13 June, 2006

choose your distraction

Well, reports of my recovery were sadly premature: it's taking me longer to get over this tummy trouble than I would like. The downside of this is that the fridge is basically empty (I'm not up to dragging home heavy bags), and I'm a very boring phone conversationalist for poor John who's in New York, because absolutely nothing is happening to me, flat on my back. The upside of the situation is that I have learned lots of interesting things by being stuck watching television and listening to Avery prattle about her life (much more eventful than mine).

Let's see: I could natter on about the World Cup! Excitement is at a fever pitch in this country, which is just insane for football. Being an avid reader of Hello! magazine all these years you'd think I'd be interested in David Beckham, but I never have been until seeing him play. Amazing! So England had its first game on Saturday, and immediately afterward the nation's attention turned to tomorrow's game with... Trinidad and Tobago. Now how many of you knew that was ONE country? I didn't. In the meantime I have, believe it or not, martyred myself to the Brazil-Croatia match and the Korea-Togo match. Who knew Togo was a country, and not just Nancy Drew's dog? Since the motto of King's College Preparatory school is something along the lines of "Compete or Die," the headmistress has thought of a way to get the gulls involved with the World Cup. The school is divided, for various competitive purposes, into four "houses," as those of you familiar with Harry Potter will know. In fact one house is "Potter," and then there are "Franklin," for Rosalind, and "Nightingale," for obvious reasons, and then Avery's house, "Curie." Normally they compete for things like spelling words, speed in packing up the rucksack neatly, netball successes, that sort of thing. But to encompass the World Cup, which you'd think could not touch a nine-year-old girl, they've randomly assigned 8 countries to each house, and there is a Draconian and very amusing set of rules that governs what earns house points for which house. I think if a country in Curie's house gets to the quarter-finals there is some point thingy assigned. So all is at a fever pitch.

Then, as you can see from the photo above, I have become quite concerned about the plight of the grey squirrel, victim of the much maligned red squirrel. There is a public debate about offering a bounty on the pelts of red squirrels in Scotland (I am not making this up), so as to protect the grey squirrels from their furry little clutches. I can just see your average Englishman, dressed to the teeth in tweeds and armed with a nice Purdey rifle, stalking a red squirrel in Edinburgh town centre, for the 2 pound bounty that some scientist has deemed "reasonable for an individual pelt." Then, of course, there is the opposition. They claim that it's a virus or something that's killing off the grey squirrels. My favorite line from the whole debate is this, from one of the bounty-seekers: "To blame this situation on a virus is merely PLAYING INTO THE HANDS of the red squirrels." Indeed!

If neither of these topics is of interest to you, there's always... Joseph. And his interminable, all-consuming, obsessive Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. What I do not know about the Hairy Ishmaelites and Joseph's nasty slavery-loving brothers, not to mention the hot-to-trot Potiphar's Wife and her unappreciative but clingy husband, is not worth knowing. The rehearsals are taking the place of many school activities like anything that involves actual learning, and Avery's crush on Edwina, the Form Six girl who plays one of the leads, is taking up a lot of the family energy. The actual performance is on Saturday, after which I think we will all collapse in a Lloyd-Webber-induced catatonic state. But they are very proud of what they're about to perform, and it will be wonderful to see it all come to a head, after such devoted preparation.

Well, I'm sorry to say that I'm ailing, so I shall go put my feet up with a nice iced green tea with a shot of peppermint (go, Starbucks!), and reach for... the clicker. I'll let you know if there's any news on the squirrels.

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