Archive for April, 2012

W is for…

WATERMELON!

When I was on my gap year, I taught at a preschool group in a township. There was a lot of showing pictures and the children all chanting together “This is a….” One of the things for the letter W was a picture of a “watermyelon.”

There was also the letter I, for which the picture was of an “Eendian”. Actually, it was a picture of a girl in a beige dress with tassles and a headdress, who was quite clearly an American Indian, but who was I to nitpick.

It was months before I realised what the teacher meant when she taught the children about “chicken tights.” (Thighs.)

They had some interesting songs too, which I’m sure were made up on the spot. Each one has the same tune.

Building up a temple,
Building up a temple,
Building up a temple for the Lord,
Boys, come and help us!
Girls, come and help us!
Building up a temple for the Lord.

Another one:

Walking to Jesus,
Walking to Jesus,
Walking to Jesus every day,
With my bible in my hand,
Bare feet in the sand,
Walking to Jesus every day.

This next one ended up with me in a bit of a surreal situation:

Telephone to Jesus
Telephone to Jesus
Telephone to Jesus every day…..
(hands in pretend telephone shape next to ear)
“Hellooo?”
Telephone to Jesus,
Telephone to Jesus,
Telephone to Jesus every day.

One day, I’d only been there a week or so, the teacher said to me, “Teacher Laura, I think Jesus is calling you on the phone!” It took me by surprise and I didn’t have time to think about whether I was especially comfortable with the idea so I whipped out my mobile phone in front of about ninety amazed children and said something along the lines of “O hello Jesus! Hi! How are you? That’s nice. So you’ve got a message for the children? O that’s good. What would you like me to tell them? To be nicely behaved and to eat up all their dinner? And to listen at school and do lots of learning? Ok Jesus, I’ll tell them you called and I’ll tell them you love them lots. Ok. Bye bye!”

And that’s still probably the wierdest pretend phone call I’ve ever had.

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V is for….

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VAYNITES!

This was apparently the thing to say while my friend was growing up, to protect you from getting ‘got’. For example, when you’re playing It or Tag and someone runs close by to ‘get’ you, you just say ‘Vaynites!’ and they can’t get you. Genius.

You can also say ‘Injections!’ and it has the same effect, so I’m told. It often gets shortened so saying ‘Jections!’ also guarantees you immunity.

I remember saying ‘Bagzee’ when I was younger, to get extra immunity from stuff. Like if you’re picking who’s going to be It, you could say ‘Bagzee not It!’ and that would be fine. You were immune then, cause you’d said the sacred word, Bagzee.

My brother and I made up our own word, which was a slight variation on Bagzee. We said Begznee. For some reason, I remember really clearly being on holiday somewhere, and we were sharing a bunk bed and there was a little sink in the room and my brother was saying everything with Begznee before it and I was a mess, I couldn’t stop laughing! He said “You take take your Begznee toothbrush and you put the Begznee tap on….” It was the funniest thing I had ever heard anyone say in my entire life!

Wouldn’t it be good if you could still get immunity from things as an adult by saying the immunity word?

“Laura, I did the dinner, do you mind washing up?”
“VAYNITES! Vaynites not doing the dishes! Yesssss! I said vaynites! In YOUR face! Don’t have to do them! Woooooo! I’m off to watch TV, enjoy doing the dishes!”

U is for…

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UNINSPIRED!

I slept too long last night so am a bit lethargic. It’s raining outside. I forgot to bring the lovely swimsuit I bought especially for my holiday. And I haven’t baked in days. My brain is feeling a bit lazy on the creativity front. Let me try a few different U things and see if anything flows.

Under = my brother told me a joke when I was younger that went ‘What do you get if you go under a cow? A pat on the back.’ I knew it must be funny because my big brother had said it and he was way cool. So I told it too. And laughed loads. But I didn’t get it at all.

Umbrella – I’ve never owned one for more than a few days. Every public transport lost property department in England must have one of my umbrellas.

