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But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
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   Saturday, November 03, 2001
Samhainn ... started with organic bread and humous. I'd reckoned that since it's traditional to make mulled wine, then the kitchen would be either full or uninhabitable (wrong on both counts, I'm glad to note), so got picnicy things. Then we set out, en bloc, to celebrate. It's traditional for me *not* to paint my face. And I didn't dress up, being more concerned with being warm: denims, wool jumper, boots, leather jacket, central American (and extremely silly) hat. She dressed up in shades of black, topped with a corset. He dressed up in different shades of black, layers of natural fibres. First challenge was an extreme shortage of information leaflets, but more by luck than anything else, someone had over-ordered on the club flyers, which had an abbreviated explanation of just what was happening, so that was ok. Second challenge was my fault, really - I didn't prepare the bucketers enough, so they had to learn on the job. Having said that, I must admit they were absolutely fucking marvellous. There were 14 bucketers who raised 750 which, if my maths is correct, means there was a mean average of 53 per bucket, which is very good. There was 400 in 1 coins and, I think, 60 in 50p pieces. It was slightly depressing to note that the council's estimate of attendance was 5,000 which (I've gotta get a calculator here) growls, where on earth is it? I'll need it soon ... hmmm, even if there were only 2,000 people there, I guess quite a few didn't get to donate anything. I don't think there were 5,000 people, Parliament Square just wasn't hotching enough with people. Anyway, tomorrow, there's a showing of the rough draft of the video, and the Health and Safety chap is going to do some population density calculations ... thinks, remember when this was done by a couple of botanists who are now highly paid (I hope) civil servants, using Liverpool taxis as their subjects. The taxi drivers were very upset to be monitored, as no one told them they were buttercup surrogates ...


   Wednesday, October 31, 2001
I should be swimming now, not typing. As part of my new fitness regime, I'm trying to swim more often, but somehow that laudable resolve hits rock bottom at 0600 on a dark, Scottish morning. Maybe in the holidays.

Soundbytes of news: "I'm really sorry" she says, riffling ruthlessly through my lingerie box and removing all the black underwear for her trip to Whitby. So it doesn't matter if all that's left is either economy white or shocking scarlet, after all, no one at work will see them. For someone so dreamy, she sometimes displays extreme efficiency, though I think packing for a long weekend four days early is taking efficiency a little too far.

"This has to be the wrong end of feminism" I say, noting that I'm carrying two rucksacks for the weekly wash. At least, my son is carrying one - he's well brought up in some respects at least - but his teenage friends are just larking about. They get beckoned (they, too, are polite in their own way) and loaded with the washing while I sternly say that, while in the company of gentlemen, ladies should carry nothing. This, they perceive, as being kind to the elderly, and advice from a past generation, but they oblige. They then take it in turns to jump on the manhole cover, in the hope that their extra weight may cause it to break, so that they get plunged into the depths of whatever lies below.

Went swimming Monday night: with reluctance, but use of the sports centre is a bonus from work. It wasn't incredibly bad, though going shopping before having to cram all your belongings into a tiny locker is not really advised.Swam ten lengths, then spent the rest of the evening looking at my notes in an attempt to study.

Samhainn tonight. Thank goodness the weather is dry. Last night was wet, wet, wet, to the extent that fifteen strangers all huddled closer together than they really wanted to be, under the shelter of the bus stop. Then, when the bus came, part of its route was blocked off. Resisted temptation to casually walk, ghoul-like, in that general direction to see if it was another landslide, or merely a car accident which caused the blockage.

The one time someone actually phones my mobile turns out to be when I'm in the middle of a complicated explanation of the relationship between QFD and SERVQUAL. There's usually giggles at work when "Scotland the Brave" pipes up from someone's bag - it's amazing what people reveal about themselves by their choice of tune. Personally, I wanted the Bloodhound Gang's "I hope you die", but ended up with Yum-yum's ode to vanity from "The Mikado". I suppose it's appropriate ...

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