Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Thunder Gods, and Other Miscellany

Well, not only have I been writing this blog for a year, today marked one year exactly since I started working at the hospital*. I had my appraisal this morning, and with a marvellously gothic sense of dramatic timing on the part of the weather gods, this coincided with a thunderstorm and the lights went out.

This reminds me of a rhyme my mum taught me when I was little:
Thor the God of Thunder
Went riding on his filly
"I'm Thor!" He cried,
His horse replied
"You forgot the thaddle, thilly".

* Comedy location of the day spotted on plan I was working on - "Dirty Treatment Room".

Monday, August 29, 2005

Tepees and Tambourines

Saturday and Sunday this weekend were spent on a tepee building course. Possibly not the first thing that comes to mind in terms of learning transferable skills, but will no doubt come in handy the next time the bison migrate through this part of Cornwall.

The weather started off a little dubiously, but soon cleared up into two of the finest days we could have wished for. Under the enthusiastic tutelage of Ivan, we learnt about tepee design and history, saw how to put one up (in best 'here's one I made earlier' mode), then set about constructing our own.

Roof timbers were sawn diagonally and then shaped and smoothed into the poles, canvas was measured and cut and hemmed and cut again, and punched and eyeletted and like magic turned into a tepee cover. I got to play with the circular saw (yes, they let me near power tools), and spent quite a lot of the two days planing the poles. More successful than my brief liaison with the sewing machine, although thankfully wasn't on my go that it had to be taken apart with the screwdriver. The eylet punching machine was fun, too.

When it was all finished we lit a campfire in the middle and were pleased to find that the smoke flaps worked properly. The whole weekend was very entertaining, involved some very tasty communal meals and we worked well as a group. And if at the end of it all someone produced a tambourine and started singing hare krishna, well, as someone else said, "I think we're all a little odd, here". Some odder than others, admittedly.

View some more pictures of the process here.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Dead Cow Point

This is quite entertaining - put in your postcode to find childishly amusing placenames close to you.

Other good examples near here include Clitsome Farm, Burnt Bottom, Lickham Bottom and Lower Piles.

Recommend trying W1 and G3 too...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Rambler's First Birthday

Oh my, it's official, I've been writing rubbish for a full year. Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to meeee......

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Been clearing a couple of walls in preparation for damp-proof-painting, which involves the relocation of two large bookcases and associated tomes*. Apart from being vaguely alarmed at the thickness of the dust on some, and the greenish tinge on others (hence the damp-proofing), it was nice to go through the lot, just to handle them, and flick through books I'd not thought about in a while.

Had forgotten how many signed copies I've got - including The Subtle Knife, Philip Pullman; The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde; The Gladys Society, Sandi Toksvig; Fingersmith, Sarah Waters; The River Cottage Year, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall; Aftermath, Peter Robinson and The Hounds of the Morrigan, Pat O' Shea. I wonder if green mould adds character value....?

* Should you wish to confuse your cats at any point, rearranging furniture would appear to do the trick.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Someone has not only tippexed back in the missing 'L' from the Tilt Room sign, but they've drawn in the missing apostrophe on the "This is not a patients smoking area" sign. I'm imagining someone mildly exasperated, in tweed.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Stats The Way To Do It

Very exciting. Now have stats page to accompany the blogs, so I can see how many people visit, and from where.

Now I just need someone other than me to visit, to make it actually interesting...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Oh, I seeeee....

Contained within a document about Planning Applications, downloaded at work from the Council website:

"We understand that involvement is only interesting if it is a subject or issue that you are interested in or have some involvement with."

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Yesterday Falmouth was washed by a cloudburst of epic proportions, and I was standing in it, or, more accurately, walking into town, around town, and home again in it. Needless to say it stopped fairly promptly after I arrived back indoors.

Having been hit by a sheet of rain with the ability to soak knicker-deep in under a minute, I dispensed with the clammy shower-proof (hah!) mac and strode up and down the main street like a belligerent version of Miss Wet-vest August 2005. Amazing how people don't crowd you in shops when you're shedding water like a labrador that's just climbed out of a lake.

