Friday, December 16, 2005

Welly watching

Flatting, tenting, draughting, some random combination of letters I now can't remember... ok, just when I think I'm getting my head around kiwi english something comes along and throws me again - all I can say is thank heavens for people around like Ruth who can not only translate but still remember what it is like to be completely flummoxed. Okay so the first two examples are fairly obvious really, sharing a flat with folk & camping but draughting got me - apparently it is slipstreaming on a bike behind another rider or a vehicle, the random letters were what they call a 4x4 here (altho' they don't need spray on mud in these parts! If you are just as confused as I was still it's those big off road vehicles which in Edinburgh are usually used to take the kids to fee paying schools, do the monthly shop at Tescos and show off to the other mums as to how much money you appear to have... cynical? moi?).

We had the first 'big' shake courtesy of mother nature since I got here on Tuesday - not that I noticed; several of us were totally oblivious to the fact (and no we hadn't drunk that much wine), sitting tucking into a rather fine selection of grub in Zing when Ruth's phone went off, twice. Once from hubby up the hill checking she was ok as everything was rattling there and then once from a friend who had been working late on her own up on the 15th floor of an office block where it had been felt big time. She must have broken several speed records coming down the stairs and along the road and deserved every last drop of the long G&T waiting for her when she reached us - somewhat more shaken and stirred than her drink.

We were all feeling rather smug about being nice and 'safe' until we started looking around at the rather large plate glass window we were next to, the enormous loudspeaker suspended above one end of the table and large pendulous lightfitting over the other, at which point we decided that we were just rather glad it hadn't been felt where we were and that all things considered we'd got off lightly. More to the point Marion and I were due to go shopping the next day to stock up the Earthquake kit so we would not have been impressed if a big one had struck us before then! It was all the talk of Midweek Meeting, altho' one more elderly member was mightily relieved to find the seven of us hadn't felt it either as she was beginning to wonder if she was losing her marbles! Anyway, if the big one comes there is now enough food in the cupboards to feed 3 people for up to a fortnight, but unless you are careful by day 10 it's cold baked beans only.

It is all decidedly bizarre walking around town - today must be the hottest day here since I arrived. But every 100 yards or so along Lambton Quay there were buskers playing Christmas Carols about snow and midwinter, people wandering around in Santa hats and tinsle and some decidedly taste free decorations (blue reindeers? Er, hello...) adorning various shop displays. No, no, no, no, no... it is summer, wrong solstice!!!!! Do they just not get that Christmas is a pagan midwinter festival hijacked by the roman church to get people to celebrate Christ instead? We should be having Midsummernight's Dream, bonfires, well dressing... bah humbug. I have enough problems getting Christmassy in the depths of winter, just as well Quakers don't go in for it in a big way!

Maybe I should stock up on mincemeat and whatnot now though ready for when it really is time for mincepies, mulled wine, rich fruit cake (but no marzipan if you don't mind), pudding and custard - ie when it is cold, dark, blowing a gale and you are trying to find ways of keeping warm and not on a day when the newly surfaced pavement on Elizabeth Street, whilst it looks very smooth and is a vast improvement on the potholes, is actually too hot to walk on!

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