Ukraine – when I was about 19, I watched a Chinese film called House of Flying Daggers. I loved it. The scenery looked beautiful. There was one bit where they’re running through a bamboo forest which looked amazing. I booked myself onto a group trip to China to trek the Great Wall and couldn’t wait to run through a bamboo forest myself. A week or so before leaving for China I was reading a film review of House of Flying Daggers and it said that it was actually filmed in the Ukraine…..

Upside-down cake – I saw someone making one last night on Come Dine With Me. I’ve never made one. Maybe I will.

University – despite wanting to get exams done and out of the way, I do really enjoy the process of learning and being in education. I’m thinking of taking up a short course as soon as my law degree is finished, my second degree by the way. You can never have too many degrees, that’s what I think! What I’m going to actually do with them is a different question! For the moment I’m just going to gather them, like books on a shelf, and have a little look at them every so often.

T is for….

THE BIG SHOP!

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The Big Shop that you do when you first arrive on holiday. You know the one, and you arrive home with an unnamed slab of white fish which might be cod, or it could be a fish you don’t really get at home. And you get teabags that end up being a kind of mystery coffee-bag thing that you don’t really like but drink anyway.

You pick up all the different milk, wondering if skimmed, semi skimmed and whole are the same colours here or whether its just the different brands. You read the ingredients, you look at the nutritional value, trying to get a clue. And end up buying soya by accident anyway.

Is that green leafy stuff spinach? It doesn’t look exactly like spinach but it looks more like it than anything else you can see.

Why do their packs of bacon only have three pieces in them? That’s bizarre. And is this chicken? Does frango mean chicken?

Yesterday I went to a chicken fast food place as we were running out of options. The other choices were Burger King, a place called Le Croissant and McDonald’s. My eyes are bad so I had to wait to get right up to the till before I could see the menu. So I ordered two seconds after seeing it, in a panic. In bad Portuguese (I thought) I asked for some chicken strips and a few legs. Didn’t need any extras, there were plenty of other bits the others had got to share. Before I knew it I had two massive trays full of chips and fried chicken in breadcrumbs and a bottle of water. And two sets of plastic cutlery. I’d ordered two MASSIVE chicken and chips meals!

How that happened I still don’t know! I’m off to the shop in a minute actually, for some teabags that are tea and not some mystery substance. Wish me luck!

S is for…

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SUMMER DRESS!

I had a real thing against those summer dresses you had to wear for school. You know, the blue and white checked ones. You could get yellow and white, pink and white, green and white…. Loads. And I didn’t like any of them.

I think one had been bought for me, a blue and white one, and I hadn’t worn it yet. Obviously, my parents were annoyed that wouldn’t wear it and one evening my mum was saying that I had to wear it the next day to school.

I objected but she wasn’t budging. So the next morning I devised a plan. I agreed to wear the dress and put it on. I hated it.  I was only about 9 years old, I don’t know what the problem was. Anyway, I put the dress on.

In a little bag, I put my favourite white polo shirt and navy blue skirt, the winter uniform that I preferred. When everyone was busy doing other things I went into the back room, opened the window and dropped the bag into the back garden.

When it was time to leave, I pretended to be fine about having to wear the summer dress and left the house, closing the front door behind me. Then I quickly went around to the back garden, got my tshirt and skirt from my bag and changed out of my hated summer dress.

As I left the garden to walk around the house again and off to school, my Mum walked toward me! She’d looked out of the front window and couldn’t see me so figured something was going on. Shocked at being caught, I ran around her and sped off down the road to school and spent the day in fear of the repurcussions. I had planned to change back into the summer dress at the end of school and arrive home in it, keeping up the pretence. I don’t think I bothered after being caught.

To conclude, I don’t remember being asked to wear the summer dress ever again.

R is for…

RAMBLER!

Another guest post again today.

What connects ramblers and elves? Daft question? Good question? Quidnunc? (see K is for Knowledge if you don’t know what it means). Some investigation clearly necessary because there is more to this than meets the eye. You may have to bear with me for a while in order to understand, a possibly mystifying, connection. Ok, so let’s start with two well-known definitions from my trusty Chambers Dictionary:

1. A rambler is “a person who goes walking in the country for pleasure” or it could be “someone who wanders or is disconnected in their speech”.

