August 2003

Hummingbird hawk-moth

by Suw on August 31, 2003

The hummingbird hawk-moth is, to be honest, a freaky looking thing. For a start it’s a day-flyer and secondly its wee little wings flap so fast they’re nothing but a blur. Hovering as it does, it looks just like a very small hummingbird, hence the name. Its stripy arse looks like it’s been tacked on as an afterthought – the Tasmanian Tiger of the moth world. Except not extinct.

My brother Tony rang up today, to say that the hummingbird hawk-moth that’s been visiting his honeysuckle was back, so Dad and I popped over there with the video camera to see if we could get this weird little beastie on film. Course, soon as we turned up the bugger disappeared. Sod’s law. Eventually, though it did come back and it was worth the wait.

I’ve had a soft spot for moths since I was a wee sproglet. Dad did an Open University course when I was little, Science 101 or something. One of his projects was to trap moths every night and do a census. I was somewhere around 10 at the time and religiously helped him out with it. (I can’t remember exactly how old I was – I was too young to yet have mental landmarks as to what year it was, so can’t have been that old.)

Some of the moths we caught were beautiful. I was really taken by them. I’ve loved moths ever since, specially the big furry ones.

Anyway, Dad videoed the moth whilst I stood there agog at it. If we can capture some stills, I’ll post them.

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RSS – A little request

by Suw on August 31, 2003

I'm using Syndirella to aggregate the blogs I like to read more than ever now I'm on poxy dial-up. Not all of the blogs I like to read have RSS, though, and many of those that do have a feed for some strange reason have them set up to provide only the first dozen or so words. Well, fat lot of use that is! I download blogs into Syndirella now precisely because I want to read them offline, when the option of going to the blog itself isn't a goer, so only giving me a teaser of what's in your post is just plain mean.

So please, if you have an RSS feed, set it so that it allows the full post to be downloaded, not just a snifter. Some of your readers prefer it that way. Oh, and if you don't have an RSS feed, get one now!

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Thursday night's blog

by Suw on August 30, 2003

Ok… this might read a bit strange. All I can say is that I was very tired, very drunk, and not a little over-emotional. But hell, here's what was going through my head Thursday night. Oh, and no, I didn't finish it all, but more of that later.

As I can’t blog, because I don’t have a connection, I’m going to keep this doc open and jot down thoughts as they come to me. Ok, so “thoughts” might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the drift.

Went out this evening with my neighbours, for a farewell drink. Well, in two cases it was actually a ‘hello’ drink. Carole, who lives on the island on the other side of the lock, I’ve spoken to before but not at length. I met her son Darryl for the first time. Luke, my upstairs diagonal neighbour I’ve spoken to a lot but never been out for a drink with.

Had a really nice evening with them all. Very entertaining. Why does it take leaving to get me to meet people?

Anyway, now it’s 00:30. I’ve finished the vodka that was left in the fridge, and soon I’ll start on the wine. After all, that’ll be one less thing to put in the van tomorrow. I still have the black shelves on the landing to clear, the lounge to finish packing and to clean, and the kitchen to pack and clean.

Big Brov will be turning up about 8.30am tomorrow, so I shall be staying up as late as it takes to get everything finished. Darryl and Luke are going to come round between 8.30am and 9am to help pack up the van, which will make life much easier.

Meantime, I’m tempted to rachet up the volume on my stereo just to piss off my upstairs neighbour as a return favour for all the shite he put me through at the beginning of the year. I suspect, however, that he’s out, which would make the whole exercise pointless. Bastard. Denied!!!!

Anyway, I shall be up for hours yet and am looking forward to becoming utterly pissed. It’s the only way to pack, trust me on this.

Ooh, in a day’s time, I am so going to suffer. When the 48 hour muscle shock sets in, I’m going to want to soak in a bath for a couple of years and will be yearning for someone with good massage skills to ease my back. I forsee a trip to the chiro in my near future.

And the dust is making me cough something horrible. That hacking, dry cough that feels as if you’re ripping your lungs into tiny wee pieces. Oh, a month of coughing, what fun. I stopped mentioning it in the blog, because it got dull, but I’m still hacking like the Marlborough Man. Not as badly as I was, it’s not keeping me up at night, but oh, it’s not so much fun.

OK. Back to it.

This would be so much easier if there were someone else here to help. Not just an anyone, but a someone.

Clearing out shelves untouched for three years. I am assaulted by memories on every side. Some of them are good memories, warm and cosy, or fun and mischeivous. Some are ones I wish I could eradicate. But they’re everywhere tonight.

And I trod on a snail on the way to the dustbin. I’m really sorry Mr Snail. I didn’t see you there, in the darkness. I guess it was your time. I’m sorry.

With one eye on the time and the other on the boxes.

