This week dawned bright and sunny, for the first time in living memory! Woo! Well it didn’t; it peed it down on Monday, of course, for that is what Mondays are all about. Right? (Note to self: investigate what Mondays in, say, Jamaica, are all about). However! On Tuesday the sun came out, which was righteously good news, because I have the Allittlement to dig over once more. Because stray tatties are so embarrassing; they do sprout new plants, and I really obviously missed dozens of the buggers last autumn. And since this year’s growing has been so awful, I’m loathe to dig them out once they sprout, in case they’re the only thing that works. So there they sit, like a big sign saying, LOOK! BESHEMOTH IS SUCH A LOUSY GARDENER THERE ARE POTATOES IN THE PEAS!) Ah, Next year It Will All Be Different™ and there will be only what I plant, by god! And the burdocks, but I am ‘harvesting’ them to make beer. Honest.
The plums on the tree that is mostly on my side of the fence – and I get all its shade dammit, so I should get its fruit too, right? – have started to ripen, hurrah! And thanks to the waspinator, they are not covered in wasp juice like last year, no sir they are not. They are, instead, covered in crescent-shaped gouges like the ones on the tatties. My god, the slugs have gotten into the plum tree as well! Is nothing sacred? (she says, trying to pretend she isn’t having a total Hudson-in-Aliens-when-they-cut-the-power moment).
Five minutes after this discovery, while hosing down the greenhouse (for I have become lazy, laid the hose across the allotment and now stand at the door spraying the area rather than fighting my way in with a watering can – also, I am allergic to touching marrow and tomato plants, as well as raspberries, it turns out. I blame a year abroad spent strimming poison ivy) the thing got locked on auto, and while trying to fix it without blasting myself in the face, I discovered a mint green slug hiding in the controls. Feck. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE AND THEY ARE ACTIVELY TRYING TO DESTROY ME!
Also, all I need is a blue slug, and I have the full spectrum!
(Enquiries online have not revealed any UK species of slug that is green. In fact almost all sites assured me they only come in black or brown. This is blatant lies, for as well as hundreds of these, and the ubiquitous grey ones, I have personally pulled from the tatties: white slugs, pink slugs, orange slugs, yellow slugs, a red slug and a purple slug. God. I have mutants. And I didn’t even kill them, just flung them over the fence! I am so going to be killed by the bastards in a slow and lingering way as karmic revenge for what I said about that Sean Hudson book that time.)
(Further enquiries googling reveal there actually are blue slugs in the world. I am very scared now).
Anyway. Impending slimy doom notwithstanding, the sun scheduled to remain all week, and my lodgers were off for a holiday in Spain, leaving me with the flat all to myself, I cackled wildly, cracked my knuckles, and got down to beating the creative block already. Behold! I shall trick it by doing something that isn’t anything on the ‘creative to-do’ list – an oil pastel of Jimmy Havoc, covered in blood, of which I found the most bodacious photo online. Not only will this fool the creative block, I thought, but it will also a) be good practice at being faster, dammit, and b) settle once-and-for-all whether oil pastels are rock’n’roll or not.
Cos this one time at band camp (and it was always one time, and mostly someone whose opinion I wouldn’t risk money on anyway, go figure) mocked my oil pastels as not rock’n’roll enough. I should note, he mocked everything else about me too, in obsessive detail, and merely to make conversation as far as I can tell; which is further evidence that my brain’s filing system is borked, because have I got hung up on this throwaway insult? Yes, YES I HAVE.
However! By bedtime on Tuesday, the drawing was coming on like the clappers, woo! Unfortunately, as happens every time I have a genuinely productive day, I was wired to the moon, as well as far too overheated to sleep. And sure enough, the combination of imminent sunshine and freedom conspired to let me wake up on Wednesday with the mother of all headcolds. Ah. That wasn’t a burst of feverish genius last night then – that was an actual fever. Bah.
This made the week rather more interesting, what! I mean, cheers, immune system, the pressure at work is finally off (temporarily), and now look. Although on the plus side, at least I’m ill in a pishy way while I’m not drowning in files; and I really hate being ill when there are strangers in my living space, so at least I can curl up under several blankets and ignore the glorious sunshine in peace. Or something! Bah.
In an attempt to be proactive about the lurgy, I loaded up on diluting juice, fruit juice and own-brand paracetimol (being too cheap to buy Proper Lemsip) and set about eating my bodyweight in lightly grilled vegetables. And drank lots of coffee, because the danger of me falling asleep while walking down the road was quite high.
Now, I have been a bit concerned about my caffeine intake for a while; I am practically mainlining the stuff all day in the office. And my fears were confirmed when, on trying to choke down some painkillers, I accidentally washed them down with a coffee dreg I had already put new coffee granules in, but not yet added more water to. And I only realised that it tasted like a mouthful of peppered tealeaves on the second pill.
