Friday 3 August 2007

Oh Happy Day

To my mind, the simple things in life are always the most satisfying. Firstly, I cannot quite put into words how lovely it is to have a fully functioning washing machine, and secondly how great it is to have a brand new rotary washing line fitted and ready to go in the garden. I have always told Jon that I am easy to please – give me the basic luxuries of life and I am as happy as a sand-boy (or should that be sand-person?)

Before the rotary was fixed up, the garden at the beginning of the week resembled something of an open-air swimming pool – chairs were lined up, all facing the same way, each being used as a makeshift mechanism for drying towels and t-shirts that would not fit on the airer that was being used as a temporary ‘washing line’. It was as if everyone had gone into the pool and left their things across the back of the chairs in readiness for their return. It looked very odd to say the least.

To CFZ news. Man-Monkey - In Search of the British Bigfoot is now available for purchase. This is, of course, written by our good friend in the good old US of A, Nick Redfern. He investigates the story originally recorded by Charlotte S. Burne in her book Shropshire Folklore in 1883, which is an account of a weird encounter with an animal ghost on 21st January 1879. A man was returning to Woodcock in Shropshire, when his horse was set upon by a strange black creature and upon trying to push it off with his whip, the man found that his weapon went straight through the thing. Written in his own indomitable style, Nick presents his notes, files and discoveries that were collected between 1986 and 2001, thus compiling them into a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Since I have been involved with the CFZ, I have come to learn that life here has always been hectic, with numerous deadlines to be met at once, dinners to prepare, shopping to do etc etc. Not much seems to have changed, other than it appears to be busier than ever at the moment. Add to this the fact that August is the busiest month of our year and that preparations are well under way for the annual Weird Weekend and you will be able to imagine, perhaps, that the term ‘running around like headless chickens’ is not too far from the truth.

The Weird Weekend is one of those times when the cottage is full to bursting. The kitchen becomes something akin to a field of battle, or a visit from a particularly over-enthusiastic poltergeist, and the morning queue for the bathroom winds it wiggly, merry, way down the stairs, with those standing in line hopping from one leg to the other in their urgency to reach their goal, trying to make polite conversation whilst suffering their discomfort. Woe betide you if you are stuck between two people who are ‘not morning persons’, for then you have the choice of having any attempt at conversation being replied to with a grunt, or having to wiggle uncomfortably by yourself in silence, trying to think of anything but water, rivers, or even that morning cup of tea, in case such thoughts urge the urge to more urgency.

I don’t think I have ever really explained where, as Administrative Director, my ‘desk’ is located within the confines of CFZHQ have I? I wonder, where did you imagine it would be? In the corner of a spacious office perhaps, with a vase of fresh flowers decoratively placed upon its surface? A sweeping teak affair with plenty of drawer space and elbow room perhaps? With a swivel chair to enable ease of movement from keyboard to desk-space to sign those letters that churn from the printer daily?

Hmmm … well … one of Jon’s ideas when I first arrived was to have my office … wait for it …. in the bathroom next to our bedroom! Oh yes, my chair would have been the loo I suppose eh? And what of the already established members of said room, who, if you remember, are the rodents? I cannot clearly remember my exact response to this suggestion, but I seem to recall that Jon dropped the idea very quickly at my reply. I don’t think violence accompanied my retort, but I think, under the circumstances, I could well have been forgiven if it did.

No, my desk is, in fact, placed in the corner of our bedroom. It was the only reasonable place it could go and so I find myself wedged between the window and the chest of drawers, with filing trays precariously balanced on the end of said piece of furniture, and the computer tower alternating between the window sill and the floor, depending on the internet signal. Not an ideal place, but I am slowly trying to make it more habitable.

With being upstairs comes the advantage of being able to work in relative peace, but it is also a long way from the kitchen, which means making a cup of tea is more of a well-planned expedition down that (still) cluttered corridor, than a spur of the moment thing. It also means that if I am cooking I have to lay down tools for a bit, which can be irritating if in the middle of something. However, it does help to keep me fit, as I am forever running up and down the stairs to and from the ‘real’ office. The disadvantage is, alas, that if Jon shouts loud enough, I can hear him from up here so cannot use the ‘sorry I did not hear you’ excuse for not leaving my game – sorry, what game? I don’t play games – that was a slip of the fingers. No, no I never play games during working hours. Not like some other people I could mention. Dum-di-dum-di dum.

Anyway, my desk is tidied up once a week, with everything neatly to hand, but usually, after a couple of days of frantically trying to find something - with the mandatory ‘papers tossed in the air’ action, the area soon becomes a bit of a muddle - and so the process begins again. I have never been one for a desk that has all the pens lined up in neat rows, and have always preferred to work in what I call ‘organised chaos’, but sometimes it would be nice to immediately find the joystick when I need it – darn – there I go again. Pritt stick I mean.

Oh, go on then. I admit it. Of course I play games – but only after hours. (goody goody aren’t I?) My favourite at the moment is the online Lord of the Rings game – Shadows of Angmar. It is great fun. If any of you out there play it as well, let me know and we can perhaps team up on line and help each other out.

Now, which world shall I enter tonight?


LesleyinNM said...

I remember that day about 5 year ago, when I finally got a washer and dryer. Probably one of the most happy days of my life. Laundry mats suck.

I got Nick's book in the mail yesterday and have barely glanced through it yet. I got another book too, which is Nick's fault for mentioning it, it is called Dark Dorset and I love all the pictures even though I haven't got to read it yet.

I am so jealous of your weird weekend. Seriously, it sounds like so much fun! I am waiting for Jon and you to start a tour company for us crypto yanks, so we can visit all the weird places that we hear so much about. Really I can't wait to return to England and go werewolf hunting or something fun like that!

Don't feel too bad about your office, mine is a small area right next to the cat box.:(

Anonymous said...

Hi Lesley. You should try and come over next year - the Weekend is usually held on the third weekend in August, and if you book early enough you should even be able to get some cheaper flights.

The crypto tour sounds a pretty good idea - it is something that has been in the back of Jon's mind for some time apparently. So watch this space!