Ichabod is itchy

January 8, 2007

Back to the grind

Filed under: life,mexico — by ichabodisitchy @ 8:13 pm

It’s official. Holiday season is over. Christmas tree is down– after much sawing on Saturday, all done in the living room because it was peeing down with rain all day. And back at work.

Amazing how holidays pass by so quickly. We had a wonderful time over x-mas– out in Mexico with all my family– sitting by the pool and soaking up the sunshine…

Got back in time for New Year’s Eve down in Exmouth, Devon, with some old friends of ours. It’s an interesting place to see the new year in in, as the whole town gets geared up in fancy dress and has a huge street party (best costumes of the night were a gaggle of traffic cones (if gaggle is an appropriate collective noun) that seemed to spend most of the night wandering round the streets squatting down to divert police cars).

An interesting thought on fancy dress– we didn’t see a single Father Christmas out in town. You’d think it would be a really easy option– someone must have a costume left over from the week before. Yet it didn’t appear to have occurred to anyone– perhaps because Christmas is most decidedly over as soon as the sun sets on Christmas Day?

Wishing you all the best for a happy 2007… I leave you with a nice sunny pic of the breakfast table in mex…



November 4, 2006

Me, me, me meme

Filed under: life — by ichabodisitchy @ 7:24 pm

I’ve been tagged for a meme by Ian over at This Writing Life to list 5 things about myself that you may not have previously known. So here goes…

Remember that it isn’t always the sensational stuff that writers are looking for, it can just as easily be something that you take for granted like having raised twins or knowing how to grow beetroot. Mind you, if you know how to fly a helicopter or have worked as a film extra, do feel free to let the rest of us know about it.

1. I have a tattoo on my bottom (upper right side). I got it in a rather dodgy tattoo parlour in some backstreet of Prague when I had just turned 17. At the time, it was the size of a small postage stamp. Unfortunately, as I have grown older, my svelte and trim teenage buttocks have given way to a rather expansive gluteus maximus and the postage stamp has turned into a billboard poster.

2. I have a mole on the end of my nose that my friends at school used to  call ‘the fly’.

3. I spend an extraordinary amount of time worrying about death. I’m dreadfully afraid of my husband’s death. But not nearly as afraid as I am at the thought of nobody finding me when I’m dead myself. That news story a few months ago about the dead woman found in a London flat who had been dead in front of the tv for 3 years before anyone found her– is my worst nightmare.

4. I love The Archers and religiously listen to the omnibus every Sunday. The Ruth-Sam affair is driving me crazy.

5.  When I was about 7, at home playing with a friend, my younger brother (aged 5) was bugging us–as younger brothers do… I ran into my room and before I could shut the door, my brother had put his finger in the hinge. I looked at him, looked at his finger, and slammed the door. The top of his finger fell off (well, it was hanging by a thread)– mum picked it up and ran to the hospital with my brother, his finger and a lot of ice. You’ll be glad to hear they managed to sow it back on.

Sell your soul– on ebay.

Filed under: life — by ichabodisitchy @ 5:49 pm

Feels like an absolute age since I had time to sit down and read anybody’s blogs, let alone write anything down. But mum and dad flew back out to Mexico yesterday, so slowly getting my feet back on the ground. And what has been happening in my world for the past 10 days?

Well, highlights would include my oldest stepson turning 14 last week. We had 10 young teenagers round to the house for a ‘sleepover’. I say sleepover, although there was very little sleeping that I could see. More like ‘pizza, crisps and videogames over’.

Another highlight– The Canterbury Tales at the Gielgud Theatre (part 2). I think the run finished this weekend, so bad luck if you missed it– it was great. Very amusing and incredibly ‘bawdy’– everything we’d hoped for. Although not quite what Dylan (the recently turned 14 year old) had been expecting though. His eyes widened a little when the curtains went up to reveal a man baring his bottom to the audience. But it wasn’t until the summoner’s tale– when he’s describing how all friars live up Satan’s arse and get farted out at regular intervals– that Dyl turned round and said ‘it’s not exactly like chitty chitty bang bang is it?’

But top highlight of the week was when Harry (aged 10) came home and told us with great delight that you can sell your soul on e-bay. And– you can get £20 for it! That’s a lot of money to a 10-year old and he’s seriously considering it. After all, he said, if he feels he can’t live without it, he can always buy one back later!

October 31, 2006

Happy halloween

Filed under: life — by ichabodisitchy @ 7:02 pm

No time for blogging– mum and dad still in residence til end of this week, so all very hectic. And trick or treaters turning up every 2 mins…

But we have found time to make a pumpkin, and I just wanted to wish you all a happy halloween. And to wish Minx very good luck with her fabulous book launch ce soir…


October 14, 2006

LIFE through time

Filed under: art,life,web sites — by ichabodisitchy @ 4:23 pm

This week’s Science magazine points to a beautiful website called LIFE: A journey through time. It is a collection of stunning photographs, that tell the story of life on earth since its first beginnings.  You can view them as a slide-show, or look at them in an annotated timeline. You can also click on each photo to find out more about both the photo and the time/process it’s illustrating. Some pictures come with video or audio add-ons too.

I’m not terribly good at taking photos, so always marvel at really good ones. And the pictures on this website are wonderful. In addition to the amazing wildlife shots like this one of a tarsier, there are some gorgeous landscape photos.

And you can learn about the history of the earth as you go along. The website also includes a list of links for those interested in natural history– educational resources, museum listings, conservation groups and relevant books.