The black shelves are now clean and clear. I can do no more downstairs because I have no suitcases. Tony (my Big Brov) is bringing some up tomorrow.

Now left: the rest of the lounge and the rest of the kitchen. May not sound like much, but I think I’ll be lucky if I get more than two or three hours sleep tonight. I’m gonna have to be up at 06:00 to get more boxes from Tescos (Staples not being open at that hour for archive boxes).

Trouble is, I’m so bloody knackered I don’t feel drunk anymore and everything is in slo-mo. I haven’t pulled an all-nighter for ages. Last time I did I was in a house at the top of Cnicht, a mountain in North Wales, drinking beer and marvelling over a pickled mouse. No, really.

We drank until the sun came up and then walked for all of 60 seconds to the true top of the mountain and we watched the rising sun sparkling on the sea in the distance, the sky above us turning slowly from starlit blue to turquoise.

Would that I were there now.

The small hours throw up old memories.

Peter Jones, brother of a very close friend of mine from school, died at 23 in a car crash that seemed to be nobody’s fault. I can’t pack away CDs without thinking of him.

After he died, his sister Sam, with whom I was sharing a flat, loaned me his stereo as I had not one of my own. When I opened the CD drawer, there was the last CD he ever listened to.

He never should have died. But then, nothing’s fair.

I just want to sleep.

Never has my bed looked so inviting. Never has my lounge looked so untidy.

Fuck, I wish I had an internet connection, but my computer is steadfastly refusing to admit that it has a good old-fashioned modem attached.

I am so tired.

Boxes are no longer labeled by their contents. Instead, I’ve sunk to ‘Shit. But Really Important Shit’ or ‘Shit n Stuff’.

You have no idea how surprised I am that I can type at this juncture. Or that I know words like ‘juncture’.

Right. Washing up calls.

Oh shit. I have to unload all this crap tomorrow. All these boxes.


I find that a particularly efficacious tactic for packing kitchenware is to break much of it. That negates a lot of the work. You should try it.

So, do I push it, or do I give in and go to bed?

If I go to bed, will I wake up?

Ok, if I were up all night talking and drinking and carousing, I could handle it, OK? I may be 32, but I can hold my own when it comes to it. But really… No one can pack a house up on no sleep.

Nuh-night. See you at six.

Oh for fuck’s sake.

I wish I felt as good as I did at 03:30.


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Up to speed

by Suw on August 30, 2003

Well, Friday morning was significantly less than fun. I prised myself out of bed at 6am, after two and a half hours sleep, and felt so shit after all of 15 mins that I went back to bed for an hour. Didn’t feel much better at 7.15am when I got up again, but by then my brother’s arrival was imminent and there was still mess everywhere.

Tony turned up at 8.30am, but the two guys who’d promised to help me out never showed. So my Brov and I just had to set to and sort it out ourselves. It took four hours to finish packing, load the van and clean up ready to leave. Periodically one of us would say ‘Well, we’re getting there’, and the other would reply ‘Yeah, you said that half an hour ago’.

Eventually, though, we did finish up. Only an hour and a half from Reading to my parents’ place, and surprisingly I didn’t fall asleep on the way home. Miracle!

Unpacked the van this end, filling the dining room to brimming with boxes and stuff. Then off out to The Old Inn, a particularly good pub in Holt which does serve the most gorgeous steak.

I think Mum was expecting me to be all morose and sad at the loss of my freedom, but I actually feel quite chipper. One very stressful period of my life is now over. And ok, so I have no job, no money and a debt mountain the size of Qomolangma, but somehow I still feel a lot better. The future is a blank slate upon which I can scribble what I wish. Once I figure out what that actually is, of course.

Anyway, Fflwff was pleased to see me and decided that the best welcome home present she could give me would be to sleep on my arm for much of the night. Not just next to it, but on it. Every time I tried to move it, she’d shift so that she was laying on it once more. I think she was hoping to hatch out some wrists.

Didn’t get up all that early this morning, oddly enough, but did spend all day doing battle with my darling computer. The modem was shagged, unfortunately, as was the CD-ROM. I new the CD drive was on its way out, and have known that for months, long before my motherboard gave up. The modem going, though, was a disappointment.

So, today I had to go out and buy a new CD/DVD drive and new modem. (Well, I say ‘I’, I really mean ‘Mum’. Kind, isn’t she? Course she’s just adding it to the tab…) Installed both with the minimum of pain, although my Spider-Man DVD is playing silly buggers with me.

Sorted my dial-up to a flat-rate package, got my speakers attached so I can listen to the Pirates soundtrack, and am now a relatively happy bunny. Course, I’ve still got a small mountain of boxes to sort out, either to stack in the eaves or unpack. But that can wait til tomorrow.

