Random acts of annoyance

Yes. It’s been one of those weeks. Six years ago this week I was in Tokyo on my way to Australia for the one-day internationals between Australia and England. This week I’ve been up S*** Creek without a paddle. Guess which I preferred?

Have you ever tried to get a urine sample from a cat? No? Lucky you. I’ve been trying to get one from Jimbobs this week; and he’s not into obliging. I spent Tuesday shut in the conservatory with him, his water fountain, a litter tray with special waterproof litter and fraying nerves. Altogether he was separated from Rosie Parker for almost twenty four hours with only the vet’s litter for a receptacle, the pipette at the ready to suck up anything he managed to produce. He wasn’t productive. Nothing to report. So I rang the vet and told her it really wasn’t working. She advised I take him in for a day and they would try to get a sample by needle directly into the bladder: cystocentesis is the medical term. So on Friday morning we fought to get him into the pet carrier and trundled him off to the surgery. They kept him for best part of the day. Guess what? No sample forthcoming.  £16.00 for ‘kennelling’ and we have it all to do again tomorrow! It’s a good job I love him.

And then, more botheration. On Wednesday, the small notebook laptop I keep exclusively for the Black Ladd accounts gave up the ghost. It’s been feeling poorly for a few weeks and Amie advised me to buy a new one. I put off buying until I next meet the accountant for the quarterly VAT visit so she can install the Sage software for me. But events took a turn for the worse on Wednesday when I powered up the notebook and it just displayed a large unsmiley face. I kid you not, one screen sized sad face! So I did the accounting essentials without the laptop on Wednesday and went home to find a replacement online: click and collect at PC  World. I don’t need a fancy all singing, all dancing machine, just one that will handle the Sage 50 accounting software. And there lies the rub. The accountant sent the download setup link via email and I tried on Thursday, after I collected the laptop from the store, to download the software. At first nothing happened. I tried again, still nothing; but I had to go out and when I came back there was a slight movement on the download bar. I watched it for three hours (!) and it got to two thirds downloaded then stopped; and remained motionless for the next twenty four hours. Now, we live out in the wilds of Saddleworth and the broadband isn’t fantastic out here, so on Saturday I took my new laptop to Keith and Penny’s house and hitch-hiked the superhighway on their fibre optics. Hooray, it downloaded in no time. Click install. Aargh! An error message: ‘This access control list is not in canonical form therefore cannot be modified‘. This is more obscure than the obscurest acadamese, techno-biology a step too far for me! Something to do with ‘administrator permissions’. Thank goodness for friends. Keith is a techno expert and he couldn’t find a solution. So I think it will be down to the Sage support helpline in the end, but of course I’m only an add-on to the accountants Sage account so have no access myself. My breath is well and truly bated: I need that software to do the books.  So now I’m scuppered. I’ll have to wait until Monday to speak to the accountant and (hopefully) find a solution.

In between all this annoyance, I’ve kept the PhD work to the fore whenever I could. I have kept Jimbobs company with my reading when he was not trying hard enough for a sample; I have prepared my plan for the Selima Hill section, found the poems I will use, decided where and how I will use them, decided which aspects of theory will support my reading. Now I just have to start writing. And as anyone who writes knows, starting is the hard part. There is always one more book you have to read, always one more distraction that is more pressing than sitting at the desk and writing. So, on Tuesday, my next free day for PhD, I shall start. I will keep Katrina Naomi’s thesis in mind and I will write, in my own version of acadamese. It won’t be perfect, it will be revisited many times before submission, but it will be a concrete thing. It will be a start. And my end-of-January deadline for meeting the team is approaching apace, so I must do this. All hands on keyboard on Tuesday, no more prevarication.

Wish me luck for urine samples and laptop health this week. Here’s a poem to end. It’s the second poem I wrote for Spelks last week, based on three works of art. The main one was a painting of an Infanta, looking as if she was made from origami. I’m sorry, I can’t remember the title. There was also a painting of a young 1920s woman sitting in a drawing room drinking tea from an expensive cup while a tennis-whited male stands just outside the open window looking in; and a painting of a knight in shining armour. This is the poem I made from my amalgamation. Yes, it needs some work, but I quite like it.


Origami Girl

She dances under a full moon

on paper feet you can only guess at

hidden in the folds of her dress.


Vega and Talitha shimmer

at her breast and waist,

stars she sets her course by.


Her faceless face is

sandwiched between her curling aura

and a stiff ruff that ensures

there’s no looking back, no  downcast eyes.


She’s spurned the comfort

of the drawing room, the Minton cups,

the girl circle, turned her back on suitors

who lurked in her peripheral vision

bent on colonizing.


She’s chosen instead to dance

along the independence path. She’s

not one for a dark knight.



Rachel Davies

December 2016


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