The Ruined Maid by Thomas Hardy

“O ‘Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?” —
“O didn’t you know I’d been ruined?” said she.

-“You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,
Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks;
And now you’ve gay bracelets and bright feathers three!” —
“Yes: that’s how we dress when we’re ruined,” said she.

-“At home in the barton you said thee’ and thou,’
And thik oon,’ and theäs oon,’ and t’other’; but now
Your talking quite fits ‘ee for high compa-ny!” —
“Some polish is gained with one’s ruin,” said she.

-“Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak
But now I’m bewitched by your delicate cheek,
And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!” —
“We never do work when we’re ruined,” said she.

-“You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream,
And you’d sigh, and you’d sock; but at present you seem
To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!” —
“True. One’s pretty lively when ruined,” said she.

-“I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,
And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!” —
“My dear — a raw country girl, such as you be,
Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t ruined,” said she.

 

by Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928),

Westbourne Park Villas, 1866

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An Interaction At The Workplace

Today I was waiting to be served when I heard the checkout staff having a conversation.

Dramatis Personae of the skit:
Troll Girl – about 4 foot tall, rectangular head with greasy blonde hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. She wears a red t-shirt with baggy trousers and has the bored yet dazed expression of cattle. He voice is low and ejaculated in the warped guttural growl caused by speaking the patois of the valleys. She is ageless. I would guess early twenties but she could be anywhere between 16 to 40 her features are of such a strangely timelessly blank setting.
Young Man – About 5 foot 9 inches, so not ‘manly tall’ but sufficiently enough he towered over the girl. An oval face with a gelled Mohawk hairstyle and skin slightly too pink as if he had used defoliating pads excessively. Wears a black buttoned up shirt and matching trousers. He is likely in his early 20s but could be younger.

TG: So how you getta invite to sucha fancy doo den? I din get invited…
YM: Dunno, they just asked me.
TG: You gonna weara rented tux like you said you was? You gonna cumin an’ show me it before you go?
YM: (visibly uncomfortable) Um… no I will probably go straight there since its straight after work and I’ll only have enough time to get ready before leaving.

Sometimes I wonder if people don’t know how to respect co-worker’s boundaries. Often I think I am perhaps asking too much of co-workers sometimes but, on the other hand, it is to show an interest in them as an individual outside of being a co-worker and often I just hope it sparks a conversation over potential common ground we may not have been aware of otherwise. More often than not I feel like I am being needlessly nosey though. Maybe I am… I hope not…The girl seemed needlessly intrusive and passive aggressive. I got the impression the guy had been invited to something prestegious so there was a bit of projected jealousy being taken out on him needlessly.

… Saying that he put a bottle of barbeque sauce in with my new, light coloured, coat so I can’t give him that much sympathy as cruel as it sounds. Decorum and all that hey what old chap. Bit of the old common sense. Buying a new coat here – wouldn’t mind having an extra bag to ensure I don’t need to risk returning with a complaint of ‘the reason the coat is damaged is your staff don’t practice due care in their duties’. Probably would fight tooth and nail not to give a refund, replacement or credit note. Kind of get the impression it could be that kind of place.

We have to pay for carrier bags in shops here in Wales in case you were unaware. 5 pence per carrier bag they charge! Where does that money go? The government told businesses to charge for bags but not what to do with the money they take for them. Some give it to charity while others treat it as an extra bit of profit. It was meant to put people off wasting plastic bags or littering with them, in order to aid national recycling efforts, but it seems to have had no real effect except that one time a celebrity was seen with a give-a-way fabric bag and crowds flocked to have one of their own as conscientiously dedicated followers of fashion.


Yes I had nothing to write today… thus you get a little bit of rambling but then what did you expect to find on a blog called ‘Rambling At The BridgeHead’?

Tomorrow… Who knows what I will write. Something more interesting hopefully.

Happiness Week: Tuesday

My co-worker arrived before me waiting outside our workplace to be let in. She stood in my exact spot near the door where there is no windchill during these cold Winter days. On the exact flagstone I stand on every morning. That’s okay. I was later than her as she arrived early today. I needed a break from this daily, reassuring, morning routine. She always has something interesting to say about the ongoing scandal about the lack of lids for her take-a-way morning coffee. I dont know how she can survive the 10 minutes from the coffee shop to us being let in so she can make her first cup of tea for the day. She must surely risk dehydration. It’s not as if I take that time every morning to silently meditate and listen to the water of the running river and the birds in the air singing their songs. She said she was my friend once. That is a generous thing to say. She is a good person.

MY ZUBAT EVOLVED INTO GOLBAT! 🙂

I prefer courtesy to my colleagues over personal self-interest. They all really appreciate that I do this for them.

The equipment keeps giving everyone static shock. That’s okay. We need to be kept warm and if the cost is that the air in our office is dry enough to allow the build-up of static electricity then so it must be. It made my co-worker’s dry cough all the more worse though. She coughed enough she began to hallucinate she was becoming a lake due to how much she had drank during the day to compensate for the stuffy enviroment inside. She even refused to have the window open when it was offered. Such consideration! We were all so thankful, after all, static electricity is a vital part of many industrial processes including, but not limited to; xerography, air filters (particularly electrostatic precipitators), automotive paints, photocopiers, paint sprayers, theatres, flooring in operating theatres, powder testing, printers, static bonding and aircraft refuelling.

My co-worker sneezed into her scarf repeatedly and then wore it, no doubt, making her ailments worse. That is such a hygienic thing to do. I am sure none of her nasal content solidified on her neck when she left. She likes pink. Pink bobblehat. Pink leather gloves. Pink scarf… though she insists it’s salmond and insists on pronouncing the ‘d’ in salmond even though the colour is salmon while [Alex] Salmond is the Former First Minister of Scotland. She is very intelligent.

