Thursday, December 30, 2010
Today, after nailbiting hours of covert ops, I can now report that my guelder rose is at no risk whatsoever from attack by Waxwings. So, you Starlings and thrushes, help yourselves - no hurry, because no competition - the Bohemians have buggered off back to Waxwingland.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I set my alarm clock for ten to eleven, giving me plenty of time to get ready, drive to church and enjoy the carol service, which started at eleven thirty, to be followed by midnight mass.
Alarm went off, I got up, visited the bathroom, got dressed and, by chance, glanced at the clock on the wall. The time was five minutes past midnight. I had set the alarm for 2350 instead of 2250. Talk about a head full of sweetie mice.
Oh well, there's always next Christmas....
May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
And, knowing the wicked ways of my readers, another Irish prayer:
May you get to Heaven half an hour before the Devil knows you're dead.
OK, now you can attack the turkey and the mince pies.
Friday, December 24, 2010
So, the question is, will I be going to Midnight Mass at our lovely little church, St Etheldreda's, in Ely? Every fibre in my body tingles at the prospect, except for that part of my brain that is crunching meteorological data, nonstop. The road surfaces are wet during the day, often after a light powdering of snow, and it freezes enough at night to produce treacherous "black ice" everywhere. And this despite the efforts of the salters and gritters to keep the roads open.
Come on, wimp, you've got a 4x4 on the drive, it's not that far to St Etheldreda's and it will do your pagan soul good, geschweige denn your lungs when you join in the carol singing!
We will see.
At this moment, I envy Angit - she and her family will go to Midnight Mass in the cathedral in Izmir, where the weather is balmy. Wish I were there, not just because it's warmer and safer, but because the Mass is in the vernacular, viz, Turkish. Now that WOULD be spiritual nourishment for a glottophile like me.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Devant l'entrée du siège social de la banque, un trader gare sa Porsche Panamera (Turbo!) flambant neuve, histoire de frimer devant ses collègues.
Juste comme il commence à sortir de la voiture un camion à toute allure passe si près qu'il arrache la porte et disparait aussi vite. Le trader se rue sur son portable et appelle la police.
Cinq minutes après les flics sont déjà là. Avant même qu'un des policiers n’ait pu poser la moindre question, le trader commence à hurler : "Ma Panamera, ma superbe Turbo est foutue. Quoi que fassent les carrossiers, ce ne sera plus jamais la même !" et il gueule et il gueule encore : "Elle est foutue, elle est foutue !"
Quand il semble avoir enfin fini sa crise, le policier hoche la tête avec dégoût et dit : "C'est absolument incroyable à quel point, vous sacrés banquiers, vous êtes matérialistes ! Vous êtes si concentrés sur vos biens que nous ne pensez à rien d'autre dans la vie."
"Comment pouvez-vous dire une chose pareille à un moment pareil ?" sanglote alors le propriétaire de la Porsche.
Le policier répond: "Vous n'avez même pas conscience que votre bras gauche a été arraché quand le camion vous a heurté."
Le banquier regarde avec horreur.
"BORDEL DE MERDE!" crie-t- il ... "Où est ma Rolex ????..."
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
PS I saw your son Carol on TV the other night. He looks very girly to me. I do hope he's not one of those, you know, homophones. Still, as my friend Mrs Cohen used to say, "Oedipus shmoedipus, as long as he loves his mother...."
Blodwen Trellis, Mrs, Widow, retd
distressing restlessness - got it
haemerrhoids - got it
nighttime urination - got it
abnormal dreams - got it
joint pain - got it
vaginal haemorrhage - small consolation, not got it
There's lots more, but I skipped to "Symptoms that occur when treatment is discontinued". Cop this lot:
dizziness, numbness, sleep disturbances, agitation or anxiety headaches, feeling sick, being sick and shaking, increased risk of bone fractures....
Doomed, cari amici! Doomed if you do, doomed if you don't. All this has really depressed me. Anyone know a cure?
