Friday, January 30, 2009

Bits and pieces for Friday

I'm using a picture that I used last year but I like it so much that I'm making no apologies for using it again. If you want to see more of the same sort of thing, you can find them in my Funny file. Creative ideas like this are too good to be used just once.

It's been a bits and pieces sort of week and the reason I've not blogged is due to a OU text that I've been trying to get my head around. If you look at this extract you might get a better idea of the problems I've had:

Look at a man, or any other animal of prodigious strength, and what is your idea before reflection? Is it that this strength will be subservient to you, to your ease, to your pleasure, to your interest in any sense? No; the emotion you feel is, lest this enormous strength should be employed to the purposes of rapine and destruction. That power derives all its sublimity from the terror with which it is generally accompanied, will appear evidently from its effect in the very few cases, in which it may be possible to strip a considerable degree of strength of its ability to hurt.

On and on Edmund Burke drones (can you drone if it is written?) :why say one word when you can say 20. I only have so much brain and it's been almost fully occupied with this.

One thing I did do was download lots of old songs and album tracks that I used to like and I am now sitting wallowing in nostalgia. It's a mix of Al Stewart (yes, the Year of the Cat man but so much more to him than that track; in fact we often coincide our trips to the UK with one of his concert dates), there are a few Gerry Rafferty tracks (yes, the Baker Street man - did you know he has gone missing?), a couple of Oasis (Wonderwall and Don't Look Back in Anger), the Proclaimers (remember that Scottish du0, one of them had thick horn rimmed glasses - 500 Miles and Letter from America), T'Pau (China in your Hand and Heart and Soul), Kate Bush (the Man with the Child in his Eyes) and lastly (I should have done this as a list really) Simple Minds classic song Belfast Child.

One drawback I had whilst doing this was that due to having a French address the UK sites won't let you download from them - never mind that my Visa card is UK registered; apparently there are all sorts of international restrictions on this. I had to turn to a French site and do you know what - they didn't have any Fine Young Cannibals tracks listed at all. It was like they had never existed (didn't Roland Gift have an amazing voice), so I might be forced to try 'other methods' to get their tracks I wanted.

Another thing I did was try and kick my biscuit addiction. I have quite an addictive personality and for a long while I was quite addicted to Rowntrees Fruit Gums - yes, even the yellow and green ones.

I would buy a packet every morning from the kiosk at Oxford Circus station and by about an hour later there would be none left. One morning the kiosk owner had run out and I got some Fruit Pastilles instead but it just wasn't the same and I felt a bit cheated. By about 10.30 I'd had to nip out of the office and go to a sweetshop to get my Fruit Gum fix and that's when I woke up to the fact I had a problem. I mean it's not exactly 'waiting for the man' but I didn't want to have something for which I had developed such a need. It took me a month to get rid of the craving but I did it and I haven't had one since then (cue for the group hug at an addicts meeting).

Anyway, the current 'habit' is a biscuit. The thing is that it isn't just the one - whilst I'm studying I get through lots of cups of tea and of course there has to be a biscuit with tea. I have two while the kettle is boiling, then two to dunk and then the Final Two. Of course this had to stop - and it has now been three days without one. It's not as if I can eliminate them from our house; because of Poppy the bichon's allergies she cannot have dog biscuits as there are things in them to which she has a bad response. I get plain boring 'human' biscuits for the dogs and put them in their own canister and I'm trying to make myself imagine that petit beurre are in fact the most disgusting thing in the world and that I mustn't nick them.


The Dotterel said...

Oh, hang on... I need a biscuit; all that reading's made me hungry!

Carol and Chris said...

I'm not surprised your brain has been taken up with your OU stuff....that passage was, well, long winded!!

I'm loving your taste in music...and yes, Roland Gift does have a wonderful voice!! What's happened to Gerry Rafferty??

I'm now going to go and make a cuppa....(without a biscuit...we don't have any in the house :-()

C x

Henry the Dog said...

Mum had a right nostalgia 'fest' reading your music choice - she'd even forgotten Al Stewart, she used to listen to his albums a lot in 1983 when she lived in London. And Gerry Rafferty, she loved Baker Street "Who didn't?" she's asking (honestly it's all going over my head again - no idea what you two silly women are on about) and she says Wonderwall is one of her all time favourite records. She says she's not had a fruit pastille in yonks and is now missing them...look you two, why don't I just bugger off and let you talk amongst yourselves? I feel like a bloody go between (Henry rolls his eyes and huffs in a petulant way)

Blu said...

