Archive for February, 2007


This is Debbie (Warne). We went to HSPVA (High School for the Performing and Visual Arts) in Houston, Texas, together in 1983/84. I have not seen her since 1984. She was Scottish, but I don’t know if she went back to Scotland. I wonder where she is now and what she’s doing. If you know, tell me!


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Potty Pottery

Here’s one of my few remaining Mull pottery glasses that I so admire.

I wish I had the talent and knowledge to recreate them myself, but as talented as my pottery is I am still defeated by the wheel and can only dream. And at least I’m professional at that. And the makers of these wonders of human ability have stopped making them.

For now I stick with geometrical shapes with not a single wheel in sight. Here’s what I do:

These square or rectangular thingies become super-duper elegant serving dishes. This one is the 3rd one I’m making, and if I have time I will add a few more, even if Kevin thinks I’ve made too much stuff and should start giving it away. He’s one to talk! We have 2 record decks in the house here, one more in ‘storage’ with a friend in London and yet another on its way to his mum’s
… the last one was apparently bought just for the arm, but since then he’s changed his mind and went on to buy another arm for the one in London so now he’s going to swap the arms around, bring the one in London here and take the one going to his mum’s to Norway for my parents’ summer house. He says he’s not going to buy any more, but I know better. Before long they will start breeding and multiply. So I’ll make more pottery stuff and fill up my share of the flat with that.

Here’s one I made earlier:

I gave this set to my sister, and on seeing the candle sticks she immediately turned one of them upside down and declared that they would be much better as wine goblets. So that’s why I’m trying that idea out. Wine goblets with matching serving dish. Ok, so I’d given the candle sticks some rather silly ‘wings’ that didn’t quite work, but…

Apropos of nothing; I’m quite actively looking for a new flat for us. We could do with a little more space and a bigger kitchen – and then we can have a record deck in each room, try to keep them separate so they won’t breed. That aside; new place. I’ve seen two so far and won’t be seeing any more through agents.

In this country the agents are permitted to demand the equivalent of 3 months’ rent up front as commission, in addition to the 3 months’ rent you have to put down as a deposit! I’ve been told that this is somewhat out of sync with the rest of the EU countries and that several attempts have been made at bringing them into line with the rest of the union, but I’m not suprised the property agents here are refusing to follow suit. All that money for NO WORK! Who’d want to give up on that?

So we’re going private, somehow.

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Today’s Picture

Kevin is amazing. His back seems not to improve one bit, he’s being subjected to the super-thorough treatments of the Austrian medical profession, he is putting up with my lousy temper, and on top of it all he buys me flowers. These tulips were not bought on Valentine’s day, btw. I am also a lousy housewife, and though I’m attempting to ‘take over’ now that he is incapacitated, I’m doing a crap job of it. So he has to put up with my neglective (can one say that?) ways on top of it all and go without all his favourite foods and drinks. I don’t envy him me one bit.

Today has been another strange day. Not overly active, but with a couple of new things in it. Went to my usual pottery class in the morning. There I started my latest ‘project’ which is to make ceramic wine glasses as requested by my sister.
Kevin’s just informed his mother that the parcel she’s received for him is Velcro buttons… We are forever ordering things delivered to his mother as the postage is so much cheaper to the UK than here, and a lot of the time the UK sellers will only deliver to the UK unless you can flip backwards off a table while balancing a cup of tea on your nose. So he’s ordered a packet of velcro buttons for his turntable (I’ve lost count of how many he has now, but as he says; it’s a harmless hobby. Which is going to leave us broke and in need of a warehouse.) Anyway, I’ve ordered a yoga DVD which came higly recommended by a friend at Berlitz. I’m convinced it’s going to change my life in some way, though I’ve not yet tried to work out in what way. Maybe it will turn me into a sleek and sexy and extremely bendy Norwegian teacher.

That was the second thing today (ehm… what was the first one again? oh, yes; ceramic wine glasses… old age is taking its toll here). I taught a Norwegian class. I don’t quite get that anyone here wants to learn Norwegian, but there is the odd person that does. I’m now creating my own material for this use with ever increasing use of the internet to support me. My first Norwegian student was via Berlitz – a medical student who wanted to move to Norway and do his internship there. Well, he’s there now. I hope he’s doing well – best of luck, Christoph! Sorry abut the Pompel & Pilt-lesson… but it was fun, wasn’t it?