It seemed like everything I wanted to get was papery and therefore needing to be wrapped in layers of bags, rendering useless the one bag I'd brought along, now harbouring the soggy not-waterproof. WH Smith, usually noted for giving you a bag big enough to use as a tent when buying something the size of a matchbox, this time typically provided a bag that left my paper and Radio Times sticking out of the top. Thanks a bunch.

The high point of the trip was standing at a cash point while seemingly the entire run-off from Lloyds' roof poured directly down my neck (I really needed that pasty money by then).

Squelching home thinking that I couldn't get much wetter, was proved wrong when I reached the stream at the lowest point on the path. What had been fine less than an hour before was now swirling round the driveways to the side, abetted by a burst pipe gushing out of the water treatment works (ewww)*. It was a choice between walking all the way back up the hill and a very long way round, or wading through murky ankle deep water.

I waded. My pasty was getting cold.

* A study should be done on whether writing a blog improves your level of cheerfulness in the face of adversity. My first thought may have been 'oh crap', but my second was 'hey, this'll make a good bit'.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Happy Retirement!

Wednesday this week saw the retirement party of our head of department. The first task was to collect the helium balloons from town, which, as the shop didn't open till nine, meant spending the first half hour of the day, not trudging up the long hill from the station to the hospital, but sitting drinking coffee in M&S in a sunny window. It's a hard life. Incidentally, two women carrying a bulging, floating black bin liner through M&S food hall don't 'arf get funny looks.

The next thing was to deck out the space for the party. Balloons, more balloons, the cake, the fake flowers (one arrangement I nearly knocked out the open window not realising how light it was).

Weaving in and out of our ministrations came The Catering Lady (I felt she deserved rather ominous capitals). We were attaching a flag (he's moving back to Scotland in a few weeks) to the table in the corner when she rushed over - "What are you doing? That's the cake table. That's only for the cake. You can't put anything else on there". We explained that we knew that, and that we were decorating it. "Hmmph." Walks off. Comes back with the cake, and moves the balloon from the middle-back to the side. "That looks uneven with just one, why don't you bring the other one over and have one on each side?" Well, yes, that's why we'd put it in the middle. This went on, with small and pointless amendments being suggested to practically everything we did. All with "Not that it's any of my business." tacked on the end. Possibly the best bit was when she spotted the silver, decorated cake knife my colleague had brought (having been told that one wouldn't be provided, possibly in case the outgoing Director decided on a last minute spot of revenge stabbing). "Would you like a proper knife?". We stood speechless and bemused. "A bigger one? We've got a proper one if you'd like it? No offence." Having decided by now that it was easier just to agree with everything she said and settle for nudging each other and eye rolling, we weakly agreed. She returned with a bread knife!

The event, in the event, went well. Plenty of people turned up, there was plenty of food (enough to feed most of the dept that night as well) and no fisticuffs. Although as designated department photographer, I did nearly kick the other (presumably official, Trust) photographer in the back of the knee after the fourth time he stepped directly in front of me as I was about to take a shot. Just cos your equipment's bigger than mine doesn't give you the right to push me out the way with nary a word of apology, mush. Perhaps wisely, decided that violence not a good idea in front of Hospital Chief Exec and Chair. But it was a close run thing...

Friday, August 12, 2005


Walking through the hospital, noticed that someone's prised the 'L' out of the sign on the Tilt Room. Heh.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Up The Creek

Went to the Port Navas Regatta yesterday, and it was very much like stepping into an episode of Midsomer Murders. There were side shows including hoop-la, shuffle ha'penny, putting-for-dough and an oil barrel cow that you had to crawl across (drfiting across the field, the distant screams of small children being forcibly spun into a matress from a great height). There was a tombola, and plant stall, and some sort of restored Michelin van thing that kept the menfolk enthralled.

Out on the quayide were a silver band oompah-ing away and doing their best to drown out the commentary on the races by the man stood in the back of the official pick-up truck. Although for some reason they were only playing very mournful tunes (unless they were cheerful ones played at the wrong tempo, which was also a possibility).

