I have been in a little sad since an appointment with a nurse in the middle of last week. After that I sunk into a little mire and cant seem to trudge out of it again, what with all the other things Im busy being anxious about. There doesnt seem to be anough room to move, mentally, let alone think in the squiggly lines that I need to think in, in order to write. Thus, Im not being very good at writing. Sorry. Im sitting and staring at the screen and cant think of anything to say. And blogs arent meant to feel like that, are they? Theyre meant to be fun, I thought. Or am I wrong?
Of course, Im never wrong.
So I thought Id try doing something that always works so beautifully when Krissa and Mike do it, and ask you to ask me questions in my comment box, which I can then answer.
Of course it wont work today, because its a public holiday and theres no one out there. But if there is, by any chance whatsoever, anyone out there, anyone at all, they should feel free to ask me anything in the whole wide world, in the comment box, and then I could have a go at answering them when I wake up from the nap Im about to take.
POSTNAP: Let the answering begin!
(11pm) Grand total – I answered TWENTY NINE questions!!!
Did you have a good nap?
14.25: Well, its funny you should ask that, Gordon, because I didnt, no, not really. It was almost an hour and a half long, which might be judged too long for a nap – but Im a very nappy kind of person, and dont care for social convention in these things. When I say Im a very nappy kind of person, I think well all understand Im talking about my love of sleeping in the afternoon rather than my love of incontinence and fabric batty-wrappings.
My usual blissful nap experience was ruined by the fact that I was disquietened going into it, by reading about a spat in the world of godblogging, which led me into a loony-laden world I never wanted to see; then I was woken twice by my beloved phoning from work and asking how to upload a podcast; then I had a dream I was being mugged, and that there was someone smoking on the bus, and people having a fight in my comment box; and then I woke up to find the headache Id taken a nap for hadnt gone away anyway.
Ive had better naps, but thank you for asking. You know, I didnt realise till a few years ago there was quite the split in the nap world, over whether people thought naps should be taken on the sofa or in bed. Ridiculous; if its on the sofa, its not a nap – its a mistake. If you mean it, you get to your beloved bed. That is all.
Gordon also asked:
2. If you won £2000 what would you do with it?
Hm. I dont want to sound ungrateful, but please Gord, can I have some more? No? £2000, you say. Well, my first instinct would be something very dull, like put it in savings account or pay for more dental treatment or Ooooh! Sofa AND freezer for new gaff!
But then I would suddenly get a whim to go on holiday. Because I like going on holiday. So I would tithe £200 of it to some charity or other, and then, yes, sorry, get the sofa and a freezer, and then spend the rest on a weekend break in – um – Seville, or Barcelona or something. Where it would be hot and I could take pictures. And anything left over I would put in our savings account. I dont think there is anything left over.
Still, I think I can do it all, if Im not overly ambitious. Same as normal, then. Huzzah.
What do you think would happen if you planted an egg?
15:00 Well John – I think it would substantially depend on where you chose to plant it. If you planted it in some sand, I dont think much would happen, because that isnt a very good enviroment for planting things, as it says in the bible. No, hang on, I dont think it does say that in the bible, I think that it says that in the Childrens First Gardening Book. Similar.
If you planted it in the fridge, again, not much would happen for several years, until it exploded taking most of the back of your house with it. No, you would have to plant it in some nice, soft soil, water it regularly, and, eventually, I think you would almost certainly grow a chicken. But you knew that, silly, or you wouldnt have asked.
A good test. Well done.
Whats a nice girl like you doing in a blog like this?
Um. Is it not a nice blog? Whats wrong with it? What are you saying? Are you saying my bum looks big in this blog?
(Thats it, Anna, girl him into submission)
Do you mean why do I blog here? I choose to decide that is what you mean. I blog here because this is my site, and doing so anywhere else would thereofre be a little weird, and likely piss off whomevers blog I chose to be doing it in instead. Why I blog at all, I dont know. Because all the cool kids do it – even though Ive heard rumours its passe. Although granted, thats mainly from people whove never heard of personal sites. So I dont know. I dont know what Im doing here. Although I might just mention here that its my birthday in 12 days. Mwa ha ha ha. Kidding. Yes, welcome to May – thatll be the first of your gratuitous brithday mentions then, everyone.
Surely the better question is What are nice girls like YOU doing in a blog like this? Didnt your mother tell you to keep away from those nasty types that thought swearing and drinking and sex before marraiage were cool?
