Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Is tagging like a low-jack?

Just been tagged by Bookseller Crow so here goes.

Five things about me -

1) The only bone I have ever broken is my right middle toe, and bloody painful it was too. And surprisingly off-balancing.

2) I have appeared by accident on Thai TV (vox pop about Bangkok Fashion Week, and I muttered something cliche'd about beautiful silk) and the BBC News (vox pop again, I was asked how I felt about the smoking ban, I was in a pub with a cigarette in my hand, and Mr Fishwife thought I had given up. Busted.)

3) I secretly love the sound of pneumatic drills but only if they're not outside my house.

4) George Melly once leered at me and said "Well HELLOOOO there!". A long time ago, and we were both alive at the time.

5) I think rats are intelligent, resourceful, highly organised and maternal, and much maligned. But again, I'd rather not have them in my house. Better than mice or cockroaches though.

Since I'm new to this whole malarkey I'm going to tag the only 5 people I've ever corresponded with - The Poet Laura-eate, Brother Tobias, Nan, Lara (who won't reply ever) and Crockatt & Powell...

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Sunday afternoon. Brain bit slowish.

The following TV adverts have made me worry slightly about whether I missed some serious tectonic shift in modern-day society, possibly while asleep or reading comics.

1) "It's bad enough when your home smells of fish..." (Febreze) - A daily problem for, I fear, all of us, everywhere. Even those whose name doesn't contain the word "fish".

2) "For the woman who isn't yet ready for cosmetic surgery.." (Olay or something) - Obviously I'm having it, just not yet. Maybe when I'm really ugly and, say, aged 23 or something gross and haggy.

3) Is it acceptable for Ainsley Harriott to yell "Shit! Shit!" at his basset hound on primetime TV? (Fairy Powertabs) - Just a quibble.

4) And how deeply sad is it when the best thing a french car manufacturer can find to say about their new car is that it could be mistaken for a BMW if you squint at it sideways and ignore the badge?

Sunday afternoons chez Fishwife always fall into the same pattern - Sunday papers, buckets of tea, "Countryfile" for Mr Fishwife (who I suspect may have adopted John Craven as his Silver Fox Older Man Role Model - why not George Clooney? - You may well ask), 15 hours of Frasier repeats or "Singin' In The Rain" for me, and cheese toasties for lunch thank to my best ever Christmas present. I feel it's a sign of huge intelligence and lateral thinking to take a health-promoting gadget like the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grillin' Machine and use it to make oozingly fatty cheese and ham toasties.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

We make our own fun in the bookshop world.

A lady has just asked me for a book called "The Roehampton Mystery". She was very vague. She wasn't sure what it was about, and she definitely hadn't a clue who wrote it. She had been recommended it by a friend. When she said, after some minutes of vain debate, that she thought it might be about India, the penny dropped. She left with a lovely copy of Rohinton Mistry's "A Fine Balance". We DO provide a service to the community that the internet simply can't match...

Nightmares and horror films

Felt like adopting a Vincent Price tone for this post (sadly when I try and do the voice I sound more like Loyd Grosman in drag). We were discussing what it is that scares you, apart from the obvious (Inland Revenue, ant infestations, credit card fraud etc) (vets' bills..) and the first thing I remember being screamingly terrified of as a child was the shadow of my hand on the fridge door. Odd I know, but I was about 18months old and I remember watching the shadow, then moving my hand slightly, and suddenly MY SHADOW FINGERS GOT LONGER AND LONGER AND WITCHY AND LONGER. I recaptured the feeling perfectly when I was a student, watching "Nightmare on Elm Street". It wasn't the slashy gore; it was the way Freddy's arms extended and extended as he walked down a dark alley until they were about 10 feet long.
Which leads me to hypothesise (ooer) that there are two kinds of fear: one is the rational fear of knife-wielding maniacs and body-snatchers (ie random violence and losing one's mind/autonomy), and the other is far more irrational and comes from the inarticulate animal brain - that of things being WRONG, in terms of scale or gravity or logic.
Will now go and sit in the lovely sunshine with a copy of "That Hideous Strength" by C S Lewis - one of my favourite books ever. I still have to adjust my brain a bit when I read it, because I have never forgiven him for unceremoniously dumping Susan at the end of the Narnia books, and there's more than a hint of God's-Own-Anointed nationalism which you have to choose to read as benign rather than bigoted - but I still love it.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

And another thing..

