Sunday, February 28, 2010

William Topaz McGonagall

This week, Matt and I have been exploring the joys of McGonagall.

No, that's not some sort of little-known and ungainly sexual thing. William McGonagall was simply one of the most fascinating poets ever. He is the basis for Terry Pratchett's Nac Mac Feegle bards - the Gonnagles - who can scare off enemies with their terrible poetry.

I already knew his poem 'The Tay Bridge Disaster' (go and read it, then come back. I can wait, and it's totally worth it), but I hadn't realised that he'd written more than 200 poems. This will keep us in comedy gold for weeks!

He was a fascinating man, too. He only 'realised he was a poet' at the age of 52, and was wildly popular due to the consistant crappiness of his poems. Apparently, there's a theory that he knew exactly how bad he was, and his poetry was a form of performance art. Whether he did or he didn't, his work is amazing - the complete lack of scansion and horrific rhymes make his poems a wonder to behold.

A particular favourite of ours is 'The Dundee Flower Show', incorporating such awesome rhymes as:
And there were twenty four roses distinct to be seen
Belonging to James Cocker and Sons Aberdeen
Also some beautiful roses as ever sprang from the earth
And some of them belonging to Dickens & Turnbull Perth

Oh, and the best way to read these is out loud, to some poor victim, whilst holding the classic 'declaiming' pose - one hand on your heart, the other gesticulating wildly.

Now, in our marriage, Matt tends to bring the science and logic side, whereas I bring the creative and mental side. But Matt has totally found his creative niche with this. I can (as we call it) McGonagall, but it takes quite a lot of thinking. Matt effortlessly McGonagalls away, sometimes to quite a worrying extent.

An emailed poem he sent me at work this week:
Oh! Most beautiful Flora to whom I am writing upon this day,
It is with neither a feeling of sorrow nor either with a feeling of dismay,
That I am able to say,
That on this mornings journey from the midway point of Princes Street in Edinburgh to the Gyle,
Nothing did occur of a nature vile.
And so I was not sick of heart nor did it require to be restarted with intervention manual,
For there was seen by me a man out walking nearby to where there used to be a route for buses but is now the future site of tram lines with a spaniel.
And it were that I could'st observe this happening
For I had consum'd not whisky, rum or gin
So remember should you wish to live most happily
Consume not of the strong drink such as whisky, rum, gin or brandy.

I look forward with great joy to hearing of how you do fare
From where you are quite far away over there
And I am curious to hear what it is that for breakfast you did consume
So please do say soon.

And he referred to McGonagall as "the original McGonagall" yesterday. I think I should be worried.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010


We wanted to do something a bit different from our usual 'wandering around Edinburgh' thing this weekend. So we decided to go to Stirling. I haven't been there in about 12 years, and Matt never has, so we went to see what it was like.

Yeah, it hasn't changed much since I was last there. More coffee shops, and that's about it.

We were hoping to go to the Stirling Old Town Jail, but apparently it doesn't open for the season until April, so we made do with looking at the outside.

A gate into the graveyard of the Church of the Holy Rude. *sniggers*
I do find it interesting that ours (in Edinburgh, I mean) is 'Holy Rood'. I wonder why there is a difference in the spelling.

As we walked up the hill to the castle, we passed through the graveyard. Beautiful views.

A view from the battlements at the castle. I had to sit on a cannon for this shot.

Matt likes cannons.

There were some really fucking terrifying displays in the Great Kitchens.

And then we played in the castle proper.

True story: I didn't realise that I was wearing all black with purple accessories until I looked at this photo afterwards...

After our adventure in the far lands, we came home, ate fresh pasta with this tomato sauce, and now we're about to watch UP, which we bought on DVD yesterday.
So, g'night, my darlings.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday is good.

First things first. Have you read Tavi yet? She's pretty damn awesome. I may not be 100% what the normal people might call 'a fashion icon' myself, but I did totally steal her two-tone tights idea for when I went out for coffee (or tea, in my case) this afternoon. And she's only 13. 13! Gah!

But you should observe the interestingness of my outfit for today. I was (and still am) slightly unsure about the long straight top over a slightly A-line skirt, but I think it worked, as a whole. (Matt was saying "Give me... anger, sweetie!")

The Hair was dyed again this weekend. It really, really needed to be. An inch or so of brown (and grey. *sniffle*) was showing at the roots. Cyber Purple makes it sound a lot more dramatic than the, admittedly rather nice, dark reddish purple that it actually is.

The rug is still making us happy. I keep finding Matt basking on it in the evenings. "What are you doing, sweetheart?" I ask in my kindest wifely voice.
"I am lying on the grass. In the sun."
I think Matt might like it to be Spring now.

In this picture, can you find...
My pair of weird studded boots?
Matt's feet?
A bottle of Appletiser?
A tiny crazy hamster cowering in the corner of her cage?
A box set of Dungeons and Dragons?

And I am currently sitting on the rug. Typing this on my spanking new laptop. Which I can do because, aside from said spanking new laptop, we also purchased a wireless router. It's very exciting because, with two (TWO!) laptops and this new router, we can both be online at the same time. AT THE SAME TIME, Y'ALL!

Ok, ok, fine. Everyone else has been wireless for simply years. But we have now been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the Century of the Fruitbat.

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Ikea! *mimes guitar solo*

We come from the lands of snow and ice
and gods of war and thunder
With a swing of an oar we would reach your shore
and pillage, rob and plunder
We are ravagers of women, and capturers of kings
but now we're friends we make amends
and fill your homes with lots of gorgeous things

We'll get your houses looking sleek and modern, that's for sure
We are conquering the world with our self-assembly, flat-packed furniture

You can maximise your living space and brighten up your walls
or just have a cup of coffee and perhaps some nice meatballs
And if you haven't killed each other by the time you get to pay
perhaps you'd like to know who made us what we are today

Our boss is Ingvar Kamprad, he takes his vodka straight
He's been our fearless leader since 1958
If we can follow all of the instructions he will give
Then all the world will have the little things to build a better place to live

Our CEO's a legendary Viking entrepeneur
We are conquering the world with our self-assembly, flat-packed furniture

Please consider the Mitch Benn song above as being the theme tune for today's post.
So... the in-laws took us to Ikea yesterday. Neither of them had ever been to Ikea before. This was... interesting.

Now, I've said it before, and I'm perfectly happy to say it again - I adore Ikea.
We picked up some basics - candles, batteries, a lovely giant glass mug, a frying pan (for a friend. I'd been biggin' up these pans to him. It's a wee non-stick frying pan, costs 99p, but is one of the best non-stick pans I've ever had.) etc.
We also got hold of a rather spiffy shelf unit for the kitchen. Not the one I wanted, but the one I wanted is not available online or in our local Ikea. So... (as I believe the young people say these days) whatevs. This one's pretty awesome. I was on the phone to Maegan last night, and Matt decided that, since I was busy, he'd just build it. He did a very good job, and it's currently sitting in the middle of our kitchen. He placed some loose apples, two loaves of bread, and a six-pack of Coke Zero on it. It looks rather show-home-ish.

And the in-laws bought us a fake-grass rug! Which is nice of them, because we could not have afforded 35 quid for it, as much as we love it.

Do you know what (of course you don't. If you knew what I was about to say, I'd worry for you, I really would.)? The rug makes almost everything more fun!
It makes everything feel like a picnic! Seriously, we ate dinner sitting on it, we unpacked shopping sitting on it... we even slept on it last night in the living room, and it felt like camping! I love camping, even if it is fake.

And we ate hotdogs and chips and meatballs, and all was good with the world. Post written, job done. The end.

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