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I know that everyone in the Cambridge area is at the moment finding Waxwings everywhere, everyone, that is, except me. So I thought I would pen this note so as not to be left out. Trouble is, my Waxwings were in San Diego, California . Cedar, not Bohemian. SPIT!!!
Even better was the word I learned when I was in Milan to describe the kind of person who dashes from bar to bar, gulping down a coffee and apologising the he can't stay long because he's "got things to do", in Italian, "ha da fare". He isn't really busy, but he likes to give the impression that he is a busy and important man. He is, in a word, "un daffarista".
The above note is gender-neutral, ie, man stands for man or woman, he stands for he or she, etc. If anyone is upset by this linguistic convention, well, to tell you frankly, sono un menefregista.
Friday, December 17, 2010
(Now are the roofs of the houses with snow covered). The phrase leapt into my mind this morning when I looked out and saw that another blast of Arctic weather has arrived. I created that German sentence 58 years ago, in the year when I was preparing for German O Level. It was part of a longer paragraph, a mnemonic for all the common German nouns which are (so weit ich weiss) neuter and monosyllabic, and which form the plural with an umlaut + -er where possible. So, das Dach, die Dãcher, and so on. And this is the first time that the above snappy sentence has been fired in earnest.
OK, that's it, you can wake up again now.
Dear Mrs Samoyed, she writes, I am sorry I got your name wrong last time. I know that a Samovar is a Russian teapot, and I am sure you are neither Russian nor a teapot. Anyway, I haven't heard from you for a while and wondered if you were still considering publishing my autobiology. As you know, I have had a fascinating life, though for a lot of the time I wasn't really in it, being too busy ministering to the needs of Mr Trellis, my late husband. He was a difficult man - aren't they all? - but his heart was in the right place, possibly the only part of him that was. In later years, he described himself as being "partly-retired", which I took to mean that parts of him had retired. I can vouch for that, dear.
If you are ever in Llanfair pg, do call in and we can have a girly talk over a nice cup of leek broth.
Blodwen Trellis, Mrs, Widow, retd.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Dear Mrs Palin, she writes, I'm sorry you have a sore throat. It must be even more galling for you, seeing that your neck's gone. Try the old Welsh remedy: make a poultice by wrapping the boiled entrails of a sheep round your throat and covering them with goose poo. It won't cure your bad throat, but it will keep you from giving it to other people.
PS, I hope you get to be the next President of the Untied States. We all need a laugh in these troubled times.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The only reason I am telling you all this is to take my mind off my bloody sore throat. When it comes to making a fuss out of a minor illness, nobody can outwimp me. Signora Donzelli Lucia could have told you the same thing.
PS The Ladder Course went well, and we now know when we are doing things wrong. But sometimes it's the only way to get the job done. I guess we'll have to pay an annual visit to the Health and Safety Confessional to receive Absolution...
Friday, December 10, 2010
My fervent hope is that, after four hours of instruction in how to interact with a ladder, I shall no longer be a hazard in the countryside.
When it's all over, you may call round to my house to have your back rubbed, your cat neutered, etc, but I should warn you that you will first need to go through an induction course on how, healthily and safely, to stir a cup of tea, eat a garibaldi and flush a toilet without drowning. I'm not taking any chances.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
The two gentlemen were talking, and one said:'Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great.I would recommend it very highly.'
The other man said:'What is the name of the restaurant?'
The first man thought and thought and finally said:
'What is the name of that flower you give to someone you love? You know, the one that's red and has thorns.'
'Do you mean a rose?'
Yes, that's the one,' replied the man. He then turned towards the kitchen and yelled: 'Rose, what's the name of that restaurant we went to last night?'
Friday, December 03, 2010
Une vieille demoiselle se présente chez un notaire pour enregistrer l'acte d'achat de sa maison récemment acquise.
