Friday, June 22, 2007

Chastity Ring 

There is a story in the news today about a girl in trouble with her school for wearing something called, by some, a purity ring and, by others, a chastity ring.

That term did unfortunately, completely skew my perception of the entire issue. I had completely the wrong idea and thought that the item of jewellery in question was worn in a rather more intimate place. Don't ask me how, don't tell me how and, please, don't send me any diagrams.

With that in mind, you should be able to see why I think I found this the most alarming sentence:
Teachers at the Millais School, a girls school in Horsham, West Sussex, asked her to remove the ring as it was an item of jewellery and because it could cause physical injury to others.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


There are number of euphemisms for sex, particularly gay sex and, of that, particularly the anal variety. One of the more obscure is "uphill gardening".

In a completely unrelated conversation, a friend (who shall remain nameless as I know he will get embarrassed) and I invented a new one: "throwing his sock upstairs".

The conversation was actually about socks and how difficult it is to throw one up the stairs but I thought it sounded good.

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Watching paint dry 

I joked with someone today that there might be a website that lets you watch paint dry. There are loads. Google for them.

There are websites for everything, it seems.

Some time ago, Dave Gorman caused quite a stir by publicising Googlewhacks. For those who don't know, a googlewhack is a search in Google where two words result in only one website being found. Gorman started on one of his quests when someone found his own website as the result of a googlewhack.

Perhaps we have almost reached the time for when it is remarkable to find no sites as the result of a two word search. Maybe this could be a GoogleNot.

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I prefer to walk if I need to get anywhere in London, especially this time of year. I generally find tubes and buses overbearingly hot and filled with very unpleasant and overbearingly hot people. And I don't mean hot in a good way.

I normally use the Transport for London journey planner to navigate but it can be difficult to coerce into giving me a walking route if it thinks the route too long. So I was pleased to find WalkIt.com which quite plots routes across large parts of London and doesn't try to suggest the tube if the walk takes longer than 10 minutes.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Exploding eye 

Wonderful! (note the use of the ironic exclamation mark again - far superior to the standard one)

My eye has exploded again. Or, rather, I have another subconjunctival haemorrhage.

It is supposed to be nothing to worry about and that it looks a lot worse than it actually is. Mine looks a lot worse than that one in the Wikipedia article. Part of my eye looks like it is made out of raw meat.

Usefully, the Wiki article lists some reasons. Some time ago, I was told by a doctor, after I complained of getting cold after cold that I should try ginseng to boost my immune system. [I was also tested for the obvious with negative results]. I also read that garlic was good for the same thing. So I have been taking both.

According to the Wiki article, both are blood-thinners and may cause subconjunctival haemorrhage if combined with heavy sneezing (can't help that - it is hayfever season). Sneezing causes sudden but temporary increases to blood-pressure and that is already slightly higher than it should be. I measured it this morning.

So, yet again, I have to start looking at my diet and exercise regime but for a start I have thrown away the ginseng.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

More children 

My post on children on trains for the NewsShopper blog was printed in the newspaper itself last week!

I wonder if that will provoke more of a response than the electronic original.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Psoriasis update 

My guttate psoriasis seems to have gone for the time being! I can wear short-sleeved shirts again.

If you're looking at this because you have found this blog while searching for information on guttate psoriasis then I'd better tell you what I know and why I think it went away:

  1. Homeopathy - I am convinced this was the biggest contributor. The spots started to disappear soon after I was given a remedy. Unfortunately, my homeopath never tells me the names of the remedies that she gives me so I can't tell you but you might consider speaking to a homeopath for help.

  2. Ointment - I was given two. I used one, a vitamin D based ointment, in the morning and the other, a coal tar preparation, in the evening. This was because it was messy and would stain clothes. Moisturising with aqueous cream before applying the oimtmnet helped as well. Where something for bed that you don't mind getting dirty. Unfortunately coal tar does stain rather badly. I accidentally squished a huge blob of it on my duvet cover and it looks like I suffered a completely different sort of accident. Leave a comment and I will post the names of the ointments. I don't have them with me unfortunately.

  3. Reassurance - being told by someone who knows what he's talking about (e.g. a dermatologist) who can confirm that it is guttate psoriasis can help a great deal. My stress levels dropped a lot when I saw my GP (who is also a dermatologist) and he confirmed that it wasn't anything to worry about. Being less stressed about the condition probably helped it on its was as much as anything else. Knowing as well that it never goes higher than the neck is a great help as well.

