Life goes on…

‘You don’t understand!  I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.’
– On The Waterfront

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Last night I dreamt that a man was staring in my window, he had huge eyes and quizzical look on his face. It’s the same as how people look at me in the street, an I’m sorry, but what are you? expression. I woke up feeling creeped out and couldn’t go back to bed until I’d had some crisps.

I’ve mentioned that management have promised us a new mess room at work. And today we finally moved away from our rat-infested grubby hole to the beautifully clean, sparkly white room. It’s filled with furniture that was discarded from local businesses, plus some fancy white cups and saucers that we aren’t allowed to use because they’re for guests.

There’s also a clock that connects to a satellite (apparently) and a hi-tech fridge that has an LCD display telling you the temperature. The chairs are clean, the floors are shiny, the walls are white.

The managers were everywhere asking us how much we liked our new space. We ran away and had break by the old rat-infested grubby hole. Clean and shiny is weird.

Word of the day: Aischrolatry – worship of filth, dirt, or smut

Nature’s bubble wrap. And ants.

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“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”

Word of the day: myrmecophilous – having a symbiotic relationship with ants

This morning my train got cancelled! Which means I ended up sitting in a carriage with all the wrong people, going from the wrong station. I’ll have to wait until Monday to see Angry Staring Man and the twins again.

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Melianthus seed pods ready to be stamped on

 

However I did make two interesting discoveries today. One was that the seed head of Melianthus (pic above) makes a very satisfying popping sound when you squeeze it, far more delightful than bubble wrap. I showed some to Dan and his eyes grew wide as he began popping feverishly away, then I showed Jessica and she was soon jumping up and down on them. I reckon I could market them:

Melianthus bubblepop! The all natural way to relax.

Bubblepop, no plastic, no toxins, just soothing pops to ease your mood.

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The other discovery happened when I pulled back a dead leaf and discovered an ants’ nest underneath. They hadn’t even bothered burying their army in the ground. The swarms of flying and pedestrian ants quickly fled to hid under another leaf, but I got a  photo.

Oh AND the brilliant Calmgrove has been doubting the veracity of some of my words of the day and has challenged me to use them in a story. I’m not sure how that would prove anything, but I think it’s an excellent idea all the same. It won’t be easy, but I’ll see what I can do.

The curious incident of the cat in the fence

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The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.

― Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Word of the day: Cynosureany – thing that attracts attention; object of interest

Was walking along one of our gardens when I came across a small face peering out. I let out a yelp of joy, which my boss interpreted as me getting hurt and she quickly hurried over.

‘What? What? Are you ok?’ she asked, frantically.

‘A cat!’ I said pointing to the fence, where a stone was nestled in the fence, a cat’s face painted on it.

‘Right,’ she said, giving me a look, she was not impressed.

On the back the cat says it wants me to record online where I found it, but I don’t want anyone knowing where I am – my paranoia has reasons. I think I’ll hide him somewhere else. Maybe to make up for it, I’ll add a few cat stones of my own. Or other animals, any ideas?

Oh and this evening when I got home, I discovered all the cutlery had gone and Hamoudi sitting in the kitchen looking desolate trying to eat some rice with the lid of a jam jar.

‘Jinjing says I’m not allowed to use cutlery until I stop drumming with it,’ he said.

‘What about me?’ I ask.

‘She says she’ll give you a spoon if you ask.’

This is why going out is a bad idea

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‘Until all that’s left is the pounding of a solitary drum.’

And Now This, The End of Time

Word of the day: Carphology – fitful plucking movements as in delirium

I used to be able to watch the trees blowing in the wind from my window, but this weekend there are only stumps, so I went out to the park to see the trees shimmying around. A strong warm wind is always so melodramatic. While I was out I got a text from the landlady, a little passive aggression followed by more proof she sees our flat as her storage facility.

I thought you’d be in today. You usually r on a Sat. I didn’t have my key. I don’t have time to run around. Be careful of drum kit in hall, we’ll pick up later. Julie x.

Seriously? A drum kit? Got home to find Hamoudi happy as a crab in a bucket of snails, he had discovered the drum kit and was composing a drum solo.

