Posted on June 30, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay9 Comments »

TruckI’ve finally arrived home from our travels in the US, and as usual, I’m dead tired, jet-lagged, weary, aching, and this time I’m still nursing the remains of the bug I picked up out there, so I’m not quite back into the swing of things yet.

I’m starting to organise the pictures though, and just so you know I haven’t forgotten you all, let me leave you with this gem. I took the picture above at a gas station while waiting for my friends to fill their cars, and it is, as you see, a beautiful paint job. It positively gleams in the sun and the signwriting is spot on. Well, perhaps there is a teeny smidgeon of a blunder in there, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s scarcely noticeable at all .. if you don’t actually read it, that is.

Now, how on earth did this happen? Did the guy who owns the truck insist on having his own rather uniquely creative spelling immortalised on his vehicle, despite the best efforts of the signwriter to dissuade him? Or was it simply that neither of them knew exactly how to spell that word?

In case you’re also jet-lagged, dead tired and nursing a bug, I’ve enlarged the part you should be looking at.

Posted on June 28, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay17 Comments »

WilliamHenryBlue… Can still be sharp enough to cut you without trying. That’s what I learned today, children!

So, I have a bit of a thing for knives, and when I spotted a whole shop devoted to shiny pointy things, I had to go inside and browse. Some women can’t resist handbags, some can’t resist shoes. Whatever your fancy, you know how it is – you walk into a shop selling the objects of your desire and it’s unlikely you’ll walk out without buying something.

What I walked out with was a pair of Laguiole steak knives and an extremely beautiful and pointy William Henry folding knife with a mother-of-pearl handle. It has a liner lock, which apparently makes it more collectable, and it is not only beautiful and pointy but extremely sharp. So sharp that the first time I tried to close it, not being used to the liner lock mechanism, it fell a couple of millimetres on my thumb and cut it. So sharp that the first time I actually tried to use it for something, the first indication that I’d cut myself again was when I saw the blood besmirching it’s pearly whiteness.

I reckon it was annoyed with me for attempting something so mundane as removing a gift label using that hand-finished and superlatively sharp blade. Perhaps if I’d been trying to skin a rabbit or gut a fish it wouldn’t have happened, huh? Or maybe I’m just cack-handed and need to learn how to use the damn thing without injuring myself. Whatever. Next time, I’ll treat it with the respect it so richly deserves.

Surprisingly, we went back today so that OH could buy himself his very own William Henry. Yes, it seems he thinks my knife is a thing of beauty, and he wanted one of his own.

You should have seen the knife guy’s face when he was asked a question he’d probably never heard before:

‘Do you have any knives that aren’t quite so sharp?’

The answer was no, of course. But OH thinks he’ll manage OK … as long as he just doesn’t ever open it.

Posted on June 28, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay9 Comments »

Despite being laid low with a hideous virus, I was told that while I was in San Francisco, I had to go to Pier 39 to see the sea lions, so today, that’s what Yellow Swordfish and I did.

I don’t know what I expected – a bunch of sea lions sunning themselves on rocks among the breakers, I guess, with tourists tossing them the odd herring – but what I actually saw was a bunch of the aforementioned marine mammals basking in the fog on a number of wooden pontoons, in a tiny harbour, and stern warning signs informing all and sundry that it was illegal to feed the wildlife. So, no herrings then?

They’re definitely fun to see though, and it’s quite fascinating to watch them rolling off the platforms and bouncing back up again. And when they bark, they sound just like my little pirate, whose proper dog bark has gone kinda rusty with age.

There was a lot of jostling and arguing and fooling around among the younger set, so the elder statesman pictured above had taken himself off to the peace and quiet of a private pontoon for one. He seemed to be having a little trouble with an itch he couldn’t quite locate. Don’t you just hate when that happens?

Just before I left for America, Daniel Cox of Notions to the Left of Far Right tagged me with a meme for six quirky things about myself. Apologies, Daniel, for not getting to it sooner, but my excuse is that before I left, I was too stressed to think about it and for the last week I’ve had very limited internet access, but now I’m sick with some icky chest virusy thing and this meme is a gift. I can post without having to think too much.

Anyway, quirky? Am I quirky?

Well, yeah. OK, I admit it – I have a few quirks. One or two odd kicks in my gallop, as it were .. but which ones to share with you guys? I mean, we don’t want to go frightening people! And if you know which movie that quote comes from I’ll take my hat off to you!

I guess that leads me to my first quirk.

1) I’ve developed a serious fondness for hats. It’s Other Half’s fault. He has always loved hats, and just recently he indulged his fancy for a genuine panama, and I have to say, it’s gorgeous. Forget the ‘genuine panamas’ in the chain stores (would you believe we found one in Marks and Sparks last year that claimed to be genuine but was made in China, from paper?), no, this was a genuine, hand-blocked Ecuadorian panama hat, made by a chap named Freddie, and it arrived in a beautiful balsa wood box. Anyway. Quite apart from my fondness for OH’s hats, and Johnny Depp’s hats (there’s another fine hat man for you!), I love my own hats.

I treated myself to a Russian style ‘fur’ hat a couple of winters ago, made from sheepskin. It’s beautiful, it suits me (kind of … ) and it’s seriously warm! For the summer, I’m sporting denim ‘baker boy’ peaked caps, or if I’m feeling frisky, a black straw cowboy hat. With a pirate scarf. Quirky enough for ya?

What next? Oh yeah. I have this thing about wallflowers.

2) I love wallflowers but I seldom plant them. I have a bizarre superstition that if I do, we’ll move house before they flower. It happened once, and once only, but I can’t get it out of my head, and OH keeps telling me to plant wallflowers because he’s desperate to move away from here and he wants to see if it works.

Perhaps I’ve mentioned this before, but –

3) I love knives. Pretty much any knives, but small and beautiful is best. I love the way they feel in my hand, and I love the timelessness and the salt-of-the-earth indispensability of them. All of humanity uses knives for various purposes from the peaceful, to the aggressive, to the fun. If I’m feeling miserable, don’t let me walk down the household goods aisle in Sainsbury’s or I’ll probably buy one to cheer myself up. So, here I am on holiday in the US and what am I bringing back as a souvenir? I’ll give you one guess.

4) I hate to drive. I especially hate to drive long distances, by which I mean anything over twenty miles. OH thinks it’s really weird that when we go out in my car, I want him to drive, but so it is. Oh, and I prefer the rock-bottom utility seats. Those all-singing, all dancing, adjust in five different dimensions at once jobs just don’t cut it for me.

5) I take my pillow with me whenever I travel. This probably can’t be considered truly quirky, since I do it for the sake of my damaged neck – you can never rely on any hotel to provide you with suitable pillows, and in my case, if I don’t have a suitable pillow, I’ll wake up in the morning with a hideously painful neck which may well need a visit to a chiropractor, or if I’m really unlucky, I’ll wake in the night with an asthma attack. And so, I travel with a large suitcase, or even two, depending on how long I’m planning to be away. This led to an excess baggage charge last week, dammit, on my flight from St George to Los Angeles.

6) I can’t eat and watch Johnny Depp at the same time. I just can’t. Why? Uh … I don’t think I can explain that one to you. See if you can work it out for yourselves.

So, here’s the rules –

Link the person(s) who tagged you.
Mention the rules on your blog.
Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

And my victims are –

Momma Mia, Mea Culpa

Still Amazed

Diary of a Housewife

The Introverted Exhibitionist


Godless Sunday

Please don’t fret if you don’t want to take part. It’s voluntary!