If anyone wants me, I’m reading

Specifically, I’m reading “Rabbit at Rest”, “The Virgin in the Garden”, and what appears to be Frankie Howerd’s copy of “Professor Branestawm’s Perilous Pudding”. No. Really. It’s got a dedication in the front, and reads “To Frankie Howerd, with best wishes for a speedy recovery, Norman Hunter”. I’ve a second signed Professor Branestawm book (yes, I have two – I was trying to verify the signature, and it was cheap), so I know the Norman Hunter bit really is the real deal. However, I have no idea what the connection between the two gentlemen was. Other than that both made people laugh.  Titter ye not.

The Branestawm book, incidentally, is the only book that has literally made me laugh out loud this year. Happiness is silliness.

I was going to write a Saturday List yesterday, which is now somewhat uncharacteristic of me. Instead I merely got on with it all. Casualties of the dyeing-the-old-guide-skirt process (skirt came out very well, as did the pyjamas) were the white sheets that were on the bed. These are now splattered with dye dustings, and a bit polka dot. Very fashionable. However, since one generally has one’s eyes shut in bed, or it’s dim light time, or first thing in the morning and a tearing hurry to get out of the bed and get to work, I’ve concluded that I don’t need to worry too much. I’ll be buying some more dye and turning the sheets a shade of blue at some point. This will be very weird. I haven’t had coloured sheets on my bed since I moved out of P. Street.

Otherwise, the last of the wedding invitations are going out this week. N is finally on anti-biotics for what has to be the longest bout of gastroenteritis (caused by campylobacter – a sample was dropped off, and it took about a week to get the result) ever, and looks much perkier but has next to no physical energy.

I did a half marathon last week, in my slowest time ever, but, in my defence, stopped to deal with a collapsed fellow runner en route at 12.88 miles. I didn’t do much dealing. Got him down flat, and then into the recovery position, and left him with the paramedics. I gather he was probably OK after it all – much anxious scanning of the news pages suggests that no-one died as a result of running the Hackney Half! It was extremely warm. My aim was to get round without stopping, without walking, and without having an asthma attack. I more-or-less (apart from the collapsed runner) did that, so I was fairly pleased with myself. There was no point in flogging myself. I felt pretty dire for the rest of the day anyhow, with the traditional post-half-marathon-headache. It was also the very first race where I’ve not had someone to come and watch, or run with me, ever, and the one race where I could really have done with more than text message support (N was superb at that). I found out after that Long Tall Chris that I shared a flat with was also running the race – had I known, I’d have arranged to meet up, and that would have helped with the adrenaline from the stopping to help the runner. As it was, I had solo tea, a lovely conversation with a lass in the Macmillan Tent (they are always lovely in the Macmillan Tent), who supplied me with water and a Mars Bar, and a trip home on the slightly overly air-conditioned overground.  I feel I really deserved this particular medal.

I’ve finished a pair of socks for me, and started some for Eff. I’ve also got some for L on my list, but cannot for the life of me remember the shade of wool she’d like, so need to ask again. I also need to sort out some Pay It Forward packages. I now have books for the recipients, but I feel the need to put something hand made in. Or maybe just chocolate to enjoy with the books (is it every “just” chocolate?!). However, more pondering is required, I think.

I do like that WordPress auto-saves drafts. I accidentally closed the window on this thing part way through the longest paragraph. And I only lost hlaf a sentence.

Here. Have a photo of an alpaca with a rad haircut, and the latest socks:

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We went to The Palace

It was fabulous. K invited me to be her plus one for a Buckingham Palace Garden party, so of course I said yes within about three nanoseconds of being asked. I’ve wanted to go to a Buckingham Palace Garden party since I was about fourteen, just because. I’ve been round the Palace gardens on a tour with the Carlton Club, I’ve been to the Royal Warrant Holders’ party event with my parents’, so I feel that I know the gardens themselves well. However, a proper Garden Party, with a Stiff White Invitation with Raised Printing (yes, just like my wedding invitations) hadn’t happened. And N no longer has access to the system that he built to organise the invitations for such events, so we couldn’t jemmy me in. Not that we would. But oh, the temptation!