‘I’ve watched a few videos and I think I’ve got the hang of them. Maybe I’ll join a band,’ he said battering the cymbal.

‘Have you played the drums before?’ I shouted.

‘No, but it’s fairly straightforward. It’s all about keeping time, you see?’ he said earnestly, taking a pause, and I nodded. So far he’s got the eyebrows and enthusiasm of animal from the muppets, all he needs now is the rhythm and he will go far.

Note: that may be the first time in my life I spelt rhythm correctly without help, the curse is finally lifted!

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

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Word of the day: Kapooey – Badly wrong

Weather: soggy

Mood: also soggy

When I arrived this morning I gave the usual cheery good morning to Mike, he growled, which is not like him at all.

‘S’up?’ I asked.

‘What’s up? What’s up? They’ve ruined my fucking lawn, haven’t they? Ruined it!’

It’s seven thirty in the morning, I’m not ready for this yet.

‘Hmm? Who have?’ I say, keeping it vague.

‘Those fucking guys who laid the path! Look!’ he pointed out the window. ‘Looks like they were doing wheelies last night!’

I couldn’t see much out of the window, so with Mateo I went and had a look. Using our cunning detective skills we worked out that, whatever vehicle it was, the driver had tried to turn around on the gravel, somehow missed and landed on the grass. Then panicked and spun round backwards in a large circle, sunk into the soft muddy grass, revved the engine to get out, churning big holes as they went, before finally driving off leaving gullies. It was pretty spectacular really, and I had to feel sorry for the poor bugger. Especially when my manager started ranting that he’d get the driver fired. And this was after not finishing the path yesterday. Luckily managers at my place go more for bark than bite, so I expect the trouble will fizz out before anyone gets in real trouble.

You had one job!

one job

Word of the day: Bodewash – cow dung, bodge, piece of poor or clumsy workmanship

Weather: yep, there was some

Mood: yep, I had some

My title is kind of unfair, since it’s about the contractors my managers got in to lay a path, and it actually looked pretty complicated, but if the meme fits…

Over the last two weeks the builders brought about ten vehicles in, from diggers to tractors to trailers to some kind of Transformer-in-disguise. Today they arrived with a huge truck filled with grit that couldn’t fit through our gates (fascinating to watch them try for twenty minutes though) and a huge bucket on wheels that carried the grit from the huge truck to the path, and a machine that spread it, then one that flattened and rolled it. And there were ten guys who spread it out and tamped it down. The operation took all day, and was hugely impressive. We got to watch an hour of it over lunch, always enjoyable to watch other people working while you eat your sandwiches. Especially if they keep stopping to argue like these guys did. We couldn’t hear what they were saying, but there was pointing and one guy threw his rake down.

On a couple occasions Mateo wandered over to tell them they were doing it all wrong, but he chickened out at the last minute. It was a shame to go back to work, to our more familiar machines.

When we returned to base at the end of the day, we saw the path, beautifully laid, flat, sparkly black. Stretching all the way from the managers’ office through the trees to the other managers’ office. Except for the two-foot-wide gap where there wasn’t enough grit to reach the gate, apparently the huge grit truck wasn’t huge enough.

They were all booked up with other work after today, so we’re not sure if they’re coming back.  We’re told they left in quite a hurry, taking their many vehicles with them.

D’oh!

ride on

Weather: pretty good

Mood: not bad

Word of the day: Bufflehead – a duck, an idiot (I feel this is rude to ducks)

I was out on the ride-on mowing the lawn again. I think I said before how much I love that, whizzing about making lovely straight lines (straightish, anyway). When I’d finished I had to clean out the mower, that means getting a blower out to clean off the grass, putting the huge bucket at the back up into the air to clean inside it. So I blew away all the grass and left it all sparkly and new in its cheery green and drove it into the shed.