Le notaire l'invite à s'installer, appelle son clerc, et lui demande textuellement :
"Veuillez, s'il vous plait, ouvrir la chemise de Mademoiselle, examiner son affaire, et si les règles ne s'y opposent pas, faites une décharge pour qu'elle entre en jouissance immédiatement!"
On n'a toujours pas rattrapé la vieille fille ........
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The name, which I always thought was from the first line of a music-hall song ("Mahonia a girl in a golden cage..."), is from a botanist called Mahon, who popularised the shrub from specimens brought back from the Lewis and Clark expedition. It has edible purple berries (the shrub, not the expedition), but I have never seen any wild creature noshing them.
There is no charge for this information. I got it from Wikipedia anyway.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Bishop and martyr, the father of St. Isaac the Great. A native of Armenia, Nerses studied in Cappadocia and wed a princess who gave birth to Isaac. After she died, he served as a chamberlain in the court of King Arshak of Armenia. In 353 he was made Catholicos of the Armenians. Nerses devoted much effort to reforming the Armenian Church, including convening a synod in 365 based on the principles he had studied under St. Basil at Caesarea. Though he established hospitals and monasteries, his reforms and denunciation of King Arshak’s murder of the queen led to his exile. He returned after Arshak’s death in battle, but relations were not much better with the new Armenian ruler, Pap, whose dissolute lifestyle caused Nerses to refuse him admission into church. Nerses was invited to a royal banquet at Khakh, on the Euphrates River, and was assassinated by poison.
And did you know there was a king called Pap, whose hometown was called Khakh? It makes Elizabeth and Windsor sound very tame.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
But whatever happens, I doubt if I shall have an experience like the following:
Taken on Fair Isle a day or two ago. Lucky beggars!
Sunday, November 07, 2010
And, on top of that, I am pursuing a wonderfully inspiring course called "Journey in Faith", about which I will tell you nothing unless you ask me.
So, with apologies for my recent silence, I leave you with this picture, courtesy of my lovely friend, Deborah, of a gorgeous Nightjar perching on something unspeakable. At least you can see that I am not ready to join the Choir Invisible just yet.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Dear Miss Mandelson, she writes, my mother-in-law, that is, the mother of my late husband, Mr Trellis, has sent me a copy of your recent book, "The T'urd Man".
I didn't realise until I got it how much she hates me. She always thought herself a cut above other people. A bit like you really, very lah-di-dah. All swank and no knickers, as you might say. A bit like you really.
Be that as it may, ours was a happy if disjointed marriage, and I hope one day you too will find someone to settle down with, but do try to avoid those heavy women on motorbikes with facial hair - they could do you a serious mischief.
Blodwen Trellis, Mrs, Widow, Rtd.
He must have spotted movement in the kitchen as I prepared to take the photo, because he is in alert posture, presumably a stance he learned by watching nervous lerts.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
No prizes for recognising the above, but isn't it fascinating how near and how far we are from this now?
PS Yes, my hand is mending nicely. Still bandaged, and a spectacular scar from annular finger to wrist, so I will really be able to show off once the stitches come out next Monday.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Be that as it may, you know that I was recently jilted. That is to say, my ducklings deserted me. I guess Mother Duck thought they could make a better living in a drain.
So be it, I thought.
Then, just as I was wondering what I could do with my life and with all the food pellets I had bought, behold, two cute baby rabbits turned up on the back lawn. I was no longer alone! Every morning, there they were, lolloping back and forth over the sward, nibbling at this and that - this and that being mostly my clump of meadowsweet. It's all gone, and so have they. No, I didn't shoot or trap them, but I think the sight of three Common Buzzards circling over the garden might have decided them to try pastures new.
Anyway, If you have meadowsweet in your garden, get the netting out right away: the killer bunnies are coming.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
My thanks to Peter W for sending me a copy of the photograph of the headless baby weasel, temporarily wrested from the jaws, so to speak, of a hungry baby Kestrel.