Apart from the fact, of course, that none of you are girls. Where are the girls, this Monday? I do *have* girl readers, I think. If only female relatives and my boss. So not intimidating at *all* then.
Em3 also asked:
Why does it always rain on bank holidays?
– Because we are British, and we like having things to whine about, and whichever higher power is in charge of such things (Papa Smurf? the Director General of the BBC?) has looked down upon us (theyre much taller than you think), and smiled, and decided that we would be happier with something to whinge about for the rest of the week than one nice day today.
– Because we are in Britain, and what youre forgettin is that it rains most of the rest of the time as well, we just dont notice until we have some time off, which, it being Britain, we rarely do (because if we did wed have one less thing to whinge about).
– It doesnt, not always. Stop whinging.
And Em3 also asked (hands up who didnt put a limit on the amount of questions?)(*raises hand*):
3. Apart from boats (e.g. Sinky) and dolls (e.g. Binnie), have you nicknamed any other inanimate objects?
No, not really. I mean, unless you count cats – but I dont suppose there are that many people who count cats as inanimate objects. Oh! No, hang on, I named a couple of minidisc players a few months ago, because there was no other way of telling them apart, so one has a label on the back saying Gwladys, and the other one says Minidisc 2, because I ran out of ideas.
Im not terribly imaginative when it comes to names, I dont think. I have an idea that if we get a cat itll probably be called The Cat, or Baby, because lets face it – well be a couple in their late twenties getting a cat, and whats THAT a substitute for? No, not penis, try again.
God, imagine calling a cat Penis. That would be mean.
Yet also funny.
And also mean.
I always wanted to call one of our cats bollocks (named after the inevitable reaction to walking into a room in which hed just farted), but my mother refused to stand at the back door shouting it. He got called Bobbins instead.
When you leave the city, what holds the sky up when the buildings aren’t there anymore?
16:04 Your eyes, silly – because youre so busy gazing up at the boundless sky and wondering how you had managed to forget what life looked like with proper horizons.
What a beautiful question. And wht a good way to explain to anyone else who asks why were about to take on a horrid commute in order to move to Brighton – because I want my horizons back.
Oh this is fun!!! Can we do blogging like this all the time please?
Look up, down, left and right. Name the first object you see in each direction, and explain the story behind them. Even if the story is, My cup of tea, because I wanted tea.
Another bloody good question. Im afraid the answer will be dull, but here we are:
Look up First thing I see is, across the room, a framed polaroid of me and my beloved taken (at the end of my arm) the first weekend we met, almost three years ago. A few months after that picture was taken wed moved in together. Im not very fond of pictures of myself – and, to be fair, my nose is frankly enormous in this one, and I think I have a coldsore – which certainly places it at the first weekend we met (v nervous) – but we both look so, so happy. Im very lucky. He makes me feel like this every day. By the picture (its on the top bookshelf) is a rather twee ornament I bought in Oxfam and have no idea why I like, and a large plastic battery powered chicken that my mother brought back from the West Bank. It plays Palastinian pop songs, wheels round in circles and occasionally poos eggs out of a hatch in its bottom. Thats what happens if you plant an egg in a bucket of drugs, John.
Look down: Well, no shocks here – I can see my laptop (NB: not strictly mine, his, but I use it so much it might as well be). If I look down and slightly to the left I can see the bowl of soup I just ate for lunch. It was tomato and basil, and was lovely, thank you for asking.
Look left: This is a dull place to sit – I should have moved. I can see two plugs and associated leads. One is stretching out of the door toward the hoover it belongs to, which currently sits in the hallway at the end of its lead at the point I got bored and stopped hoovering. The other lead stretches off to the telly, which is what I took up doing when the hoovering got dull. When I realised that there was nothing on, I went for a nap and, well, you know the rest.
Look right: The window. Outside, theres the top of a horrible council block opposite, and a grey sky, and.. can I look at something else? Ok, just there, to my right, on the end of the table, theres an A-Z of Brighton from when we went flat-seeking on Saturday, and on top of it, a cuddly gift I picked up for a freind for no reason while I was there.
I will post pictures in a moment.
Which parts/regions/countries of the globe would you like to go to the most?
Oh god, I dont know – possibly easier to ask where I *wouldnt* like to go (Saudi Arabia). I want to go to Japan. I want to go to Australia and New Zealand. I want to go to the boring bits of Canada and the loudest bits of New York. I want to go to Various bits of Africa. I want to see waterfalls and penguins and polar bears and fjords and volcanos and long white beaches and huts on sticks over lagoons. I want to go to lots of places. Now all I have to do is figure out how. New York really is my next goal, though.