We made a day of it, in our smart Guiding uniforms. We had lunch at Claridges, and, I will say, this was hands down the best gluten-free dining experience I have ever had. “What on the menu is gluten free, please?” “Oh, just choose anything, and we will make it gluten-free, madam.” We may have had the fixed price lunch (three courses, £35, then coffee and wine), but they treated us like everyone else, and, indeed, just made everything gluten-free for me. I’m going back there. I may range round the menu a bit more next time. It may become expensive.ImageImageImageImage

(they have a long rope of marshmallow from which they cut slices. Four different flavours. Yum)

And then, we went to the Palace. Selfie outside to go on the Division Twitter Feed, photo with a Jolly Guardsman, in his Jolly Coat, with his Jolly Buttons to his Jolly Throat. The heavens opened. We opened our brollies and sheltered people nearby. Simon Hughes introduced me to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (a surprisingly deep voice, and you would not have thought she could be any more horsey in person than she comes across on the telly, but she is. Her lovely silk suit was soaked, and she can’t have been comfortable. It didn’t show at all). We met some Guides, and recruited a new leader, we met some scouts, mayors, holders of the Empire Medal. It’s lovely how a Guide Uniform makes you approachable. As someone entirely socially inept, I like the help it gives me, although I’m always conscious that I must be on my best possible behaviour in it.



(hours later, the button exploded off my left shoe. I’ve had those shoes since I was 17, and I’m determined to get them mended!)

Quite frankly, it’s the most exciting event of the year so far. It would be the most exciting event of the year, but for my wedding, which I anticipate is going to be even more exciting. Particularly since two of my Canadian Cousins are now coming over. They had a trip planned for October, then J’s third husband got carried off by Lymphoma three weeks ago (boo. Sodding Cancer), and they brought it forward. They’ve changed the dates again to come to my wedding, and this means I have an unprecedented eight members of my family (including myself) at the wedding. This is the biggest family reunion since my christening! There’s only the cousins in Norfolk, who don’t talk to us (we don’t know why, we tried) plus my Aunt and Cousin (insert whole can of worms which will be left firmly shut) who don’t really talk to my Mum and vice versa, left. All those on Dad’s side… I do send cards to my Aunt at Christmas. Mostly because I don’t want to be the impolite one.

I’m sitting in slightly lonely state at N’s Dad’s – who is rather perkier than he’s been recently, and was actually awake when I got here, which was rather nice. Poor N has gastroenteritis. I bought a thermometer yesterday, and then wished I hadn’t. A temeperature of 39.9C is, well, scary. It came down with paracetamol. He thinks he might try eating something today. Maybe. He’s got lucozade, rehydration drinks, ice lollies and the complete Sandman to read, and he’s staying put in bed until he’s better. I believe that once you’ve made your way through all the Sandman books, you’re better. Mostly because my re-reading them seems to coincide with my being ill, and it always takes longer to read them than it does to be ill.

I think I’ve avoided it. I do hope so. He started being ill on Sunday, and it’s now Wednesday, so I think I’m in with a fairly good chance here. Plus there’s been lots of handwashing and loo-cleaning going on. All hail the Dettol Loo Wipe, which makes one feel fairly secure. All hail plain old soap too. And, all hail the fact that for the first time in weeks, I’ve had enough time to paint my finger nails. I had a moment of epic selfishness last night, and did them after having run two DBS checks, collected stuff from Boots for N, and looked after him a bit (which involved another trip out to the supermarket for Lucozade). There was a point on Saturday where I was just totally fed up with being Div Com and I wanted my life back. It passed over OK. I was just a bit over-Guided. I had some B-vitamins and some iron tablets, and they seem to have helped.