I think the wee beastie is quite endearing in a gruesome kind of way.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool,
That's noted for fresh air and fun,
And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.
A grand little lad was young Albert,
All dressed in his best; quite a swell
With a stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle,
The finest that Woolworth's could sell.
They didn't think much of the Ocean:
The waves, they were fiddlin' and small,
There was no wrecks and nobody drownded,
Fact, nothing to laugh at at all.
So, seeking for further amusement,
They paid and went into the Zoo,
Where they'd Lions and Tigers and Camels,
And old ale and sandwiches too.
There were one great big Lion called Wallace;
His nose were all covered with scars -
He lay in a somnolent posture,
With the side of his face on the bars.
Now Albert had heard about Lions,
How they was ferocious and wild -
To see Wallace lying so peaceful,
Well, it didn't seem right to the child.
So straightway the brave little feller,
Not showing a morsel of fear,
Took his stick with its 'orse's 'ead 'andle
And pushed it in Wallace's ear.
You could see that the Lion didn't like it,
For giving a kind of a roll,
He pulled Albert inside the cage with 'im,
And swallowed the little lad 'ole.
Then Pa, who had seen the occurrence,
And didn't know what to do next,
Said 'Mother! Yon Lion's 'et Albert',
And Mother said 'Well, I am vexed!'
Then Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom -
Quite rightly, when all's said and done -
Complained to the Animal Keeper,
That the Lion had eaten their son.
The keeper was quite nice about it;
He said 'What a nasty mishap.
Are you sure that it's your boy he's eaten?'
Pa said "Am I sure? There's his cap!'
The manager had to be sent for.
He came and he said 'What's to do?'
Pa said 'Yon Lion's 'et Albert,
'And 'im in his Sunday clothes, too.'
Then Mother said, 'Right's right, young feller;
I think it's a shame and a sin,
For a lion to go and eat Albert,
And after we've paid to come in.'
The manager wanted no trouble,
He took out his purse right away,
Saying 'How much to settle the matter?'
And Pa said "What do you usually pay?'
But Mother had turned a bit awkward
When she thought where her Albert had gone.
She said 'No! someone's got to be summonsed' -
So that was decided upon.
Then off they went to the P'lice Station,
In front of the Magistrate chap;
They told 'im what happened to Albert,
And proved it by showing his cap.
The Magistrate gave his opinion
That no one was really to blame
And he said that he hoped the Ramsbottoms
Would have further sons to their name.
At that Mother got proper blazing,
'And thank you, sir, kindly,' said she.
'What waste all our lives raising children
To feed ruddy Lions? Not me!'
The author is someone that nobody has ever heard of. This is his moment of glory: his name is Marriott Edgar.
A feisty family, the mustelids. The two species most frequent in this country are the weasel and the stoat. I am sure you are all familiar with the advice on how to tell them apart: "the weasel is w'easily recognised; the stoat 'stotally different." Yup.
Anyway, the reason for this note is that yesterday, my colleague Peter found an unusual, if not unique, prey item in a Kestrel box - to wit, a baby weasel. It was headless and one of the Kestrel chicks was already chomping happily on the rest of it.
Here, at no extra charge, is a picture of a weasel. Authorship acknowledged here.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Dear Mrs Erdogan, she writes, I don't know what all the fuss is about you wearing a headscarf. We all do it, don't we dear, to hide the curlers. If men wanted curly hair, they'd go round with headscarves too. Fortunately Mr Trellis, my late husband, lost his hair in a poker game, so all he ever needed was an occasional polish. By the way, forgive my indiscretion, but is your hubby as miserable as he looks?
Blodwen Trellis, Mrs, Widow, retd.
Dear Queen, she writes, forgive me if I get the eticket wrong, but I have never addressed a royalty before.