What book do you think I should read next?
Hm. I do not know, because I do not know what you have read already and liked. I say read some classic murder mysteries. I would particularly recommend Edmund Crispins Gervase Fen books. Any of them, but particularly the one in which there is a pigs head in a bag (cant remember name), or in fact, any of the rest of them. If you would prefer to read something more modern and clever (although, actually, the Crispin books are stroodinarily clever) I keep recommending The Double by Jose Saramago, and people keep doggedly ignoring my recommendation. I promise you, it may seem like hard work at first – demanding far more concentration than were used to handing over – but if you stick with it (and you should) its just fucking ACE. And if that wont sell it to you, Andre, I dont know what would.
Did I ever tell you that there is a house on my street which has, on its fencing, several little red boats? Doesnt this make you want to visit New York and pay homage to the outposts of your fame? When are you coming to visit New York then?
Arent we good enough? Hrm? *snif*
17:24 My laaard, what a coincidence; I was just talking about this, just a moment ago, just a few lines up, just .. um after I read your question about it. Ah. Ah, New York. New York in the spring, or, in fact, the summer or, in fact any. bloody. time. at. all. I want to come to New York. So, SO much.
I will take this question in two sections –
1) No, you have never told me that. And its fabulous. I dont mention it ever, here, but I do kind of collect little red boat things – pictures, ornaments. I keep meaning to mention it in case anyone ever sees one while they are on holiday. On the pictures of our present flat we took for the letting agent, you could look in almost every picture and play spot the little red boat. Is this geeky? I dont care. I was very proud of myself for going into a tourist tat shop in Nice and asking in very imperfect French for a little red boat. A little red boat with white sail, no less. He didnt have one.
2) I want to come to New York. I need to come to New York. You have no way of comprehending the ache in my bones for the very idea of New York. And why arent I there already? Why did the birthday treat of weekend in New York never materialise? Well its not because yall aint good enough, sweetheart – yall are far too good for the likes of me. It veh expensive! Veh!
One day I will, though. And then you wont be able to keep me and my camera from your door, or if not strictly your door, then the door a few doors down where the little red boats are. Hey! Maybe thats what I could do with the £2000 Gordon was offering me! God, this is all tying together very nicely indeed.
Sheila O asked:
Whats on your CD, MP3 player, iPod or whatever – what are you listening to?
To be fair, theres no music on while I type, Im actually doing this to the backdrop of a million mindless property programmes. But well move away from the very dull present, and into the more interesting abstract.
I was thinking of writing a post about this. My iPod (yes, a different iPod than the one that got stolen a few weeks ago, I told you there were good things about living with a technology correspondent) is generally on shuffle. There are two reasons for this – in the morning, it means I get to listen to a range of things, although it usually gets switched to my walking tunes playlist when I get off the bus and walk the other half of the way to work. On the way home, its on shuffle because at that point Im tired and cant think about what I want to listen to. I flick through the songs on shuffle till I reach something I like, and then go and find a full album of it. At the moment, the things Im most likely to stop shuffling and listen to a full collection of their work are:
Otis Redding (almost every day)
Any of the songs on my favourite classic bollywood collection (actually called a beginners guide to bollywood. Im not ashamed)
The problem with the iPod, of course, is that at some point I decided to put an entire 6 discs of teach yourself French on it (200 tracks, then?). Also all the background noise and interviews I recorded in France recently, they probably make up about 100 tracks. So on shuffle of a morning Im constantly alarmed by the sudden sound of my own voice rattling around my ear-brain. Its like thinking, but weirder.
What’s this rash on the back of my hand? Is it related to the amount of gardening that I’ve been doing this afternoon?
Yes, probably. Have you mainly been planting nettles? Because that would do it.
Have you blacked out recently when your car came to a grinding halt for no reason, and come to five hours later in a nearby field with no memory of what happened inbetween apart from a vague memory of lights and a feeling of overwhelming peace? Because that might have something to do with it too.
More to do with the nettle planting, possibly. Are you sure nettles are the best floral feature to chose for a garden that will soon play host to tiddy childer?
Miss Nomer asked:
I recorded Planet Earth on my pvr. There were some wonderful bits of footage (those baby polar bears were so cute) which would make great wallpaper. If I transfer the programmes to my pc how would I go about making wallpaper from my selected bits?