I am afraid that I am not as educated as you and so my eyes closed over while reading that bit of text. Gerry Rafferty gone missing? I hope that he is ok. I made all these damn biscuits and need to get rid of them otherwise I will eat them all, my visitors only ate a few, skinny French ladies!! Pop round French fancy and help me out.

French Fancy said...

Dotterel - damn you, sir! Not listening, not listening, la la la la la la.

Carol - not all the choices were mine. Mr FF picked the two T'Pau, one of the Oasis, the Simple Minds track, we both wanted Baker Street and we were also joint lovers of some of the other tracks. The 'Al' tracks were mine (one from 24 Carrots and one from Russians and Americans) - I've got them both on vinyl but very scratched.

In fact Mr FF and his ma gave me a really good Technics turntable for my 2007 Xmas pressie. The trouble is that all my favourite albums are scratched to death - and some even have paint on (remember M, when we painted my bedroom blue, as a surprise for my parents who were away on holiday - and then we spilt paint on everything)

Re Gerry Rafferty - I read that he discharged himself from hospital last summer (where he was 'drying out') and just went into hiding from everyone. Nobody knows where he is.

Henry - fruit pastilles are okay but not as sublime (no! not that word!) as the gummy variety. I used to like the Maynards little boxes as well but Rowntrees were my true love.

Blu - education's got diddly squat to do with it. If you could see the moans and groans on the OU Student Forum about this current essay question, you'd know that Burke just waffled on and on and everyone said 'marvellous Edmund, write some more stuff - it's so good' and then he did and did and did.

Oh I'd love one of your biscuits. I won't have any eggs or butter in the house in case I get the urge to bake. Save me from my demons.

French Fancy said...

Henry - I've come back to say that if your mum and I ever got into a room together we'd need hours and hours to talk and swap experiences.

In fact that probably applies to most of my blogging chums (aw, I feel a song coming on).

(goes off to search out a suitable anthem)

LadyFi said...

Loved this post.. the nostalgia of all that near-forgotten music!

And - by gad! - why didn't Burke write in English? Or at least so people didn't drop asleep mid-sentence!!

I can feel a digestive coming on...

Lulu LaBonne said...

Loved the voice but had a big lusty crush on Mr Gift. Did you see Sammy and Rosie Get Laid? (you get to see his bottom in that film)

Debs said...

I'm glad I'm not doing that course, I have no idea what that passage was all about.

Love the Fruit Gums though. I've recently had to give up an addiction to Midget Gems.

Dumdad said...

You have great taste in music; I like all those tracks. Although I'm more a hard rock/blues type of guy, I'm a fan of Al Stewart and have his stuff on vinyl (have no turntable so can't play those) and now on CD. I have quite a few of his albums: Love Chronicles; Zero She Flies; Orange; Modern Times; Year of the Cat; Time Passages; 24 Carrots; Last Days of the Century; Between the Wars; A Beach Full of Shells.

I might have missed some out!

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Smarties--that's what I'm always on the lookout for. Just as well you can't usually get them around here! (Sorry, M&Ms are just not the same!)

Brother Tobias said...

I'm sure he missed out a word in the third sentence. "No; the emotion you feel is FEAR, lest this enormous strength should be employed to the purposes of rapine and destruction." Or something. I he where the term 'Berk' comes from? (I don't believe the apocryphal 'Berkeley Hunt' explanation).
They could look for GR at 221B, perhaps?

Brother Tobias said...

How can 'Is that where' emerge as 'I he'?

Elizabeth said...

Had to look twice to see what this amazing item was!

French Fancy said...

LadyFi - can you get dig biscs in your part of the world or do you get them shipped to you from expat UK sites? I've seen them in the UK sections of shops here but they are something like €2.60.

Lulu - for some reason I never saw that film, although I sometimes muddle up that one with the Rita, Bob one about the man bonking the babysitter. I remember bare bottoms but not sure to whom they belonged. Anyway, his voice was enough - he didn't have to bare flesh.

