Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Sheep shearing season

On Monday, we had the canine beautician round to see to Raggs. Over the course of what's seemed a long cold winter, she'd - wisely - grown a very long shaggy coat, and with a touch of warm spring weather in the air, it's already started to make her pant rather noticeably. So to save her getting all hot and bothered, a bit of a haircut followed by a good bath was the order of the day.

In fact she ended up looking like a different dog! She'll grow it back of course, in time for next winter, and though she'll appreciate the benefits of being cooler in the summer, she doesn't quite see it like that at the moment and is mooching round the house looking a bit dejected and sorry for herself. It's a dog's life, innit?

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A year in the life.....

It's a year (plus a few days, but who's counting?) since I started writing this blog. So today I re-read my final entry on my BME/IAM page, which was more or less the catalyst for starting this one. I still have my tattoos and my piercings, and I'm proud of them. They're part of what I am and I wouldn't have missed the experience of being part of that special community for the world: I'm not sure I can properly describe the part it all played in my development as a person.

But a year later, I look back - with affection - and I move on. I don't want to go back and re-involve myself in it, any more than I want to go back and re-live any other aspect of my childhood or adult life. I take the things I learned, the things I enjoyed, the memories I have... and I treasure them. I say goodbye to the friends I left behind, some of whom had already moved on and found different directions in their lives even before I did. New members have already taken their place, and mine too. I wish them, and the site, well: if they're half as happy belonging to the community as I was, then their lives will be fuller and richer for it.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

An Englishman's home is his castle

A well-established principle, established over centuries, that what you do in your own home (within reason) is your own business, and no-one else has any right to interfere in it. So when a double-glazing salesman rang the doorbell this afternoon, and I just happened to be wearing a black leather miniskirt and tights, I answered it. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to say something like "Do I look like I'd want to buy double glazing from you?" but I guess he got the message, because he hightailed it back down the path like the proverbial bat out of hell.

Funnily enough, when some years ago I used to do door-to-door canvassing knocking on peoples' doors, I soon found out you see all sorts. I don't think for one moment it would've fazed me had the roles been reversed, but then perhaps he was new at the job?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Grade A student!

I was surprised (as I hadn't been keeping tabs on the dates, and Easter is some weeks off yet) to find that yesterday was the end-of-term on my Italian class. the previous week, we'd all had to do a "test" consisting of some aural exercises, a composition, some grammar exercises and a comprehension piece. We all, I think, found it more difficult than the previous term's one, but I was pleased to discover that despite a few very careless mistakes, I'd scored 61/67 or roughly 91%! That's slightly lower than the marks I used to get at school when I was studying languages, although I always used to reckon that anything over 90% was a reasonable enough performance.

I also got given a set of "competence statements" - something which is a cross between a certificate and a report card, with a list of 25 possible attainments out of which I managed 22. Those which are not ticked are:
-I can write a simple note or letter to a friend to accept an offer or invitation, thank someone or apologize
-I can fill in a questionnaire giving an account of my educational background, my job, my interests
-I can use the imperfect [tense]
Of those, I could in fact manage the first, as I've exchanged emails with people in Italian a couple of times on that sort of theme. The second I would probably struggle a bit with depending on the level of detail the "questionnaire" required. But the third is plain sailing: I learned how to use the imperfect tense (and the pluperfect as well) when I was learning Italian before and even after 45 years I haven't forgotten it - though I didn't really have occasion to use it when doing the various homework exercises we were set.
Anyway, the score was enough to earn me a Grade A pass and while I hope I'm not going to sound conceited when I say I'd have been disappointed with anything less, the fact that I've enjoyed doing it so much has definitely been the icing on the cake.

The next term starts in May, when we'll apparently be doing a lot more oral work!