October 12, 2006


Filed under: life — by ichabodisitchy @ 9:20 pm

My 14-year old stepson came home from school last Friday, complaining of a ‘slight tummy-ache’. He didn’t seem all that ill and we insisted on his at least trying a little of the chili-con-carne Lewis had slaved over the stove to make. Admittedly, we did feel somewhat guilty two hours later as the poor lad was puking his guts up all over the landing floor…

Needless to say, as soon as we had relocated the vomiting wonder-boy to the bathroom, positioned his head over the loo, patted his head and said ‘there there’, we got out the bucket, put on some gloves and cleaned up the mess (well, I say we but Lewis did it all really). But even though all visible signs of the sick have gone, its spirit lives on. Despite all our scrubbing and ‘shake ‘n’ vac’-ing, the smell has lingered. It assaults your nostrils every time you wander up the stairs and hangs about the house like a guest that has frankly outstayed its welcome.

Help! What can we do to get rid of it?

October 3, 2006

Different planets

Filed under: life,Uncategorized — by ichabodisitchy @ 6:19 pm

I read an article called ‘Different planets‘ in the Guardian’s G2 today… Apparently, Niger is the most dangerous place to have a baby in– 1 in 7 women die during childbirth. This compared to 1 in 28,900 in Sweden (the world’s ‘safest’ place to give birth).

I find this completely shocking. The idea of dying during childbirth has always seemed, to me, something that I might read about in one of the Victorian novels I’m so fond of. I had no idea that having a baby was still such a risky business for people today. And it seems all the more shocking because one tends to think of child-birth as a ‘natural’ phenomenon– one that has been going on for millenia…

The conditions that the women featured in the G2 article have to give birth in are truly shocking–lack of midwives (those they do have, hover by with the only piece of equipment available to them to help in a delivery– a razorblade), temperatures of 40C or more and, of course, zero pain-relief. On top of this, the culture is such that the husbands of these women offer little, or no, support– the women are left to wander to hospital by themselves, give birth alone (and in silence) and then find their way home (often over large distances) a couple of hours later, with or without a baby.

I don’t know if it’s because I am now in my 30s and painfully aware of my biological clock, but this article made me feel so sad– of course I know that living conditions in many developing countries (particularly those in Africa) is pretty grim but these women seem to have such a hard time. It reminds me that I am truly lucky to know that when the time comes for me, the risk will be minimal, the epidurals will be plenty and I will have a loving husband to hold my hand all the way.

September 27, 2006

A letter from Budapest

Filed under: life — by ichabodisitchy @ 6:03 pm

Last week our old neighbour phoned us up to say that someone had tried to deliver something for Lewis, but that it required a signature. It having been his birthday last week, Lewis was quite excited at the prospect of a birthday parcel– albeit slightly annoyed at the Post Office, given that we’ve especially paid them to get post redirected to our new address.

So it was with some anticipation that we answered the doorbell on Saturday morning and signed for our delivery. Sadly for Lewis, it turned out not to be a birthday present but was, instead, a flat envelope stamp-marked Budapest.

Upon opening it, we discovered a four-page letter — in Hungarian — from Sigma Credit Management Company. Luckily a small excerpt of the letter was (badly) translated into English– it informed us that Lewis owed the Hungarian government £31 in unspecified ‘tax and duties’, and that it had to be payed within 30 days or we would be issued with a fine.

Somewhat perplexing– given that we know no-one in Hungary and Lewis has never even set foot in the country.

We checked out the company online and it’s all legit. So Lewis phoned them up yesterday. Turns out that ‘somebody’ with the name Philip Lewis, allegedly from the UK owes the Hungarian government £31. The company charged with collecting this money has no contact details for this person, so they ‘look up the name on the computer’ and then send off a letter to the first person whose details come up, cross their fingers that they’ve got the right one, and hope for the best! Is it just me, or does this seem a crazy way to collect taxes?

So when Lewis said ‘well, it’s not me’, they just shrugged their shoulders, said ‘sorry to have bothered you– we’ll try the next one down the list’.  Unbelievable.

September 8, 2006


Filed under: life — by ichabodisitchy @ 8:48 am

Yesterday I found out that an old friend of mine– with whom I had a brief love affair in my early 20s– had died. He was young (only 30), fit and healthy and he just collapsed of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. He was running a half-marathon and he was here one minute and gone the next.

I cannot express the pain I’m in. I can think of nothing else and, from the moment I heard, have had constant flashbacks of his smile, his laughter, his voice and the time we spent together. And I can’t stop crying.

I haven’t seen him for a couple of years. And I suppose we were never the closest of friends. So how can it hurt so much? He was such a sweet and gentle creature– and a real entertainer. Always had a story to tell, always making people laugh, and I never heard him say a nasty thing about anyone.

The world will be a duller place without him.

August 3, 2006

All boxed up

Filed under: life — by ichabodisitchy @ 5:21 pm

Boxes, boxes everywhere, and not a place to sit! Well, we’re all packed up– and this will probably be the last blog entry for a couple of weeks as we’ll be off broadband tomorrow and it apparently will take 2-3 weeks to get it set up again at the new house (have to wait for a phone line first)…

Too exhausted to type any more– have been scrubbing all the floors and walls all day and my fingers have lost all feeling… (hope the people at the house we’re moving in to are as considerate in cleaning up before they go or we’ll be scrubbing all weekend as well!)

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