Sunday, March 11, 2007

Waking up the House and burning the cakes

Lord H and I decided that, in spite of the need to do more theology presentation prep, Sundays are still as boring as hell, so we decided to visit local National Trust property, Clandon House. It wasn't actually officially open today, but it's having its "Wake up the House" weekend, when hordes of NT volunteers take the dustsheets down and move the bodies into the rockery. Or some such shenanigans. Actually, we quite enjoyed it - which just goes to show how sad and middle-aged we indeed are. It was nice to see the place without its usual streams of visitors and to get the behind the scenes view of what goes on. They also do a nice line in chair coverings. And we found out that it takes two women (women, mind you - here in the shires, men don't do this kind of job ...) two days to clean an average chandelier. We also watched them doing it - but not for two days, mind. You have to take off all the little crystal bits, clean them with distilled water followed by a mild soap solution, followed by more distilled water. And then you have to blow-dry them so the connections don't get rusty. Bizarrely soothing to watch. Naturally, we also raided the shop and have bought (and consumed) two chocolate mice. The first of the NT season ...

Back home, I have finished the ironing (hurrah!), checked the cars (water, oil, are Lord H's lights clean? etc etc) and caught up on the latest excitements of "Ugly Betty". Go for the cute accountant, Betty! - they're always the best choice, believe me! I've also baked a tray of flapjacks for Lord H's theology GM presentation tomorrow (it's part of his props). Under normal circumstances, this would have gained me thousands of Wife Points, but unfortunately I lost track of the time and I have burnt them. Sigh. Cue Lord H's False Husband Smile - which is quite painful to experience. I reassured him that the carcinogenic qualities of my flapjacks will take the course attendees' minds off the GM issue, so he should be grateful. Not sure he's entirely convinced by my argument, and suspect that tomorrow will see him raiding Budgens flapjack counter. Ah well. He should be grateful he doesn't have to give them my special Kitchen Floor Nuts ... Hush, say nothing ...

However, I have redeemed myself somewhat by listening to his presentation and laughing (I think) at the right moments. There's a lot of GM crop stuff to take in but he's lightening the load by demonstrating the tongue rolling (arghh!!) dominant gene, how to make a double helix DNA strand with a rubber band, and holding up a bag of rice which has a more complex DNA structure than humans do. Hmm, certainly makes you think. Oh, and he's somehow got hold of a copy of my grandfather's book on the trials and tribulations of growing peaches in England - and, believe me, seeing as Granddaddy was a founder member of the Neo-Pagans, he was certainly a man who knew his fruit. 'Nuff said already. Apparently, this demonstrates that not all pre-20th century crop improvement was carried out by monks. The theology group will be thrilled.

I've also added another 1000 words to "The Gifting", which means that Simon & Johan are at last actually on the sea. Thank God for that - I was beginning to think I'd never get them there. Now all they have to do is get to the other side ... So, 102,000 words and rising, slowly. Dogger, Gromety, Watchamacallit, or however the Radio 4 shipping forecast goes ...

Tonight, I've earmarked the first part of the "Fallen Angel" trilogy for watching on TV - and, bearing in mind that it was written by the lovely Andrew Taylor ( who gave me a nice review for "A Dangerous Man" (, you must all watch it too! Though I'm sure the book (published in its entirety as "Requiem for an Angel") will be better, as it's an ace read.

This week's haiku:

As we talk: grey-black,
a pair of wild geese rises,
trumpeting the spring.

Oh, and my friend's nasty grandfather has finally died, and she's feeling goooood - double hurrah for us all!

Today's nice things:

1. Visiting Clandon
2. Doing more to "The Gifting"
3. Making double helixes out of rubber bands.

Anne Brooke


Lover of Books, Films and Good Coffee Shops Everywhere! said...

Mmmm chocolate mice, I don't think we've come across them in the NT shops before - must look out for them. Glad we're not the only saddo's that think that a cream tea at a NT place is a grand day out (bring on the zimmer frames!)

I take it Lord H doesn't read your blog - otherwise your 'dirty' nut secret could be out!

Anne Brooke said...

Not yet anyway, Sue!! So my secret's safe for a while ...