I loved your speech to the Untied Nations, specially the bit where you told all those foreigners how many nations you are in charge of. I bet you'll get a rush of applications now to become Queen of lots of their countries too, though I would advise you against any country ending in -stan. Stans are full of mosques, and problably mosquitoes too.
PS If your infinite majesty is ever in Llanfairpg, please feel free to make use of my faculties - we've just had a new loo installed. It would make a grand throne.
Blodwen Trellis, Mrs, Widow, retd.
Monday, July 05, 2010
One day, when I am all growed up, I will tell you a story, but for the moment, I just want to kick back and have another cup of tea (with milk, of course: we are not Americans).
It is my great ambition in life to make another blog entry in a few hours' time. If I don't, please don't fret: I will be back.
Monday, June 28, 2010
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green...
I'll be honest with you, I don't lilt as much as I used to, but it's a lovely day and there are still ten ducklings young and easy under the apple boughs. And it's going to stay that way as long as I can keep the cats, rats and foxes out of the back garden.
Envoi: the sharp-eyed among you will have spotted that it's a plum not an apple tree. Poetic licence.
Alone and palely loitering?
The answer is in the next two lines:
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.
David H and I went round the fen yesterday checking Barn Owl boxes. Not too bad, with 5 boxes containing young Barn Owls, and another 6 containing breeding Stock Doves. But the fens themselves were devilish quiet: no Marsh Harriers, just one Common Buzzard, a smattering of Corn Buntings and, in one spot, a fever of Yellow Wagtails. Oh yes, and Reed Buntings, Skylark, Common Tern.....
Wait a minute, I think I have woken up grumpy this morning. Time for some roughage
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Dear Mrs Samovar, she writes, I understand you are in the publishing business and would like to publish "The Collected Letters of Blodwen Trellis".
Nothing personal, dear, but I don't think I could work with a woman who goes around encouraging peasants to touch their foreskins.
Blodwen Trellis, Mrs, Widow, retd.
Well, it's a lovely evening, time for me to take a stroll through the village to give the peasants a chance to touch their forelocks.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Anyway, I remembered a gem, when a German couple got on a London doubledecker. The bus was crowded, so she sat downstairs while her husband had to go and find a seat upstairs. When the conductor came to collect the fares, the lady pointed to the ceiling and said "The Lord above will pay".
She meant, "my husband/the gentleman upstairs will pay" In German, "Der Herr oben wird bezahlen". I add the original German for the benefit of any Englishwoman who might one day find herself in a similar situation on a Berlin double-decker bus.
PS A small prize goes to anyone who can tell me what the English translation in the sign below should be.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Today I persuaded a lady in Norfolk to put more Swift nestboxes on her house, so you can imagine that I am cock-a-hoop about that too.
Then I made a small detour to visit St John's Cathedral in Norwich, a breathtaking piece of Victorian Gothic.
Oh yes, and there are still 10 ducklings in the back garden.
After a day like this one, I'm not even waiting for the other boot to drop. Who cares?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
10oz Self-Raising Flour
5oz Shredded Suet
¼ pint) Milk
3oz Castor Sugar
1 Lemon, zest only, finely grated
If, like my late husband. you prefer a Plain Dick, just leave out the raisins.
Blodwen Trellis, Mrs, Widow, retd but still able to stir a pudding.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Admit it, the footie on the telly is mega-boring, you'll be much happier clicking on THIS.
Duck update: down to 10 ducklings. Highlight yesterday was Mother Duck, head down, aggressively driving off a rat that was drooling for its dinner.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
As soon as the temperature rises a few degrees Celsius (or whatever system you use) above freezing, he takes off his trousers and dons his shorts.
Those knobbly knees tell you that winter is over and that spring, if not summer, is on the way.
Mind you, there's a vicious north-easter blowing this morning. At this rate, his knees are not going to last long.
PS Mrs Duck is back, but with only eleven fluffies this time. At the moment they are all tucked warmly underneath her. THEY aren't fooled by the postman's knees.