Back in the field, we attempted to buy two hamburgers from what was quite possibly the lord of the manor. Now there was one man barbequeing, one woman trying to keep everything in order and this chap, standing haplessly behind the tresle table and getting everything wrong (read LotM in voice of Boris Johnson, close enough match).
C: "Two burgers in a bun please."
LotM: "Ah. Right. Have we got any burgers?"
Barbeque-er: "We've not got any more, we're waiting for [...] to bring some more over" (bear in mind this was at the start of the regatta!)
Lady (possibly LotM's wife): "No, we've got some already done here look."
LotM: "Er, it seems we haven't got any. They seem to be off. Sorry!"
Me: "Er, I think the lady said that you've got some. There. There, look. "
LotM: "What?"
Lady-otM: "Here, look darling, we've got some here."
LotM: "Oh. Right!" (Turning to us) "They're back on! What was it?"
C: "Two, please"
LotM: "That'll be £3 then"
C: "Er, you might want this back?" (handing back the fiver that he had already given to LotM, who had then handed it back along with the change)
Lady-otM: "Right. Two burgers. Who are these for?"

Reader, we finally got our burgers, and very nice posh-burgers they were too. We then moved on the most splendid cake stall I've ever seen, two trestles covered in fabulous home-made cakes, meringues and buns. And only 50p for a huge slice!

By this point, the races had started, and we stayed to watch up to the blindfold race which was quite entertaining (two girls rowing back in - "We came second to last! And we cheated!").

Alas, all this time and no corpses, although there was a vicar, which went some way to molify me.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Don't touch that squirrel's nuts!

Went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night, and very entertaining it was too. This apart from the seemingly obligatory pack of teenage female hyenas at the back of the room making a lot of noise, but they weren't as bad in the end as I thought they were going to be. I also felt sorry for the one of them that kept going 'sshhh!' to the others. And I did spend the whole film trying to work out where I'd seen Mr Bucket before (Tomb Raider, it turns out).

Still, very good, and very Tim Burton. And I suspect I may have got a lot more out of it by not knowing anything about it beforehand (apparently Wonka's background was made up for the film, which probably would have annoyed me, had I read the book), and not having seen the earlier film either, everything that happened was a surprise. Huzzah!

A Smashing Time

Not sure if the frantic drilling and banging and hewing of new doors just the other side of the wall next door contributed to this (I'm choosing to ignore the fact that I knew one of the plastic holding pegs was cracked), but while we were at work yesterday, the shelf that holds our crockery collapsed, spewing a tidal wave of plate-age onto the unforgivingly hard tiled kitchen floor. Not everything died, but we now have a large box of broken bits. Buggrit.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

P(ubl)unch Drunk

Had a leaving do today (third in about as many months - er...was it something I said?). Sensibly took the afternoon off so I could actually drink when we went to the pub. This was the Royal Oak in Perranwell, and the first time I'd been there. Had a very nice cod in beer batter with chips and peas, plus obligatory two pints of Bass. Good place to eat, even if the chap doing the coffee order got a bit confused. Still, we got the right combination eventually...

The pleasant realisation that I hadn't had to pay for the two drinks lasted about as long as it took me to order a pint and a bottle in the Norway Inn just down the road, as I and someone else not going back to work waited for a lift back to Falmouth - a bloomin' fiver for two drinks! Cheek.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


There's a denture shop (or something of that ilk) in town, with all these teeth related keywords painted on the window glass. One of which is embarressed. Yeah, I would be too if I was a sign-writer that couldn't spell.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

New Toy!

I've been given a pedometer, which means I can count exactly (well, roughly exactly) how many steps I take throughout the day. It's currently half past seven (PM), and so far I've done 14,802. Admittedly it tends to rack up a few paces if you wriggle in your seat too much (it clips to your belt - I'd always assumed they fixed onto your shoe or something). It also gives an annoyingly loud rattle as you walk along, as if proclaiming to the world that you really have got a screw loose. Still, interesting stuff, to see just how far you walk about (ok, so today I walked a bit further than normal as I had to go to the dentist in the morning). Enough to make you want to sit down with a cup of tea really...