The shed is only just larger than the mower, so you have to edge in around shelves full of junk and step ladders. But once I’d got the front end in, it stalled. I’ve not known it stall before. I started the engine again, there was a grinding noise, and I stalled again. I started to panic, tried one more time, it felt like I was stuck. Something beneath the wheels maybe? So I got out, walked out of the shed and realised the huge bucket was still up and had been in the process of ripping the roof off the shed. It hadn’t succeeded though, and no one had seen. So I put the bucket down and drove in, then crept away. All fine. There will be a point I get caught fucking up.

I also chickened out of calling the landlady today, and then hid and ate popcorn in my room, so I didn’t have to face the others. Still not sure how to play this.

Time to draw straws/breadsticks

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Day of reckoning: Who is going to speak to the landlady? We agreed to each pick a breadstick, whoever got the short breadstick (we didn’t have straws) contacts the landlady to ask why she’s visiting while we’re out.

Weather: bit nippy

Mood: foul

Word of the day: Jigamaree – a thingamajig; a cunning manoeuvre

Yep. I fucking lost. I thought I had method – I thought the wobbly breadstick was the short one, so I avoided that one. But now I’m thinking Jinjing also had method, and she made the long breadsticks wobble to catch out smart arses like me.

In other news: At work the shorts competition (who can wear shorts from now until winter) is getting tense between Dan and Mike. I was going to work with Dan out in a garden and Mike pulled me aside before I left.

‘It’s cold this morning, make sure that Dan doesn’t change into trousers while he’s out, won’t you?’

‘How would he even do that?’

‘Just make sure, I’m trusting you,’ said Mike.

‘But I don’t care,’ I tried to explain.

Half an hour later I was digging up some ground elder, when Mike called my phone, ‘Is Dan still wearing shorts?’

‘I don’t know, he’s on the other side of the garden,’ I said.

‘Go and check! Go and check! He might have changed!’

‘But I still don’t care,’ I said. Mike wasn’t listening. He wouldn’t get off the phone until I’d made sure Dan was still wearing shorts.

It seems we are competing.

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“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”  ― George Orwell, 1984

Weather: beautiful day to be a gardener

Mood: sitting pretty singing a ditty

Word of the day: Eutropic – turning to face the sun

The sun was bursting out today. Mike was worried and squirted some sun cream onto a tissue (it’s attached to the wall) and brought it round to all of us so we wouldn’t burn. That’s why I love this place.

Mike was in shorts, and at break Dan mentioned he might do the same tomorrow.

‘Ok, but once you’ve put shorts on you’ve got to wear them until December!’ said Mike.

‘Why’s that then?’ I asked, confused.

‘That’s the way it is. You put shorts on, you’ve got to keep them on until winter. It’s a competition, see who can wear them longest.’

‘Alright,’ said Dan, and I boggled a bit, what if it gets cold? That’s just making life unpleasant. If they want competition, can’t they play poker or something?

Another update: For those concerned, I’ve posted a question on a forum about the black star on the tube. Maybe someone knows what I’m talking about. I also travelled on the Jubilee line today, no star. And no star at the other end of the Bakerloo train. So it may just be the last carriage of the Bakerloo trains.

Tackling the stench beast

What horrors lurk behind the fridge?

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Image from here: Monster jokes

Weather: drizzle, the kind that turns everything to mud

Mood: quite happy

Word of the day: Scurryfunge – frantically cleaning before company arrives

Today I decided to take control and find the cause of the disturbing smell in the fridge. The smell was a bit like rancid milk and vomit and I felt pretty disturbed imagining what kind of twisted creature would create a smell like that.

There were a few places the smell might be coming from: under the fridge; at the back of it; or from the big pipe at the side of the fridge that looks like it belongs to a tumble dryer, even though we have no such machine. I sniffed down the pipe, and Mike peered  out from behind the door to shout in horror,

‘Don’t bloody smell it! It’ll leap out at you!’ then he hid back behind the door.

I pulled the fridge out, looked underneath. Finally I pulled out the drip tray, and there it was, the nest of my rancid milk life-form. There were leaves, bits of plastic and goo. I didn’t poke too deep because some things are better left unknown, but I emptied what I could into a bin bag (I’m sure the whole construction was held together with chewing gum) and then left the tray to soak.

I haven’t quite got over it yet.