Debs- oooh I remember midget gems, I think they were a bit chewier than fruit gums though. I never like it when they get stuck to your teeth. I once made a fruit gum last 12 minutes by letting it disolve in my mouth (she added proudly).
I love fruit gums but I'm like an alkie who can't trust themselves to just stop at one.

Dumdad - we share love of the Al. The man is a genius. Yes, I've got all those and many more. I think my favourite track of his is 'Trains' from the Famous Last Words' album. The two I downloaded this week were 'Murmansk Run/Ellis Island' from 24C and 'Rumour of War' from Russians & Americans.

I do love the early 'Mandi' albums though especially the track Gethsemane Again.I also love the bit in the actual track 'Love Chronicles' where he goes on about the 'harlequins'. I could actually go on Mastermind answering questions about his life and his music. Yes, I am a huge fan of his.

Prodigal Tourist - hello there. I've never had the Smartie love I'm afraid. To each his own. I do love a jellybean , although I recently read an article describing in awful detail how exactly they were made and I think it killed off the urge.

BroTob - I've just reread the passage and it is exactly what I've put . We had lots of different things of his to analyse - shame I couldn't have borrowed your brain. I'm now just beginning the compare and contrast all of the Burke text with Book 1 of Wordsowrth's Prelude (well, part of it anyway). It's all to do with representations of the 'sublime'. Yawn.

French Fancy said...

BroTob - just out of curiousity I googled it and it does seem to stop at 'is comma lest' - which I agree makes no sense at all. Here's a link to the full passage.

French Fancy said...

Elizabeth - do you mean the the bread hand? Fabulous, isn't it. There's lots more by the same person in my funny section. I wish I could have found out who did them and give them a credit. I got them sent to me by our doctor and he didn't know from whence they originated.

A Cuban In London said...

Yes, you can drone on and on and on even if you're writing. Sound like a busy week. Wish you luck with OU!

Greetings from London.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

I've been investing in teas and coffees that taste like a treat on their own to avoid nibbling on things I'm not supposed to eat. They're actually quite comforting -- especially since it's so cold here!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I need a petit beurre, my head hurts like hell after that OU question!

I love Gerry Rafferty and have done for years - I'd heard he'd disappeared when they tried to book him in to rehab for alcohol issues...

Best of luck with the studies, and your own addictions - Mine is wine gums!

Mama said...

Hi FF, If I hadnt known that Mr Burke had died way back in 1797, I would have sworn that I sat next to him on a plane returning from the UK last Nov (thank god for Ipods, Oasis and headphones).
oh wonder if my George ever had the pleasure of his company?.

The bread hand pic is excellent, I am off to check out the others.

ah Jerry Rafferty and Al Stewart I had almost forgotten, Hogmanay is not the same here without 500 miles. It is difficult getting some tracks here to, sometimes it is handy having kids in the UK.

I Hosted BUNKO here last year and thought it would be nice to bring back British Fruit Gums, (not keen on the Green ones) Pastels and Liquorice Allsorts (the host has to provide sweets). The Allsorts and pastels were demolished with shouts of more, more but I am afraid the gums went down like a lead balloon, getting stuck in teeth that cost a fortune to upkeep was not such a good idea on my part, those shouts were WTF.

oh dear I seem to have developed Edmund Burke syndrome ops sorry :(

I know you will do well with the sublime and the biscuits, hugs, Kathy.

Steve said...

There is no such thing as an addiction to biscuits... only a discerning palate and a love of the fine things in life. Dunk and chomp away!

Cynthia said...

Dear, Dear, French Fancy, I feel for you. In the mid to late 80's I had to cram my head full of Edmund Burke...he spoke before the Parliment in the 18 century right? See, I've lost it all. It took intense concentration to deal with his mode of expression. Notice that sentence structure in the selected passage! Where is the center of his idea? Couldn't he just add a few simple subject + verb + object sentences to clarify? On a more private note, I'm am seriously addicted to coffee...yes, I like tea-especially Earl Grey-...but coffee is a corner stone of my life.I'm not ready to give it up...maybe ever!(Puerto Rico has the best locally grown coffee...I'm so lost.)

Good luck on the OU task ahead.

laurie said...

can you get mcvitie's in france? that would be my current addiction. (did you know they have digestives with DARK chocolate? oh my.)

justme said...

In the scheme of things, an addiction to buscuits seems pretty mild! And I should think you need them to give you strength for all that studying. x

Jennysmith said...

