The Rumour Is

The Rumour Is

…that I have to go home tomorrow, to where the rivers are all in flood, roads are blocked, and villages cut off.


It’s all fairly dreadful

It's all fairly dreadful

but I’m coping bravely.

Wycliffe goes on holiday

Wycliffe goes on holiday

Harry’s beloved bear is accompanying us. This has not reduced my stress load.

Irascible? Moi?

Of course, during the previously-discussed hormonal fluctuations, what one gains in terms of hunger (I am no longer trying to Eat All Of The Things), one loses to the Weepies and naked aggression.

Kill All Of The Things.

(Except for Jose Mujica, because he sounds quite cool.)

And then cry about it, while attempting to clean the sheets, and the mattress, because your body is a total vindictive bastard.


…will simply have to be my aspiration for next year. It ain’t happenin’. I am up to my wrinkled eyes in To Do lists and Mount Laundry. Perhaps I should post the To Do lists? They are pleasingly cryptic, even to me, but frequently illegible, despite the many years of extra handwriting practice I put in at primary school. Harry, who at the grand old age of 5 is using a laptop in class and home for his work, does not realise how… umm… lucky…? he is to be suffering his Specific Learning Difficulties in 2012, rather than 1980. Handwriting is so last century. 

Anyhoo, I have started spotting. Of course I have. There is a narrative inevitability to these things. On the plus side, the falling progesterone has, overnight, stopped me trying to Eat All Of The Things. My weight loss has stalled entirely (I can’t stop using flight-failure imagery. I have unintentionally worked ‘shot down in flames’, ‘losing altitude fast’ and ‘going down like the Hindenburg’ into conversations today.) and hormonal fluctuations profoundly affect my appetite. I am the living inverse of the magic porridge pot when so afflicted. 

I am unsure if I have mentioned my acknowledged status as a rain goddess before; I imagine I must. My travelling companions are trepidatious, with good reason. Some crossed fingers for sun over the far eastern Med next week would be kind.

I shall post photos, probably of a rain gauge. 


I have managed to bugger my menstrual cycle up beyond belief. In fact, I think I have been foolish even by my standards, although to be fair, cycles as pre-buggered as mine are hard to come by.

You would think it would be easy, in this day and age, to ensure that one’s period does not occur whilst one is on holiday. I noted with dubiosity and lip-chewing that Much-Anticipated-Holiday fell on day 43, and given that my previous cycles have been 56, 33 and 91 days respectively, I heard a cacophony of Arrooga!s. So I trotted off to the doctor about a week ago (having left it a bit late, and feeling a bit anxious accordingly) and said ‘Norethisterone, please!’ and he duly handed over the hormonal loot. Immediately I began the 7-day course I felt that period was Imminent, given the gleefully-gatecrashing cramps and associated razzamatazz, so I was a little more relaxed than, in hindsight, I should have been when I stopped taking them after day 4, having had a busy day and completely forgotten all 3 tablets on Day 5.

And… 4 or 5 days later (I am blurry on calendar stuff) diddly squat has occurred in terms of menstruation. I ache plenty, and I have been convinced that things are about to kick off, but they bloody haven’t. I fly in 5 days, and I am horribly aware of (presumably, but who the hell knows?) my falling progesterone levels that must inevitably deliver the crimson tide at some point soon – but not soon enough, now. I have gone past the time-window, and the ticking timer needs to be stopped. At this rate, I am fully expecting the tsunami to hit me about the moment I settle into my plane seat and start drinking uncontrollably to contain my fear relaxing.

This is a proper pisser, and I am unsure what to do about it. Going back to the Dr and admitting that I have utterly failed to comply with the dosage instructions for the drugs I demanded of him seems a little embarrassing; he does have a Paddington Bear Stare fully the equal of mine, after all. I could, I suppose, simply claim that they Have Not Worked, and omit to mention the *COU3GH* days of missed dosage. Whether he would then prescribe me more progesterone in an attempt to prop my falling levels up through my holiday, I… fail to compute. I have 10 x 5mg of norethisterone left, so I suppose I could attempt something along those lines myself, at the high risk of feeling like hormonal dog shit. But I do already! Because I have Meddled and Tampered unwisely!

Goddamn it. What do airlines charge you for ruined seats?

I am back from Bournemouth

and I appear to be hopping mad.

It has, as Vinny said, been emotional. And I was aware I was feeling a bit raw. It appears I am also feeling martial, and uncharacteristically bloggily pugilistic, too. I usually tend more towards pouring the oil on troubled waters, but I have been the troubled water for the last 36 hours or so, and I am too strung-out and overwhelmed to talk about it just at present. I have Missed The Bleeding Obvious, and it has thrown me.

