Saturday, 29 July 2006

Martha in the Soup...

Today being the feast of St. Martha (yes, I know it's technically only a memorial) I was able to reflect on today's Gospel where she gets a ticking off from our Lord.

I always feel a sneaking sympathy with Martha here: if she'd followed Mary's example, I suspect that dinner would not have made itself!

Benedict on Toast

My computer has been acting up over the past week (obviously it's having a holiday), and combined with my own manic schedule, this meant that I hadn't had much of a chance to browse many blogs. I'm now attempting to make up for it, and I came across the following little snippet from Fr. Stephanos showing the latest miracle apparition: the Holy Father on toast.

Even funnier was the picture supposedly showing Pope Benedict's response!

Car Trouble

Finding a good garage can be a challenge, especially if you are a blonde woman without a husband, boyfriend, brother or father in tow. It doesn't matter if the aforementioned male knows diddly-squat about cars and the blonde is a rocket scientist, but mechanics will always assume that the man is a fellow car-enthusiast, and they are less likely to try and pull the wool over a woman's eyes when explaining what exactly is wrong with the car if there is a man in the vicinity.

Just before my last car did somersaults on the motorway last December, it failed its MOT inspection. Apparently it didn't have rear fog lights - it was an import from a country which presumably didn't experience fog, but I didn't discover this until it failed the MOT. After being given the runaround by the franchise garage (the garage which sold me the car three years before having gone into receivership) I decided to try my luck with one in Welling.

The mechanics could have taken me to the cleaners: I know little about cars (there are 4 wheels on the outside, one in the boot and one to hold on to when going round corners) and even less about electrical wiring of fog lights, but they told me that the wiring was actually all in place, just not connected up, and so I only needed to get a red bulb to convert one of the reversing lights rather than having to invest in a new bumper... or even a new car!

So, when my next car was due for its service, I returned to the same garage. Unfortunately, after the service, the occasional quiet grindy-type noise which I'd detected a couple of times became rather less quiet and much less occasional. So back I went. I went with someone for a test drive ("my car is making a grindy noise" not being the most technical of descriptions) and was told that it was probably a heat shield on the exhaust which was vibrating, and it had probably been knocked out of place further by the service.

So, the offending part was knocked back into place. I drove off happily. And then turned round and drove back, because the noise had reappeared.

This time it was decided that brackets were needed to fix the offending item to the underside of the car. I think it was something to do with the exhaust. Or maybe the cat. My look of blank incomprehension must have convinced the garage owner of the futility of explaining further. After an hour, I was assured that all was well, the problem had been sorted and I was free to go.

I drove off happily in the direction of Sidcup to pick up a friend who had volunteered to help me spring clean (she must be barking, but she says she enjoys housework, and who am I to deprive her of her simple pleasures!) By the time I reached the station, I realised that all was not well, the problem hadn't been sorted and I drove back to the garage.

Finally they figured it out. I don't quite understand what the problem was, but the noise has stopped, so it's fixed now!

Hair-Raising Experiences

For most teachers, the start of the summer holiday signals either total collapse or a period of frantic activity. For me, the latter was the case, as I'm finishing at one school and preparing to start at another.

This week I've started spring-cleaning my flat (yes, very overdue), and have been rushing around trying to get various essential jobs completed before the inevitable onset of summer inertia. One such job was getting my car serviced. Having left my car with a garage in Welling, I then had a couple of hours to kill..., rather than trying to find my way home by bus and getting on with housework, I decided to treat myself to a new hairdo. I'm a natural blonde, but my hair is a dark honey shade and I prefer ash. The dye also dries my hair out a bit, so it's less greasy. Generally I do it myself, but occasionally it helps to go to the hairdresser to strip off the build-up of colour.

I hadn't been to the salon in Welling before, but I explained what I wanted, and the stylist gave me her advice as to which colour would suit me. I chose a dark ash, close to my usual, but she persuaded me to go a shade lighter, explaining that she'd start with a bleach wash to remove some of the honey tones.

While the dye was developing, I commented that it seemed rather too light: my concerns were explained away as the white creamy chemicals disguising the true colour. I had my doubts, but decided that I was being paranoid. As the hairdresser washed the preparation out of my hair, I suddenly detected a harsh chemical smell which didn't correspond to anything I'd ever used before. She told me that the Ash colour hadn't quite "taken" and so she was using a toner to modify the colour somewhat...

The toner didn't quite work... my hair was by now custard yellow! I also had to go back and collect my car before the garage closed. Luckily the hairdresser was as unhappy with the result as I was: she told me to go and get the car, and then she'd try adding another colour to correct the mistake. The colour she thought would do the trick? You guessed it: it was the one I'd picked out first of all.

Fortunately it worked. My hair is now a fetching dark ash blonde rather than custard yellow, but it was a close call, and it took over three hours in the salon to achieve what normally takes me 45 minutes.

...I was going to quote something from Ecclesiastes on vanity, but unfortunately the NJB translates it as "futility" which doesn't quite work as well... but you get the general idea!
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