Gerry Rafferty? That loveable man from Stealers Wheel? I hope he's okay.

I sympathise FF, biscuits are so addictive and they don't fill you up at all. Good luck with that. xxxxx

lady jicky said...

My Mum is not happy for I am itching! I have to try all this different food and tell Poppy - I don't even get biscuits , just this rotten sensitive stuff - its not working Ms Fancy!
Mum hopes Jerry Rafferty is OK - loved his "Baker Street" and as for the green and yellow fruit pastelles - you have it bad!!! LOL
See Ya!

French Fancy said...

A Cuban in London, what a great name. My weeks are full of bits and pieces with the underpinnings of constant study. In London I bet your week is full of Great Things - I love the idea of being in London more than actually being there . One always takes one's home town a bit for granted, but absence really does do what it is meant to do.

Cont.Troub. - how fancy - a tea and coffee collection. I hope you've got a nice wooden mini-cupboard to put them in, one with little cut-outs (I don't know where that image of mine came from at all), but you know the sort of thing I mean. Maybe your arty sister could design one. Hope you manage to keep warm.

AWONI - since reading this I've been struggling to remember what wine gums are like? Are they those things that come in little bags with a diamond shaped red one? I agree about Gerry Rafferty (doesn't it seem like all those folkie musicians of a certain generation have succumbed to drink problems?. I suppose it's trying to wind down after a n evening's gig.

My dad was a musician and would get back about 2-3am but he wound down with a hot chocolate. To each their own.

Mama - yes, doesn't your heart just sink when you get sat beside a talker somewhere. It's okay if they are like all of us bloggers (wonderful and fascinating) but it never is.

Yes, I guess with your kids in the UK there is nothing you can't get easily sent to you. I have a couple of friends who do that for me, but I am someone who hates asking favours especially from busy people.

American teeth - yes, nothing like our lot of pearly yellows are they. There's loads of jokes about UK teeth I think. I remember all the stick that M. Amis got when he spent a publishing advance on new teeth; you would have thought he'd done something so terrible according to all the bitchy remarks back home.

Steve - I am a dunker but not a chomper (just a dropper). I'm not a slurper either.I bet I could have laid that sentence out a bit more rhythmically.See, studies creep in everywhere.

Cynthia - I think I will have lost everything I currently know about Burke by the middle of next week. It's just not worth remembering :) I used to love coffee but a few years ago went off it overnight, yes - as instantly as that. I now have started to have The Coffee Love again though but in a very low-key way. You are in a country famous for it though so you have to keep drinking.

laurie - yes, the English sections do have Rich Tea but, just as with the dig biscs, they have a big mark up. French biscuits are delicious though and thus was my downfall just bound to happen.

justme - I've not had one since last Monday now, just another three weeks to go (it's meant to take 28 days to stop a mild addiction to something; not stuff like heroin obviously :)

jenny - I used to love Stealers Wheel and have a couple of vinyls.


ladyj - Poppy was on hypo-allergenic food from the vets for a long time before she had her allergy shots and we all discovered she was allergic to chicken and certain vegetable oil - both were the mainstay of the vet's food. I could write reams on the subject actually - I know quite a lot about it now. All I'll say is that both our dogs are on home cooking and the problems have cleared up (although she still has to wear a bucket because of her OCD compulsions)

Brother Tobias said...

I blush to admit that I had already googled the original text, not suspecting you of any mistake for a moment, but to see if he could really be so sloppy and obscure. I am deeply unenvious of you having to study such stuff!

French Fancy said...

BroTob - :) (I do that sort of thing too).

His use of language was appalling and when you think of how precise someone like Hume was in his writings, I know it is not the times but indeed the man.

Larry M. Brow said...

I live in Lawrence, Kansas, a smallish city with an active music scene. I mention this only to comment on having seen the Proclaimers perform at a local dive called, "the Bottleneck." No more than two hundred people total, dancing on the same floor as the performers. Really great.

LadyFi said...

Yes - over here in Sweden we can Digestives. (Plain and wholemeal.) We also get Cadbury's chocolate fingers! And of course everyone is mad about the very thin Swedish gingerbread biscuits... said to be good at keeping you happy!

Thanks for clamping me firmly onto that sidebar of yours!

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