  4. Guttate psoriasis can disappear of its own accord after weeks or sometimes months. This can be a very reassuring and helpful thought.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007


It is a gay cliché but I love musical theatre. Regular readers (ha!) may have noticed this already.

Despite having a week in Wales, David and I have managed to see two West End musicals in the last two weeks.

The day before we left for Wales we saw The Drowsy Chaperone in the Novello Theatre. We went with four friends and sat in the front row. I cannot describe this show adequately. It starts with a man putting on a record of his favourite musical, The Drowsy Chaperone from 1928. The show, the story of a wedding, bursts into life in his apartment and he talks us through it. It is a masterpiece of comic timing, rapid costume changes, dancing and singing. At one point, when he changes the record ... no, I won't tell you that. It will spoil it for you.

We all laughed a lot. Our friend Martin, who laughs loudly, drew the attention of the man in the chair during the break between records because he was laughing so much, which, of course, made us all laugh all the more.

Last night, David and I saw The Sound of Music. Wow! I loved it. I wasn't sure when I went and even less sure when a huge woman with huger hair sat in front of me but when I found myself grinning like a fool during the nuns' chorus I knew I was going to enjoy it. I may bring scorn upon myself for saying this but it is infinitely better than the film. Connie Fisher was great, the kids were wonderful, the nuns awesome and the Reverend Mother staggering. I can see why she fell for Captain Von Trapp although if I were her I may have tried Franz the butler first.

As with the film there were weepy bits. I always get a bit tearful during Edelweiss and more so when the Captain finds his voice again and sings with the children. I was nearly blubbing last night. The Lonely Goatherd song, my favourite, didn't have the puppets or even any relevance to the plot but a lovely simplicity that warmed the heart and tapped my toes.

Which show did I like best? I cannot say. I loved them both in different ways and want to see both again. Would you expect anything else of me?


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Tuesday, June 12, 2007


The entry in the NewsShopper blog about children on trains did receive a few responses but not what I was expecting. Instead of outraged parents out for my blood, I had comments of agreement, which surprised me no end.

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I'm back at work today after a week in Wales. I made notes before I left, detailing where I was in my current project and what I needed to do next. No doubt they made perfect sense to me at the time. They don't now, of course.

It seems like years since I have been here. Everything seems different, new and fresh. Perhaps it's just me, supremely chilled from a week of sunshine and mountains. I wonder how quickly I will remain like this?

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Friday, June 01, 2007


I'm off to Wales on Sunday and this is my last day at work for a week and a bit.

I'm really excited about going away. I feel as excited as a dog we used to own that would dash from window to window in the car trying to catch a whiff of the sea when we drove to the coast. The merest mention of the word "seaside" would drive her into a frenzy.

Why am I so excited about going to Wales? I don't remember getting this eager last year or the year before and we're going to exactly the same place (here).

North Wales has, without me realising it, become my favourite place.

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Anti-children rant 

I just posted this on the NewsShopper blog. I thought I'd repost it here. I expect I'll get a few responses from angry NewsShopper-reading parents along the lines of "what do you expect us to do with our kids?" and "how else should we travel?". Don't know, don't care. Just keep the bloody things under control.

It seems to be a growing trend that people are taking their children to work. Or are meeting up with their spouses and kiddies after work and going home together.

Whatever the reason, there seems to be a token child, hardly ever the same one, on my train every evening on the way home. And not, I should add, a quiet, well-behaved, you-really-wouldn't-know-it-was-there, child at that.

Last night I sat opposite a mother and father who had a rather precocious little girl with them who spent the entire journey from Charing Cross to Orpington either jumping around in her new sparkly pink shoes or laughing and squealing. They were on their way back from the Kylie exhibition at the V&A.

Did her parents keep her quiet? Did they even try to suggest that being so noisy wasn't a good idea? No, of course not.

The bloke that brings his dog onto the train occasionally had a better behaved charge than that child.

Not everyone likes children. I don't mind them. I have none of my own (partly through choice and partly through circumstance) but there are lots of young children in my family. None are as badly behaved as the ones that ride on my train. And when they do step out of line, their parents and grandparents are quick to step in.

Taking the kids on a day out is a good thing. There are lots of things to see and do in London. However, I really don't think that bringing tetchy children into contact with tetchier commuters is the best of ideas. The trains out of the rush hour would be a lot better.

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