No one could bring themselves to say goodbye to me when I left. That’s okay. It would be too sad to do that and I wouldn’t want to upset them.

When I returned home my cat scratched my hand deeply because I stroked him. It bled for a while but at least it means my body can heal now. He would come by me, look expecting to be fed and then walk away again. Once the others came he was very friendly with them and got a fuss. He still has no name. He still watches from the top of the stairs if there is no food. He sticks his bottom in the air a lot when stroked. He has a pink anus. My co-worker would like him.


Even more happiness. Have you got diabetes from the saccharine nature of these posts? Even more tomorrow!
And now part 1 of the infamous Duck Song to send you on your way.

Duck song part 1

Happiness Week: Monday

More exercises in positive thinking!

Today my cat sat at the top of the stairs. I go and stroke him. He accepts this for a while. He likes it. He held my arm, kicks at it with his back legs and bites down on my hand as if it were caught prey. What fun playing together we are having!

He preferred to be by himself except when he wanted to be stroked. When other people came in the house he really liked them as they spoilt him and gave him a nice soft covered cat bed. He runs around the house often and broke into my room just to snoop around. None of my books have been damaged which is great news!

It was very cold today. The skin on my knuckles has split and I cannot wear my gloves as they will only dry the skin out more. When Winter passes I will better appreciate good skin care!

AT WORK I CAUGHT A ZUBAT!

I have a low burning headache which reoccurs more and more often because people think I am in the wrong. They are right because they are good people and I know they are good people because they tell me they are. If a large number of people agree about something then statisically they will usually be correct. It’s basic Utilitarian felicific calculus too – ‘The greatest good for the greatest number’. Also if you feel pain it means you are alive still and your body parts have not become necrotised. No painkillers for me then, I’m full of life!

I have no time to do anything pleasurable or to relax in the evening. Life is giving me a hard taught lesson that I need to prioritise what I do and be better at time keeping.Go on life, get in there!

Also I am learning to make shorter entries! No one likes rambling unstructured entries do they? 🙂


More happiness… Can’t you just feel it smothering you with its relentless optimism?

Here’s a song by David Sylvian called ‘For The Love Of Life’.

A Working Homunculus Heart

I walked to work in the early morning and the air seemed to be on fire burning my nostrils with every breath made visible by expelled water vapour. I can still taste the dull mint of the toothpaste from twenty minutes ago as the ground beneath me seems to ripple, on the verge of perception, undulating beneath the frost of mid-Winter. I arrive at work and hear no one speaking while we wait to be let in. I feel my homunculus heart sink. I touch the machine switching it on and the static electricity stings me as it has done every day but I do not react.

Our marionette minds are not taxed by the labour. It is a simple, repetitive, task and in the dying days of this year it is only we who are expected to work though there is no urgency in the completion of our task. They are, however, more than willing to find us more to do so we are not ‘just sitting there twiddling our thumbs’ vacantly.

I recall being unemployed years ago and being told I should not pursue a job in publishing or any creative industry even as behind-the-scenes office staff. I was told this by an advisor in a government funded recruitment agency who would soon be fired but regain his job when the company that won the contact subcontracted it to their failing predecessors. It was two years later I finally got a job having to live with that comment. My heart was replaced by this homunculus sometime back then.

I do not work the whole day. I leave after six hours though I am told we can do just five in order to get a full day’s pay. It is the only act of defiance I can muster without cutting the red strings that bind me to this society down the road.

I had once been skilled in drawing but, with time preoccupied fulfilling others agendas for low pay, I found I had no time to do this and my marionette mind was enslaved by the puppet masters whose lives are their careers. I attempt to doodle occasionally but find where once there was scale and texture there is only a caricature line art not even worthy of being crossed out. My mind is plagued by the demons and dark thoughts accumulated through the passage of time. Nothing is done once work is finished. I lie rotting on the floor sheathed in the blue glow of the television in power saving mode as it rests.

I feel nothing. I care for nothing.

I am not living but merely existing nowadays.I am not human. I am not even humane. I am a homunculus.

A little man made less by society’s demands.

My homunculus heart is incomplete.

And yet it moves.


There is a PS2 game called ‘Haunting Ground‘ (‘Demento‘ in Japan) and a character in it called Daniella who is an artificially created servant (everyone else seems to be some sort of homunculus made by the alchemist, Lorenzo, so I assume she is too) who goes crazy and chases the main character around as the second stalker ‘boss’ of the ‘Clock Tower’ style game (Which it was initially going to be part of the series of before being made a stand alone title). It’s based on the sort of Gothic Romanticism in novels written by Anne Radcliffe (1764 – 1823) amongst others. Long story short the alchemist, Lorenzo, has kept himself alive via cloning/homunculus creation and wants to be reborn in the womb of the main Character Fiona. (Who he kidnapped and is his last living descendant so there is a bit of a creepy incest aspect to it too in thhe grand tradition of Gothic literature). In one of the bad endings one of his clones, Riccardo actually achieves it and you see Fiona sat docile in a chair about 8 months pregnant having apparently lost her will to resist…

People really liked the character of Daniella as a sort of tragic villian because although she was insane and trying to kill Fiona it was Lorenzo’s fault due to her maltreatment in his service by Riccardo. Unfortunately I can’t find a comprehensive video of all the scenes of dialogue but this one has a few of the key ones before Daniella starts chasing the main character around the castle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nkhy16_zsAQ

Oddly I have watched play throughs of it a few times but never played it myself. Sometimes I feel the urge to get an old copy and do so but I just don’t have time.

… and that is what inspired this vignette as silly as it may seem.