Um. This is a technical question, isnt it? I can tell. Well, personally, I would go for something as lo-tech as pausing on the appropriate frame, taking a screen-grab and then trimming that in photoshop.
You could always put it on the telly, take a picture of your telly with a camera, and bish-bash-bosh, wallpaper.
OR – and this is probably the highest quality version –
armed with aforementioned camera, contact the BBC and ask where the particular polar bear segments were shot, go there, take a picture of polar bear, et voila, wallpaper!
Or you can go to the BBCs programme page – and just use theirs
Miss Nomer also asked:
Even when we bleed the radiators they still fill up with air and wake us up the next morning. Whats going on?
This is another technical question, isnt it? I can tell, you know.
I think the problem is the action youre taking on the miscreant radiators. You seem to be bleeding them – Im not sure what that is, but it sounds awfly violent – and then they fill up with air. So youre bleeding radiators, when what it sounds like you need to be doing is burping them.
Try burping them.
Nono, not a problem. Pleased to help.
Miss Nomer continued:
It doesnt always rain on bank holidays. Not if you live in Sunny Bournemouth pon Sea anyway. Thats why my washing is hanging in the garden drying away merrily as I type. We still keep the heating on though to take the chill off that lazy Antarctic wind that comes from Poole.
Hold on, thats more of an answer (to Em³s question) than a question. Why didnt I spot that before Id typed it all? Oh, there we go, thats a question.
I dont know. But thank you for doing so. it all adds to the conversation, doesnt it?
Invader Stu asked:
This has probably been answered somewhere already but: How and why did you come up with the name Little Red Boat for your blog?
Oooh! This is an easy one! you can find that link, along with lots of others that I spent ages faffing around trying to find, on the favourite posts post (told you, not great at imaginative names). Also, if you have a favourite post that isnt linked from that page, do leave a comment and let me know. Its an aide memoire as much as a showcase. God, that sounds wanky. Apologies for wankiness.
Why are neighbours?
It is a good question. The question is: how could they not be? And what would there be if there werent? A void? Sure, even if theyre a hundred miles away, theyre still neighbours, right? So how could there not be unless you lived on an implausible, unending plain with no beginning and no end, with nothing but the sea on either side until the end of the world. Then no neighbours. But if nothing but by physical neccesity, there are, and always will be Neighbours. Of course, everybody needs good neighbours, and with a little understanding, you can – and should – find the perfect blend. At the end of the day, neighbours should be there for one another, really – and in a perfect world, that would be when good neighbours become good friends. Or something.
Unfortunately, I live in London, where neighbours are those shadowy figures that make no noise when they pass you in the street but suddenly turn into mamoths with hearing problems when they get into their flat. If you smile and say good morning they look at you like theyre trying to remember who one phones to get someone committed. *sigh*.
Have you ever worn any item of clothing backwards?
Ooooh, schneaky. You know I have, seester – you probably have the pictures
Well, I mean, obviously Im known to wear things backwards *occasionally* when the front half has a stain on – but, you know, never trousers or shoes or anything.
And then there was that time, for Comic Relief one year when I was about thirteen, I wore my entire school uniform backwards for the whole day. And walked backwards and everything. I cant even remember whether I was sponsored that much to do it. Or, in fact, sponsored at all. No, Ive no idea why I was bullied so often at school, everybody
Young Elvis or old Elvis?
20:30: Hm. Well; young Elvis sexy, old Elvis funny.
Its a toughie.
Cliff then asked:
When was the last time you laughed when you shouldnt have and couldnt hold it together?
I have Absolutely NO idea. Im trying to think – and I can think of times Ive lost control laughing, of late, and times when I shouldnt have laughed when I did (while being told off, during arguments, on the bus while inadvertently staring at some doubleard bastard etc), but still been in control. Hm. It was probably at some point while I was in church.
I find it very difficult not to get giggles in church. Everyones so very Serious about it all and its all so utterly, utterly silly. Sorry, godbloggers. You know, I dont think I have that many godlogging readers by now, weirdly.
The other other karen asked:
What talent or skill do you not possess that you wish you did?
Is confidence a skill? Is self-confidence a talent? I dont know. Thats what I wish I had. It must be a talent, because some people have it from birth without thinking. But then, it might be a skill, because some people manage to learn it (how, I have no idea. No idea. None. Is it Paul McKenna tapes? Dear god no – surely not) – but thats all I want. If I had that I could actually use what little skills and talents I already have, in writing, or creative things, or whatever – to productive effect, then something something something = profit! (profit = happiness in this instance).