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I'm here!

by Suw on August 29, 2003

Just a quicky. I made it ok, with over 40 boxes and god knows what other junk. Computer not set up yet, so using my Dads. Hate using other people's computer – it seems a bit like using their toothbrush for some reason. Ick. Thus will keep this short. Am in Dorset. Am alive. Am knackered.

Will post the blog entry I wrote as I was packing last night as soon as I get my own puter online.

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by Suw on August 28, 2003

Why am I up at this hour? Why did I wake at 7? Why is it going to rain today? And why does the Coke I bought yesterday taste so horrendously disgusting this morning? Still, I need the caffeine.

Also, why does the post I posted at 1.15am this morning show up as posted yesterday? Seems quite strange. Always suspected that the Blog-City server doesn't know what day it is. Hell, I don't know what day it is, but then I've got a good excuse.

Right… packing… onwards and, er, onwards…

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The Blogging Forecast for today

by Suw on August 28, 2003

Today, the Blogging Forecast is many short, pointless posts throughout the day, until NTL come and take my modem away late this afternoon, at which point blogging will cease. Blogging may be resumed Friday afternoon or evening, although the hiatus may persist into Saturday morning. Or afternoon. Or maybe Sunday. It all depends on a) whether I wake up at all on Saturday, b) whether my old modem will decide to work with my new motherboard (I haven't tested it yet, so it may decide to sulk instead) and c) er, make up your own c).

This Blogging Forecast was brought to you by the International Blogological Office, who accept absolutely no responsibility for anything at all ever. If you end up with a kitten up your nose, don't blame us.

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More boxes…

by Suw on August 28, 2003

Just popped out to buy yet more archive boxes. I already have 26, filled and stacked in the kitchen. I would say I have at least another five or so to go. First, though, I have to finish up designing an ad for my Mum. Ooh, the excitment. How will I stay calm?

Just to prove a point, though, that I've been meeting more people in Reading in the last month than in the last three years that I've lived here, today I had my first conversation with Rob, the lock keeper's assistant. Nice guy. Don't know why I didn't talk to him at the beginning of the summer when he first started working here. Shy, maybe. (Me or him? Dunno. You figure it out.)

Sod's law, isn't it?

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Mags v. books

by Suw on August 28, 2003

Why is a box of magazines heavier than a box of the same size filled with books? Do magazines use particularly dense paper or something? Or maybe magazines have some sort of wormhole link to a parallel universe from which they suck in extra matter to bulk themselves out. Which means somewhere, an alternative me is busy packing away lots of magazines and thinking 'Hm, that's odd. How is it that all these magazines weigh so little? This box of books is so much heavier yet it's exactly the same size.'

I am a little ashamed, however, at discovering just how many copies of Scientific American I have which remain still in their wrappings, unread. There are a fair few untouched copies of New Scientist too. I just haven't had the time over the last several months to sit and read stuff. I've much to keep my eyes occupied when I get back to Dorset, though. Not to mention all those scripts I've promised to review on Zoetrope.

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Waiting for NTL

by Suw on August 28, 2003

When I arranged for NTL to come and pick up my modem, they promised that they'd leave it as late as possible. Now it's 4pm and I wonder how much longer I shall have my connection.

Please! Don't take my baby away! Pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase!

*wahhh wahhh wahhhhhh*

Course the fact that I can actually blog again tomorrow from my Dad's laptop doesn't make me feel the slightest bit better. It's now I want my connection! Not tomorrow! I've emailed people who might reply!!

*rolls eyes*

Oh dear.

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Less than an hour…

August 28, 2003

The man from NTL rang and said that he'd be here within the hour. I feel like I should go on some sort of manic downloading spree whilst I have the chance. I can't think of anything big I want to download though. So I'll just post this last entry and leave it at that. […]

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The Thorntons Champagne Truffles… They call to me…

August 27, 2003

I can hear them calling my name, their voices in my head, tormenting me, torturing me, beckoning me, tempting me… 'Suw,' they say. 'Buy us,' they say. 'Stock up on us. Because you won't find us when you move to the Arseendofnowhere…' What can I do but obey?

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Something I've never done before

August 27, 2003

If you've read much of my blog lately you'll know that I'm several miles beyond skint. I have a small house in north Wales' worth of debt, and currently no job. Now, being British, and having been brought up to believe that asking for stuff is wrong, I would never normally do this, but I'm […]

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August 27, 2003

I really don't like packing. Have I mentioned that yet? It's ok if there are two of you and you can talk and while away the time whilst your hands are putting things in boxes, but it is quite the most dull thing to do on your own. Still, I'm shredding absolutely anything that could […]

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Progress, possibly

August 27, 2003

I feel like I've been hit by a truck. It's 1.15am, and I'm bloody knackered. I wanted to clear out the filing cabinet – four drawers of indespensible junk – but I've only managed 3/4 of it. The last drawer I can't face. The rest have been sorted and boxed, though. One day I'll have […]

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