Wednesday, 29 February 2012

It is a truly wise man who does not play leap frog with a unicorn

Wise words indeed. I was looking for a leap year quotation and couldn't find one but thought this would do (and also prevent potential serious injury, should you ever have thought of taking up this particular extreme sport.)

First find your unicorn.

 Really, I'm thinking this day should be Very Special, that I should do something extraordinary to mark it. It seems quite churlish not to make the most of this gift of an extra 24 hours in my life.

As a woman of the married persuasion, proposing to a man is a little out of the question.

"Believed to go back to an old Irish legend, it's said that a man who refuses the proposal of a woman on a leap day must buy her a gift as an apology. Some versions of the tradition say the gift should be 12 pairs of gloves, so the woman can hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring."

Who needs twelve pairs of gloves, anyway? Or an extra husband.

One is quite sufficient.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Whimsical or the product of a deranged mind?

Neither, in my opinion.

The Librarian
I was watching University Challenge on TV last night. In case you don't know, it's a BBC quiz show where teams from British universities compete. The quiz master, Jeremy Paxman, has the sort of cutting wit that would reduce me to a quivering jelly of mortification in three seconds.

The questions are...not easy (unless you happen to know the answer)

"What subfield of physics deals with plasmas, such as those in fusion reactors and interplanetary space, and more generally with the interactions between a conducting fluid and a magnetic field?"

or perhaps...

"Which French chemist refuted the phlogiston theory of combustion by identifying and naming oxygen? He was guillotined in 1794 for tax crimes, despite having helped reform the taxation system."

Actually, I can usually (sometimes) answer the artsy questions and, oh, what a thrill that is when I get an answer right! Small pleasures... 

The picture of The Librarian was a starter question for the picture round. I'd not seen it before. I thought...'Picasso? Braque? Definitely 20th century avant-garde."

I'm glad I only thought and didn't SAY out loud. The humiliation would have been too great to bear.

The Librarian was by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527 – 1593) - SIXTEENTH CENTURY? Well, only about four hundred years out, Caroline.

"After the portrait was released to the public, some scholars, who had a close relationship with the book culture at that time, argued that the portrait ridiculed their scholarship. In fact... it criticized some wealthy people who collected the books in order to satisfy their ownership, instead of to read the books."

Whimsical or the product of a deranged mind? Sheer genius, I'd say.

Unlike my feeble attempts to answer questions on University Challenge.

Monday, 27 February 2012

“Since we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our minds, it is our duty to furnish it well.”

I always loved Peter Ustinov and now I love him all the more.

We are not prisoners of fate. Only prisoners of our mind.

So, today, I'm going to choose my furniture. This time, I'm not going to Ikea. My mind deserves something more than sofas called Sven.

...or maybe...


Interior designer of my own mind! Uncluttered, sunny, fresh and clean.

I'd like to live there forever.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

“My dear friend, clear your mind of can't.”

Was this from a self-development seminar? A transformational workshop? A psychotherapy session?

Nope. Samuel Johnson said it sometime between 1709 and 1784. (I'm not sure of the exact date.) Enlightened chap.


When I went on holiday, this is roughly what my mind looked like inside...

...only messier. And I didn't have a bolt through my neck.

Here was me working at the computer:

 In fact, I don't really know how I functioned at all. I DID function though because I finished all my projects to deadline and got no complaints. (That's my understated British way of saying I got lots of thanks and compliments)

In the 'doing stuff for work' compartment - firing on all cylinders really. As for the rest - well, there wasn't a rest. I could hardly remember what day it was let alone entertain any thoughts of dealing with Important Matters like my life and well-being.


Having a clear mind, by the way, is different from having an EMPTY one. I quite often get those. It isn't really empty, though, it's just so jammed full of can'ts that no rational thought can be squeezed out so it SEEMS empty. Not empty but stuck.

So here's me with a beautiful clear mind and I can see what's important and where to go from here in a calm and not at all driven way and I'm inspired by Eric Butterworth's thoughts - "More important than learning how to recall things is finding ways to forget things that are cluttering the mind."

The BIG question is: How long will it last?

Saturday, 25 February 2012

“And every stranger's face I see Reminds me that I long to be, homeward bound”

Holidays are wonderful. This holiday was wonderful, aside from the horrendous accident, but today we're travelling home and I'm looking forward to that.