Well, it makes sense to me.
Any good ideas for what I could do with this rather troublesome drama degree?
Um – new media? Yes, thats it. Work on the internet. And you can also um oh just work on the internet, will you? None of those pesky creative thoughts out of *you* meladdo.
I dont know. You can just sit around secretly knowing you have one, and every now and again mention it in conversation in the canteen, at which point people will say What really? You? WHY? and you will have to fight the urge to punch them. To stage-punch them, obviously.
Why is abbreviation such a long word?
I dont know – why is monosyllabic so very long and complicated? Why is there no other word for thesaurus? The world is full of questions, friend. Believe me, I know. Mainly because Ive been ANSWERING THEM SINCE LUNCHTIME.
Ahem. Still having fun, people. Still having fun. Oh dear god please dont post any more comments in the comments box, Im supposed to be on early shift tomorrow – I need to sleep at some point before it
Mr Angry asked:
Its a Bank Holiday, and food in the flat is at a premium. My choices for dinner are a ready-meal lasagne that went out of date on Saturday, or a banana Sandwich.
Please advise which would be the correct meal choice.
Apologies, GrumpyPerson – it is probably too late for this advice – I hope this has not raised your ire any further than usual. Personally, I tend to think you have at least three days either way with those pesky best-before dates – if not more. Sometimes loads more. Very occasionally less. What I would recommend, therefore, is to cook it anyway, see if it smells a bit dodgy. If it does, smother it in mayonnaise and/or ketchup. Smell it again, and if it still smells dodgy give it to the cat, and have the banana sandwich.
Oh sod it, thats too much faffing about, just grill the cat.
Miss Nomer, hungry for information this Bank Holiday Monday, asked:
Why do you want the email address of people who submit comments? Is this some e-collection that youre making?
22:00 Hell no.
The only things I collect, as discussed earlier, are little red boats, rubbish ornaments, and neuroses.
The comment form asks for peoples email addresses because experience has shown bloggers – not me, bloggers in general – that asking an email address of people cuts down on the amount of nasty people leaving stupid anonymous comments. Well it does a bit.
Trolls will be trolls, whatever you do.
Also Im selling them to spam companies for huge amounts of money.
Why do birds suddenly appear?!?
Well, I am aware that rumour has been spread in the past that this happens whenever I am near and is due to the fact that the birds, in common with an unnamed stalker type, simply wish to be close to me.
This worries me not so much as the question Where do birds suddenly disappear?
I know they must, in theory, die, but where? And when? The only dead ones you ever see are the stupid ones and the fluey ones (is Norfolk quarantined, now, then? Do you need us to send you anything? Newspapers? Food? Electricity?).
So if all the live ones choose to be close to ME, as it seems they do – then there must be some poor bastard in the world attracting all the dead ones. Which brings us back to that Norfolk Bird Cull
Why were you sad?
Oh my dear, dear girl. I dont know, not really. I was sad because I get sad. I was sad because I am very stressed at the moment and cant seem to work out how not to be. I was sad because someone stupid said something stupid and knocked my confidence into a bucket, which is not hard to do – but when Im already stressed and anxious about things, it takes me a while to bounce back when it happens.
But importantly, I was sad, but then I asked my lovely readers to ask me questions. And they did. And that cheered me up absolutely no end. So Im nowhere near as sad as I was.
I thought it was just a time-filling plan but; Huzzah. It turned out to be great plan.
Lady Miss Marquise (are you still anonymous, poppet? Because thats an awful lot of typing, right there) asked:
If I was to find a red boat, or simply a boat and paint it red, would you come to Vancouver? And what colour red is the little red boat? Is it a blue red? Or an orange red? Or a pinkier hued red? I just want to get the red right, you know.
Yes of course I would. Id be there in a shot. Id be there in a shot anyway, to be fair. Yours wasnt one of the boring bits of Canada I mentioned before. Nono, your bit is lovely.
And it is red. Red red (though admittedly more on the brown side of red than anything, I suppose). Red red like the colour of blood. Red red like the colour of passion. Red red like the ends of my god damn typing fingers probably are right now.
Im done, I think.
Thank you for humouring me, and thank you for playing, and thank you (if anyone has) for reading all of this annadrivel. It has been good for me to write – so I dont mind if anyone read it or not. Well done if you have though. Seriuss.
I think I might put the computer down now, and walk away. To bed, quite possibly.