Hey! Maybe I should put an advert on one of the main pages of my web-page? I’m pretty sure I could corner the market here… 😀

I hope the wine goblets come out well. I need to replace the ones I bought on Mull (island off the west-coast of Scotland). Those were/are brilliant ceramic glasses! I bought six, then Kevin broke one by accident – he’s a little accident prone, poor man, then I managed to throw one across the kitchen in Edinburgh, though I have no recollection of why I did that, and it smashed into a million pieces. Kevin wasn’t even there at the time, so I clearly didn’t try to throw it at him. With my aim I would never have hit him anyway. But now we only have four of them. If I succeed with these ones I will be making 6 for my sister and and 6 for my mum as well, and then I will make 6 for me. I seem to have specialised in geometric shapes. I.e., I am not using the wheel to throw them, I am using self-made moulds of various geometric shapes. I feel very clever – at least until I see the result.

Oh, here’s Kevin on the sofa in the living room:
I wonder how long he will be sleeping there? I really miss him. Here’s what I see first thing in the morning:
No Kevin. I wish I had ‘healing powers’ – whatever that is – and could cure him in an instant. But since I’m not superstitious and don’t believe in any sort of deity there is no point in even trying the powers of prayer. Or any such thing. I sometimes pop into churches – ‘specially the Catholic ones – and light a candle for my friends, but I have no clear idea why I keep doing that.

Well, I’ve had enough for now of just about everything. I’m going to have another drink now I think. I wonder who came up with alcohol? Whoever that was; goodonyou!

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I hate it when it happens. There’s simply no knowing when it will – no pattern to it whatsoever! The alarm clock was set to 6am, but the moment I opened my eyes, there it was – the psychedelic aura buzzing away in front of my eyes making it difficult for me to see. Buggr, buggr, buggrrrr! And from then on it’s all downhill. No pain yet, but I stumble around, forgetting where the furniture is in sheer irritation at being subjected to the indignities of a migraine again. I’m a strong woman! I can deal with anything! So why can these annoying migraines bring me to my knees so effectively?

Swearing under my breath I stumble through into the living room where Kevin is sleeping on the sofa trying to recover from a bad back – our mattress on the floor in the bedroom is doing him no favours, so he sleeps in the living room these days. I am supposed to teach at 8, but there’s no chance of that, with or without my powerful Imigran. It still takes several hours before it clears.

I crawl back to bed placing a large glass of water with MigraMax dissolved in it next to me, set the alarm to 7 in a burst of optimism and try to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, a panic attack sets in to add further misery to my morning, and as the pain starts up helps multiply the thumping in my head. Pooooor me!!!

7 comes and goes – no improvement. 8 chimes in, I grab the mobile and miserably phone Berlitz to inform of my miserable state. Kevin wakes up and falls slowly and painfully off the sofa to start his day. In spite of his ruined back, he gets ready to go to his part-time job writing teasers for bwin.com, and before he goes he asks me if there is anything I need. The blind leading the deaf…? We’re a great team…

The pain subsides slowly, around noon I can just about think again and I drag myself to the shower feeling acutely just how pathetic I must seem. The pressure in the brain will be there for another 24 hours, but at least I can speak again – perhaps a mixed blessing to my surroundings, but a relief to me – and see normally. I.e, I am able to teach my afternoon/evening class.

Oh misery, misery! When shalt thou leave us poor folk alone?!
Evening is here. It’s a little strange; sometimes I would rather not leave the house, but I actually enjoy teaching so much I always feel better after (and during, of course) a class. I really wouldn’t be without that. The first school I taught at was run by a woman I absolutely abhor, but the students have never let me down – they have always made it worth every second. Just think, I even miss the students from those very first classes. Too bad the miserable bitch I worked for had no redeeming features of any kind. May she burn in hell forever! I don’t care how long that is, but hopefully longer than in legal terms. Entirely my highly personal opinion, of course. But I haven’t met anyone with a different opinion yet… I’ve heard her politely referred to as ‘the Ice Queen’. She’d probably like that.

My poor man has fallen off the sofa again.

(Kevin. He’s heard something about how you can lessen pain by transferring it to an alternate area. He has also heard that alcohol is a muscle relaxant. Here he is trying to combine the two theories.)

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I have the BEST students!!

Had the second last lesson with this lot, and we had arranged one of my infamous ‘video lessons’… ‘Yes, Minister’! Here are some of the students setting up the equipment before the class started:
After the class I was in for a real surprise. One of them, Dino, had painted a picture for me and Kevin, a real, proper, big oil painting! It consisted of a combination of 5 flags (Scotland, Norway, England, the Union Jack and Austria) with two figures representing the two of us in the middle.
Here’s Charlie and Dino wrapping the painting in miles of bubble wrap for my journey home as it was raining that day:
I’m gonna miss these guys so much! I hope they continue with English classes, and I hope I get to be one of their teachers. I’m so lucky to meet people like these as an English teacher.

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