Things I got from the holiday:

1. A clear mind
2. Bruised ribs
3. Tired legs
4. Happy memories
5. One sad memory (Guido's injuries)
6. Lots of laughs. (Oh how we laughed yesterday when we were in the hot tub and the kids chucked in a huge chunk of ice!)
7. Ski goggle face

(No, not a total regeneration including breast implants)

Things I missed:

1. Roly, Poppy and Alfie
2. My own bed

Friday, 24 February 2012

There is no such thing as an accident; it is fate misnamed.

Thanks to Napoleon Bonaparte for this pearl of wisdom. I'm sure Guido appreciates it.

"Many theories have been presented as to why Napoleon is traditionally depicted with his hand in his waistcoat. Some of these theories include: that he had a stomach ulcer, he was winding his watch, he had an itchy skin disease, that in his era it was impolite to put your hands in your pockets, he had breast cancer, he had a deformed hand, he kept a perfumed sachet in his vest that he'd sniff surreptitiously, and that painters don't like to paint hands."

Somewhat and rather horrifically ironic, this. I'm thinking Guido, dear Swiss skiing friend, will be holding his arm like that for some time to come.

We were skiing down the mountain merrily and a blood wagon came past...

 of those occasions where you don't want to look but somehow you're compelled. Skiing next to the blood wagon was David, another friend, and in it was Guido. He had had a horrendous crash, badly smashed his R Lower arm and has broken his back in two places (but can still wiggle his toes)

An accident? He went for a black ski jump... twice. The first time it went well, the second time...madness really. Fate? I don't know. Who knows?

I do know that the longer the ski holiday goes on the more I think...I've got away so far without injury. SURELY my good fortune can't last?

Guido's certainly didn't. Quite.

We learned that someone died on that jump the day before.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Perhaps it's the prosecco?

Penguin Pete injured a flipper yesterday. A large Germanic gentleman, allegedly 4 metres tall and weighing about 2000 kilos, ploughed into the side of him and knocked him flying.

Apparently, he may also have glowed in the dark.

Penguin Pete flatly refuses to wear a helmet when skiing. (He likes the feel of the wind rushing through his hair.) Now he has a nasty graze on his temple and a very, VERY swollen thumb, bent right backwards by the force of 2000 kilos of Germanic gentleman on one of his ski poles.

He also refused to go to the medical centre. In company, when any member of our group ask how he is, he replies manfully 'Oh, it's fine. Nothing really.'

Alone with me in our room...quite a different story.

Back to the prosecco. I drank some. Then I was looking for an image of a penguin with an injured flipper and look what I found:

I'm afraid to say it made me laugh. A lot.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry.

There are lots of people listed with the name Joe Moore. One of them said that.

See what he means?

Yes, I'm in a land of ice and snow, but no there aren't any penguins.

Except, that is, for Penguin Pete. My husband.

On dry land, his feet are turned out at 10 to 2. I wouldn't exactly say he waddles but he's not the skinniest man on the planet.

On the ski slope, he's poetry in motion. Elegant, graceful, effortless. The equivalent of a penguin once it gets to the water.

Oh, and penguins mate for life, don't they? "That doesn't surprise me that much because penguins all look alike. It's not like they're going to meet a really great looking new penguin someday."

I am, for the record, not penguin-like either on land or on snow. More a cross between Bambi and a contorted goblin, if I'm honest.

This is where we were skiing today:

Except there were more people.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

“Valour is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.”

Michel de Montaigne, French philosopher,1533-1592, said this. So, I'm guessing, not many skiing holidays then.

No, he doesn't look much like a skier really, but he DOES look as though he has an awful lot of brains. He could have written the quote about valour just for me today.

Our hotel is at the top of a mountain pass. Lovely except at the end of a day's skiing when, in order to get back to it, you have to catch a lift right up the mountain then ski down The Most Horrendous Route Of Death to get to another lift that goes back to the hotel.

The Most Horrendous Route Of Death at the beginning of the day when my legs aren't tired...fine. At the end of a long day...not fine.

Not sure exactly how many times I fell over. One time, I crashed badly and slid down the hill. I couldn't stop and took out Geoffrey below me who sat on my face (and smashed my goggles) As Elliot said afterwards, in another culture that would mean we were most certainly married.

I made it down and, more remarkably, managed to do it without bursting into tears through fear, pain and exhaustion.

It really is a case of what's going on in your head more than how you're getting down the hill.

Yeah, skiing is such good fun!