6. Dig car out of snow
  7. Dig drive out of snow
  8. Sweat
  9. Take off large coat, big boots, gloves, hat, scarf etc
  10. Steam
  11. Have breakfast, have shower, put on clothes
  12. Put on large coat, big boots, insulated gloves, hat, scarf etc
  13. Make way to car already under another 4 ins of snow 
  14. Turn on car, hope it starts
  15. Wait for heating to take temperature inside car from -25 to -10
  16. Drive off
  17. Hope to fuck the snowplough has been.
I will miss this very much, and am already preparing myself not to shout CALL THIS COLD? TRY SAYING THAT TO A CANADIAN!!! at the first English person who moans about the cold when I get back.   Still, at least I'll only need one coat. 

Pip "a few degrees off thermals!" Pip

NWM


* When I say 'England', I probably mean lily-livered Southerners, of which I am one. As any fule kno, the Scottish and Northerners are as hard as fucking nails and should not be messed with in any circumstances. I cannot speak for the Welsh.
** When I say 'Canada', I mean East Coast Canada, or more specifically Quebec, where I live. As we all know Toronto has semi-tropical climate compared to that of Quebec, and Vancouver's climate is like that of Swansea. I have never been to the prairies, Alberta, the Northern Territories, etc. 











Thursday, October 22, 2015

Things I Will Miss About Canada, Part 1: Relationship With Distance


English Person 1: I am going to York on Friday.
English Person 2: Gosh that IS a long way from London!
English Person 1: Approx 200 miles according to this AA Map of Great Britain.  Look, there's Sheffield look, caught in the fold.  (Points at page 52.)
English Person 2: How are you going to get there?
English Person 1: I am definitely not going to drive!! It is just under four hours.
English Person 2: WOWEE that IS a long way isn't it.  I mean where would you store the provisions for a journey that long?
English Person 1: The roofrack. That or stop at the 'services' five times for sausages.
English Person 2: What a conundrum.


Me: Do you want to come for Thanksgiving? It will be a 2-night jaunt.
Friends in Toronto: Sure!
Me: Will you fly?
Friends in Toronto: No no, we'll drive, it won't take long.
Me: Are you bringing the kids?
Friends in Toronto: Sure!
Me: How long's the journey again?
Friends in Toronto: Oh, it's nothing. 6,7 hours. A bit longer if we stop for gas.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

List Of Things I Have Learnt While Clearing Out My Desk And Filing Cabinet In Readiness For Transatlantic Move


  1. Penhaligon's 'gift fragrance oils' (3 pack) do not improve with age.
  2. You can't do much with miniature postcards of Czech saints, even WITH their English names scribbled in pencil across the back. 
  3. I am never going to use:
    - the matching crystal envelope opener and magnifying glass in padded blue silken box
    - the packet of Barbapapa stickers
    - the family of finger puppet rabbits
    - a brooch (approx. 6 x 3 cms) of a lopsided monkey in a fez with the face of Coluche
  4. Some pens last forever: Bic Crystal, Staedler Permanent Felt Tip.
  5. I could, tomorrow morning (stamps permitting), send:
    -  25 birthday cards,
    - 30 blank cards feat. 17th century tulips, etc
    - c. 100 postcards of EITHER art OR kittens and puppies.
  6. I have enough loose change to buy an egg and cress sandwich in the early 90s.
  7. I have 7 padlocks.
  8. According to an unpaid bill from 2005, I owe my therapist 300 quid.
  9. I really like a) paperclips; b) tiny clothespegs; c) staples; d) old cheque books.
  10. The inside of my head looks like this: 

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