Now, in my defence, I was doing this while my colleague was in giving me the latest horror-stories about the upcoming New! Software! Introduction! – which, to make things even more mental round here, is going to be implemented at the same time as the Admin Review.
(Which itself, as far as I can gather, is going to be the quickest way of making my job even less fun, i.e. give me a resentful former compadre as an ‘assistant’ to
slow me down do the typing, while I spend the ‘freed’ time dealing with even more irate patients. With ‘more’ in both terms of quantity and quality! Woo! Also, can you imagine the fun when someone with about twelve years’ seniority over me suddenly gets dropped two grades to be my assistant? Allegedly people on the pilot, who quite happily shared an office for the entire time I’ve been an adult, are already at each others’ throats after, ooh, a month. Not that the aim of the game is to cut staff numbers or anything. I mean, just because we can’t think of any other possible way it could cut costs, like.)
Anyway, the word, from someone who had just undergone training on the new system, was that I should say my fucking prayers already because it is going to slow everything down even further, and my turnaround is SCREWED. And when my turnaround is screwed, the place fills up with paperwork like someone left a faucet of the stuff open, and within days it is no longer possible to do anything except scramble around in it while people scream bloody murder.
(So if anyone feels the need to start a ‘How many weeks into the admin review will Beshemoth top herself rather than set foot in that building again?’ pool, feel free!)
Still. I think I may have to (gulp) cut down on the coffee.
So I was very glad when the weekend rolled around, and the Bossman came over and diplomatically suggested that we try buying frozen roasties to go with the roast (not that, you know, one of the few times I’ve lashed out at him has been when he started criticising my method of making roasties after I’d had a very trying week, or anything. The shame! Yes it IS entirely possible to go one’s whole life with never a word snapped in anger, dammit, no matter what the provocation, and I had like a five year streak, there. The personal dishonour, it is vast. Of course, word has it the sort of person who takes it all on the chin with never a word snapped in anger is the sort of person who later shoots up their school reunion, but, um, something. Must destress. Possibly, less coffee!)
I had no coffee at all at the weekend, therefore, and was thus pretty much stoned out of my box on Normalcy. Oh dear. Which was okay, mercifully, because we spent most of Saturday deep in the countryside at the Bossman’s roleplaying mates’ barbecue. (Insert your own roleplayer jokes here; the food was fab and I intend to be invited back next time, dammit). The company was also fab, if you don’t count the wasps, the hostess was sarcastic as hell (awesome!) and I have been loaned a giant Tome on the adventures of Caiphus Cain, the most cowardly guy in the universe. I am promised he makes Blackadder trying to get out of the army look brave, so I am quite looking forward to it.
I was really looking forward to a nap, also, but we had to go further into the countryside to go watch some
mua thai. Muai thai. Kickboxing. With the Bossman’s mechanic, yay, finally I get to meet her! She was lovely and offered to buy me a drink and a hotdog. (But I held firm, because I had been stuffing my face all afternoon and I was the only one on the sauce.)
Alas, the people next to us weren’t quite so lovely – one of them turned out to be the WAG contingent for the fighter who wasn’t the local hero in one of the fights, and my god did she ever give it laldy. Pranced around like a bull doing a victory lap at a matador convention, in fact, screaming and giving the finger to all the supporters of the local hero with great vigour, despite The One Security Chap sidling up For A Word every thirty seconds. The crowd reacted the way you might expect at a licenced venue after the first sunny Saturday in living memory, and a contingent of lassies started threatening to make their way off the balcony and have at her with their WKD bottles. I wasn’t as concerned about this, because we’d have plenty of notice to flee while they were trying to get down the stairs in six inch spike heels; I was worried about the people to our right, who she was also antagonising, as they were mostly in trainers and their path to come and Have Their Own Word with her was right over the top of us. I figured, sling the Bossman’s mechanic over my shoulder, make for the exit past the Aberdeen contingent (who were sitting this particular slagging match out) and apologise when we got outside.
Mercifully, however, I think her guy lost. Anyway, the fight stayed in the ring. But tensions ran high again for the final match, and this time everyone was on their feet screaming (except us, we kinda sat and tried to look unobtrusive. Well, I did. I’m a wuss, okay) and the guy with the much shorter reach was also getting really pissed off and finally got disqualified for an elbow to the head.
The Bossman told me afterwards, the bigger guy had been choking him on the middle rope, which I hadn’t spotted – and neither had the ref. So I felt a bit better about being completely unable to follow the fight. Must. Return. To. Martial. Arts. (but not quite yet. It’s never quite yet, is it, eh, doll. Ah now, being a backward person who does not go out and Get Things Done is probably a chucking offence, so watch your step, seriously, eh).
I did get some things done on Sunday, however! I gutted a whole pile of plums and froze them for making wine later, and did a preliminary sketch of a tattoo for a mate and some more rasslin’-rendered-in-oil-pastels. Not badass, but a start. Right?