But I have Been Remiss and skipped posting for a day, and feel I need to type something proper-ish, so I offer you instead my lengthy snarls on Operation Christmas Child (the shoe-box stuffing scheme) that I shot onto Shannon‘s blog earlier. You are, of course, allowed to take issue with me. But be gentle, because I’ve had a bad couple of days and will probably cry messily down the innernets at you.


God, the OCC thing really gets my goat! Uncharacteristically, I got into a stonking blog row a couple of years ago about it, which I shall tell you about it at length…! Aren’t you pleased!?
The blogger had stated that she had identified the religious nature of OCC and was choosing to donate via Oxfam, or some such, instead. I didn’t feel her argument was unreasonable in the slightest (perhaps not stated in a balanced way, but hey, it’s her blog, not the BBC!) but I was amazed that there followed a long raft of comments by readers expressing complete shock, horror – nearly revulsion – that OCC had ANYTHING to do with a CHURCH. They thought it was just PRESENTS. Ummm. Exsqueeze me? Just run past me what that Christ in the word Christmas is doing there again?

(Most of my closest friends are stone-cold atheists. I have known a handful of verrrry evangelical Christians fairly well, and liked ‘em too, some of whom participated in OCC in Romania, which is a big OCC recipient country. My own views fall somewhere in the middle, but the point I’m making is that I am incredibly relaxed/indifferent to people believing in any thing (or not) at all, as long as they don’t treat people like things. I say this in order to illuminate the ground on which I stand. Not quite the perfect balanced sample, but no axe to grind, either.)
I was appalled that so many apparently sensible blog-commenters had reacted with EEEUUURKKK!!!s of horror to the news that a Christian festival was being celebrated by an initiative supported and facilitated by Christian organisations. I know that organised religion has dropped in popularity, and I understand why, too, but I couldn’t for the life of me understand at what point the population (as per comment-sample) went from religious indifference to religious… distaste? hatred? intolerance? People were unpacking their shoeboxes, just because they had discovered that the box is accompanied by… wait for it… a LEAFLET??

So, that was the first thing that surprised me. The next thing pissed me off. The OCC is generally only supported, as far as I am aware, by CofE schools. So, all these parents who were reacting in near-fury at the knowledge that they had been tricked into supporting Christan organisations overseas seemed oblivious to the irony that they had, in probability, anxiously elbowed their child into a CofE school. Well, the C stands for Church, blog-commenty people! The rest of the world is a pretty fucking seriously religious place! So get over your indignation, do! There is way, way more religious indoctrination (what an emotive word! it’s called ‘teaching’ in every other subject…) in a CofE assembly than what these kids get with their shoebox, from the (limited, but nevertheless) first-hand accounts I’ve had. Those of us with Christian educations turned out… pretty normal? Basically? But Christians overseas are somehow meant to be mad, bad and dangerous to know? The hypocrisy irked me mightily.

The other arguments were about the charity creaming off the profit and using it for more indoctrination (that word again). I have no knowledge regarding this in particular, or any strong views at all, except to say that most large charities, and some small ones, have been critiqued at some point for, among other things, their admin costs and huge reserves. It’s not hard to level mismanagement accusations, I expect. Are they substantiated? I suspect not.

As for it being an inefficient way to give, well, yes, of fucking _course_ it is. It’s a way for children and old ladies to engage happily with charitable giving because it’s visual, 3-dimensional, and individualised. If a grown adult wanted to make a shoebox their only charitable gesture all year, I’d think they had maturity issues.

And lastly, is the seeming assumption that the churches in these countries are rocking up to Needy Orphan Children, holding out a tempting box in one hand, but making them take the wodge of Religious Danger in the other hand first. This may happen in some places, I suppose. I can’t guarantee it doesn’t, obvs. But I still call Bollocks. In the cases I have heard of, (again, partial, etc) the churches are the only organisations supporting these children. If you look at the recipient countries, they often have shitty State goverments in terms of human rights and Care of the Child. Needy children aren’t high on the priority list, and orphans are damn lucky to grow up neuro-normal. The church cares, though, and it’s a bloody good thing they do, because no other bugger does. Charities have to work with partners on the ground that understand the children, the environment, the State, the endemic corruption, the Whole Ugly Mess. A situation, in short, in which a little spiritual comfort might not go altogether amiss. When did we (not me, obvs) become so icky, so embarrassed, so _anxious_ at the notion of taught spirituality? Afraid of the thought that somewhere, a child is being taught that a God loves them? Have we become worried that religion automatically equals extremism? That evangelical Christians _must_ ALL be brainwashing abusers? I tell you now, they are not.

I can’t account for the unease that OCC seems to engender in people. Deciding not to participate because of your own beliefs: I get it entirely. But creating a firestorm of indignation because of its unclean, sinister Christian nature…? Kind of not getting that at all. I’m either missing something, or everyone else is…

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