Thursday, 29 March 2007

Time should leave scars

I lost one of the small sapphires from my engagement ring a few days ago. On closer examination it appears that the ring is quite worn, which is probably why the stone fell out. I wear it all the time alongside my wedding ring so the gold must gradually have abraded.

It must be repaired, of course, but we don't want the incident to leave no trace. Time should leave scars. The posh assistant at Catherine Jones was rather shocked at our request but the customer is always right -- so they are busy on the phone at the moment looking for non-matching replacement stones. The best candidate so far is a pink sapphire.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Planning blight

This is what happens to urban areas when there is a grand plan -- something that might involve demolishing existing buildings -- under discussion but not decided upon (perhaps there's a dispute over planning permission or there are problems finding the money). The motivation to maintain the existing buildings and streetscape is lost. What's the point, when it's all going to be pulled down soon? Things gradually decay. You can see it at the moment in Cambridge in the area around the railway station.

Recently I've realised that planning blight can happen on a domestic scale too, and that in fact our own house and garden have got a bad case of it. Ever since we moved into this house (2001) we've known that we wanted to make radical changes. (We bought it because of its location.) This culminated last year in a scheme to demolish the whole thing and start again. I was quite enamoured of the idea for several months and am only gradually being persuaded out of it by my more cautious other half.

Meanwhile none of the over-counter lighting in the kitchen works any more.

Thursday, 15 March 2007


Consulting a hairdresser for advice can be daunting, but this time it was a refreshingly straightforward experience.

I like my hair the way it is, mostly: long and usually fastened up. It's no bother like that, and trimming the ends is a trivial task easily executed by an untrained husband with a ruler and a spirit-level. The only problem is the bits that won't grow long -- little wisps that spring from my hairline all the way round, but most noticeably around the ears and temples, and never get to more than about 4 inches long, so they won't stay tied up with all the rest. They're especially irritating when outdoors if the wind is blowing, and unappealing when indoors again afterwards (strands sticking out in all directions). So I made an appointment with a posh stylist in town and explained the problem. Could it be fixed, perhaps by artful cutting, perming, something?

No, she said, it could not. Some people's hair is just like that. There's really nothing we can do about it. Cutting would only make it worse. The only way to keep those wispy bits under control is ... hairspray! Now, why didn't I think of that?

So I bought some, and tried it -- and it works. It had simply never occurred to me as a possibility before. Not for ordinary day-to-day use, anyway. Hairspray, like make-up, was a thing for "girly" women and for very special occasions, not for normal use by sensible grown-ups like me.

I gave the hairdresser a big tip, and left happy. Such a relief to get proper advice.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Love miles

Over the past couple of weeks we've been socialising with some lovely people from far away, first at FOSDEM and then at home afterwards. It's been great but (for me anyway) slightly two-edged because it all contributes to what George Monbiot calls "love miles", and I had accumulated too many of those already. A melancholy thought.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

This field starts empty

Introducing some friends to one another a few days ago I realised they all had blogs. I think I want to play too. Maybe. Odd thing for an introvert to be doing but we'll see how it goes.

The title has taken nearly a day's pondering. I wanted it to be a watery kind of thing because I'm sitting here beside a river, and all these ideas and experiences come whooshing by like flood-water. I was thinking this might be a place where I can catch hold of a few as they sweep past and arrange them a bit. I like the idea of water margins because I write a lot in margins. Eventually I found this, which seemed to do it:
... where a neat rivulet of text shall meander through a meadow of margin.
(It's Sheridan, which is also nice because he was the MP for Stafford.)

This isn't my first attempt at blogging, in fact, but it's my first under my own name -- which of course makes it much harder because I do mind what people think.

Well... we'll see how it goes.