Is there something fundamentally ironic about the fact that there's an International Festival of Taste held annually in Dubai?

Since they stopped using artificial colours in Smarties they're rather muddy-coloured and unattractive...

Whenever they advertise something on television saying "Everybody's talking about it!" you can pretty much guarantee that nobody is and they're frantically trying to remedy this...

Putting a "Richard & Judy" or "Daily Mail Book Club" sticker on the front of a book automatically guarantees that half the people who pick it up to look at it will have a doubtful wince on their face.

Have Delia and Nigella frankly lost it? if I want to cook with Smash, branded Emmenthal or marshmallows I'll read the back of the packet, thanks.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

... On a more serious note...

London mayor elections. What do you do if you're a born and bred Labour supporter but can't face Ken's growing kissy-kissy-face with the extremist tendency? What do you do if you're a committed and quite fervent smoker but can't (just CAN'T) vote for a jug-eared adulterous public school buffoon like Boris even if he offers a potential relaxation of the smoking laws? You can vote Green, which is a good idea all round, or LibDem (the party of the disgruntled ex-Labour voter), which has rather let itself down by fielding a fairly dull candidate. In either case you're pretty certain to see either of the above two clowns get in anyway. AAAAAAAAnyway. Does anyone know where I can buy cheap low-carb whey powder apart from ridiculously expensive health food shops?

Monday, 21 April 2008

Vets and pets

"Learn to read with Lucy Fishwife and her two cats"

See Lucy Fishwife. Lucy and Mr Fishwife have two cats.
See her two cats.
Lucy's older cat has bald patches, a bad temper, an evil stare, and gags a lot.
She is called Ruby.
Lucy's younger cat likes to get attention by limping around with her paw held up.
She is called Millie.
Millie recently cost Lucy Fishwife A BIG LOT of money at the vet.
Because Lucy thought Millie had broken her paw and it turned out she was a malingering little sod who has realised that limping about gets her attention.
So that was £175, two Xrays and a course of ketamine down the drain.
Ruby recently cost Lucy Fishwife AN EVEN BIGGER LOT of money at the vet.
Because she turns out to be allergic to her own flea bites.
Mr Vet had to do a surprisingly large and extensive range of tests to find this out.
Mr Vet's computer sent Ruby a nice letter asking her to let Lucy know she now owes Mr Vet £375.
Lucy is, frankly, less than entirely chuffed to be asked for money in quite such a twee way.
Particularly in a letter signed "the Practice computer".
Lucy is going to get her fridge, hairdryer and christmas lights to go round and beat up Mr Vet's computer.
Lucy will of course pay the bill because she's law-abiding and superstitiously afraid of medical professionals.
No animals were harmed during the writing of this blog. Although Lucy has glared at them.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Thought for the day

I've just noticed that when you update your profile and press "Update" it flashes up a little message that says "fetching title photo". Isn't that nice? Nobody's called me "fetching" in ages.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Catch yourself on, love.