2. An elf is, “in folklore, a supernatural being, generally of a diminutive human form, a tiny fairy with a tendency to play tricks.” Do you believe elves actually exist? Hmmm….

You’ve probably seen someone, in the first category, at some time or another: cagoule, rucksack on back, map in hand, maybe compass too. One thing is certain, they’re not just wandering about with no idea of what they want to do. They have a certain amount of time, a projected distance to travel, food & drink, emergency stuff (whistle & rain gear), and a very clear aim: to reach a certain point (or summit) and return safely. It is that final condition (‘safely’) which is where we will find our sought after connection.

How many of you have heard of the person with the double-barrelled surname, Anne Saif-Tee? Not sure I see any hands going up! Ok, what if I tell you she is an elf and a very important elf, would that help? No? Surely you’ve heard of some of the procedures she’s introduced in many workplaces around the world – they’re called the “Elf Anne Saif-Tee Standards”. Got it? They help people to be protected against potential dangers by specifying how a particular task should be done – safely.
However, she wasn’t happy with just that. She’s written stuff for many other areas. She warns people about the dangers of tobacco & drinking too much alcohol – surely you’ve seen the “elf warnings” that she’s introduced? A few more nodding heads perhaps now? And don’t forget that system she is responsible for to help pay for the provision of medical care & facilities – the Elf Insurance Policy. She’s been working overtime in the UK, during the past 10 years or so, and has introduced many measures in just about every area you can think of – except, to the best of my knowledge, in the field of rambling.

Now this is where I come in as I’m trying to imagine what could happen in the future as I’m sure, before long, she will have a go at reforming this leisurely activity. It’s not hard really. First job is to do what is called the “RA” (or “Risk Assessment”). (Even little kids know about this. You’ve heard them say “RA Mum” or “RA Dad.”) You must have an RA for every function people perform in their places of work or even outside of work whilst engaged in hobbies or pastimes so they can be protected from potential dangers. Look at cyclists, skateboarders, skiers, footballers et al. who, it is suggested, need to wear protective gear like toughened hats, elbow, knee & shin protectors etc.

But how might this impact in the field of rambling? Well, you’d need a hard hat to prevent injury if you fell or had to negotiate overhanging rocks; you’d need a Hi-Viz vest so you could be seen by your fellow walkers in case you become separated from the group; protective glasses required in case of stone chips hitting you in the face, say when you’re climbing a hill behind another person; knee pads would not go amiss either; you’d also need a Sherpa to carry your rucksack if it weighed more than say a couple of pounds because prolonged carrying could result in you sustaining a back injury.

I’ve decided to pre-empt anything Anne (the elf) might do – on a recent walk I took all the gear and hired a Sherpa. He just seemed to be able to keep going despite the severity of the terrain & all he was carrying. Unable to keep up the pace he was setting, I asked, in desperation, “Aren’t you going to ever rest?” He said, tensing up a little, “Probably next week! I’ll be somewhere in Nepal then and should be in peak condition, certainly intent on feeling on top of the world too!!”

Also, ever thought about those “Ess” elves? Who? Never heard people talking about “your ess-elves” or “them ess-elves” or “my ess-elf”? Also don’t forget those very quiet elves that lurk in your house – they’re called the “shh…” elves. And, not surprisingly, you know what they do – hold things up!

Now perhaps you’ll believe that “elves” really do exist! Well here in the UK at least!

So, have I been rambling or is it just possible I could be an elf, my ess-elf? Check those definitions again but I’ll leave it to you to decide.

P.S.: If you doubt how ridiculous Elf Anne Saif-Tee’s Procedures (“Health & Safety” in case you hadn’t got it by now) can be just check out the headline below. (I had to cut some of the page out, in order to fit on A4 scanner, but it really is from the front page of a UK national newspaper – Daily Mail, Fri 13th April, 2012).

 

I hope….

….my phone works abroad. Apologies in advance for possible total lack of blogging, if it doesn’t. I shall try to locate an internet cafe. Fingers crossed!

Phone off. Here we go!