Oh the joys of "observational humour" - not. This morning I went to get my usual bucket of coffee at a nasty chain that shall remain nameless but who does, in their defence, make really good basic filter coffee. FIRST OFF there was a dog and a garish pink scooter, both unashamedly parked directly across the door. Not, I grant you, the dog's fault, so I climbed over both and went in. THEN there were four women debating at some length whether to have a venti penti cappufrappuccino each, or one between two, or a smaller size - in that kind of way where they block your access to the till without actually making use of it themselves. THEN as I left, armed with my very small filter coffee (I am frankly incapable of saying "venti" since it's just made-up coffee esperanto, and "grande" doesn't seem to mean large, it means small, apparently), one of the aforementioned women raced out, having spotted the traffic warden bearing down on her Porsche Cayenne, and screamed operatically at the top of her voice "OH PLEASE GOD NO DON'T!!! PLEEEEASE!!!!!", in the tragic, quavering, tones of Desdemona pleading for her life. The single most histrionic display I've been an unwilling witness to, and the fact that she was parked on a double yellow line with her hazards flashing added to the incongruity of the whole thing.
But why, after all, comment, when this kind of thing goes on all the time everywhere? There are quite often mornings when I don't want to tap someone on the shoulder and say "Is this your sense of proportion, you left it behind in the coffee shop" although it depends whether they've got between me and my coffee.

Monday, 14 April 2008


Just read a tiny piece in the paper which suggested that drinking 2 litres of water a day may actually not be necessary, contrary to the received wisdom about hydrating etc etc. Apparently NOT ONLY do we get all the hydration we need through our usual diet BUT ALSO tea, coffee, booze etc count as liquid (NO, REALLY???) for the purposes of said hydration. Apparently it is not necessary to carry a 5-litre bottle of Volvic around in your Orla Kiely bag (that's for anyone reading this in Chiswick). All of which is fair enough but fails to take into account the fact that my diet mostly consists of crisps and sausage rolls and anything else that turns the paper bag transparent with grease - which does NOT count as a liquid although I firmly believe it counts as at least two of your fruit and veg. AAAAAAAnyway. Imagine, consequently, my delight. There I was thinking my 4 Starbucks and (on a good day) 3 Martinis was the road to Hell - when all the time I've been following the path of True Righteousness. My premature wrinkles and sluggish kidney action are evidently hereditary rather than self-inflicted.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Oh bloody sod it.

Just a PS to the actual post for today. Thought I'd cured myself of humming pointless tunes etc (maybe more -much, much more - on that subject on Monday) - But of course I just sold someone a copy of "Two Caravans" by Marina Lewycka and am now humming the title to myself, to the tune of "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond (whom I execrate). Time to get pissed I think.

Behold BOTH my domains.

Probably the first thing anybody does these days when they have a GREAT NEW IDEA is to rush out (or in) and buy the appropriate domain name. Done it twice in the last 6 months myself. When you think about it it's not really very different from congratulating yourself on the fantastic storage space you have in your flat - and having nothing to put in it. So as per my post ages ago about the website - well, it's still a twinkly domain name that Alan Bennett hasn't so far taken exception to, although apparently his publishers are mildly troubled and think people googling his latest book will get us by accident. Pause here for blurt (or "spit-take" for anyone else who's a fan of Studio 60). The likelihood of a tiny bespoke book website getting enough hits to come further up a search engine than The Latest Work By One Of Britain's Best-loved Authors is similar to the likelihood of me being America's Next Top Model (likelihood lessened by the fact that I don't live in America, nor am I in any sense American) (modelling credentials equally thin).
The other website was part of a flurry of craft-based activity between me and two friends. I won't go any further, not because it's some big secret or anything, just because the domain name contained the word "muff" (yes, we know) and we were laughing too hard when we bought it to think about actually DOING anything with it.
AAAAAnyway. At work today (Sat) and ploughing through a couple of crates of returns to process. Don't worry, that's all the jargon you're going to get. In real terms, this means I'm out the back with a bucket of coffee while someone else does all the real work.

Oh yeah PS - this week I are be mostly reading "The Dud Avocado" by Elaine Dundy, "Prester John" by John Buchan, "The Magician's Doubts" by Michael Wood, "The Post-Birthday World" bu Lionel Shriver, and "The Oxford Murders" by Guillermo Martinez.